The 2020-21 NCAAB season tips off Wednesday, November 25, two weeks later than it was originally scheduled. The pandemic crisis seriously affects both professional and collegiate sports, but we all hope basketball will be played this season.
The bookies have already announced the future odds, so I bring you the latest update along with a few tips and news for the upcoming college basketball season.
The Council reduced the maximum number of contests by four, while a minimum of four non-conference games is recommended. Some of the leagues have already released their conference schedules including Big 12 and SEC, while Selection Sunday is set for March 14, 2021.
Of course, all dates are subject to change due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Big Dance should start with the First Four on March 16.
2021 NCAAB Championship Winner Odds
According to BetOnline:
Michigan State +1800
Texas Tech +1800
North Carolina +2500
Florida State +2800
West Virginia +3300
Arizona State +4000
Ohio State +4000
Early Projections and College Basketball Future Picks
Interestingly, the 2020 NBA Draft will be held just a week before the start of the new college basketball season. The Villanova Wildcats will lose their leading scorer Saddiq Bey, who’ll join the big boys, but they are still listed as one of the strongest favorites to win the 2021 NCAA championship.
The Wildcats will return four starters aside from Bey. They’ve won 24 or more games in each of the previous seven seasons while becoming the national champions in 2016 and 2018. Under head coach Jay Wright, the Wildcats have become a true force, so look after them this term.
As well as Villanova, the Iowa Hawkeyes are set at +1000 odds to win the title in 2021. They were +2500 underdogs just a week ago, so there could’ve been some early bets on the Hawkeyes.
Luka Garza decided to withdraw from the draft and return for his senior season at Iowa. The 6-foot-11 center had a tremendous junior year, averaging 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, so the Hawkeyes hope he’ll extend his dominance and help the team win its first national championship.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are topping the bookies’ list with +900 odds to win the NCAAB title this season even though they lost Filip Petrusev, who averaged 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds last year. Still, Corey Kispert will look to build on his solid junior year (13.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG), while Joel Ayayi (10.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.2 APG) will continue to drive the Bulldogs’ offense.
Furthermore, the Zags acquired a couple of tremendous freshmen in Jalen Suggs and Julian Strawther, so they are top favorites for a reason. While Strawther was the all-time leading scorer in Liberty High School, Suggs is the highest-ranked recruit to ever sign with Gonzaga.
Under Mike Krzyzewski, the Duke Blue Devils are always strong favorites to win the championship, as well as the Michigan State Spartans with Tom Izzo at the helm. Once more, Coach K has a very young and inexperienced team with six freshmen and four sophomores on the roster, while Izzo has a bit more experience on his disposure.
Still, the Spartans lost both Cassius Winston (18.6 PPG, 5.9 APG) and Xavier Tillman (13.7 PPG, 10.3 RPG), so I think Duke is a better pick than Michigan State.
Whoever you take, some hefty wages are guaranteed. Both Baylor and Kentucky sit at +1200 on BetOnline and certainly possess enough firepower to go far this season. The Bears return three key players from the previous season, while the Wildcats’ entire starting lineup left for the pros.
Kentucky will lean on a bunch of freshmen, so I’m going to shy away, though there are some very talented kids on the Wildcats’ roster.
A similar situation is with the Kansas Jayhawks who lost both Devon Dotson (18.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG) and Udoka Azubuike (13.7 PPG, 10.5 RPG). The Texas Tech Red Raiders lost both their leading scorers, too, while Virginia cannot count on last year’s senior Mamadi Diakite (13.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG), but the 2019 NCAA champs have been among the best in the nation over the last ten years.
My Pick: Baylor Bears at +1200
I’m going with the Baylor Bears to win the 2021 NCAA championship at +1200 odds mostly because they are returning three leading scorers from the previous season. Jared Butler (16.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG) could be the best returning player in the nation, while both MaCio Teague (13.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG) and Davion Mitchell (9.9 PPG, 3.8 APG) played exceptionally well last term.
Baylor finished the previous season with a 26-4 overall record and 15-3 in the Big 12 play. The Bears had the seventh-best scoring defense in the nation, yielding just 60.1 points per contest.
Under Scott Drew, the Bears reached the Big Dance eight times in the last 13 seasons including a couple of Elite Eight appearances. I think this is a great opportunity for the 1948 vice-champs to finally win their first title.