Villanova is losing leading scorer Saddiq Bey to the NBA Draft after his breakout sophomore season, but that's not stopping the Wildcats from achieving early status as a favorite to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Jay Wright's squad opened with 20-1 odds to win the national championship in March, rose to 15-1 over this summer and is now at 10-1, according to the William Hill Sportsbook. Villanova's offseason ascension puts it on par with Gonzaga and Duke as a co-favorite to win it all in the upcoming college basketball season as the Wildcats return their four remaining starters aside from Bey.
Villanova's rise up the odds sheet comes as Kentucky and Kansas have each fallen from their initial spots as co-favorites with Duke and Gonzaga at 10-1. Kentucky now holds 14-1 odds while Kansas is at 12-1.
Some other teams have made significant jumps up the odds list during the offseason. Tennessee opened with 50-1 odds in March, improved to 35-1 this summer and is now at 25-1 after forward Yves Pons, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, announced he plans to return for his senior season.
Texas Tech also started the offseason with 50-1 odds, rose to 30-1 over the summer and now stands at 25-1 after coach Chris Beard reloaded the team's roster with transfers and the Big 12's top-rated recruiting class.
The biggest mover among potential national title contenders, though, is Illinois. The Illini opened with 75-1 odds as stars Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn explored the possibility of remaining in the NBA Draft. But both players withdrew their names from draft consideration, so Illinois now holds 35-1 odds.
Here are the full odds via William Hill for the 2020-21 college basketball national champion: