2019 NCAA Tournament Top 16: Assessing the Futures Market After Seeding Release
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carsen Edwards
We’re just over a month away from Selection Sunday, where the committee delivers the 68 teams that will participate in the greatest event known to mankind.
This afternoon, the committee revealed which programs would receive a top-16 seed if the tournament began today. Before dissecting which ones have futures value in the race to cut down the nets on April 8, what does the term actually entail?
When digging for national title futures, a team doesn’t necessarily need to win the NCAA tournament to aid your bankroll. For instance, if a pair of them make it to the Final Four, hedging on the opposite side of your future bets guarantees a profit no matter the result.
Which squads are capable of a deep run in March? Let’s break down some of the most intriguing programs after the top 16 was released. The favorites — Duke, Virginia, etc. — don’t hold much value anymore.
The Jayhawks were given the second No. 3 seed, surprisingly placed in the West Region. Although most would expect Bill Self’s crew to turn things around before the tournament tips off, its lack of size without Udoka Azubuike (hand) and Silvio De Sousa (ineligible) should prove costly against bigger teams in the big dance.
Kansas is quietly producing the second-worst turnover rate (20.9%) in Big 12 play, too. Experienced backcourts are so critical in March, and its freshman-guard combo of Devin Dotson and Quentin Grimes will be its downfall. Don’t count on the Jayhawks to make a run.
The Boilermakers secured the first overall No. 3 seed while finding themselves in the South Region. Everyone and their mothers have been all over Matt Painter’s bunch, as its national title odds spiked from 100-1 to 35-1 following an 18-point win over Michigan State on Jan. 8.
The 6-foot-1 Carsen Edwards (24.5 points per game), a Naismith Player of the Year candidate, boasts a Kemba Walker-like makeup. But Purdue still possesses two major concerns: defensive rebounding rate (third-lowest in Big Ten play) and defending the perimeter (36.3%). Both will lead to falling short of any value.
Iowa State (40-1)
The Cyclones got the first No. 4 seed in the East after winning six of their past seven games outright. Let’s start bringing some positivity to the table, as Steve Prohm’s team boasts a lineup full of ball handlers who can switch at every position, the most underrated tools necessary to succeeding in the NCAA Tournament.
Led by Virginia transfer Marial Shayock (19.1 ppg), Iowa State has totaled the 20th-highest eFG% (55.5%) in the country while holding the opposition to the 44th-lowest percentage (47.4%) in that department.
The Golden Eagles positioned themselves for the fourth No. 3 seed in March Madness, landing in East Region. Not only is Markus Howard (24.6 ppg) one of the premier shot hunters in college basketball, but the Golden Eagles also own the 13th-highest 3-point percentage (39.5%) and the ninth-highest free-throw percentage (77.0%), respectively.
Marquette’s most underrated aspect is its play at the other end. It notched the No. 182 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency last season, but Steve Wojciechowski’s bunch sits No. 38 in the country these days. It’s exhibited by a tenacious style on the glass, generating the 25th-highest defensive rebounding rate (24.3%).
I’ve been hyping up the Cougars recently, and they earned it by claiming the third No. 3 seed while finding themselves in the Midwest Region. Kelvin Sampson’s crew is holding its opponents to the third-lowest eFG% (42.2%) in the nation, thanks to its elite ball pressure from backcourt mates Corey Davis (15.5 ppg) and Galen Robinson (8.3 ppg).
They represent the ball handlers needed to surge in the NCAA tournament, leading the way to the 62nd-lowest turnover rate (16.9%) in the nation. Houston is also one of the top gang rebounding teams in the country via the 47th-highest defensive rebounding rate (25.1%), along with the 20th-rated block rate (25.1%).