The 2021-22 college hoops season is underway, with official games starting soon. The UCLA Bruins made a stunning run to the Final Four a season ago, and they are one of the favorites to cut down the nets this season.
The 2022 Final Four will be head in New Orleans, and the Bruins hope to be one of the final teams left standing. UCLA returns nearly all of the roster from a season ago and are even getting some players back from injury.
The current betting odds have UCLA at +1500 to win the NCAA Championship, which is the eighth-best odds in the country. It should come as no surprise that the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the betting favorites at +650.
Winning the NCAA title is extremely challenging, and the betting odds will be changing throughout the season. UCLA was able to play as a Cinderella team last season, but that won’t be the case in 2021-22.
Bruins Big Favorites in Pac-12
When it comes to the Pac-12 Conference, the oddsmakers like the Bruins’ chances of winning the title. The Bruins have odds set at +115 to win the Pac-12, which would be the first step towards making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Oregon and Arizona are next on the list, with odds set at +300 and +600, respectively. The Pac-12 Conference is not expected to be as strong as some of the other Power 5 Conferences, but it should be a league that is extremely competitive.
Coach K’s Final Season
Mike Krzyzewski has announced that this will be his final season on the bench for the Duke Blue Devils. Jon Scheyer has already been named the replacement at Duke, and this season will serve as a farewell tour for Coach K and the Blue Devils.
Duke has once again brought in a loaded recruiting class, and they should be a lock to get back to the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils have not had a ton of recent success in March Madness, but they should be a factor in the ACC.
The current betting lines have the Duke Blue Devils as the favorites to win the ACC at +230, which makes them the favorites. Florida State (+400), North Carolina (+500), and Virginia round out the top four.
How Will COVID-19 Affect Play?
While most professional sports organizations have provided updates on the vaccination status of certain teams, that information is not going to be available when it comes to college sports. The threat of COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, and it can certainly affect things as the season moves along.
Most college teams are going to be allowing fans back into the building this year, which will be a nice change of pace. The state of California continues to have strict policies against COVID-19, and that will have an impact on Pac-12 teams.
The Bruins have all of the pieces in place to go on another big run in March, but navigating through the season will once again be a challenge.