The road to the College Basketball National Championship begins on Tuesday as a huge slate of games is set to open up the season. Opening day includes the Champions Classic that will feature #3 Kansas vs Michigan State and #10 Kentucky vs #9 Duke. Gonzaga comes into this season as the number one team in the country and favorites to win it all as they want a chance to redeem themselves coming off of a loss to Baylor in the National Championship game.
Fans will be coming back in full force in one of the most anticipated college basketball seasons in recent memory. As we get ready to begin the 2021-22 campaign, let’s take a look at who’s favored to win it all this upcoming season.
College Basketball: Best Odds to Win the National Championship
The Bulldogs have been favorites to win the National Championship for a few years now and this year is no different. Gonzaga has had talented teams for years and they proved that as they went to the National Championship game in 2017 and 2021 but just could never get over the hump. They come into this season as heavy favorites to finally grasp their first title in school history. Gonzaga loses a couple of key pieces from last season with Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert but they’re returning a talented group in addition to five-star point guard Hunter Sallis. Expectations are high yet again for this team and anything less than a championship at this point is a disappointment.
Even though the likes of Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers won’t be returning, hopes remain high for Michigan to be a National Championship team. They’ll also be missing a couple of other pieces that were relied on for minutes but if any team can overcome that, it’s the Wolverines. Head coach Juwan Howard has been busy as he had yet another offseason to remember. Not only did he snatch talented Coastal Carolina transfer Devante Jones but he recruited a top freshman class for this season. Group all of that with returning veterans and the National Player of the Year candidate, Hunter Dickinson, this team has all the makings of a very dangerous championship contender.
Jay Wright once again has Villanova in prime position to win another National Championship for the first time since 2018. The Wildcats return four starters from last season, including Collin Gillespie, who is the undisputed leader of this team and probably the most important player as well. Villanova also has two preseason Second-Team All-Big East selections and a bench that can score.
The center position will be flanked by Eric Dixon, a redshirt freshman who doesn’t have quite the experience as other players. There might be a few unknowns at the position, but he is serviceable and if anyone knows how to get around a potential “problem”, it’s Jay Wright. If Villanova can stay healthy, this team has a real chance to make a deep run at the championship.
UCLA was the surprise of the season last year, enjoying a cinderella run which included a trip to the Final Four. Unfortunately, it ended there but their rise to dominance is expected to bleed into this season. They’re tied with Villanova with the best odds to win the National Championship and why wouldn’t they be? UCLA will return almost everyone from their run last season and now they added some great depth to a team that already had reliable pieces.
They were inconsistent to begin the season in 2020 and weren’t looking like the team we come to know now. The Bruins are known for letdowns over the last several years when people expect more out of them but this team is different. If they can stay consistent all season and show some early season dominance, this team will be a force to be reckoned with.
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