Villanova among favorites for another national championship
Villanova has hoisted two of the last three national title trophies as college basketball's best team. Will the Wildcats achieve the feat again as a top contender in 2018-19?
According to oddsmakers, Villanova has 8-1 odds to win the national championship next year. Only Duke has better odds at 6-1. Other programs with strong odds are Kentucky and Kansas both at 10/1, while North Carolina sits at 15/1. A full list of odds can be found at our College Basketball Futures Page.
Wildcats replacing four starters
Villanova has as strong of a reputation as any college basketball team these days, which tends to happen when you win two out of three national titles. It is reflected in the Wildcats' odds to win next year's ultimate crown. But Villanova does not head into the 2018-19 campaign without uncertainty as it will be replacing four starters from the squad that trounced Michigan 79-62 in the national title game. The biggest star in the national title game, guard Donte DiVincenzo, is likely to remain in the NBA Draft. The same goes for teammate Omari Spellman. That is coupled with the graduations of Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. The returns of Eric Paschall and Phil Booth will help, while the Wildcats will also welcome in a recruiting class that is ranked in the top 15. The most exciting incoming recruit is five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly. Long-time head coach Jay Wright should be able to mold in incoming class into valuable contributors in the blink of an eye, but whether the quality is there for another national title run remains to be seen.
Early exits a forgotten memory
The NCAA Tournament was unkind to Villanova for years as high seeds more often than not led to a quick departure against a lower seed. But that feels like the distant past these days as the Wildcats have two trophies to show for the last three NCAA Tournaments. But that doesn't mean Villanoa is upset-proof, especially with so much roster turnover heading into the upcoming season. This could be another year to pencil in someone to pull off a big upset against Villanova. Especially with a style of play that emphasizes taking so many 3-pointers, any poor performance from the perimeter in the postseason could spell the end.
I feel like the odds for Villanova are a bit too high. It seems it should be closer to the 10/1 range that Kansas and Kentucky are currently in. Make no mistake, the Wildcats should still be among the best teams in college basketball. But with the makeup of this roster and all the top contributors they lost, there might be a little too much ground to make up to be the best team in the country by the end of next season.