One of the most exciting annual showcases in North America, the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is set to tip off later this month. In the 2021 edition of the tournament, the Baylor Bears won their first-ever NCAA men’s basketball title while the Gonzaga Bulldogs came up short in their second-ever Final Four and their second title game. Rounding up the Final Four from last year were the UCLA Bruins and the Houston Cougars.
In this article, SBS will break down the top four teams positioned to win the NCAA Tournament this year and who ultimately will take home the crown.
|Odds to Win NCAAB Men's National Championship|
|Duke Blue Devils||+1200|
The reigning kings of the West Coast Conference, and they have been for some time, the Zags are seeking their first-ever national title in 2022. Led by long-time head coach Mark Few in his 23rd season at the helm, Gonzaga compiled a 26-3 record over the regular season, including a 13-1 mark in conference play. The Zags were their normal dominant selves in conference play, but they did have some slip-ups earlier in the year against quality competition. They lost to Duke (84-81) at the Continental Tire Challenge in November and then to Alabama (91-82) at the Battle in Seattle in December. However, Gonzaga is a bonafide No. 1 seed and they have earned that spot.
The Pac-12 regular-season champions, Arizona is on a torrid hot streak under first-year head coach Tommy Lloyd. A fierce squad, the Cats have compiled a regular-season record of 28-3, including an impressive mark of 18-2 in Pac-12 conference play. The Wildcats had a particularly stacked roster this year with multiple players taking home postseason honors. From Pac-12 Player of the Year (Bennedict Mathurin) to Defensive Player of the Year (Christian Koloko), Arizona is riding a huge wave of momentum into the tournament.
One of the blue-bloods on this list, Kentucky is aiming for its ninth NCAA title in 2022. The most successful NCAA Division I basketball program in terms of all-time wins, the Wildcats are back near the mountaintop of college basketball. Headed up by coach John Calipari, in his 13th year, Kentucky stormed through the regular season to the tune of a 25-6 record. While the Wildcats had a record of 14-4 in the SEC, they did get upended by both Duke and Auburn during the regular season.
In coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season leading Duke, the Blue Devils are having another amazing year. Duke has wrapped up another formidable regular season (27-5) in Coach K’s 42nd season at the helm. While the Blue Devils came up short against North Carolina in their home regular-season finale, they still have a ton of offensive firepower to hang with any team in the country. Perhaps more than any other team in the country, Duke is playing for a lot more than just a title as they try to send off their legendary head coach.
Prediction: The NCAA Tournament is always difficult to pin down given the wide-open nature of the tournament. However, look for a dormant power to win the title in 2022 with Arizona taking home the hardware.
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