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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 19, 2018

Vegas establishes Duke as 2019 favorite

By Reuters | Apr 03, 2018

With another stellar recruiting class set to arrive in Durham, N.C., Duke is the early favorite to win the 2019 NCAA basketball championship, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers.

Even before Villanova wrapped up its second national title in three years with a 79-62 rout of Michigan on Monday, Las Vegas turned its attention to next year’s NCAA Tournament.

In odds released Monday by Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the Blue Devils are on top at 5-1.

Next on the list are Villanova, Kansas and Kentucky, all at 8-1. North Carolina is next at 12-1, followed by Michigan State, Virginia and Gonzaga, all at 15-1.

Michigan and Oregon are next at 20-1, with Auburn, West Virginia and UCLA at 30-1.

In this year’s tournament, Duke lost in the most competitive of the Elite Eight games, falling in overtime to Kansas.

While freshmen Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr. and Trevon Duval are all expected to leave the Blue Devils for the NBA, joining with senior mainstay Grayson Allen, Duke is bringing in ample replacements.

Montverde (Fla.) Academy forward R.J. Barrett, Spartanburg (S.C.) Day School forward Zion Williamson and Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.) guard Cam Reddish, the consensus top three prep players in the country, are all headed to play for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

The Blue Devils’ incoming class also includes Apple Valley (Minn.) guard Tre Jones, regarded as one of the nation’s top 15 prospects.

This year’s Final Four surprise, Loyola-Chicago, is a 500-1 shot to capture next year’s championship.

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