As all college basketball bettors are aware, a national champion was not crowned for the 2019-20 season. However, sportsbooks are already looking ahead to the 2020-21 season and have compiled a list of the favorites to reach the Final Four.
The Baylor Bears were considered one of the favorites to win the 2019-20 national championship and if players such as Jared Butler and MaCio Teague do not move on to the NBA, the Bears are one of the consensus favorites to reach the Final Four. The Bears will have to deal with the likes of Kansas in the Big 12 Conference during the regular season but would likely not face their conference nemesis in the NCAA Tournament until the Elite Eight or Final Four.
Gonzaga is expected to reach the Final Four next season. The Bulldogs leading scorer and rebounder Filip Petrusev should return and Jalen Suggs a five-star recruit has committed to play for the Bulldogs. In addition, three of five starters from last season return. Both Gonzaga and Baylor are the current co-favorites (+125) to win the national title.
When the college basketball regular season was suspended in mid-March, one of the nation’s hottest teams was the Virginia Cavaliers. The Cavaliers have a top 10 recruiting class, including New Jersey’s top high school player Jabri Addur-Rahim, joining the squad. Virginia will lose Braxton Key and Mamadi Diakite, but five other top players return. With the third best odds to win the national title at +150, Virginia is one of the favorites to reach the Final Four.
Although the Kentucky Wildcats could lose three of their top players from last season to the NBA, head coach John Calipari has recruited an array of replacements. Immanuel Quickley. Nick Richards and Ashton Hagans are all expected to leave early but the list of five-star recruits joining the Wildcats is long and led by B.J. Boston one of the nation’s top high school shooting guards.
Kansas was one of the favorites to win this year’s national championship prior to the coronavirus outbreak but is expected to lose top players Devin Dotson and Udoka Azubuike, while Duke, a perennial national champion contender will lose Tre Jones, who declared for the NBA draft last week and Vernon Carey Jr., who is expected to follow Jones into the draft. Both Kansas and Duke are expected to have strong seasons nonetheless.
Picking a Final Four lineup for March Madness 2021 is difficult since many players at the college level have not yet declared whether they will remain in school and play next season or enter the NBA draft. Nevertheless, Gonzaga, Virginia, Baylor and Kentucky have talented corps’ expected to return and top recruits, making them the odds on favorites to be the last four standing in 2021.