Bookmakers Seem to Think the ACC Will Produce the 2019 Champ
Which conference has the best chance to win the 2019 NCAA Men's March Madness Tournament?
Bookmakers like the Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC).
Atlantic 'Championship' Conference?
There are currently three ACC teams residing in the top four odds for winning the event. Those three teams include Duke, Virginia (UVA) and North Carolina (UNC).
The UNC Tar Heels are actually tied for the fourth-best odds with three other schools. Those schools include Kentucky, Michigan State, and Tennessee.
The Duke Blue Devils enter the ACC Tournament with odds at +250 (28.6 percent chance) to win March Madness. Their odds didn't change much after the injury to top player Zion Williamson, as he is returning for both postseason tournaments barring another setback.
Duke is favored ahead of Gonzaga, a team that beat Duke during the Maui Invitational earlier this season. Gonzaga beat a fully healthy Duke team while missing one of their best players in Killian Tillie.
Despite this, bookmakers still feel confident in a Duke Blue Devil team when they are fully healthy (or when Williamson is playing).
Is Duke Fully Healthy?
The status of Duke center Marques Bolden is still unknown, injuring his knee in the Blue Devil's final regular season game against UNC.
Bolden is definitely out for the ACC Tournament, and if he misses any of March Madness then Duke's odds may slip a bit further.
One reason Duke may still be favored to win the NCAA Tournament is that they are responsible for Virginia's only two losses this season.
UVA enters the ACC Tournament with the third-best odds to win March Madness, currently at +600 (14.3 percent chance).
Duke beat UVA two times this year, as the two losses were just two out of the only three UVA has suffered in two seasons (the other was to Maryland-Baltimore County).
The Other ACC Favorites
Virginia will look towards Kyle Guy to produce this postseason, as he enters the ACC Tournament with the chance to win back-to-back MVP awards.
The last player to win back-to-back ACC Tournament MVP awards was J.J. Redick in 2005-'06.
The irony in this year's ACC Tournament is that it is being played in the Spectrum Center, the same venue where both UVA and UNC lost in last year's NCAA Tournament.
Speaking of UNC, they've beaten Duke twice but both games were without Williamson thanks to a shoe explosion.
UNC has beaten Gonzaga this season though, so their legitimacy for a championship run is valid.
This is also the same UNC team that lost in the second round of last year's tournament to Texas A&M.
With both UVA and UNC seeing early exits in last year's NCAA Tournament, it's very possible both teams come in much more focused and dangerous than a season ago.
Other Conferences Favored?
Although the ACC has three teams favored within the top four, the Big Ten has three teams favored within the top 10.
As mentioned earlier, Michigan State is tied with UNC at +1200 odds. Michigan is currently seventh with odds at +1400, while Purdue is tied with Kansas and Nevada for the ninth-best odds at +3000.
Two Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools are favored in the top four, which include Tennessee and Kentucky. Louisiana State (LSU) is not in the top 10 odds, which is surprising despite head coach Will Wade being suspended in recent days.
The Big 12 has two of their schools within the top 10 odds, with Texas Tech having the eighth-best odds at +2000. Texas Tech just won the Big 12 conference, after being picked to finish seventh in the preseason standings.
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