With less than three weeks until Selection Sunday the regular season of college basketball is beginning to draw to a close. But have no fear, the best 68 NCAA men’s basketball teams are less than one month away from tipping off March Madness basketball in 2021.
Take a look at our previews of PointsBet’s top 10 favorites to win the 2021 NCAA Championship. Coming in at #8 is the Houston Cougars out of the American Athletic Conference.
NCAA Championship Odds: +2000
Following a 23-8 (13-5 vs AAC) record in the 2019-20 college basketball season, the Houston Cougars were the AP’s 22nd ranked team prior to the shutdown of college basketball due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heading into the resumption of college hoops in November of 2020, Houston looked poised for another successful year, with the addition of four star recruit Tramon Mark joining the Cougars already talented roster. This resulted in the school coming in at No. 17 on the preseason AP rankings.
Quentin Grimes has been the team’s leading scorer this season, averaging 16.9 points through his 19 games. However the Cougars are certainly not a program that relies on the success of one star, with different players leading each significant statistical category (points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals).
👏 👏 👏 for @qdotgrimes
— Houston Men’s Hoops 🏀 🐾 (@UHCougarMBK) February 23, 2021
Houston’s team defense has been the cornerstone of their success this season, currently the fifth best rebounding team in Division 1 basketball and the 30th best team for steals.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, their three losses this season came against AAC opponents, going down to Tulsa (65-64), East Carolina (82-73) and most recently Wichita State (68-63).
The loss to Wichita States resulted in Houston relinquishing top spot in the AAC and saw the Cougars slip outside the top 10 AP rankings for the first time since January 11th.
However in their singular game against a fellow AP ranked opponent, Houston defeated #18 Texas Tech, holding the Red Raiders to just 53 points in an 11 point victory.
With only a handful of games remaining in the AAC season, the Cougars are currently sitting in second place on the conference table with a 12-3 record against AAC opponents. Houston are the only AP ranked team in the AAC and have the best overall winning percentage of all the teams in their conference.
Although Wichita State (who have played four fewer conference games than Houston this season) are currently on top of the AAC standings, the Cougars are clearly still the best team in their conference, currently the -334 favorite to win the AAC tournament and +2000 to win their first NCAA championship.
Following the postponement of the 2020 March Madness tournament, the Houston Cougars opened with odds of +4000 to win the 2021 NCAA championship.
Throughout the preseason the Cougars drifted as far as +4833 and came in as short as +2650. However, once the AP preseason rankings were released, Houston (who were named the 17th best team in the country) settled at their opening odds of +4000 prior to their regular season tip off in late November.
Since commencing play, the Cougars NCAA championship odds have been on a steady decline, largely thanks to a seven game winning streak to begin the season, which included an 11 point victory over the then No. 17 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders.
— GoCoogs.com (@gocoogs1) February 18, 2021
By the conclusion of their seven game winning streak, Houston had come in to +1767 to win it all at March Madness in 2021. However, a second and third loss against AAC opponent’s resulted in the Cougars settling at +2000 to win the NCAA championship less than three weeks away from selection Sunday.
Although they are sitting behind Wichita State in the AAC standings, Houston are the -334 favorite to win the AAC tournament, comfortably leading SMU (+500), Memphis (+600) and first placed Wichita State (+1000).
*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of PointsBet.
Are you interested in finding out more on the latest season of college basketball? Then make sure you visit our college basketball hub page, we’ve got all the details you need!
Image by: Houston Cougars