March Madness Odds: Gonzaga And Virginia Open As Co-Favorites For 2021 NCAA Tournament

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March Madness logo (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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After the unfortunate cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, college basketball fans have little left to do but look forward to next year. Selection Sunday would have been tomorrow, but instead of filling out brackets and getting ready to enter March Madness pools, bettors will have to settle on making futures bets for when the sport resumes, presumably for the scheduled start of the 2020-21 campaign in eight months. Bookmakers have already released an updated list of championship odds for all the contenders, a group that is headlined by Gonzaga and Virginia at 9-1.

It’s hardly a shock to see the Bulldogs at the top of the table, as they appeared poised for a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance after winning the West Coast conference tournament, bringing their record to an outstanding 32-2 for the season. The Zags were sitting at No. 2 in what wound up being the final AP Top 25 poll of the season and were also one of the heaviest pre-tourney favorites going into March Madness.

It may bit of a surprise to see the Cavaliers regarded so highly, as they were only ranked No. 17 in the last AP Top 25 poll and had compiled a respectable, but far from incredible, 23-7 record going into their opening matchup of the ACC tournament. The Wahoos did go on an 11-1 run over their final 12 games, however, and should be returning several key players, including sophomore guard Kihei Clark and junior forward Jay Huff, in addition to adding a handful of prized recruits into the mix. The school remains the reigning champion for another season and have proven that head coach Tony Bennett’s plodding style of play can win when it matters most, so don’t sleep on UVA to defend its title when it finally gets the opportunity to.

CBS Sports revealed that the NCAA may still reveal what the 2020 NCAA Tournament bracket would have looked like:

Kansas, the team many thought was in the best position to win it all this year and seemed to be well on its way to the No. 1 overall seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament, is slightly behind at 10-1 to cut down the nets next year. The Jayhawks finished their campaign with a 28-3 record and had won 16 straight ahead of the start of the Big 12 tournament. The squad, which was ranked No. 1 in the final AP poll, will be losing some key contributors, most notably center Udoka Azubuike, who earned Player of the Year honors after averaging 13.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in 2019-20. Still, KU will have plenty of talent on the floor next season and is practically a shoo-in to extend its record streak of 30 consecutive years with an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Jeff Goodman tweeted out the reaction of an anonymous coach whose team had punched its ticket to the Big Dance upon hearing organizers had cancelled the event:

There are plenty of other March Madness fixtures at the top of the list of 2021 NCAA Tournament favorites, including the usual blue bloods like Kentucky (12-1), Duke (14-1) and Michigan State (14-1). There are also some mid-major programs that are getting plenty of respect from oddsmakers, notably Creighton at 14-1. The Bluejays notched a 24-7 record and a share of the Big East title this year, proving their mettle by beating a slew of ranked opponents such as Seton Hall, Butler, Marquette, Villanova and Texas Tech. Each of Creighton’s top four scorers (Ty-Shon Alexander, Marcus Zegarowski, Denzel Mahoney and Mitch Ballock) has at least one year of eligibility left, which means the program should even more dangerous if they all return and gain another season of experience before March Madness begins in 2021.

With that in mind, here is a look at the complete list of odds for every projected contender for the 2021 NCAA Tournament courtesy of SportsBetting.ag

2021 NCAA Tournament National Championship Odds

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  • Gonzaga +900
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  • Virginia +900
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  • Kansas +1000
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  • Baylor +1200
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  • Kentucky +1200
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  • Creighton +1400
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  • Duke +1400
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  • Michigan State +1400
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  • Florida State +1600
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  • Dayton +2500
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  • Florida +2500
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  • Louisville +2500
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  • San Diego State +2500
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  • Texas +2500
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  • Wisconsin +2500
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  • Ohio State +2800
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  • Oregon +2800
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  • Texas Tech +2800
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  • Villanova +2800
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  • West Virginia +2800
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  • Michigan +3300
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  • Houston +4000
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  • Connecticut +5000
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  • Illinois +5000
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  • Indiana +5000
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  • Iowa +5000
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  • Miami +5000
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  • Penn State +5000
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  • Purdue +5000
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  • Tennessee +5000