I saw Rico tweet this out earlier today:
I'm someone who loves futures. I write typically 2 futures blogs a year, one before the season starts and one about a month in. You can check those out here:
We're sitting on some great numbers from the preseason like:
Texas Tech (+3500)
Then from early January we added
Plenty of value all around. But there's another value out there that we have to jump on. That is Oklahoma at +4000. They are being completely overlooked in the Big 12 and from a national landscape. All they've done is jump up to 23 on KenPom and 12 in the AP Poll. How'd they do that? Wins over WVU, Kansas, Texas and Alabama in January. But there's more than that. This is a tier 3, borderline tier 2 for me so at 40/1 that number is just too high.
They are incredibly balanced on both sides of the ball. They currently rank 28th on offense and 29th on defense. They have that 4-headed guard look which I fucking love. Austin Reaves, Elijah Harkless, Umoja Gibson and De'Vion Harmon all do things a little different. Reaves is the leading scorer. Harkless can defend his ass off. Harmon is someone who beats guys off the dribble and can create his own bucket. Throw in the fact that Brady Manek, the guy who was supposed to be the star on this team, is getting comfortable again after missing time with Covid and you have a team that can beat anyone in the country. Yes, they lost to Baylor by 15 earlier this year but they also shot 16% from three in that game. I'm not saying they are better than Baylor, but they can compete.
What they have that works in the NCAA Tournament is the PnR set on offense. You can pop with Manek. You have guards that can get to the rim or pull up and hit shots like Reaves and Harmon. You have a big man in Kur Kath who knows his role. Run to the rim, crash the glass (top-175 nationally in offensive rebounding percentage) and protect the rim defensively (top-50 in block percentage). Defensively they run a sagging defense. It's not the Packline but they sag and dare you to shoot over them. That's why they are 238th in 3PA/FGA but also 16th in the country in defensive 2pt percentage. Arguably more important, they are 7th in not fouling. They don't give you free points.
They are currently projected as the top-5 seed on BracketMatrix. Their floor isn't much lower than that since they'll only have 'good' losses from here on out but can jump up to a 3 seed, perhaps even a 2 seed. At 40/1 that's what you want to see. They have 6 regular season games left - 2 against Oklahoma State, WVU, Iowa State and Kansas State. 4-2 in that stretch is completely believable which should move them up a seed line.
I've said it numerous times. It's Gonzaga/Baylor vs the field so you're going to get decent numbers out there. Let's say they are the 4 seed in Michigan or the other No. 1 seed bracket, it's a win. Michigan is damn good, but they are such a long pause who knows what happens when they come back. Also what other No. 1 team do you trust? Nova, Illinois, Ohio State? They are all good with major flaws. This team is too good to be 40/1 right now.