The March Madness bracket is officially set and action is right around the corner. There are a few teams that have solidified themselves as favorites in this tournament but as we know, there will be upsets galore. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the favorites and longshots that are looking good heading into the NCAA Tournament.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs (+350) are the favorites to win it all. However, they haven’t been able to get over the hump in recent years. This may be their best opportunity, though. They are coming into the tournament with the projected No. 1 overall pick in the next NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren, and have Drew Timme help him out in the frontcourt. There are few teams that can match Gonzaga when it comes to frontcourt talent.
The Duke Blue Devils (+1000) seem to be another team that has fans buzzing. With coach Mike Krzyzewski failing to get a win in his final home game, the team could be more motivated than ever before to try and send the legendary coach out with a bang. Duke has a lot of talent across their roster as made apparent by their huge victory over Gonzaga back in November. Throw in what seems to be a seemingly modest path to the Final Four and Duke looks good.
The last favorite here would be the Arizona Wildcats (+650). Arizona has somehow flown under the radar because they play in the Pac-12, but they have been excellent this season. The offense is really what sets this team apart from the rest of the pack. They are led by a projected NBA lottery pick Bennedict Mathurin. Alongside him is a plethora of solid guards and wings that make them incredibly deep. And they have Christian Koloko and Oumar Ballo acting as a phenomenal rim-protecting duo on the other end.
The Houston Cougars (+4000) are the first name that comes to mind as a value play. Houston was able to make it all the way into the Final Four last year and despite having relatively low odds this time around, they have the experience necessary to make a splash. They rank third in average margin of victory this season at 16.9. Even with a mediocre strength of schedule, they are clearly strong enough to take down anybody that comes in their way. The Cougars could be a nice sleeper.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders (+2000) are another longshot in the tournament. This is a squad that had so many injuries to deal with all season and yet was able to finish third in the Big 12 behind Kansas and Baylor. Terrence Shannon Jr. missed 11 games for them and Kevin McCullar missed eight, and these two are two of their leading scorers. If they are able to remain healthy, they could make a surprising run.
Finally, we come to the Iowa Hawkeyes (+3500). Iowa is enticing because they have the country’s fourth-best scorer this season in Keegan Murray. He averaged 23.6 points per game this season and was the first player in Big Ten Tournament history to drop three consecutive 25-point games. They were 12-2 in their final 14 games as well after a slow 14-7 start. Iowa could end up coming on strong.