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Karaban’s Return Boosts UConn’s NCAAB Odds for 3-Peat

The two-time defending champion UConn Huskies continue to pile up the victories – even in May.

Alex Karaban, the third-leading scorer for the Huskies last season, was among 93 players to withdraw from the NBA Draft. That decision generated plenty of college basketball news. Alabama also got great news as leading scorer Mark Sears and talented sophomore Jarin Stevenson opted to return to play for the Crimson Tide.

Karaban's Return Boosts UConn's NCAAB Odds for 3-Peat
Alex Karaban - Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Arizona’s Caleb Love is another prominent player heading back to college, as is Wake Forest’s Hunter Sallis.

Coleman Hawkins, one of three double-digit scorers for Illinois, is also withdrawing from the draft. That isn’t going to help the Fighting Illini as he is expected to play elsewhere in the 2024-25 college basketball season.

UConn has been trending in the right direction after lagging behind some other perennial powerhouses in the 2024-25 championship odds. UConn and Kansas lead the way in the college basketball outrights followed by Duke, Alabama, Houston and North Carolina.

There are still some high-profile transfers yet to find their new schools so the odds could continue to shift before the season gets going in November.


Karaban Back as UConn Eyes 3-Peat

UConn has some holes to fill but that was also the case at this time last year.

Center Donovan Clingan, All-American point guard Tristen Newtonand freshman Stephon Castle are gone for the Huskies as they try to become the first program since John Wooden’s UCLA teams in the 1970s to win three straight national titles.

Time for a little college basketball history lesson.

In 1993, two-time defending champion Duke fell to California 82-77 in the second round of the Midwest Regional.

In 2008, Florida failed to earn a spot in the March Madness bracket. The Gators had plenty of newcomers on a team that reached the NIT semifinals after capturing the previous two national titles.

UConn has worked the transfer portal well, going for quality over quantity with Tristen Newton, Cam Spencer and Hassan Diarra combining for 40 points in the 2024 national title game. Aidan Mahaney, the leading scorer at Saint Mary’s, and Michigan leading rebounder Tarris Reed are the latest players to transfer to play for Dan Hurley and the Huskies.

UConn is now at +1000 in the odds of winning the 2024-25 national title after the news of Karaban’s return to Storrs.



UNC, Duke Again Headline the ACC

Duke and North Carolina are the favorites in the ACC? Wow, who could have seen that coming?

Duke will miss Kyle Filipowski as he passed on his final two seasons with the Blue Devils to turn pro. The Blue Devils have the nation’s best incoming recruiting class. Cooper Flagg and Khaman Maluach rank first and third in the 247sports.com list of the top recruits in the Class of 2024.

Five of the top six scorers for Duke during the 2023-24 season were either freshmen or sophomores so the future as well as the present is bright in Durham. Duke is +1100 in the odds to win the national title according to the sportsbook odds.

North Carolina will look much different after having two fifth-year seniors and a fourth-year senior among the top four scorers, but the Tar Heels still come in at +1400 in the odds to win the national championship.


Kansas Jayhawks Ready to Rebound?

Kansas came up big in the transfer portal once again with former Wisconsin star AJ Storr (not sure how he didn’t land in Storrs to play at UConn) to team with another Big Ten to Big 12 transfer – former Michigan star Hunter Dickinson.

The Jayhawks finished tied for fifth in the Big 12 standings and fell in their Big 12 tournament opener playing without Dickinson and Kevin McCullar.

Dickinson returned for the NCAA Tournament but McCullar did not and Kansas was blown out by Gonzaga in the second round of the March Madness bracket.

The Jayhawks could be pushed by Houston in the Big 12. Kansas is priced at +1000 and Houston isn’t far behind at +1400 in the NCAAB predictions.


Kentucky Wildcats Jumping Ship

Kentucky got some good news when former BYU guard Jaxson Robinson withdrew from the NBA Draft and decided to transfer to Kentucky.

It has been an interesting offseason at Kentucky to say the least. Longtime head coach John Calipari landed at Arkansas and he didn’t arrive empty-handed.

DJ Wagner, Adou Thiero and Zvonimir Ivisic followed Calipari to Arkansas while Jonas Aidoo joins the Razorbacks after averaging 11.4 points and 7.3 rebounds last season at Tennessee.

Arkansas (+3000) is still behind Kentucky (+2200) in the odds of winning the national title. That might change by the time the season begins.

Alabama is the SEC team with the best championship odds of +1400 as SEC teams will need to contend with the sweet-shooting Sears once again.


What About Teams on the Move?

Conference realignment has brought an end to the Pac-12 conference while the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and the SEC all added teams to their conferences.

Arizona, going from the Pac-12 to the Big 12, is the team with the best championship odds at +1800 even though No. 2 scorer and No. 1 rebounder Oumar Ballo transferred to Indiana.

Texas, on its way to the SEC from the Big 12, comes in at +4000 in the championship odds while UCLA and Southern California, moving from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten, are priced at +5000 and +7000 to win it all. USC won’t have Bronny James back for a second season – the son of future NBA Hall of Famer LeBron James has opted to remain in the NBA Draft.




Who’s Available in the Portal

While 18 of the top 20 transfers have found new homes, Ballo and Kadary Richmond, who went from Seton Hall to St. John’s, are the headliners.

Florida State forward Jamir Watkins and Miami’s Wooga Poplar are the top uncommitted transfers.



The odds in this chart are posted on the time of publication of the article. They are subject to change without previous notice.


Questions of the Day

Which men’s college basketball team has the best ATS record this season?

Stony Brook led all Division I men’s teams with a 25-8-1 record against the spread while Minnesota led the way at 25-9 among teams from the Power-5 conferences.

UConn and Purdue met in the national title game in April. What are the 2024-25 national championship odds for the Huskies and the Boilermakers?

National champion UConn is +1000 in the odds of winning the 2024-25 national title with runner-up Purdue at +3000 in the championship odds.

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