While it feels like just yesterday the Baylor Bears stunned the then undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship Game, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to next season. Countless teams are ready to make plenty of noise, of course including Mark Few’s Bulldogs. In this article, we’re taking an early view at things and offering up our NCAAB futures picks for the 2021-22 season.
Gonzaga holds the No. 1 odds to win the NCAA title next year
As you might have been able to guess, Gonzaga holds the No. 1 odds to win the NCAA title next year. This really should come as no surprise, as the Bulldogs are welcoming back the key pieces of their lineup that nearly recorded a perfect season in 2020-21. Gonzaga indeed had an undefeated record going into the title game, but Baylor dominated them from the opening tip and took home the trophy.
After that loss, Few’s guys have only been motivated by things and are ready to try and compete for the ‘natty’ next year. There’s been some big news this offseason, which of course includes Drew Timme announcing that he’ll postpone pursuing his NBA dreams and return to Gonzaga next year. That’s of course huge for Few. Plus, the team has brought in the No. 2 recruiting class in the country for 2021, highlighted by 5-star big man Chet Holmgren.
“After reviewing options with my family, I’ve decided to return to Gonzaga,” Timme said recently. “I am excited to come back to Spokane and continue my collegiate career. I appreciate everything I’ve learned so far from the Gonzaga coaching staff, and look forward to growing my game more. I love playing at GU, being a part of the program, and can’t wait to play in front of the best fans in the country again.”
With Timme, who averaged 19 points and seven rebounds last season, all set to return to Spokane to suit up for the Bulldogs, Gonzaga has plenty of hype leading up to next year. The Las Vegas Sportsbooks have given them +750 odds to win the national title, while Michigan and UCLA are both tied in second with their +1100 odds. While GU is a sexy choice to win it all. We’re actually not going with them.
Michigan is our pick to win the National Championship next season
That’s because Michigan is our pick to win the National Championship next season over Gonzaga. While GU is no question an elite powerhouse and one of the best teams in the country, them playing in the WCC continues to haunt them. Yes, Gonzaga beat some powerful teams last year, but they’re not used to the grueling schedule teams in the Big Ten, ACC and others are used to.
This has proven to be tough for them in the NCAA tournament. It was clear as day too when they went up against Baylor, with the Bears really looking like the superior team. With that said, Michigan is the favorite to win the Big Ten and we think they can end up going all the way. Head coach Juwan Howard continues to absolutely crush it out on the recruiting trail.
On top of that, Michigan received massive news as well this spring when senior guard Eli Brooks announced that he’ll be returning to Ann Arbor for his final season of eligibility. Brooks started 25 games for the Wolverines last year and was one of the best passers in the conference. He’s also a terrific 3-point shooter, which will prove to be huge for Michigan come 2021-22.
With a tough Big Ten schedule, which of course features contests against Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin and others, Michigan knows what it takes to come out on top of some elite tilts. We have a strong feeling this will be their year as well, with the national powerhouse ready to try and bring the title back to Ann Arbor. They have +1100 odds. If you agree they’ll win, be sure to check out our betting sites, such as Bovada, to get a wager in.
Look for Juwan Howard to be named Coach of the Year
With us expecting Michigan to compete for the national title, look for Juwan Howard to be named Coach of the Year next spring. While the odds haven’t been released for the Coach of the Year just yet, you have got to figure that Howard will be in the thick of things. Few will of course be in the conversation as well, as he continues to do amazing things with Gonzaga’s program.
Howard has been outstanding too, though. Howard has said time and time again that returning to Michigan has been a dream come true for him, which is why he’s turned down NBA opportunities. He was a standout for the Wolverines during his playing days and now he’s back at his alma mater trying to bring home a National Championship. With his strong recruiting efforts and development of the players, he’d be a top pick for COY.
Should Michigan go on to win the Big Ten – arguably the best conference for college basketball – and then go on to win a National Championship, how in the world could he not be the Coach of the Year? We’re expecting big things from Michigan next campaign and Howard will of course be in the driver’s seat to make that happen. He’s no question our pick as the best coach in the country for next season.