2022 March Madness: Favorites and Sleepers to Win the National Title Ahead of Championship Week

2021-22 NCAAB March Madness faves sleepers

Beginning on March 3, conference tournament champions will start to be crowned across the nation to fill out the 2022 March Madness bracket to set up this year’s run of the NCAA men’s basketball national tournament. However, we can already start placing stakes on who’ll become the national champs as early as now, and here’s a nifty quick overview as to which teams are worth keeping tabs on at The Big Dance.

Read on for our selection of favorites and sleepers to win the NCAA men’s basketball national title ahead of Championship Week. And for even more college basketball coverage and the latest happenings from across the entire sporting world, head on over to Nitrogen Sports Blog after this.


Gonzaga Bulldogs (+480)

What more can be said about the college basketball dynasty over in Spokane? Mark Few and his Gonzaga Bulldogs have dominated the courts for the better part of the past two-plus decades and this season is no different, with the Bulldogs sporting a smashing 23-2 record to date.

Gonzaga is also currently first in both Net rating and KenPom rating, and second in the nation averaging a whopping 89.5 points per game this season. Last season’s holdouts from the team’s runner-up campaign in Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard are carrying the load nicely for the Bulldogs in search of its 17th conference title under Few.

Kentucky Wildcats (+750)

Last week’s huge 13-point loss to Tennessee saw the Kentucky Wildcats drop down to seventh place in the AP Top 25 polls. On the other hand, John Calipari and the boys from Lexington still have the second-best odds to win the national title to date only behind Gonzaga.

The Wildcats are currently third in Net rating and second in KenPom, which is also just a hair behind the Bulldogs’ status as auto-includes into The Big Dance. Kentucky is a game behind Auburn for the SEC lead, and it appears as though these two teams will meet for the conference title one last time before March Madness officially begins. The team lost to the Tigers this past January, 80-71, and would want nothing more than to oust its conference rivals to back up its claim as the second-best team in the nation odds-wise.

VIEW: Complete 2021-22 NCAA Men’s Basketball Season Futures Odds



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Dark Horses

Texas Longhorns (+4,500)

Despite going just 3-3 in the month of February thus far, two of those losses suffered by the No. 20 Texas Longhorns were against higher-seeded Texas Tech. Three of the team’s last four victories also came against ranked opponents in Kansas, Tennessee, and Iowa State.

On the other hand, the Longhorns are just 5-7 against teams in Quad 1 this season, which puts a cap to their potential as a true powerhouse program in the crowded Big 12. That being said, their last two regular-season games against the Jayhawks and the Baylor Bears (who handed Texas one of its three defeats this month) will be critical in gauging their sleeper value come March Madness proper. 

Alabama Crimson Tide (+5,000)

Not only are the Alabama Crimson Tide ruling the football field, but they’re also getting things done in the realm of hoops as the No. 24 team in the country to date. The backcourt tandem of Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackleford has been lights out, with the two combining for an average of 31 points per game.

However, Bama’s .500 record in conference play as of this writing goes to show that they’re still a step behind the rest of the SEC’s juggernauts. Nonetheless, the Tide are still trendy sleepers to roll their way to their best March Madness performance since last year’s unexpected Sweet 16 run.

VIEW: Complete 2021-22 NCAA Men’s Basketball Season Futures Odds

Huge Reach

SMU Mustangs (+15,000)

There’s still some time for the SMU Mustangs to usurp the No. 14 Houston Cougars from having the best record in the AAC’s final conference standings. Their two-point upset of the Cougars earlier this month sets up the rematch on the tail-end of February that will likely decide who’ll come out on top of the conference.

Then again, even if the Mustangs find themselves dancing in the national tournament as projected, their track record at The Big Dance has been less-than-stellar under six-year head coach Tim Jankovich. SMU only made it to the national tourney in Jankovich’s debut in 2016-17 and was ousted in the very first round at that. 

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Check out our sports betting guide after this to give your bet-handling skills a nice assist before slamming down your winning wagers throughout the 2021-22 NCAA men’s basketball season.

*All stated odds are subject to change without prior notice.

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