Balicki: Breaking down the odds at men's NCAAs
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Here is a look at my odds for the 2013 NCAA Men's Championship, set to start on May 28 at Capital City Golf Club's Crabapple Course in Woodstock, Ga.:
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League of their own (2-1)
California: Bears looking to put final stamp on what could be greatest season in college golf history.
Alabama: Tide came so close last year and have the power to take it all the way.
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Best Bets (4-1)
UCLA: Could this be the time when Bruins step out of California's shadow on the biggest stage?
Texas: Defending NCAA champs have five wins this season, including four in spring without Jordan Spieth.
New Mexico: Often overlooked, but Lobos are for real with five victories, including Mountain West and Central Regional.
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Top Challengers (8-1)
Washington: Top 3 very strong; with help from Nos. 4 and 5 Huskies will be in the thick of title chase.
Georgia Tech: Host Yellow Jackets’ two wins have come in Georgia, including T-1 in Preview at Crabapple.
TCU: Horned Frogs didn’t play much in fall, but show 9 top-5s in 10 starts this spring.
Florida State: All three Seminole wins were in home state; can they add another just north up the road?
Illinois: Young team that seems to be hitting its stride right now, coming in after wins at Big Ten (fifth straight) and South Central Regional.
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Don’t Count 'Em Out (12-1)
Arkansas: If Razorbacks can come out strong from starting gate, they could be a team to watch.
Oklahoma State: Cowboys back in finals after missing last year and ending record streak of 65 years in a row.
Florida: If T.J. Vogel and Tyler McCumber can get some help, Gators could shake things up a bit.
Georgia: Bulldogs have been up and down all season, so it depends on which team shows up at Crabapple.
North Florida: Winner of Atlantic Sun and East Regional, Ospreys just might surprise some people.
• • •
If They Have Super Hot Week (20-1)
USC: Trojans have been mediocre at best in last five starts, with a fourth at West Regional being best in that stretch.
Texas A&M: Aggies need some firepower; in three events this season vs. top fields, they have a 13th and two 14ths.
Auburn: Tigers just seem to go quietly about business and have six top-5s in last seven starts.
LSU: Bayou Bengals closed last season poorly, but hope to do the opposite this time around.
Kent State: MAC champions making fourth consecutive finals appearance and finished fifth last year.
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If They Catch Lightning in a Bottle (40-1)
Oklahoma: Sooners program keeps improving, but just may not be to point of being serious title contender.
South Carolina: Gamecocks hard to figure, but come in playing well with a pair of second-place finishes at SEC and Central Regional.
St. Mary’s: The Gaels have finished outside top 5 just once in 13 starts, but will need Herculean effort here.
UNLV: Runnin’ Rebs have pretty much been all over the map this season, but T-3 at Preview was impressive.
Central Florida: Knights will need best effort of season if they hope to make match play’s Elite 8.
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Wishing Upon a Star (60-1)
Tennessee:Vols finished fourth at Southeast regional, but 14th (last) in SEC doesn’t bode well.
Texas Tech: Red Raiders a big surprise with fifth at Central Regional after posting 10th or worse four times in season.
Arizona State: No doubt Sun Devils took full advantage of playing Southwest Regional on home course.
Coastal Carolina: Making first finals showing since Dustin Johnson days when it placed fifth in 2007.
Ball State: Talk about being happy just to be there; Cardinals playing in NCAA finals for first time since 1986.
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