The month of November isn’t a tell all for which college basketball programs will fulfill expectations or otherwise underachieve. It is a month that is rarely short of surprises. There were, however, a handful of givens that became evident this past month. And as we approach the holiday season and eventually conference play it is a good time to review big December events and the Odds to Win 2018 College Basketball Championship (Dec 6).
Heading into the 2017-18 campaign the Arizona Wildcats were the second ranked team in the preseason coaches’ poll. It isn’t a secret that the Wildcats have been performed in a pedestrian manner at best. Arizona was recently the favorites to win the championship at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. Arizona exited the island going a perfect 0-3 in the Bahamas.
Conversely there was a good feeling among most college basketball pundits that Michigan State was the best team in what was expected to be a down year for the Big 10. Consequently what we found out was that the Spartans are playing at an elite status. Coach Tom Izzo’s troupe is 8-1 after nine games with wins over North Carolina and Notre Dame. Their only loss was at the Champions Tournament to No #1 ranked Duke.
What we don’t know yet is whether John Calipari’s Kentucky squad is once again the best of the SEC. Texas A&M had a solid first month of the season and will compete for an SEC title. The Gators came within seconds of toppling the Blue Devils from the top of the coaches perch but followed the strong performance losing in an ugly fashion at home to intrastate rival Florida State.
There are a number of December games between ranked schools that will have an impact on the seedings in March.
Saturday, December 16
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis)
Butler and Purdue both won their way to the Sweet 16 a season ago. Can Purdue work their way back to national relevance without first-Team All-American Caleb Swanigan?
Saturday, December 23
Location: Smoothie King Center (New Orleans)
UCLA and Kentucky matchup for the second straight year. Last season’s contest at Rupp Arena was a classic with the Bruins handing the Wildcats a 97-92 loss on their home floor.
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Odds to Win 2018 College Basketball Championship (Dec 6)