Gonzaga took its first loss in the last game of the season on Monday night in an 86-70 defeat to Baylor in the national championship game, but the Bulldogs opened as the early betting favorite to win the title in 2022. Early odds from William Hill Sportsbook have the Zags at +700 to take home the crown next season, edging out -- who else? -- the same team that just sent them packing. The Baylor Bears have the second-best odds in the field at +850.
There's a gap between those two and the next tier of contenders, much like this season was Baylor, Gonzaga and everyone else. Michigan, Duke and UCLA all fall in the next tier of contenders according to early odds, with the Wolverines leading the pack at +1200 followed by +1500 for Duke and +1600 for UCLA. Kansas, Florida State and Kentucky are in the next group all with +1800 odds.
Baylor blows out Gonzaga in shocking, dominant fashion. A championship edition of Eye on College Basketball recaps the national championship game.
If you trust the good judgment of Gary Parrish -- and you should, he was the one banging on the table for Gonzaga this time a year ago -- then I'd kindly point you in the direction of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Crimson Tide open at +2500 to win the championship in 2022, behind 12 other teams, but they are the No. 3 team in Parrish's never-too-early top 25 (and one) for next season. Here's what he wrote about Bama:
The Crimson Tide should return four of the top seven scorers from a team that won the SEC regular-season title and SEC Tournament - most notably Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly. The expected additions of five-star point guard JD Davison and four-star big Charles Bediako would give Nate Oats a chance at back-to-back conference championships.
Other interesting values include Purdue, a potential preseason top-10 team getting +4000 odds, as well as Michigan State, coached by Hall of Famer Tom Izzo, getting +3000 odds. Don't entirely hate the idea of taking a flier on Texas at that same number in the event Chris Beard instantly turns things around in Austin the way he did in Lubbock, Texas.
2022 NCAA Tournament odds
Odds via William Hill Sportsbook