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Michigan State is Loaded Heading into 2019-20

Previewing the Top 4 Teams to Win the 2019-20 National Championship

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The 2019-20 NCAAB season is still months away, but it’s never too early to start looking at the futures market for National Championship odds. This article will look at the four teams that have odds to win the 2020 National Championship shorter than +1000 and breakdown which of them are viable options at this point in the year.

Kentucky (+700) 

2018 Record: 30-7
2018 NCAA Tournament: Lost in Elite 8 
Key Returning Players: Aston Hagans, Immanuel Quickly, EJ Montgomery
Impact Recruits: Khalil Whitney (No. 2 SF), Tyrese Maxey (No. 3 SG)

Kentucky is the odds on favorite to win the 2019-20 National Championship. While they lost key players from last year’s team including lottery picks PJ Washington and Tyler Herro, as well as key senior Reid Travis, they will return experienced players such as Aston Hagans, Immanuel Quickly, and EJ Montgomery.

Kentucky also has two of the most talented freshmen from the 2019 recruiting class coming in. Khalil Whitney will likely be a one-and-done prospect that has a shot at being the #1 overall pick in the NBA draft if he has a good season. Shooting guard Tyrese Maxey will likely also play significant minutes for Kentucky and will help fill the void left by the departure of Herro and Keldon Johnson. Kentucky will undoubtedly be one of the most talented teams in the country in 2019-20 and should cruise in the SEC with Tennessee having to replace most of its key players from last season. With that being said, they are being overvalued at +700, likely due to the Kentucky name rather than the actual depth of their roster.

Michigan State (+750)

2018 Record: 32-7 
2018 NCAA Tournament: Lost in Final Four 
Key Returning Players: Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford, Nick Ward, Xavier Tillman, Aaron Henry
Impact Recruits: Rocket Watts Jr. (No. 6 PG), Malik Hall (No. 12 SF)

Michigan State made a run to the Final Four in 2018, and they come into 2019 with the most loaded roster of players in the entire country. Top scorer Cassius Winston returns for his senior season, and they will get back Joshua Langford, who was injured for the majority of his freshman season. Langford will likely be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA draft and could be one of the best players in the entire country this upcoming season.

They will be joined by a vast array of other experienced players in Nick Ward, Xavier Tillman and Aaron Henry -- all of whom played over 20 minutes per game last season. MSU will also have added depth, with standout freshmen that include PG Rocket Watts Jr. and SF Malik Hall, who should both see playing time early on. At +750, Michigan State are my favorite early bet to win the National Championship, and they should coast through the Big Ten with ease.

Virginia (+750)

2018 Record: 35-3 
2018 NCAA Tournament: Won the National Championship
Key Returning Players: Mamadi Diakite, Braxton Key, Kihei Clark 
Impact Recruits: Casey Morsell (No. 9 SG)

Virginia will be the defending National Champions coming into this season, but head coach Tony Bennett will have a tough job on his hands in 2019. UVA will have to replace two first round picks in De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jermone, as well as 2nd round pick and leading scorer Kyle Guy.

Virginia will return Mamadi Kiakite, Braxton Key, and Kihei Clark -- all of whom played over 19 minutes per game last season. This is a program that excels are taking unpolished players out of high school and developing them into great players, but it’s hard to tell where they will replace the production of their departed stars. They are bringing in SG Casey Morsell, who was the 9th ranked SG prospect in the country. However, Tony Bennett isn’t known to play freshmen right out of the gate, so it’s unclear how much playing time he will receive. You have to think that Virginia will be solid again in 2019-20, but I can’t recommend betting on them to repeat as champions at +750 given all of the question marks that they face.

Duke (+800) 

2018 Record: 32-6
2018 NCAA Tournament: Lost in Elite 8 
Key Returning Players: Tre Jones, Jack White, Marques Bolden 
Impact Recruits: Vernon Casey Jr. (No. 1 Center), Matthew Hurt (No. 2 PF), Wendell Moore (No. 3 SF), Cassius Stanley (No. 6 SG) 

Duke will have to replace a departing class that featured three top-10 picks from the 2019 NBA draft in Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish. With that being said, Duke’s incoming freshmen class is absolutely stacked. Vernon Casey Jr. is going to be an absolute beast on the inside, and the combination of Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore will give Duke one of the best frontcourt trios in the country.

Tre Jones, Jack White, and Marques Bolden also give Duke much needed veteran leadership, and they should benefit from ACC foes Virginia and Florida State having to rebuild their rosters following significant departures. North Carolina is likely to be their biggest competition in the conference. At +800 Duke is providing value in the futures market, and along with Michigan State, are the most viable options among the teams with odds shorter than +1400 at this point in the year.

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