Now that March Madness has started, it’s time to take stock of the competitors and try to predict who can take the whole tournament.
Today we have the top three collegiate programs that seem to have the best chance at becoming the champions of March Madness. However, with so much competition, we’ve paid some lip service to the three runners-up teams too.
Consider those riskier alternatives for those who want to get more adventurous in their predictions of who would win March Madness.
Predicting the winner can be lucrative, of course. If you think you have a chance, check out some March Madness odds that you can use to make a buck.
1) Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Zags (+380) has long been a competitive force in the March Madness tournament, especially in the 21st Century. Having reached the Elite Eight four times in the last decade, with two of those being Final Four appearances in 2017 and 2021, there’s every chance that they can go all the way this year.
Despite losing out to the Baylor Bears last year, it was a historic season for them. Until losing to the Bears, they had a 26-0 regular season and were the last undefeated team in the entire country until their championship hopes were dashed. They got complacent, so the Bulldogs have something to prove moving into the 2022 tournament and may go through every team in their way to get to the big title.
2) Arizona State Sun Devils
Unlike the other two teams in our top three most promising teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (+600) have never won an NCAA tournament. In fact, they’ve never even made it to the Final Four, so why are they favored today. Their last accolade of note was in 1975, where they made it to the Elite Eight for the last time. That was quite some time ago – enough time for the Dukes to build rust.
They have consistently appeared in the tournament since the early 2000s, though their new coach has caused quite a stir within the program. Having made basketball exciting for the Sun Devils again, they were #3 seed in the Pac-12 Conference tournament but were disturbed b the pandemic. Can they come back in spectacular fashion?
3) Kentucky Wildcats
With the Zags, the Kentucky Wildcats (+800) are one of the most prolific NCAA tournament winners in collegiate basketball. Having won eight times, all but one were before the year 2000. That last one was in 2012, though they did make runner-up in 2014. With the Wildcats, you can always rest assured they’ll probably make the Elite Eight and maybe the Final Four.
Under long-time head coach John Calipari, who has a 305-71 record for an 81.1% winning percentage. That’s the best coaching the Wildcats have ever had, making fans and commentators alike speculate that a Wildcat victory isn’t a matter of if but when. Will 2022 be their year?
Of course, there are other teams here who are in the running. We should at least mention the Baylor Bears (+1100), the last-year NCAA tournament champs who beat the Gonzaga Bulldogs to secure the title. As you can imagine, it was a huge upset from a program that had been slowly gaining momentum over the past decade. Under the right conditions, the Bears may be able to chase the other semifinalists away, including the Bulldogs, and get another NCAA tournament title.
Duke Blue Devils
Then there are the Duke Blue Devils (+1200) who have won their last three NCAA tournament titles in a vague cycle – in 2001, 2010, and then 2015. Has enough time passed for 2022 to be their year, or will they need to wait until 2025? So many of their accolades have come under the leadership of head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who started coaching in the ‘80s and hasn’t stopped yet. 2021 wasn’t his year, but if 2022 is different, the Blue Devils could upset this list.
Lastly, we have the Auburn Tigers (+1400), who are quite similar to the Sun Devils in that they have slowly edged closer to the championship title. Having made the Elite Eight and then the Final Four in 2019, they’ve only walked into an NCAA tournament ten times. For some, that would disqualify them from being a competitive force in the NCAA. However, during the regular season, their current head coach Bruce Pearl was selected to be Coach of the Year for the Southeastern Conference.
That’s what the odds situation looks like right now. Naturally, as the tournament progresses, odds will start to change to reflect who is still playing and the level of performance that we see from each college. If you’re part of the betting crowd, getting your wagers placed early will be more profitable if you happen to win.
Maybe you’re just interested as a fan of basketball or any of the above teams. In that case, you can save your money and enjoy some good old bragging rights instead, should you figure out who will win before the last ball leaves the court.
Featured Image: Variety