Is it Duke or bust in college basketball?

Don’t let the regular season fool you. The Blue Devils are the most talented team in the country. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll hoist the championship at the end of the season.

Experience matters at this time of year, so if you’re not wanting to pick Duke to win the title, who else gives you a shot in February? Here’s three teams I’m eyeing in college basketball futures.

The Virginia Cavaliers should bounce back in the NCAA tournament in 2019. Flickr

Virginia +800

I know that this doesn’t seem possible, considering the Cavaliers became the first No. 1 seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament a year ago. But maybe, in the long run, that was good for this program.

For several years, the Cavaliers have been defined by not making the Final Four. This year, they don’t have to worry about that moniker anymore. It can’t get any worse than what they did last year, so their mindset should be much more relaxed.

Oddsmakers have Virginia as the fourth-highest favorite, and it’s once again thanks to their defensive efficiency. The Cavaliers have the second-best defensive efficiency in the country, but more importantly, their offensive efficiency is fifth in the nation.

The experience factor should work in Virginia’s favor and I’m looking for a much looser team come March.

Texas Tech +5000

It’s been a rough stretch for the Red Raiders, but Texas Tech represents another team with plenty of experience and the ability to be dominating in at least one sector of the game.

The Red Raiders rank No. 1 in the nation in defensive efficiency. Texas Tech also brought back plenty of pieces from their season a year ago, when they reached the Elite Eight. Zhaire Smith’s scoring has been difficult to replace at times, but I can’t ignore Jarrett Culver’s ability to score and play defense.

Big 12 teams are beating up on each other, so don’t worry about the Red Raiders recent struggles. This team is still a talented unit with the ability to reach a Final Four.

Virginia Tech +6000

If I’m looking for a dark horse, I’m centering on Virginia Tech.

The Hokies own a the sixth-best offensive efficiency in the nation and the defense ranks 16th.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker has become a legitimate scorer for the Hokies, who can carry a team on his back in March. At times, the Hokies struggle on the defensive side of the ball, but when they’re playing well, they’re a top-10 team in the nation.

That’s good enough for me to believe in them as a dark horse with a little more than a month left in the season.

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