The Virginia Cavaliers cut down the nets as national champions for the first time in program history Monday, and oddsmakers think they are positioned to do so again next season.
According to Ben Fawkes of ESPN.com, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook listed the Cavaliers and Kentucky Wildcats as 7-1 favorites to win next season's national championship. Duke and Michigan State were next at 8-1.
The Wildcats figure to be a national contender again with a 2019 recruiting class that is second in the country, per 247Sports' composite rankings. Still, buyers should beware about freshmen-laden teams, as Fawkes noted the Blue Devils were listed as the favorites for the 2018-19 season at this time last year before bowing out in the Elite Eight.
That Virginia is seen so favorably after Monday's 85-77 overtime win over Texas Tech is no surprise.
De'Andre Hunter (27 points and seven boards), Kyle Guy (24 points) and Ty Jerome (16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds) could all return after their head-turning performances in Monday's contest. Guy and Jerome are both juniors, while Hunter is a sophomore.
Even if Hunter elects to pursue the NBA, the Cavaliers figure to get back important role players in Mamadi Diakite (junior) and Braxton Key (junior) and will be in position to challenge for another crown with a talented core.