The Baylor Bears are looking to become the first team to win consecutive national championships since the Florida Gators did it under Billy Donovan in the mid-2000s. The Bears are one of the top contenders per the most recent college basketball national championship odds, and they are the second-best team in the country according to Ken Pomeroy. However, the team that they pasted in last year’s title game is the overall favorite, and Mark Few is hoping to finally hang a national championship banner at Gonzaga after finishing runner-up twice in the last six seasons.
Gonzaga Bulldogs +650
Duke Blue Devils +750
Baylor Bears +850
Purdue Boilermakers +900
Kansas Jayhawks +1200
Auburn Tigers +1300
Arizona Wildcats +1400
Kentucky Wildcats +1700
Villanova Wildcats +1700
UCLA Bruins +2000
Illinois Fighting Illini +2200
Texas Tech Red Raiders +2500
Wisconsin Badgers +3000
All Other Teams +3500 or More
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are likely to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Gonzaga has the shortest college basketball futures odds on the board, and this is the top-ranked team according to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers. The Bulldogs have non-conference wins over Texas, UCLA, and Texas Tech, and although they lost to Duke and Alabama, those losses are not bad. The WCC is tougher than usual too as BYU, San Francisco, and Saint Mary’s are all ranked in Pomeroy’s top 35 as of January 20.
Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren have been two of the top players in the country, and Gonzaga leads the nation in two-point percentage by knocking down 63.7% of their shots inside the perimeter. This is an above average three-point shooting team too, but free throw shooting has been an issue for the Bulldogs.
Duke is getting too much respect from the oddsmakers. The Blue Devils have excellent wins over Gonzaga and Kentucky to their credit, but they have dropped two of their last four games. The ACC is as weak as it has been in several years, leading to Duke being ranked 11th according to Pomeroy. Freshman Paolo Banchero should be a top five pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, as he is averaging 18.1 PPG and 7.6 RPG while making 50.7% of his field goals. Wendell Moore Jr. has taken his game to another level as a junior too with 15.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 4.6 APG while hitting over 55% of his field goals and more than 41% of his treys.
The defending national champions lost most of their best players from last year’s title winning team, but Baylor is still one of the top teams in the country. They started the season 15-0 and blew out Michigan State and Villanova in non-conference play, and they play in the toughest conference in the country. The Bears are efficient on offense, great on the glass, and very good on defense, but there are concerns about their free throw shooting and ability to get to the line.
Purdue has the most efficient offense in the country. The Boilermakers are fifth in three-point shooting percentage (40.3%) and eighth in two-point percentage (57.1%) on the year, and their only two losses have come by a combined seven points. Zach Edey is a real difference maker despite averaging just 17.9 MPG, as he is putting up 15.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG while making over 70% of his field goals. Trevion Williams is another big body on the glass that can dominate down low, while guards Jaden Ivey and Sasha Stefanovic are excellent perimeter shooters.
Two other Big Ten teams have relatively long odds to win the national championship, but they are led by two of the best players in the country. Illinois has a potential Naismith Player of the Year in Kofi Cockburn. He has led the Fighting Illini to a 13-4 mark, but they have yet to beat a team ranked in the top 25 of the Pomeroy rankings. Cockburn is averaging 21.1 PPG and 11.8 RPG on the season.
Johnny Davis is the current favorite to win the Wooden Award. Wisconsin’s star guard is averaging 22.1 PPG and 7.5 RPG. His efficiency numbers aren’t great, but he is the first and second option for a Badgers’ team that is 15-2. Wisconsin is 30-1 and could drop in the coming weeks because of his play.