If the regular season is an indication of what could transpire between now and the crowning of the national champion, it should be quite the ride.
There is not a championship contender that was immune from being bitten by the upset bug. March Madness predictions won’t be easy in what could be the most wide-open field in recent memory.
Here’s a look at how the national championship odds look for the top title contenders.
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and March Madness Odds for Gonzaga National Championship. We’ve plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Zags Ready To Take Final Championship Step
Gonzaga has been hearing the chatter that playing in the West Coast Conference is holding the Bulldogs back when it comes to winning the national championship.
Gonzaga has reached the national title game in 2017 and 2021 and has been to five regional finals. Is this the year that the Bulldogs finally break through?
As the No. 1 overall seed? It will be title or bust, especially since dynamic freshman Chet Holmgren is heading to the NBA sooner rather than later. There probably isn’t a more dynamic 1-2 in the college game at the current time than Drew Timme and Holmgren. They share the honor of having the best odds (+800) to be named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
It is easy to forget that the Bulldogs have wins over Texas, UCLA and Texas Tech.
Could a potential regional semifinal matchup against either Arkansas or UConn be tougher than a Gonzaga-Duke showdown if the seeds hold true to form?
The Las Vegas odds list Gonzaga as the tournament favorite at +325. That seems like a good number to take a chance on especially since there isn’t a team that avoids an upset or two this season.
Pick: Gonzaga +325 to win the national title, -150 to reach the Final Four
Baylor Bearish on Back-to-Back Titles
If Baylor was healthy, the March Madness odds would probably be better than +1200 to defend its national title.
However, leading scorer LJ Cryer hasn’t played since February 1 and leading rebounder Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is out for the season. It all caught up to the shorthanded Bears with an early exit in the Big 12 Tournament. Four teams have better odds according to the college basketball spreads to win it all than Baylor and it is understandable.
Baylor might be the top seed in the East Region but No. 2 seed Kentucky has better championship odds.
It is pretty risky to expect Baylor to run the table again but it should be noted that the Bears responded pretty well after being knocked out of the conference tournament a season ago.
Pick: Baylor +1200 to win the national title, +225 to reach the Final Four
Arizona, Kansas Ready To Return to Promised Land?
Joining Gonzaga and Baylor as No. 1 seeds are former champions Arizona and Kansas. Both teams won their conference tournaments but the similarities end there.
Arizona, champions in 1997, is led by first-year head coach Tommy Lloyd, Bill Self has Kansas in the NCAA tournament for the 18th time and is one of the few coaches in the field of 68 with a national championship as a head coach as he led Kansas to the title in 2008.
Arizona’s best player in redshirt freshman Bennedict Mathurin, Kansas is led by first-team All-American Ochai Agbaji, a four-year starter.
Right on track to the rafters 😎 @youngoch
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) March 15, 2022
Pick: Arizona +650 to win the championship; Kansas +1000 to win it all.
Last March Madness Ride for Coach K
Can it really be 45 years ago since Al McGuire coached Marquette to the national championship in his final game as a coach?
It will go down as one of the most enduring championship runs in March Madness history. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski has a chance to follow that script. Unlike McGuire, Krzyzewski had a championship to his credit, or to be accurate five championships, before embarking on his final season.
It won’t be easy. A potential second-round game between Duke and Michigan could be something special. Beating No. 3 seed Texas Tech will be no easy task.
Duke has certainly not looked like one of the teams to beat either late in the regular season or in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament but it would be quite the farewell gift from his players. With odds of +1400 to win it all, it would be a nice payout for those who bet online.
Pick: Duke +1400 to win the national title.
SEC, Big Ten Ready To Rise?
It has been a decade since a team from the Southeastern Conference won the national title. John Calipari’s Kentucky team accomplished the feat with a win over Kansas in the national title game.
There are nine teams in the field with odds of +1400 or better to win it all and three hail from the SEC. Kentucky leads the way at +800 while SEC regular-season champion Auburn and tournament winner Tennessee both have odds of +1400.
Kentucky could have the clearest path in the March Madness bracket as injuries make Baylor, the top seed in Kentucky’s region, a risky proposition. Purdue is the No. 3 seed and that would make for an interesting but winnable regional semifinal. Either fourth-seeded Illinois or No. 5 Houston has the chance to take down teams seeded ahead of them.
Arizona would likely be favored if the Wildcats were to meet Tennessee in the Elite Eight although No. 2 seed Villanova might have something to say about that. Kansas is the top seed in the bracket Auburn is in. Wisconsin and Big Ten tournament champion Iowa could also stand between the Tigers and a trip to the Final Four.
Michigan State was the last Big Ten team to win it all and that came in 2000 with six different Big Ten programs falling in the national title game since..
Purdue and Iowa have the best odds among Big Ten teams to be cutting down the nets on April 4 in New Orleans at +2500 followed by Illinois at +4000, which seems like a bargain.
SEC picks: Kentucky +800 to win national title; Auburn and Tennessee both at +1400 to win it all
Big Ten picks: Purdue and Iowa both at +2500, Illinois at +4000 and Wisconsin +8000 to capture the national title.
Emerging From the Field
It’s been six years since the national championship was won by a team not earning a No. 1 seed as Villanova, the No. 2 seed in the South, topped East No. 1 seed North Carolina on a buzzer-beater by Kris Jenkins.
The last time a team not among the top 16 seeds won it all came in 2014 when UConn, seeded seventh in the East, topped Midwest No. 8 seed Kentucky to cap a tournament when only two of the top seeds even advanced to the Elite Eight.
Which teams seeded fifth or lower have the best odds to win it all?
Iowa, the No. 5 seed in the Midwest, comes in at +2500 followed by Houston, the No. 5 seed in the South, at +3300. Texas, seeded sixth in the East, is well back at +8000 while UConn, seeded fifth in the West, also has odds of +8000.
No. 11 seeds Michigan (+12500) and Virginia Tech (+15000) top the odds of teams seeded 10th or lower. It would be quite the roll of the dice to go this route but as unpredictable as the college basketball season has been, taking a long shot wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Pick: Iowa at +2500 to win it all could be the best way to go
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