Can anyone beat Gonzaga?
Mark Few’s squad began this season as the best team in the nation, and it is hoping to end this season as the best team in the nation as well. The Bulldogs were the obvious choice for the No. 1 overall seed, and they begin their quest to become one of the best teams in NCAA history on Saturday.
So again, can anyone in the field beat Gonzaga?
Finishing Perfect is Not Easy
Gonzaga has an unblemished 26-0 record and is the first unbeaten team to enter the NCAA Tournament since the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats. Overall, Gonzaga is the 20th team to begin the tournament without a loss.
But before you put everything you have on Gonzaga to finish the season at 32-0, consider that of the previous 19 unbeatens, only seven of them actually won the national championship. And some of the most talented teams in history carry the infamous tag of regular-season champs but failures in March.
Like that Kentucky team in 2015, which finished 38-1 after a Final Four defeat by Wisconsin. Or perhaps the best team in college basketball history, UNLV, which with its three NBA lottery picks (Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon), which lost to Duke in the national semifinals to go 34-1.
There have been seven wire-to-wire NCAA basketball champions, but also nine champions that began the season unranked.
So yes, it’s very possible, even likely, that someone will beat Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs will not finish the season as the champions.
There are a number of teams that pose a threat to Gonzaga’s run at history. The team that most scares the bookmakers is Michigan, which at one point in December was taking championship action that paid 125-1. The Wolverines are clearly the biggest liability for bookmakers.
The biggest challenger to Gonzaga might be the other Big Ten team to grab a No. 1 seed, Illinois. The Illini won their conference tournament, so they head into the tournament on a winning streak.
They are battle-tested, having played in what has been the best conference this season and with wins over both Michigan and Ohio State. And Oklahoma State is the most difficult challenge on the Illinois side of the Midwest’s bracket.
Baylor is the No. 1 seed in the South and is drawing the second-best odds in the tournament field, trailing only Gonzaga. The Bears finished the season 22-2, with their only two losses to coming No. 3 seed Kansas and No. 4 seed Oklahoma State.
Sadly, COVID-19 troubles canceled a game in December between Baylor and Gonzaga that would have given us all tournament talking points and a possible preview of the national championship game.
Pay Per Head Software
It’s all about college hoops for the next three weeks and all about picking the winners and upsets. And if you are an independent bookmaker, it’s all about maximizing your take this time of year. That is why now is the time to partner with a top pay per head software provider.