3 Favorites and 3 Dark Horses to win 2024 NCAA Tournament

The month of February in College Basketball is a fun month, as the anticipation continues to rise for the NCAA Tournament. This is a wide-open field in 2024, and anything can happen when the games start. A season ago, we saw a top seed get beat in the first round. What will be the storyline this season?

As the month moves along, the March Madness odds for who is going to win the Big Dance will change as the teams get better or worse. It’s time to take a close look at three favorites to win it all, and three dark horses as you start to think about your brackets and NCAA tournament picks:

1.  Purdue Boilermakers +700

The last time one of the top seeds in the tournament lost in the first round, the very next year they turned around and won the whole tournament. That is what the Boilermakers are going to try to do. It was Virginia last time. Zach Edey looks like the national player of the year in College Basketball. The big man is nearly impossible to stop in the paint. But, can the guard play of the Boilermakers contribute enough to cut down the nets in April?

2.  Connecticut Huskies +700

Coach Hurley and the Huskies were dominant in the postseason a year ago. They have been pretty close to that this season. With just two losses on the season, the Huskies are winning by an average of 16 points per game. Tristen Newton and Alex Karaben are both dominating their positions, and the Huskies do not appear to have any major flaws in their game. It’s tough to maneuver through a tournament once, but doing it twice in a row would be impressive for the Huskies.

3.  Houston Cougars +950

Kelvin Sampson has his Cougars as the best defensive team in College Basketball. But, can they score enough when push comes to shove down the stretch of the big dance? That’s the biggest question mark for this team, especially when considering the evolving landscape of college basketball lines. The Cougars hold a lead in the most competitive conference in the country but are going to get a ton of challenges as February and March roll through.

Dark Horses

1.  Duke Blue Devils +2800

Duke recently lost to North Carolina but was competitive on the road. It seems that a program that typically gets a ton of attention has gone a little under the radar this season. This is a talented group, with the ability to shoot the basketball, and also get to the hoop. The Blue Devils continue to get better on the defensive end, which will pay dividends when the postseason arrives.

2.  Marquette Golden Eagles +3000

Shaka Smart has his Golden Eagles flying under the radar a little bit, in the same conference with the UConn Huskies. The Golden Eagles are scoring just shy of 79 points per game, but like to play fast. Tyler Kolker is having a monster season as the leader of the pack for Marquette. Their guard play can match up with nearly any team in the country. If they get production in the paint, look out!

3.  Iowa State Cyclones +3500

The Cyclones have started to hit their stride a bit with four wins in their last five games. The Cyclones are a great defensive team, holding teams to 62.3 points per game. The defense will win games in the big dance. Can they hit the big shots? Guys like Keshon Gilbert and Tamin Lipsey are going to get their opportunities. They will certainly be battle-tested out of the Big 12.

Final words

There is a look at three of the biggest favorites to win the NCAA Tournament, and also three dark ones that we like as the tournament approaches. Of course, the college basketball lines will change, and teams with their performances will change. It is going to make filling out an NCAA Tournament bracket really difficult this year. But, it’s the best time of the year. Enjoy the rest of the regular season and good luck as you prepare to bet on March Madness.


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