NCAAB: Gonzaga, Michigan, and Villanova early favorites


NCAAB: Gonzaga, Michigan, and Villanova early favorites


The future stars of the NBA are ready to showcase their talent, as the 2021-22 season of college basketball is about to start, with the NCAA Division I tip-off slated for November 9, with the Champions Classic matchups between Kentucky and Duke, as well as Kansas and Michigan State. The regular season of the 83rd edition of the men’s basketball tournament will run through March 13, 2022.

The 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is scheduled to begin on March 15, with the Final Four slated for April 2, and the Championship game expected to be played on April 4, at the Caesars Superdome, in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is the sixth time New Orleans will host the Final Four, having previously hosted in 1982, 1987, 1993, 2003, and 2012.

With new legislation that extended the “one-time transfer exception” to all Division I sports – but also in part due to the delayed deadline for the NBA draft – the summer was busier than usual, as significant roster changes and commitments took place in August, shifting the early rankings ahead of the upcoming season. This season will also mark Coach K’s last year as Duke’s head coach, as he announced his retirement following the 2021-22 season.

Ahead of the season tip-off, Gonzaga remains the odd-on favorite to win the 2022 NCAA Championship, at +650 odds – sports betting fans can click here to claim a special bonus and start placing wagers on the 2021-22 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. With a significant drop off in odds, Michigan and Villanova are following behind, at +1200 and +1400 odds respectively.


Gonzaga Bulldogs


After being defeated by Baylor in the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Game, Gonzaga enters the season as the favorite to lift the trophy at the end of the 2021-22 season. With the return of power forward Drew Timme – the Wooden Award favorite –  and the arrival of center Chet Holmgren – the No. 1 prospect in the 2021 high school class – the Bulldogs have potentially one of the best frontcourts in the country.

Head coach Mark Few will also be able to count on the return of Andrew Nembhard, who was a key cog in the NCAA tournament run last season, as well as Iowa State transfer Rasir Bolton, who earned Third Team All-Big 12 honors last season. If Coach Few is able to put up a good offense as he did last season, this team is capable of wreaking havoc in the West Coast Conference, so a title run is not out of sight.


Michigan Wolverines

In their third season under head coach Juwan Howard – who led the team to the No. 1 seed and Big Ten regular-season title last year – Michigan is expected to achieve big things in the upcoming season. With the return of All-American center Hunter Dickinson, veteran guard Eli Brooks, and senior forward Brandon Johns Jr., the Wolverines should be able to carry their momentum over to this season and remain close to the top of the rankings in the Big Ten Conference.

With the addition of former Coastal Carolina point guard DeVante’ Jones, an outstanding two-way player and high-level playmaker, and consensus five-star recruits Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan, both expected to have extended roles immediately, Michigan will have to rely on many newcomers quickly adapting to Howard’s offensive game. However, as he displayed last season, Howard has the talent to keep Michigan in contention for a postseason appearance and good run on March Madness.


Villanova Wildcats

With the return of Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels, both taking advantage of the extra year of athletic eligibility granted by the NCAA as result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Villanova instantly became a top-five team nationally. Gillespie is one of the best point guards in the country, and Samuels was one of the most efficient players in the Big East conference last season. Under coach Jay Wright, who is entering his 20th season as the Wildcats’ head coach, this team has enough talent to blast through the opposition this season.

The Wildcats also have a deep and skilled perimeter, especially in the likes of junior Brandon Slater and freshman Trey Patterson. Despite losing the 2021 co-Big East Player of the Year Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who declared for the 2021 NBA Draft, and longtime assistant coach Kyle Neptune, who became head coach at Fordham, Wright still has a competitive team that can reach the Final Four.

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