Uneven competition, even odds

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Matt’s Take:

Welcome to March Madness.

This is the time of year we all love, right?

The NCAA tournament is upon us! It’s time to spend days arguing who was snubbed and who will be this year’s Davidson, Butler, or Weber State.

It’s only a matter of time before the top seeds start falling like dominoes. It happens every year, so don’t be surprised.

Given that we all know Kentucky is going to win the National Championship, let’s not even concern ourselves with that debate.

Takes the fun out of it, right?

When a team finishes the season 34-0, there’s no doubt they are dominant. There’s no doubt teams like Notre Dame, Maryland or Butler can knock of the giant Wildcats.

Kentucky basketball is the epitome of everything wrong with college hoops, but that’s an argument for a later point in time.

Based on a data chart I stumbled across at, the Wildcats have a 41 percent chance of winning it all. The next highest percentage was Villanova with 11 percent.

Pretty sad, huh?

Villanova and Duke are the only real threats to the Kentucky machine. But, like I said earlier, it’s not going to happen so go ahead and cheer when you have successfully filled out your “winning” bracket on your site of choice.

I’m no odds maker, but I’d say it’s probably wise to keep your water cooler bets to a minimum this year, unless you just want to hand your money over. It’s no fun making a friendly wager on a guaranteed winner.

Andrew’s Take:

John Calipari has ruined college basketball.

You already knew that, though. Now I want to tell you “how.”

Sixty-eight teams are competing for the college basketball national championship, and one of them has “even” odds. That’s insane.

So if you bet on the “surest” pick, and they win, you make nothing.

We’re talking about money here, the stuff that Las Vegas wants from you. But the Kentucky Wildcats are so good, the casinos are basically telling you to keep your dough.

This is kind of dominance is terrible for any sport, especially one that is so popular in the gambling world. It’s unspoken, but everyone knows: Every major American sport pays close attention to the lines.

I filled out a bracket. I chose Kentucky. If you’re in a pool, and if you have any respect for yourself, you will do the same.

I’m not saying you have to like it. Picking Kentucky, this season, is like paying your taxes. Maybe you could just make a depressing evening of all of it? Fill out your bracket, and do your taxes.

Let’s say you’re crazy, and you want to try to make money off of March Madness, here’s what you need to do.

Pick Duke.

I know, that doesn’t feel much better than picking Kentucky, but it’s the only way.

The next three teams with the best chances are Arizona at 15/2, Wisconsin at 17/2 and Duke at 9/1.

If you’re going to bet against Kentucky, you have to expect that they’ll lose in the national championship. Arizona and Wisconsin are playing on the same side of the bracket as Kentucky, so they’re eliminated.

That leaves the Dukies.

Maybe this is the season we needed, to finally advertise the problem with the “one-and-done” format in college basketball.

By coaching THE one-and-done school, Calipari will never have a year-after-year dynasty. But you could put your money on a national championship ever three or four years. No other team has such odds.

If we want college basketball to become more exciting, the players will have to stay longer.