It has been a roller coaster season for the defending national champion Duke Blue Devils.
The club opened the current college basketball campaign trailing only the Kentucky Wildcats on the March Madness odds, pegged at a strong 17/2 in national championship betting at sportsbooks available through BettingSports.com
But after stumbling into ACC conference play with just four wins in their first eight contests, the Blue Devils saw their odds tumble to 16/1, and briefly drop out of the AP Top 25 rankings.
The Blue Devils have since righted the ship, winning six of their next eight contests, including a thrilling 74-73 Rivalry Week victory over North Carolina as 8.5-point road underdogs, to remain in striking distance of the Tar Heels atop the ACC standings, while rising to No. 15 in the national rankings.
Duke’s rebound has done little for their March Madness odds, however, which remain stalled at 16/1. The same can be said of those filling in their brackets about the devils, they wont be the most popular, last year’s bracket watch was a different story but the picks won’t be there this year.
The squad is currently projected by bracketologists to be the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region, which also includes the two current favorites in national championship betting at the sportsbooks, the Michigan State Spartans and the Kansas Jayhawks, who wrap up the month deadlocked at 7/1.
The Spartans kicked off their season at 20/1 in college basketball futures betting at sportsbooks available through BettingSports.com, before rocketing to the top of the odds by Christmas on the strength a red-hot 13-0 start.
The bubble soon burst for MSU posting straight up losses to Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nebraska, dropping them off the pace at the sportsbooks, and out of the Top 10 in the national rankings.
The Spartans have also turned things around late in the season, winning seven of eight since their January swoon, but will be hard pressed to make up lost ground in the Big Ten standings, where they continue to trail the first-place Indiana Hoosiers.
The Jayhawks roared out of the gate, winning 14 of their 15 outings, with their sole loss coming to the Spartans in the first week of the season.
Like Michigan State, Kansas struggled in January, losing three of five to Big 12 opponents, but managed to maintain their position as favorites.
Kansas has been coolly efficient since rebounding from that January rough patch, posting important wins over Kentucky, West Virginia, and Oklahoma, and would need to suffer a stunning collapse to not earn a No. 1 seed at the Big Dance.
The Blue Devils have dominated Michigan State in recent meetings, claiming victory in each of their past five, including a 71-61 win as 2-point chalk in the Sweet Sixteen, back in 2011.
The squad has produced mixed results against the Jayhawks, splitting a pair of regular season matchups in 2011 and 2013, after dropping a 69-65 decision to Kansas as 4-point underdogs in the 2003 Sweet Sixteen.