NCAA Tournament Trends: Updated National Championship Odds

Matthew Jordan

Monday, March 28, 2016 6:00 PM GMT

College basketball's Final Four in Houston on Saturday is set and it's all big-time programs and big-time coaches competing for the national title. Here are some updated NCAA Tournament odds for the Big Dance.

No. 1 North Carolina -110
It appeared very reasonable that all four No. 1 seeds might make the national semifinals for only the second time in history, but the East Region champion Tar Heels are the only ones standing. And they are predictably the heavy favorite to win it all in the NCAA Basketball Odds. UNC improved to 19-7 in Elite Eight games all-time and 4-3 under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams with an 88-74 win over No. 7 Notre Dame on Sunday night. The Heels shot an absurd 61.5 percent from the floor, their highest percentage ever in a regional final game. North Carolina is now 54-10 in school history as a No. 1 seed. It has reached a record 19th Final Four and its first since 2009. Carolina has become the only school to play in a Final Four in eight straight decades. The Heels have won nine straight overall and have taken each game in this tournament by at least 14 points. The favorite NCAA Tournament Pick for exact outcome of the national title game at +250 is North Carolina over Villanova. UNC over Oklahoma is +300. All-American forward Brice Johnson is the +250 favorite to win  NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. The senior had 25 points and 12 rebounds vs. Notre Dame and is working on a string of three straight double-doubles. UNC is a 9-point favorite over Syracuse in Saturday's late semifinal.

 

No. 2 Villanova +225
The Wildcats won the South Region with a 64-59 win over No. 1 overall seed Kansas on Saturday, ending the Jayhawks' national-best 17-game winning streak. Nova won despite being outshot (46 percent to 40.4 percent) and outrebounded (32-28) by the Big 12 champion Jayhawks. Villanova was an excellent 18-for-19 from the free-throw line and held Kansas All-American forward Perry Ellis to just four points and five shot attempts. It's a big monkey off the back of Coach Jay Wright as Villanova had underachieved in this tournament since reaching the 2009 Final Four. Villanova is +375 on the exact outcome prop to beat  North Carolina in the national title game and +850 to beat Syracuse. The Wildcats didn't play either in the regular season. They did beat ACC team Georgia Tech 69-52 in November and lost at Virginia 86-75 in early December. Villanova's only defeat in the past 10 games was by two to Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament title game. Nova's Josh Hart is +400 to win tournament MOP honors at Bovada. He had 13 points and four rebounds vs. KU and isn't really putting up huge numbers, but no Villanova player is. It has truly been a team effort.

 

No. 2 Oklahoma +300
Coach Lon Kruger's Sooners are in the Final Four for the first time since losing to Indiana in the 2002  national semifinals. Oklahoma has never won a national championship. It has the clear star of this tournament in senior guard Buddy Hield, who is likely playing his way into a Top 5 NBA draft pick this summer. He scored 37 points in the Elite Eight win over No. 1 Oregon. That's the most of any player in this tournament. It was the most points scored by any player in a regional final game since Loyola Marymount’s Bo Kimble put up 42 against UNLV in 1990. Hield’s 25.4 points per game average on the season is the highest of any player heading to the Final Four since Georgia Tech sharpshooter Dennis Scott in 1990.  Hield has upped that average to 29.2 points in the Big Dance. He is shooting 56.7 percent overall and 47.5 percent from long range. This could be the best individual run in the NCAA Tournament since some guy named Steph Curry carried Davidson to the Elite Eight. Whatever happened to that Curry guy? Hield is +400 to win tournament MOP honors. Oklahoma is +450 on the exact outcome prop to beat North Carolina in the final and +1200 to beat Syracuse. The Sooners are slight underdogs Saturday vs. Villanova despite beating the Wildcats by 23 earlier this season in Hawaii.

 

No. 10 Syracuse +1200
The Orange are the first double-digit seed to make the Final Four since VCU in 2011 and the first No. 10 seed to do so ever. No double-digit seed has ever reached the title game. Syracuse was lucky to even get an at-large bid -- Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim didn't think they were getting in -- and had to stage amazing comebacks against Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 and then No. 1 Virginia in the Elite Eight. Syracuse's 13 losses tie for the most of any team to reach the Final Four. Shoot, those are more losses than Villanova and Oklahoma have combined for in the other semifinal. No team has ever won the national title after losing its conference tournament opener. Syracuse did, falling to Pitt. The Orange are only 5-5 in their past 10 games overall. They are 9-point dogs Saturday against UNC, which won both regular-season meetings. SU is +1600 to beat Villanova in the title game and +2000 to beat Oklahoma at BetOnline. Michael Gbinjie is +1400 to win tournament MOP.