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Conference Hoops Update

NCAA Conference Futures Odds Re-Posted at Bovada

Major conference play in college basketball is right around the corner, and Bovada has thus re-posted odds to win each of the BCS conferences.

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In the ACC, NC State was the choice of the league’s coaches and media to win its first conference title since Jim Valvano was on the Wolfpack bench. NC State hasn’t been bad thus far at 8-2 entering Saturday’s game against St. Bonaventure, but it also has yet to score a signature win. Thus the Wolfpack are 11/4 second-favorites to win the ACC.

The even-money favorite is Duke, the nation’s No. 1 team. The unbeaten Blue Devils were supposed to be very good this year but have surpassed expectations, beating No. 3 Kentucky, No. 2 Louisville and No. 4 Ohio State – three of the four Final Four teams from last season – already this year. Suddenly Duke’s schedule looks manageable for a decent run without a loss as only two teams are currently ranked on that schedule: NC State and North Carolina. The Heels are 9/2 third-favorites to win the ACC and then there is a significant drop off. UNC has looked like the young team it is at times this year, getting routed by both Butler and Indiana.

Kansas has owned the Big 12 for years and the Jayhawks are even money to win yet another conference title. The No. 9 Jayhawks have pretty much dominated their competition behind center Jeff Withey and superstar freshman Ben McLemore. KU’s only loss was 67-64 in a neutral site to ranked Michigan State in a game that could have gone either way. Kansas faces Ohio State in a big game Saturday and the book will have Live Betting. Baylor and Texas are 5/1 second-favorites to win the Big 12. Both have disappointed so far. The Longhorns are still awaiting the NCAA to rule on the eligibility of star guard Myck Kabongo as the team has been left in limbo all season. The only other ranked team in the Big 12 is Oklahoma State and it is 10/1 to win the conference.

This likely will be the final season of the Big East as we know it, with Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Notre Dame (all to ACC) and Rutgers (to Big Ten) already with exit plans; and the “Catholic 7” basketball-only schools – DePaul, St. John's, Seton Hall, Marquette, Villanova, Providence and Georgetown – also bolting at some point and forming their own conference. Louisville is the 13/4 favorite to win the Big East. The Cardinals already have beaten a good Missouri team and only lost to Duke. Louisville didn’t have star injured center Gorgui Dieng in that close loss and he’s one of the nation’s best defensive players. Syracuse (5/2) and Pitt (13/4) round out the favorites in the Big East.

There can be no argument that the Big Ten is the nation’s best basketball conference this year (after being lousy in football). Six conference teams are ranked, with Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois all in the top 10. The Hoosiers fell from their perch at No. 1 after last weekend’s loss to Butler but remain the national title favorites at 5/1 and Big Ten favorites at 5/4. Michigan (3/1 to win Big Ten) has looked very impressive, and it’s clearly the best Wolverines club since the Fab Five left. U-M already has beaten good teams Pittsburgh, NC State and Kansas State.

While the Big Ten is very deep, the Pac-12 is the opposite. Right now it looks like Arizona in a runaway and the Cats are even-money favorites. They are the only ranked team in the conference and already have a terrific win over No. 5 Florida. UCLA was a preseason national title favorite but has looked overrated thus far as all the team’s highly-touted freshmen adjust to the college game. The Bruins are now 30/1 to win the national title and 3/1 to win Pac-12.

Last but not least, the SEC. Defending National Champion Kentucky was the book’s preseason National Championship favorite, but John Calipari’s freshmen also have had growing pains. It’s also not wise to bet against Coach Cal having that team in top form in March. Kentucky is now 12/1 to win it all and remains the 7/4 favorite to win the SEC. Florida, which has looked much better than Kentucky thus far, is the 2/1 second-favorite in the SEC. Yet the Gators are ahead of UK at 10/1 to cut down the nets next April.

Storming the Court: the time is now. Get in on daily live college ball action at Bovada as teams step up to try to dominate the floor. Raise Your Game.

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