Thirty-two of the 68 teams that compete in the March Madness betting extravaganza that is also known as the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament are the champions of each of the conferences that comprise the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Which would some of those 32 teams be if it were January Insanity instead of March Madness? Which NCAA basketball betting favorites would be missing?
The Duke Blue Devils remain the odds-on favorites to win the national championship even if they have dropped from the very tippy-top of the AP Poll to the No. 8 spot and are 11th in the ACC standings with a 12-2 record (0-1 in conference play). However, if the NCAA tournament started today, the No. 12 Florida State Seminoles would be the conference champions with a 14-1 record (2-0 in ACC play).
The No. 4 UCLA Bruins went undefeated in non-conference play since they won a national championship in 1994-95, seemingly reaffirming their aspirations of winning another one, but then suffered their first defeat in an 89–87 loss to No. 15 the Oregon Ducks in the conference opener. Neither UCLA nor Oregon leads the conference, that would be No. 17 the Arizona Wildcats.
The No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats are one of the NCAA basketball betting favorites that have lived up to expectations so far, leading the SEC conference with a 12-2 (2-0) record under the guidance of head coach John Calipari. You might have heard of him.
March Madness betting favorites, the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks are second in the conference standings behind the startup No. 2 Baylor Bears. Kansas has a 13-1 record (2-0 in Big 12 play) while the Bears are undefeated with a 13-0 record (1-0 in conference play).
The No. 1 Villanova Wildcats also follow the example of their Kentucky namesakes, leading the conference with an undefeated 14-0 record (2-0 in Big East play).
The No. 25 Indiana Hoosiers are the biggest disappointment on this list yet, ranking not only last in the AP Poll but also coming at the bottom of the Big Ten with a 10-5 (0-2 in conference play) record. Meanwhile, No. 13 the Wisconsin Badgers lead the conference with a 13-2 (2-0 in Big Ten play) record.
In more modest environs, the No. 5 Gonzaga Bulldogs follows the lead of NCAA basketball betting powerhouses Kentucky and Villanova, leading their conference with a 14-0 (2-0 in West Coast play) record.
This is only a small sample of what March Madness betting might look like in a couple of months from now, taking into account only the biggest and most popular conferences. Of course, many things can and will happen in those couple of months, so nothing is really set in stone. Moreover, failing to win the conference championship does not automatically mean being shunned from the NCAA tournament. Remember that the remaining 36 participants will be chosen by a NCAA committee on Selection Sunday.