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Kentucky Is Favored to Win 2014 NCAA Title With Louisville Fifth

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University of Louisville Athletic director Tom Jurich
University of Louisville Athletic director Tom Jurich cuts down a piece of the net as he celebrates their 82-76 win against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2013 NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at the Georgia Dome on April 8, 2013 in Atlanta. Photographer: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- The odds for the 2014 men’s college basketball championship were out minutes after the University of Louisville celebration began, with the Cardinals’ instate rivals from the University of Kentucky as next year’s favorites.

Louisville won its third title last night with an 82-76 victory over the University of Michigan at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, becoming the eighth school to capture more than two championships. UCLA ranks first all-time with 11 men’s titles, followed by Kentucky with eight.

The Wildcats, who missed this year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament after winning the 2012 title, are listed as the 4-1 favorites to claim a ninth championship, according to handicapping information website Pregame.com.

Louisville is the fifth choice at 12-1, with Duke and North Carolina at 8-1 and Ohio State listed at 9-1.

Louisville entered this season as the 7-1 second-favorite, according to the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book, behind only Indiana University (6-1). The Cardinals went 35-5, setting a school record for wins, and finished the season with a 16-game winning streak as Rick Pitino became the first men’s coach to win titles at two different schools.

Pitino’s previous title came at Kentucky in 1996 and the Wildcats, now coached by John Calipari, are bringing in a recruiting class that includes the nation’s No. 1 high school prospects at point guard, shooting guard, center and power forward, according to ESPN. Six Kentucky recruits are in the top 100 of ESPN’s rankings.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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