College Basketball National Champion Futures Pick
This college basketball season feels wide open. The recipe for a national champion remains relatively straightforward though. You need a great offense, a good defense, a star guard, balance across your team and upperclassmen contributors.
With 11 different teams listed at +2000 or lower to win the national championship at WynnBET, you can make a case for a lot of different teams. However, the Purdue Boilermakers at +800 represent the best value on the board. Here’s why:
10 of the last 13 national champions have had a top-five offense in the country, per KenPom.com. Offense wins championships, plain and simple. Well, Purdue has hands-down the best offense in the country. Led by Jaden Ivey, the Boilermakers have the #1 ranked offense and can score from the wing with Ivey and Sasha Stefanovic or inside with Zach Edey and Trevion Williams.
They’re 9th nationally in 2-point shooting per Bart Torvik and 5th in 3-point shooting. Even if they miss, they’re also 9th in offensive rebounding rate. With the 59th-best offensive turnover rate and 25th-ranked free throw rate, they protect the ball and give themselves plenty of chances at the charity stripe as well.
Purdue can score from anywhere on the court and in a variety of ways. Great offense? Check.
It’s important to be good at defense, but you don’t necessarily have to be great to cut down the nets. This serves well for a good-not-great Purdue defense that KenPom ranks as the 66th-best in the country.
Bart Torvik has the Boilermakers with the 85th-ranked 2-point defense and 145th-ranked 3-point defense so there is certainly room for improvement here. They limit their opponent’s opportunities with the14th-best defensive rebounding rate and 17th-best defensive free throw rate. If you don’t score on your first try against Purdue, you likely won’t. And I expect this experienced team to tighten up over the course of conference play and see their overall metrics improve. Good defense? Check.
Most national champions have a star guard that can steady the team in tight contests if things start to break down. Luckily for the Boilermakers, they have maybe the best guard in America with Jaden Ivey. Averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals, and just 2.2 turnovers per game while shooting 48.7% from the floor and 42.4% from 3, Jaden Ivey is a legitimate star. Check.
It’s important to not rely too heavily on one player in the postseason so defenses can’t just key in on one player. If Ivey has a bad game, for example, Purdue needs other players they can rely on to carry the team.
With Zach Edey averaging 15.4 points per game on a fantastic 71.2% field goal percentage, Trevion Williams adding 12.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and Sasha Stefanovic having the ability to catch fire in any game, the Boilermakers have the balance we’re looking for in a national champion. Check.
Upper Classmen Contributors
Experience is key as teams try to navigate March Madness. Between seniors Williams and Stefanovic and experienced players in Ivey and Edey alongside junior forward Isaiah Thompson, Purdue should have the emotional maturity to battle the emotional distress that comes alongside a national title bid.
This is the team and opportunity Purdue has been waiting for. Check.
With the best offense in the country, a good defense that should improve as the season goes, a star guard in Ivey, a balanced team and upperclassmen contributors, the Boilermakers check every box. They have the ingredients for a national champion recipe and are an excellent bet at +800 to win their first title in school history.