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Pittsburgh Panthers Number One: Tar Heels Favorites to Championship

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Feb/23/2009
Pittsburgh Panthers

The Pittsburgh Panthers are the number one team in the country but it's the North Carolina Tar Heels who are favored to win the NCAA Men's College Basketball Championship by end of March Madness. 

Sportsbook.com has just updated its odds-to-win the men's NCAA title and the Heels remain at the top at 3:1 odds. Pittsburgh is ranked behind them at 4:1 despite just moving up to #1 once again.

Make sure you go through the entire list of teams including the long shots, and place your bet now as this is when the payout will surely be the biggest.

North Carolina continues to be the favored team despite Saturday's 88-84 overtime loss at Maryland. Any team can lose a conference game, especially on the road, but the loss could be a precursor to a Tar Heels problem in the NCAA Tournament.

Against Maryland, UNC got 80 of their 85 total points from their starting five and in their prior two games against NC State and Miami, the bench scored just eight and four points respectively.

The Heels are hoping that the early return of freshman center Tyler Zeller from his wrist injury can give the team a spark off the bench. It's going to be hard for them to win six-straight games in the tournament without more production from the bench, no matter how great their starting five is.

Pittsburgh doesn't get a ton of scoring off their bench either, but it's not as big a disparity as the Heels. The Panthers have a terrific three-headed monster of forward Sam Young, big man DeJaun Blair, point guard Levance Fields and a bunch of unselfish role players who do the little things to win.

The Panthers are also playing with a hunger right now that suggests they won't just be happy with a Big East title, but that they truly believe they can win The Big Dance.

In fact, you can make the case that Pitt deserves to be the favorite and they might be if they were the traditional powerhouse as opposed to the newcomer on the block.

Looking at the other title favorites at Sportsbook.com, UConn is next at 6:1 odds.  The Huskies were looking like a great bet 10 days ago, but they got manhandled at home by a more much physical Pittsburgh team and they have to prove they are still an elite squad without injured guard Jerome Dyson.

Oklahoma (8:1) has played better than anyone expected and they will continue to make noise as long as Blake Griffin doesn't have any more concussions. One thing for sure, Griffin will be the most watched player in the tournament as he tries to cement his status as the top player in the June NBA draft.

Louisville (12:1) is another highly ranked team from the Big East but you have to question whether they have enough down low to last the entire tournament.

Memphis, Wake Forest and Duke all sit at 15:1. Like Louisville, Duke is a little too perimeter oriented to be considered a good value, while Wake seems completely overvalued at these odds considering their shaky play of late.

Memphis appears undervalued despite losing all those great players from the runner-up team of a year ago. They still have a ton of talent and they never let their pedal off the gas despite playing in the sub standard Conference USA.

Who will win this year's NCAA men's title?

Bet on it at Sportsbook.com.

Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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