Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
There are just two teams left in college basketball that are unbeaten, and they are the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs of the West Coast Conference and No. 2 Baylor Bears of the Big 12. Neither program has won a national championship in the sport, but they are the two clear favorites to cut down the nets on April 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Selection Sunday is March 14, with the First Four taking place on March 18.
Gonzaga (+275) probably will reach the NCAA Tournament – which this season due to COVID is being played entirely in the greater Indianapolis area – unbeaten simply because the level of competition it faces in the WCC is rather weak overall. The Zags have two regular-season games left and both are at home: Thursday against Saint Mary’s and Saturday against San Diego. Gonzaga has won 47 straight games at home and 24 in a row overall dating to last season.
The Bulldogs lead the nation in scoring (93.1 ppg) and shooting (55.1 percent). They are essentially a lock to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga reached the national title game in 2017 and lost to North Carolina. The Zags were the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA men’s basketball selection committee’s mock bracket reveal Saturday.
Baylor (+300) has played a tougher schedule than Gonzaga simply because the Big 12 is so much better than the West Coast Conference – the Bears and Zags were supposed to play on December 5 at a neutral site but it was postponed for COVID reasons. Baylor hasn’t taken the court since February 2 due to COVID issues in the program. It reached the national title game way back in 1948 but lost to a powerhouse Kentucky team coached by the legendary Adolph Rupp.
The Big Ten hasn’t had a national champion since Michigan State in 2000 but has four legitimate contenders this season in Michigan (+800), Illinois (+1300), Ohio State (+1400) and Iowa (+1600).
The Wolverines returned Sunday from a nearly month-long COVID break and won at then-No. 21 Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes have arguably the country’s most dominant player in senior Luka Garza, who ranks first nationally in scoring at 24.5 ppg. Last season, Garza was recognized as the National Player of the Year by six national media outlets and certainly will get similar recognition this year.