The storied basketball program at the University of Indiana hasn't won a national championship since the 1986-1987 season - Bobby Knight's final title - but if the preseason No. 1 Hoosiers were to cut down the nets in April at the Georgia Dome, it will be a big loss for the book.
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The Hoosiers opened the season atop the Associated Press poll for the first time since the 1979-80 season, way before there was even a 3-point line. That season didn't go to well, with IU winning just one NCAA Tournament game before Isiah Thomas and Co. Last year, Indiana finished 27-9 and returned to the Big Dance for the first time in four seasons. The Hoosiers reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002. All five starters are back from that team, led by preseason National Player of the Year and All-American center Cody Zeller. In addition, Coach Tom Crean, who had to clean up the mess left by former coach Kelvin Sampson, welcomes one of the country's top recruiting classes.
Indiana is 7/1 at Bovada to win the national championship and the book is more exposed there than any other team. The Big Ten has had a title drought in men's basketball as no team from that conference has won it all since Michigan State in 2000.
The Hoosiers aren't the betting favorites at the book - defending champion Kentucky is at 6/1. Coach John Calipari lost nearly every player off his first title team, but he welcomes what is considered the nation's No. 2 recruiting class, led by big man and Anthony Davis clone Nerlens Noel. The book isn't exposed on the young Wildcats.
Louisville, which lost to Kentucky in last year's Final Four, is the 17/2 third-favorite, but the Cardinals winning their first title since 1986 would be a good result for the book. Cards coach Rick Pitino is looking for his first championship since winning with Kentucky in 1996.
The school with the most national championships by far is UCLA with 11. The legendary John Wooden is responsible for 10 of those. The Bruins haven't won a championship since 1995, and they missed out on the NCAA Tournament a season ago. But UCLA is a 12/1 fourth-favorite this season because embattled Coach Ben Howland welcomes the nation's top recruiting class to Westwood. Luring that group probably saved Howland's job.
The book is exposed on UCLA as well as another Pac-12 team: Arizona at 15/1. No Pac-12 (formerly Pac-10) club has won it all since the Wildcats in 1997. Arizona reached the Elite Eight in 2010-11 but missed the NCAA Tournament last season. Coach Sean Miller brings in what is regarded as Top-5 recruiting class as well.
North Carolina was the preseason No. 1 last year and the overwhelming odds-on favorite to win the national championship, but the Heels lost to Kansas in the Elite Eight. Coach Roy Williams lost a ton of talent off that team, with Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and Tyler Zeller all being chosen in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft. UNC is 14/1 to win it this year and that would be a solid result for the book.
Kansas was the team that beat North Carolina in the 2012 regional final, and the Jayhawks would fall to Kentucky in the championship game. Coach Bill Self lost his two best players off that club, Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. The Jayhawks are 20/1 to win it all for the second time in five seasons and the book is exposed there.
The "mid-major" with the shortest odds is UNLV at 30/1. But the non-BCS conference team on which the book is most exposed is San Diego State at 50/1. The Aztecs, a Mountain West team like UNLV, open with a big game Friday against Syracuse (20/1).
Among the very long shots on the board, the book is most exposed on Southern Cal at 125/1. The Trojans, who were 6-26 overall in 2011-12 and last in the Pac-12, have never won a championship and last reached the Final Four in 1961.
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