2020 March Madness Cinderella Teams

2020 College Basketball National Title Outlook

With the 2019-20 NCAA college basketball season heating up and steamrolling toward its annual March Madness national championship tournament, now is a great time to look at the contenders, pretenders, under the radar championship hopefuls and those handful of teams that you shouldn’t think about backing until next season at the earliest.

College Basketball National Title Outlook

2020 NCAA Basketball Title Odds

  • Gonzaga +750
  • Kansas +800
  • Michigan State +900
  • Baylor +950
  • Louisville +975
  • Duke +950
  • Kentucky +1500
  • San Diego State +1200
  • Oregon +1500
  • Dayton +1500
  • Ohio State +2000
  • Maryland +1800
  • Auburn +2000
  • Florida State +2200
  • Seton Hall +2000
  • Villanova +2400

Top Tier Match Madness Teams

  • Baylor
  • Gonzaga
  • Kansas
  • Michigan State
  • Louisville
  • Duke
  • San Diego State
  • Dayton
  • Florida State

Top-ranked Baylor looks like an extremely legitimate championship favorite, mostly because of their terrific defense which ranks fifth nationally in points allowed (58.0 ppg). The Bears ride an impressive 18-game winning streak into the new week in a season that has seen a record number of team reach No. 1 overall. No. 2 Gonzaga ranks first in the nation in scoring (88.6 ppg) and they have one of the game’s best head coaches in Mark Few, not to mention a whopping six players that all average double figures in scoring. Despite coming up agonizingly short of winning it all the last few years, the Zags will have another great chance come March.

Three-loss Kansas  is ranked third in the nation and the Jayhawks have a solid offense and defense that rank 69th (76.0 ppg) and 16th (61.1 ppg) respectively. Still, Bill Self’s squad lost against Duke in their regular season opener and at dangerous Villanova, but it is their convincing home loss to Baylor that has me questioning whether or not the Jayhawks are really worthy.

Preseason No. 1 Michigan State (No. 14) has lost a whopping six games so far, but the Spartans are usually better the closer it gets to March and they are led by a heady All-American in point guard Cassius Winston. No. 6 Louisville has won eight straight since their convincing 78-65 home loss against No. 5 Florida State. And speaking of the Seminoles, they’re looking great right now after recording road wins at Florida and Louisville. No. 9 Duke (18-3) has won three straight since suffering consecutive home losses against Clemson and Louisville, but the Blue Devils failed to win it all a year ago with three first round draft picks on their roster, so there’s that.

Seventh-ranked Dayton ranks sixth in the nation in scoring (82.1 ppg) and the A-10 leaders an excellent defense at the other end of the floor. However, the Flyers play in a mediocre A-10 conference that just isn’t very daunting. While the Mountain West Conference isn’t exactly known for producing basketball powerhouses, but unbeaten fourth-ranked San Diego State is just that thanks to a stingy defense that ranks fourth nationally in points allowed (57.7 ppg) under longtime Steve Fisher assistant Brian Dutcher, who is largely credited with bringing current NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard to the school.

Always Dangerous

  • Villanova
  • Kentucky
  • Auburn
  • Oregon

Eighth-ranked and now, perennially-powerful Villanova  looks dangerous once again heading down the stretch run of the regular season, even if they don’t looks as dangerous as their recent pair of national championship-winning teams. No. 13 Kentucky has a boatload of raw talent, but the Wildcats look too young – again – to win it all. Currently, 17th-ranked Auburn might have suffered consecutive losses to Alabama and Florida while getting held to a pitiful 47 points against the Gators, but I believe the Tigers are going to bear watching as we get closer to March. Last, but not least, 11th-ranked Oregon (18-5) has a wonderful trio of backcourt performers, but the Ducks are lacking in the frontcourt and that looks like their Achilles heel heading into March.

Under The Radar

  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Indiana
  • Texas
  • Seton Hall

Virginia’s step backwards is understandable after the Cavaliers lost some key starters from last year’s national championship winning squad, but I don’t know what in the name of Dean Smith is going on with North Carolina. Indiana and Texas will both contend, but their respective shortcomings will leave the exit March Madness relatively early. No. 10 Seton Hall has a gaudy national ranking, but losses against Michigan State, Oregon, Rutgers and an awful Iowa State team tell me eh Big East leaders aren’t quite ready for prime time.