The way-too-early championship odds for the following season are always something to take with a major grain of salt, but when Vegas released their 2017-18 college basketball futures, Indiana's number certainly raised my eyebrow:
Kentucky, Louisville and Duke are the top three favorites for the 2017-18 title, per Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook: https://t.co/slYsz4PLwv— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 4, 2017
Considering they're coming off a season where they missed the NCAA Tournament entirely, have a brand-new coach in his first head gig at a major conference school in Archie Miller, and are likely to lose several players to the NBA (OG Anunoby, possibly Thomas Bryant), and to transfer (an inevitability after every coaching change), the ninth overall odds is shocking.
Butler returns their top scorer Kelan Martin, budding star Kamar Baldwin,, and has their most-heralded freshman class in program history entering, and they're going off at 25-to-1. Caleb Swanigan won't be wearing gold and black next year, but Purdue will likely put four senior starters on the floor to defend their Big Ten championship, yet they have three times worse odds than IU at 60-to-1. Heck, even UCLA, in a weaker league, coming off a 30+ win season, and welcoming in the nation's second-best recruiting class, trails Indiana (25-to-1).
I get that Indiana has a large fanbase and Vegas naturally places those numbers in an effort to get wagers from both sides, but it feels like a major reach to give the Hoosiers top-ten - or even top-twenty - odds next season.