Gonzaga Enters NCAA Tournament as Favorites

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Posted on: March 13, 2022, 07:14h. 

Last updated on: March 13, 2022, 07:14h.

The field is set for the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and oddsmakers have set a clear favorite among the 68 teams.

Gonzaga Chet Holmgren
Gonzaga freshman forward finishes a dunk against San Francisco in last Monday’s West Coast Conference Tournament semifinal at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The Zags are the top seed and oddsmakers’ choice to win the NCAA Tournament, which starts this week across the country. (Image: GoZags.com)

Gonzaga, the overall top seed, is considered the team to beat during March Madness. Last year’s national runner-up lost its regular season finale at Saint Mary’s – another tournament team – but the Zags rebounded this past week and beat the Gaels 82-69 in Las Vegas to win the West Coast Conference Tournament.

They now get a favorable bracket leading to the Final Four and won’t have to leave the West Coast for the first two weekends, either. The only likely obstacle would be second-seeded Duke in a potential Elite Eight matchup in San Francisco.

As of Sunday night, FanDuel had Gonzaga at +300. BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and PointsBet all offered the Zags at +350.

Gonzaga will start its tournament with a first-round game against Georgia State in Portland, Ore. If they can avoid being the second-ever No. 1 regional seed to lose in their opener, they would get the winner of Boise State-Memphis on Saturday.

Besides Gonzaga, other teams earning top seeds in regionals include Arizona, Kansas, and Baylor.

Tournament action will begin Tuesday night with two nights of play-in games.

Arizona, Kentucky Also Considered NCAA Contenders

The oddsboards for the NCAA Tournament differ somewhat from the tops of the brackets.

Arizona, which is the top seed in the South region, is the consensus second pick of the oddsmakers. BetMGM, Caesars, FanDuel, and PointsBet have the Wildcats at +600, while DraftKings has them at +700.

It’s Arizona’s first tournament appearance since 2018, and first-year coach Tommy Lloyd is looking to take the vaunted program back to the Final Four for the first time in 21 years. The Wildcats won the Pac-12 Conference Tournament on Saturday.

Coming off a hard, emotional weekend, you catch your breath and then you kind of get your wits about you and then then you attack it like you have all year,” Lloyd said Sunday night. “We’re going to come out in attack mode. We want to play aggressive. We want to play loose. We want to have a ton of fun, and to be honest with you, I always tell the guys, there’s nothing wrong with trying to put on a little bit of a show for Wildcat Nation.”

The oddsmakers’ third choice is Kentucky. Those Wildcats missed out on a No. 1 seed thanks to their loss in the SEC Conference Tournament semifinal on Saturday. Nonetheless, coach John Calipari’s squad still earned the No. 2 seed in the East Region behind Baylor and have title odds ranging from +800 at BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and PointsBet to +850 at FanDuel.

One team whose odds vary wildly is Kansas. The top seed in the Midwest Region have +700 odds at PointsBet and +1400 at FanDuel. Duke’s another team that has ranging odds. BetMGM offers the Blue Devils at +1000 while FanDuel considers them a +1700 shot.

Baylor, the defending national champs, are +1000 at FanDuel and +1200 at BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and PointsBet.

Longshots Live for March Madness

What makes the tournament special are the longshots. Not just the smaller schools that knock off the big boys in the early rounds but the lower-seeded teams that a couple of top teams to get to the Final Four.

A couple possibilities for the latter description are Iowa and Tennessee.

Iowa won the Big Ten Conference tournament, and that conference has been considered the deepest in the NCAA this season. On Sunday night, the Hawkeyes odds ranged from +2200 at DraftKings to +3000 at Caesars. The Hawkeyes are the five-seed in the Midwest.

Tennessee, meanwhile, cut down the nets after the SEC Conference tournament title game Sunday. Despite that, the Volunteers were seeded third in the South behind Arizona and Villanova.

The odds on the Vols range from +1400 at DraftKings to +2500 at BetMGM and FanDuel.

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