The Villanova Wildcats won the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball national championship after soundly defeating the Michigan Wolverines on Monday night 79-62. Only a few hours after the title game had finished and while the celebrating at Villanova continued Las Vegas released its odds for the 2019 national champion.
At the top of the list are the Duke Blue Devils. Duke was listed as the early 5 to 1 favorites for the national championship ahead of the just crowned current champion Villanova.
Villanova was a close second at 8 to 1 after winning its second national title in the last three years Monday night. The Wildcats along with Kentucky and Kansas were tied with the second shortest odds to win next year’s national title. North Carolina was next at 12 to 1, followed by Gonzaga, Michigan State and Virginia all at 15 to 1.
It is believed that Duke will lose several of its key players to the upcoming NBA draft, but has lined up another exceptional recruiting class. In the just completed tournament, Duke played in the Elite Eight round where it was defeated by Kansas in a game that went to overtime.
Current Duke standouts Marvin Bagley III, Treveon Duval and Wendell Carter Jr. are all considered possible lottery picks in the NBA draft, and Grayson Allen a senior guard will also not return to next year’s squad.
However, before anyone feels sorry for the Blue Devils and Coach Krzyzewski the team is reloading with what is considered the top recruiting class in the nation. The team has received commitments from the country’s top three hoop prospects coming out of high school – Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett.
Michigan was given odds of 20 to 1 by Vegas for next season’s title as was Oregon, while Auburn, UCLA and West Virginia were all at 30 to 1.
This just completed tournament’s Cinderella team, Loyola-Chicago, which made it to the Final Four only to be beaten by Michigan, has opened with odds of 500 to 1 to win the tournament next year.