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The 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball championship bracket was announced on Sunday evening, and like usual, there were certainly some surprises. In a season that has been viewed as more wide open than in years past, the number of teams believed to have a legitimate shot at winning the national championship is not a short list.
Let’s start right at the top with the No.1 seeds, where all four are top-five favorites to win the title on betting odds formed at Bovada Sportsbook.
The Louisville Cardinals captured the No.1 overall seed in the tournament, and will be the top seed in the Midwest bracket. The Cardinals won the Big East conference tournament over the weekend to solidify their position. Louisville leads the field in the first release of the 2013 NCAA Basketball championship betting odds, set at 19/4 as found at Bovada Sportsbook.
In the East Region, it’s the Indiana Hoosiers who are the No.1 seed. This was certainly to be expected, as Indiana held the No.1 ranking in the country for more weeks than any team this season. But the fact that the Hoosiers dropped to Wisconsin in the Big Ten conference semifinals did appear to open the door for other teams to perhaps get a top seed, such as the Miami Hurricanes, who won the ACC conference. But the selection committee obviously took a step back and put weight on Indiana winning the regular season title in the toughest conference in the country this season. Indiana was the preseason favorite to win it all, and have slipped one spot to second, installed at 5/1, just behind the Cardinals.
Continuing with the No.1 seeds in the bracket, in the South Region, it’s the Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks were a bit of a surprise this season, and came on very strong late in the year, spearheading the charge to a top seed. Kansas is a 10/1 favorite to cut down the nets in Atlanta.
Finally we get to our fourth No.1 seed. And this one coming into the season was certainly not expected. The Gonzaga Bulldogs are no stranger to the tournament, but a No.1 seed is something that they have never done in school history. This follows the school’s first No.1 ranking in history a couple of weeks ago. The Zags have certainly warranted a No.1 seed, and appear to be a legitimate national title contender, at least according to the betting odds, giving them at 10/1 shot. Gonzaga is the top seed in the West Region, which is fill with plenty of talents spanning both the Big Ten and Big 12.
So there you have it, the four No.1 seeds for the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball championship.
But it certainly doesn’t stop there, and there is actually a No.3 seed in the tournament that comes in as a top-three favorite to win the championship, ahead of both the Jayhawks and the Zags.
The Florida Gators have been set at 7/1 to win the national championship this season. The Gators are the No.3 seed in the South Region, behind No.1 Kansas and No.2 Georgetown. The Gators won the SEC regular season title, but dropped in the SEC final to Ole Miss. Oddsmakers believe that the Gators have what it takes to make a run though, judging by the fact that they are above two No.1 seeds, and all four No.2 seeds.
With the tournament perceived to be very wide open, there are some really good teams that were certainly worthy of a No.1 seed in the tournament. Florida could almost fall in that category, if they had won the SEC tournament.
We mentioned the Hurricanes, who won both the ACC regular season, and the ACC tournament. It’s the first time that a team has done that in the ACC and not gone on to receive a No.1 seed. Of course, the only teams to do that were Duke and North Carolina.
Miami didn’t fall far though, grabbing the No.2 seed in the East Region, with a potential matchup in the Elite 8 with Indiana. The Hurricanes have been a very compelling team to watch this season, and are certainly capable of making a run to Atlanta. At 14/1, it’s a solid payout for a team that has shown the ability to win big games.
Speaking of Duke, the Blue Devils lost their shot at a No.1 seed when they went down to Maryland in the ACC tournament. Had Duke won the tournament, they might have slid into a top spot. The Blue Devils find themselves as the No.2 seed in the Midwest Division, where they could meet Louisville. The fact that they could face the Cardinals likely hurt their overall odds, with Duke set back at 12/1, which is just outside of the top-five.
The Big Ten conference was the toughest in college basketball this season, and several teams were rewarded for that. We saw that Indiana earned a No.1 seed. In addition to that, Ohio State (16/1) grabbed the No.2 seed in the West Region. Michigan (22/1), who is led by player of the year candidate Trey Burke, is a No.4 seed in the South Region. And then there are the Michigan State Spartans (18/1), who earned the No.3 seed in the Midwest Region, which could be home to the best No.1, No.2, and No.3 seed combination of the entire tournament with Louisville, Duke, and Michigan State, respectively.
Noticeably absent from the 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament field are the defending national champions.
The Kentucky Wildcats were snubbed by the NCAA Selection Committee this season, so there will certainly be a new national championship this year. The Wildcats simply couldn’t overcome a bad start, and bad losses in the end, despite a win over Florida late in the year.
The 68-team field will tip off on Tuesday, March 19, with two play-in games followed by two more the following night. The 64-team bracket will get going on Thursday, March 21.
Complete betting odds to win the NCAA Tournament can be seen below, as available at Bovada. Learn more about how to bet on all the different odds for the 2013 NCAA Tournament that you will see offered, click here.