After months of waiting, the NCAA Tournament has finally arrived. The bracket for 2021’s March Madness has officially been set and the odds are up on the board. Let’s take a look at which teams are expected to show well and which teams that are further down the board that offer value.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs (+210) are the front runners in this tournament right now. They are 26-0 and haven’t even played many games where they’ve come close to losing. The bracket was very kind to them this year, paving a nice path to the finals. The school was first in the NCAA in points scored per game due to the trio of Corey Kispert, Drew Timme and Jalen Suggs, who average 52.2 points when combined. It makes it even more impressive when you realize that all three of those young men shoot over 35 percent from three-point range. They are definitely the team to beat.
Baylor (+600) has a much tougher road in this tournament. They were defeated by Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament but had been so dominant throughout the year that they were still handed a No. 1 seed. Baylor should be able to keep up with any team in this bracket but did struggle against Kansas. They lost just once this year but it feels like they faded a bit down the stretch.
Illinois (+500) is one of the favorites in this tournament as they were ranked as the third-best team in the bracket overall. They have won 14 out of their last 15 games, entering this tournament on a hot streak. The duo of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn have provided enough explosiveness to help the team take down the No. 4 seed Oklahoma State, the No. 3 seed West Virginia and the No. 2 seed Houston.
The Alabama Crimson Tide (+1800) definitely have a chance to upset a lot of schools in this tournament. This team loves to shoot from deep while also prioritizing layups and completely eliminating the mid-range game. This has made them very efficient while also being one of the best defensive groups in the nation. Some would say that they live and die by the three ball, but their defense is so talented that they can compete with the best teams in the tournament on a good day.
Oklahoma State (+2500) is offering some value as well. Their main selling point is their best player Cade Cunningham, who has been projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and is currently the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year. The team has won eight of their past nine contests as well. One player can carry a team quite far in this tournament.
Oregon (+8000) is way down the board but could they make a splash? It hurts that they are in the same side as Gonzaga but there are multiple other teams in that spectrum that could be hurt due to injuries and COVID-19, which leaves the door open just a crack. They have Chris Duarte and Eugene Omoruyi, who provide a stable duo that is one of the most explosive in the tournament.