The Villanova Wildcats will enter the 2016-17 season as the reigning National Champions in Division 1 men's basketball. That does not, however, automatically mean they are Vegas' favorite, as we would learn on Wednesday afternoon.
The Duke Blue Devils, who learned on Wednesday morning that they would have rising junior guard Grayson Allen return to Durham next season, are the current favorite to win the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship per Bovada. The Blue Devils, who will be aided by Allen, possibly Amile Jefferson, and a stout recruiting class headlined by Jayson Tatum, currently have 9/2 odds to win it all next year in Arizona.
The defending National Champions are currently third on the board behind Duke and the Kentucky Wildcats. The Wildcats will yet again have a talented recruiting class coming in to Lexington and, as a result, they have 6/1 odds posted at the moment. 'Nova, meanwhile, has 8/1 odds at the moment to repeat as National Champs.
For what it's worth: Last year, as reigning National Champions, Duke had 16/1 odds to repeat. The 'Cats certainly won't be losing as much as Duke did last year with the departures of Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justice Winslow gutting the Blue Devils. Villanova will only see Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu leave this season and while they certainly have made significant contributions, the crop of returning players they have include the likes of Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Phil Booth, Darryl Reynolds, Mikal Bridges and National Title Game hero Kris Jenkins. Coming into the fold will be Fordham transfer Eric Paschall as well as highly touted recruit Omari Spellman.
The Big East is featured plenty on the board at the moment elsewhere, too. In fact, every team is featured on the board right now.
Yes, even DePaul.
And St. John's.
The Red Storm are currently a longshot to win the National Title with odds of 300/1, aligning them with the likes of Mizzou, Nebraska, Stanford and Virginia Tech, among others. Heading upward on the rungs, Marquette is next, standing with 250/1 odds to win the championship. They, certainly, will have tough sledding with future pro Henry Ellenson gone, but will still have a talented group of guards who could help them make noise in the Big East.
Georgetown, who opened at 75/1 last season, has seen their odds dip down 100 percent heading into next year, as they start with 150/1 odds. Helping the Hoyas perhaps will be big man Jessie Govan, who could very well be an intriguing NBA prospect if his game is refined more in his sophomore year on The Hilltop. The ascent continues with Butler who checks in at 100/1. The departures of Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones among others will do damage, but the Bulldogs are bringing in arguably their best recruiting class ever next year and will still have Andrew Chrabascz and breakout performer Kelan Martin aboard as well.
At 50/1, the Seton Hall Pirates have the third-highest odds of any team in the Big East Conference to win the NCAA Championship. The Hall will have a talented group of juniors next year that could include the incomparable Isaiah Whitehead who could very well be the favorite to win the Big East Player of the Year award next year. And finally, the Xavier Musketeers are the second-highest of the bunch, checking in at 25/1 after a brilliant season in Cincinnati with a talented group of players coming back for Chris Mack next season.
Make what you will of that information, degenerates.