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NCAA Basketball Futures Favorites

With the NCAA basketball season less than two weeks away, it’s time to start looking ahead to which teams may end up playing late in March for the NCAA Championship. It’s also time to get your futures bets in and here are a few of the favorites for the 2012-2013 crown.

The Hoosiers are this season's preseason #1

#1 Indiana Hoosiers – 7/1

The Hoosiers are coming into the this season as the almost unanimous number one. This year’s squad is returning four starters from last year’s team that went to the Sweet Sixteen, including star sophomore Cody Zeller. Indiana will certainly have a tough regular season slate, as the stacked Big Ten  has three teams in the top five and five in the top 25. Indiana also has a big non-conference showdown with the North Carolina Tar Heels on Nov. 27, who are ranked 11th coming into the season. If the Hoosiers fare well against these foes, which they should, they will surely grab one of the top seeds for the NCAA tournament and will be well on their way to a title. At 7/1 odds, the Hoosiers have the second best chance of any team to win it all right now, as they are slightly behind Kentucky, who will come up later in this list.

Louisville will bring one of the top defensive squads back for the 2012-2013 campaign

#2 Louisville Cardinals – 17/2

Defensive-minded Louisville comes in at number two in the preseason polls and number three when it comes to championship odds at 17/2. Like Indiana, Louisville is returning many of the players that helped the Cardinals to a 30 win season a year ago, including their second-leading scorer from last year, junior guard Russ Smith. The Cardinals will also have a high degree of difficulty with their schedule, which should boost their seeding come tournament time. Although not many teams in their conference are ranked at the outset, the Big East should play tough as usual. Games against Syracuse, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Memphis highlight the Cardinals’ resume. As far as the longterm future goes, Louisville fans got more good news as coach Rick Pitino signed a contract extension through the 2022 season. Looks like the Red Birds are here to stay atop the college basketball rankings.

#3 Kentucky Wildcats – 6/1

Preseason number three, the Kentucky Wildcats, lost much of the roster that led them to a 2012 National Championship, including first-round NBA draft pick Anthony Davis, but as usual the Wildcats have reloaded with talented freshman and once again, have the top ranked recruiting class this season. That recruited class, much of which is NBA-ready talent, has made the Wildcats the overall favorite to win the 2013 NCAA Championship at 6/1. If the Wildcats have the same type of regular season success they had a year ago, expect them to be a shoo-in for a number one seed in this year’s NCAA tourney. The young freshman will get introduced to big time college basketball right away as they play their second game of the season at home against #8 Duke. Dates with Louisville and #10 Florida highlight the Cats’ non-conference schedule. It’s never a bad idea to bet Kentucky, especially considering many players on their stacked lineup could have gone pro and are instead playing ball in Lexington.



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