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5 Longshot Teams To Watch Out This 2024 March Madness

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As the 2024 March Madness tournament edges closer, the anticipation among college basketball fans is palpable, not just for powerhouse teams but also for the dark horses that could defy odds and expectations. 

Every year, a few underdog teams emerge from the shadows, captivating audiences with their gritty performances and heart-stopping finishes. These squads, often overlooked in the preseason rankings, have the potential to make a deep run in the tournament, challenging established favorites and possibly rewriting March Madness History.

Therefore, let’s learn about the five longshot teams entering the 2024 March Madness Tournament. 

North Carolina Tar Heels 

The first team considered a longshot to watch out for in 2024 is the North Carolina Tar Heels, who currently have march madness odds to win of +2000.

The North Carolina Tar Heels have a storied History in College Basketball marked by numerous victories and accolades. However, in recent times, they have increasingly been viewed as a longshot for claiming national titles. 

This perspective isn’t grounded in a lack of talent or coaching but rather in the evolving dynamics of college basketball itself. The game has become more competitive, with smaller schools investing significantly in their basketball programs, thereby leveling the playing field.

Additionally, the Tar Heels have faced challenges in maintaining a consistent performance throughout the season, often struggling against teams that, on paper, they would be expected to dominate. 

This inconsistency has made predicting their success in post-season play more difficult, thereby labeling them as a longshot in the eyes of many fans and analysts. Despite these challenges, the Tar Heels possess a resilient spirit and a nurturing environment for developing talent, traits that could very well see them defy the odds in the seasons to come.

Baylor Bears 

The next team you should watch out for is the Baylor Bears, who currently hold a +3500 March Madness odds to win the national championship. The Bears have a record of 22-8 and solidified their reputation as a long shot when they defeated the Iowa State Cyclones on February 3. 

This represented their most notable triumph of the season to this point. In that pivotal victory, Rayj Dennis emerged as the team’s top performer, amassing 18 points alongside seven rebounds and an assist. Jayden Nunn also made significant contributions, scoring 16 points, securing three rebounds, and delivering two assists.

Victories are the prime success metric, yet how Baylor secures these triumphs offers even greater validation. At last, the Bears are clinching wins in the fashion their supporters anticipated. 

While maintaining their identity as a team that frequently opts for three-point shots, their enhanced, tenacious defensive play — marked by aggressive interceptions, dominant rebounding, and effectively pressuring adversaries into penalty situations — complements their offensive strategy.

San Diego State Aztecs

With +6000 odds to win the March Madness National Championship, San Diego State Aztecs is considered a long shot this year. 

The San Diego State basketball team is grappling with a significant challenge—its shooting performance. Despite their strong defense, Jaedon LeDee’s impressive contributions, a prestigious background, and a memorable run to the NCAA title game last season, this group of Aztecs are struggling with their shooting accuracy. 

This goes for both overall field goals and particularly from beyond the arc. They rank as the Mountain West’s lowest in shooting, with a three-point percentage 31.9, placing them 282nd out of 351 Division I teams. 

Yet, their solid defense and rebounding skills have kept them comPetitive, securing them a spot within the top 20 of the NCAA Tournament’s pivotal NET rankings. This situation highlights the team’s urgent need to address their shooting woes, which hang over them like a persistent storm cloud.

Despite their shooting issues, the Aztecs have shown the world they have a tough defense. Defensively, San Diego State ranks among the elite in college basketball, limiting opponents to a mere 28.5% success rate from beyond the arc. The Aztecs also perform above par in defending two-point shots and excel at provoking turnovers from their opposition.

Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks is the next team to consider this 2024 March Madness. The team holds +2500 odds to win the National Championship. 

Kansas emerges as a standout choice for those seeking value, even with a finish that might not top the Big 12 regular season standings, possibly settling for third place or lower. Despite issues such as a limited bench and worries regarding Kevin McCullar’s fitness, the team stands strong in the comPetition. 

A fully healthy Kansas squad that hits its stride in March presents a remarkable opportunity, positioning it as the top dark horse selection in the eyes of experienced commentators. 

Bill Self’s team, typically dominant in collegiate basketball, is experiencing a rare shift this season. This departure from their usual stance has opened up an intriguing chance for gamblers to exploit their uncommonly low betting odds.

Illinois Fighting Illini

Last on the list is the Illinois Fighting Illini, with odds of +3000. Although not currently among the top contenders according to the odds, the Fighting Illini presents a compelling opportunity for value. It’s feasible that within a month, they could emerge as one of the top five favorites.

Underwood’s squad is in a third-place tie with Northwestern in the Big Ten, positioned just behind the leaders, the Badgers and Boilermakers. Despite facing the challenge of playing without their key player, Terrence Shannon, who was sidelined for a month following rape charges in Kansas, the team has managed to hold its ground.

Final Words

If you’re looking for a team to provide better value on your bet this coming 2024 March Madness, consider the five mentioned teams above. However, ensure that you continue following the recent news and updates for the mentioned teams for any changes, like injuries, that can significantly impact their chance of winning.

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