Sunny in Florida
Rarely does a single school simultaneously rule America in the major sports of college basketball and football, but Florida pulled off this mini-miracle when it claimed the NCAA Tournament title last spring and then added the 2007 BCS Championship in January.
If Las Vegas oddsmaker Ken White is correct, the Gators' reign will extend at least until early 2008 and perhaps beyond, as Florida is expected to be among the 2007 preseason favorites in college football.
The managing partner of Las Vegas Sports Consultants, knows it's tough to win back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles, but says the No. 1-ranked and defending champion Gators have the right stuff to repeat.
Florida survived a 64-61 scare from No. 20 Kentucky on Saturday to run its record to 23-2.
"They're going to be tough to beat," White observed.
"They're so deep.
"Everyone's back and it looks like they'll have three first-round draft picks.
"North Carolina is talented and may have five first-rounders, but doesn't have the experience (Florida does)."
The No. 5 Tar Heels snuffed out Wake Forest 104-67 on Saturday.
The Las Vegas Hilton has both clubs at 9/2 in its futures book, while Florida is 7/2 and North Carolina 4/1 at Caesars Palace, where they've swapped positions in recent weeks.
Other teams White considers contenders at this point -- a month before seedings Sunday (March 11) -- are Ohio State, Georgetown and UCLA, the 2006 runnerup.
"Ohio State is talented but young, Georgetown is well-coached and out here we all know how good and well-coached UCLA is," White said.
The Buckeyes on Saturday popped Big Ten neighbor Purdue 63-56.
No. 3 Ohio State was a 10/1 third pick at the Hilton, but only 7/1 at Caesars.
The No. 2 Bruins, who will tumble in the rankings after losing to West Virginia 70-65 on Saturday, were 8/1 in both futures books and certain to rise.
The 22nd-ranked Hoyas were a 40/1 buy at the Hilton and 50/1 purchase at Caesars prior to their 76-58 Saturday mangling of Marquette.
White suggests Texas A & M could be another good value.
"I really like their coach and they play excellent defense," White said.
The sixth-ranked Aggies, 66-55 victors over Nebraska Saturday, fell from 35/1 to 30/1 at Caesars Palace the past week and were 25/1 at the Hilton.
This year's Final Four will be held March 31 and April 2 in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
Related Tags: sports, procappers, professional handicappers league, handicapping, college basketball, brian gabrielle
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