Duke will likely have an entirely different lineup next season, but the Blue Devils are still the early favorite to win the 2019 men’s basketball national championship according to ESPN.
The Worldwide Leader in Sports used the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, which positioned Duke as 5-1 favorites on Tuesday.
Villanova, who has won at least 30 games four straight seasons and captured its second championship in three years with a victory against Michigan on Monday, opened at 8-1 to win again next season. Kansas and Kentucky each begin the offseason with 8-1 odds as well.
Duke will lose senior guard Grayson Allen to graduation and freshman forward Marvin Bagley III to the NBA, but the Blue Devils could lose starters Wendell Carter Jr. and Trevon Duval too, both of whom are also considered potential NBA lottery picks in the 2018 draft.
But the Blue Devils will be reloading, as they normally do, with the No. 1 recruiting class according to 247Sports. That class contains 4 5-star recruits for Duke; no other program has managed to land even 3 5-star recruits in the 2018 class.
Duke would make history next season even with a Final Four appearance. Coach Mike Krzyzewski is tied with John Wooden for the most national semifinals appearances in history with 12.
As of Tuesday, North Carolina has the second-best championship odds in the ACC at 12-1. Virginia opens the offseason with 15-1 odds to win the 2019 title.