Sports

Here’s Who Vegas Thinks Will Challenge Kentucky for the National Title

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The Kentucky Wildcats are the heavy favorites to win the 2015 NCAA tournament; this much we already know. John Calipari’s squad is in the midst of making a run at becoming the first team to finish a season with a perfect record since the Indiana Hoosiers did so in 1976. That being said, history has shown that anything can happen during March Madness.

Historical statistics strongly suggest that Kentucky will lose a game sometime between now and the end of the NCAA tournament. With that, here is a look at the five teams that Vegas thinks has the best chance at challenging the Wildcats for the 2015 national championship.

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5.  Arizona Wildcats

  • 2014-2015 record: 24-3
  • National title odds: 14-1

The Wildcats are strong contenders to come away with one of the four No. 1 seeds in the upcoming NCAA tournament, and they also happen to be one of the most athletic teams in the country. There have been times during the regular season when they have looked very average, but there is no denying that they are one of the few teams in America that have the ability to match up with Kentucky athletically.

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4.  Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • 2014-2015 record: 28-1
  • National title odds: 14-1

Gonzaga, as usual, is taking full advantage of playing in one of the weakest conferences in Division I men’s basketball. The Bulldogs will likely enter the tournament with a No. 1 seed, and this season may be their best opportunity to make a deep tournament run. They have a very experienced and deep roster with an excellent backcourt and dominating size, which makes them an excellent candidate to potentially upset Kentucky late in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

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3.  Virginia Cavaliers

  • 2014-2015 record: 26-1
  • National title odds: 12-1

The Cavaliers are doing an outstanding job this season of proving that their 30-win campaign from a year ago was no fluke. They are athletic, well-balanced, and excellent on the defensive end of the court. On top of that, they are experienced. All of these attributes make them one of the top candidates to keep Kentucky from winning its ninth national title in program history.

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2.  Duke Blue Devils

  • 2014-2015 record: 25-3
  • National title odds: 9-1

Duke, like Kentucky, is loaded with talented freshmen. Jahlil Okafor is the most dominant player in the country, and fellow freshmen Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones have lived up to the hype, as well. What the Blue Devils have that Kentucky is missing is veteran leadership. Quinn Cook, Amile Jefferson, and Marshall Plumlee all have extensive experience. From a pure talent standpoint, the Blue Devils match up better with Kentucky than any other team in the country.

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1.  Wisconsin Badgers

  • 2014-2015 record: 25-3
  • National title odds: 9-1

The Badgers have emerged as the best team in a tough Big Ten conference. Despite a recent upset loss to Maryland, the Badgers remain one of the top contenders for a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Frank Kaminsky is going to cause headaches for every opponent Wisconsin faces in the tournament, Kentucky included, and the Badgers are among the best rebounding teams in the country. On top of that, the Badgers are experienced and talented at every position and tend to slow games down, which could give them a heavy advantage against a team like Kentucky.

All NCAA tournament odds are courtesy of Bovada.net.