It’s easy to get skip all the bracketology this year and just pencil in either Duke, Ohio State, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Syracuse to win and call it a day. Lee Corso would tell you “not so fast my friend”. If you pull up the current AP Top 25, you will see all of the teams that I listed above one after another at the top, with the Missouri Tigers stuck right in the middle. They have been getting rough and rowdy all year in the Big 12 with huge wins over Kansas, Baylor twice, Texas twice, and non-conference ranked opponent Notre Dame. Last year, the Tigers showed flashes of great play sporadically between monkey stomps from major ranked teams. It’s easy to get bearish on them right now after losing to Kansas State for the second time this season, at home, no less. Despite their loss to the Wildcats, a number 1 seed can be in order as long as they can survive the Rock Chalk chants on February 25th at Kansas. And the negative perception of the Tigers right now just might make them a good value bet.
It always happens this way and I preach to not avoid teams just based on mood swings. Led by Marcus Denmon, Mizzou has just been flat out fun to watch. Every starter but the point guard (9.9 ppg) averages in double figures in scoring per game, with hammer time dunks on fast breaks. Their only real problem is the Tigers are small. Four of the five starters are guards.
Ricardo Radcliffe is the lone big man pulling down a majority of rebounds, but is more of a forward than a true center. This won’t hurt if they play a team like Syracuse, who has been struggling to have a big inside presence on rebounding. A team like Ohio State, however, can really cause an issue on defense. With the March slowly approaching, Bovada is giving Mizzou 10/1 odds to be the last team dancing. They are still behind the typical favorites, but the odds still have time to improve with a big game against Kansas. It’s not exactly a VCU cinderella story, but to play this good for this long and stay at the top is a pretty cool story. On a side note, Bovada has given Shaka Smart’s Rams 150/1 odds to win the NCAA Tournament. So there’s that.
Top 12 Odds To Win The Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament