The new season is here and all college basketball fans will be starting to make their predictions about who can win this epic contest. Interestingly, many sportsbooks have the Gonzaga Bulldogs down as the favorites, while UCLA and Texas are both predicted to perform well. But what about the returning champion Baylor Bears? Or could either Michigan or Alabama take the crown?
Why Gonzaga are clear front-runners
While 2021 was an epic year for Baylor, their March Madness success saw them losing a number of important stars to the NBA in the offseason, and most of the best basketball odds sites have the Bears down as being extremely unlikely to repeat this current year’s success in 2022.
Gonzaga saw a few key players like Jalen Suggs and Joel Ayayi heading off to the NBA, but they have recruited smartly with towering players like Chet Holmgren. Plus by retaining the iconic presence of Drew Timme, it’s easy to see how Gonzaga will go all the way again this time around.
Although it’s debatable whether Gonzaga will go 30-0 once more with the departure of Tommy Lloyd, they are certainly the team to beat. Gonzaga’s defeat by Baylor in March was a devastating blow, but it could give the team the experience they need to succeed this time around.
UCLA, Texas and Michigan among the big contenders
Not that the 2022 March Madness will be Gonzaga’s for the taking. Many are expecting Texas to put in a big challenge with returning players like Courtney Ramey there to provide plenty of experience, while the addition of Chris Beard as head coach suggests that this could be a team to watch. If Beard manages to get to grips with the talent at his disposal, then Texas will take some beating.
Then there are the likes of UCLA who have plenty of proven scorers returning to action while newcomer Peyton Watson could be the joker in the pack. While UCLA has had some disappointing seasons in recent times, there’s enough strength in depth to get a big result this time around. Plus with the Michigan Wolverines having a very busy off-season, there’s enough here to provide Gonzaga with plenty of competition.
Other teams to watch in the 2022 March Madness
It’s already shaping up to be one of the best college basketball seasons in years with many teams making significant additions to their ranks. All eyes will be on Purdue who will once again be relying on the likes of Trevion Williams and Jaden Ivey to provide one of the toughest partnerships in college basketball. Plus with Sasha Stefanovic there to provide some scoring magic, Purdue could be the dark horses of this year’s contest.
Many sportsbooks have Alabama as outsiders for this year’s March Madness. Scorers like Jaden Shackelford have shown that they have performed consistently well and it’s going to be fascinating to see how stars like Nimari Burnett add depth to an unfairly underrated Alabama team.
Maryland could also cause a few upsets this time around. The team has made some significant upgrades to its roster with the acquisition of Qudus Wahab from Georgetown looking like an inspired move. Much will depend on how other key signings such as Fatts Russell settle in.
Plus there’s always the option that Memphis could cause a shock or two. The team made the wise move of signing Jalen Duren, who looks like a star in the making, and other incoming players include top-rated freshman Emoni Bates. Plus with extra depth provided by Deandre Williams, it could be a good year for Memphis.