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NCAA

Who is favored to win March Madness? Who are the standout players?

It’s the best time of year if you’re a college basketball fan and that’s why we’re taking a look at this year’s favorite to win the National Championship.

Update:
It’s the best time of year if you’re a college basketball fan and that’s why we’re taking a look at this year’s favorite to win the National Championship.
Justin FordGetty

You know things are getting serious when March Madness rolls around. From upsets to the unbelievable, it’s a time when stars are born and those that already exist stake their claim for what lies ahead, a future in the NBA.

Welcome to March Madness

There is nothing quite like March when it comes to NCAA basketball. Indeed, ‘March Madness’ has provided us with some epic basketball moments over the years. Just last year we watched the No. 1 seed Kansas take down the No. 8 seed North Carolina in the national championship, even though the Tar Heels were leading 40-25 at one point. In the end, Kansas City fought tooth and nail to get back into the game and wound up winning an unforgettable game by a score of 72-69.

In terms of this year, things are expected to be no different. Consider for a moment, that after a sensational run to the finals last year North Carolina started this season as the team projected to be No. 1. At the moment, they’re on the verge of missing the tournament altogether, which only serves to highlight the unpredictable nature of the landscape i.e., the kind of thing you’ve got to love as a fan. Having said that, we come to the team that’s actually the favorite to win it all right now: the Houston Cougars.

Introducing the Houston Cougars

As odds on favorites - +600 to be exact - to win the National Championship, the Cougars come into March Madness with a season record of 29-2. To be clear, this is a team that ranks in the top-10 in both offense and defense. Their two losses came against Alabama back in December, a game they lost by 6 points and Temple in January, which was a contest that they lost by just 1. Where the numbers are concerned, they’ve allowed only 55.9 points per game which ranks No. 1 in the nation, and they’ve outscored their opponents by 20 points per game. This is a well-oiled machine that we are talking about.

Who are the stars of the Cougars?

It’s worth noting that the Cougars haven’t been to the finals since Hakeem Olajuwon played for them during the 1983-84 season. Yet, it may well be that things are about to change given the kind of fire power that they currently have on their roster.

First up, we’ve got Marcus Sasser who is averaging 17.0 points per game to go with 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals and is without doubt one of the best guards in the country at present. It should also be said that Sasser is currently injured, which understandably is a major blow, but he is expected to return. On the other hand, this is by no means a one man show as the Houston has an impressive four players who are averaging double-digit points including Jamal Shead and Jarace Walker. Again, this is a well-oiled machine in which every man plays his part and exceedingly well to boot. Truth be told, the Cougars look like a real threat this year, the only question that remains now is whether they can live up to expectations.