Baylor head coach Scott Drew talks to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, March 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
- Several college basketball heavyweights have seen their odds to win the 2022 national championship fade over the past two weeks
- As frontrunners Gonzaga and Villanova load up for a title run, reigning-champion Baylor will be rebuilding
- See the latest NCAA Tournament title futures and how they compare to the opening odds
Gonzaga landed the top recruit in the nation (Chet Holmgren) on Monday and the Bulldogs’ odds to win the 2022 national championship immediately improved.
Holmgren’s commitment to Gonzaga was preceded by senior point guard Collin Gillespie’s return to Villanova. Gillespie was granted an extra year of eligibility after a season-ending knee injury forced him to miss the 2021 Big East Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
Both Gonzaga and Villanova have gotten considerably shorter in the 2022 title futures as a result. Gonzaga, already the favorite, shortened from +900 to +700. Villanova now sits second at +900 after opening at +1400.
As the Zags and Nova rise, a number of top contenders are trending in the opposite direction, Baylor (+1200 to +1700), Houston (+1500 to +1700), and Florida State (+1200 to +2000) among them.
2022 NCAA Tournament Championship Odds
|Team||Current Odds||April 6th Odds||Trending|
Odds as of April 19 at DraftKings.
Baylor Is Losing (Almost) Everything
Baylor’s 2021 national-championship run was spearheaded by a three-guard lineup of Jared Butler (16.7 PPG, 4.8 APG in 30.3 MPG), MaCio Teague (15.9 PPG, 1.7 APG in 31.7 MPG), and Davion “Off Night” Mitchell (14.0 PPG, 5.5 APG in 33.0 MPG). They were 1-2-3 on the team in scoring, assists, and minutes.
Senior Teague is out of eligibility and juniors Butler and Mitchell are headed to the pros.
Leading rebounder and fifth-leading scorer, Mark Vital, is also graduating.
Scott Drew’s 2021-22 lineup will be led by junior Adam Flagler and senior Matthew Mayer along with two top-25 recruits: Kendall Brown, a 6’8 wing, and Langston Love, a 6’4 two-guard.
There is enough talent on the roster for Baylor to maintain a top-15 ranking, but Drew is basically starting over with four new starters.
The Seminoles Have Reinforcements Coming In
At first glance, Florida State is basically Baylor-light. Leonard Hamilton will have to replace four of his top-five scorers from last season: MJ Walker, RaiQuan Gray, Scottie Barnes, and Balsa Koprivica.
While the Noles bring in three four-star recruits, highlighted by 6’6 wing Matt Cleveland, they aren’t adding anyone on the level of Barnes, who will be a lottery pick in July.
Hamilton is losing 56.3% of his scoring production – which is not as much as Drew over in Waco – but his team wasn’t as good to begin with and has a worse recruiting class.
But Hamilton landed a huge piece in the transfer portal in the form of erstwhile Houston guard Caleb Mills. As a redshirt freshman, Mills showed NBA-level promise for the Cougars, averaging 13.2 points in 22.5 minutes per game.
Assuming he’s fully recovered from a minor ankle injury that caused him to miss some time early last season, he could very well emerge as the leader of Hamilton’s 2021-22 team.
Houston Has More Than One Problem
Mills’ former team, the Houston Cougars, made it all the way to the Final Four last season despite the sophomore bowing out after just four games. Houston’s run to the semifinals was powered by point guard Quentin Grimes, a Kansas transfer and former top-ten recruit.
Grimes, who led Houston in scoring (17.8 PPG) and assists (5.7APG), has declared for the 2021 NBA Draft, while third-leading scorer Dejon Jarreau (10.6 PPG) and leading rebounder Justin Gorham (8.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG) are both graduating.
Marcus Sasser (13.7 PPG) will be the undisputed leader of Kelvin Sampson’s team next season, and he will need to be dynamite if Houston is going to make an impact on the national scene. The Cougars don’t have a single top-100 recruit coming in nor any notable transfers.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.