The New Year gives way to conference play in college basketball, where every game counts toward securing the No.1 seed for the end-of-season tournaments. Sportsbook.ag has released its futures odds to snag that coveted regular season conference title for all the major conferences, so today we will take a look at the current odds for the Big East.
The entire make up of this conference will radically change over the next few seasons, but heading into the next two months of games the clear favorite to win the 2012-13 regular season title is the No.4 Louisville Cardinals at even money. The Cardinals have jumped out to a 12-1 start that includes victories over Missouri, Memphis and Kentucky. Russ Smith remains the key to carrying this early success into conference play. He leads the team in scoring with 19.8 points a game while shooting 43.4 percent from the field. Another important piece of the puzzle is Peyton Siva, who is averaging 12 points a game while shooting 44.6 percent from the floor.
The Cardinals biggest competition for the Big East title should come from the No.9 Syracuse Orange at +200. They have just one loss in their first 12 games but have played a relatively soft nonconference schedule with no real quality wins under their belt. If the Orange are going to rise to the top in their final season in the Big East, it will be on the shoulders of James Southerland and Brandon Triche. These two have combined for 27.9 points a game to help Syracuse rank13th in the nation in scoring with an average of 80.8 points a game. Another key will be CJ Fair and DaJuan Coleman’s play under the boards. They are averaging a combined 12.7 rebounds a game on a team that is ranked fourth in the country with 43.8 a game.
There are actually six teams in the Big East with just one loss in nonconference play, but the one to watch in the race for the No.1 seed is the No.24 Pittsburgh Panthers at +250. This is another team that is making its swan song in the conference and would love nothing more than leaving with the regular season title. The Panthers 12-1 start has been fueled by the elevated play of Talib Zanna and Tray Woodall. Zanna leads the team in points (13.2) per game and rebounds (6.3) while Woodall is second on the team in scoring with 11.7 points and first in assists with 5.8 a game. Overall, Pitt is the fourth-best shooting team in the country in hitting 51.8 percent of its shots from the field.
Another team that has solid value in its odds to win the regular season title is the No.15 Georgetown Hoyas at +600. They have just one loss in nonconference play after falling to then-No.1 Indiana 82-72 in overtime on Nov.20. They have posted wins over UCLA, Tennessee and Texas en route to a 10-1 start. The Hoyas are ranked in the bottom-third of Division I in scoring with an average of just 66.6 points a game, but they do know how to play solid defense. In their first 11 games, Georgetown has given up more than 65 points just three times. Otto Porter Jr. is the team’s current leader in points (13.2), rebounds (7.7) and assists (3.2), so as he goes so goes this team.
It is tough to consider No.8 Cincinnati at true longshot at +700, but the Seton Hall Pirates at +2500 would definitely qualify as our pick in this category. The Pirates are off to a surprising 11-2 start. And while the only impressive win so far was over Wake Forest, they remain a potential sleeper team in the Big East this season. Seton Hall has a pair of studs in Fuquan Edwin and Eugene Teague that can keep their team in the game against the best teams in the conference. Edwin leads the team in scoring with 18.2 points a game while pulling down 5.9 rebounds a game. Teague is averaging 12.7 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds a game. Overall, the Pirates posting 73 points a game while shooting a respectable 46.7 percent from the field.
Dave Schwab of Doc’s Sports