Feb. 19, 2021

March Madness 2021: Gonzaga, Baylor, or the field?

March Madness 2021: Gonzaga, Baylor, or the field?

For those of you who don’t pay attention to college basketball until “it gets interesting”, it’s time.  Selection Sunday is March 14 with the First Four playing on March 18.  So, if you want to have any idea of who the contenders and pretenders are, now is the time to start paying attention.


Here is the full schedule:

  • Selection Sunday — 6 p.m. ET March 14
  • First Four — 4 p.m. start on Thursday, March 18
  • First round — 12 p.m. start on Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20
  • Second round — 12 p.m. start on Sunday, March 21, and Monday, March 22
  • Sweet 16 — 2 p.m. start on Saturday, March 27, and 1 p.m. start on Sunday, March 28
  • Elite Eight — 7 p.m. start on Monday, March 29, and 6 p.m. start on Tuesday, March 30
  • Final Four — 5 p.m. start on Saturday, April 3
  • NCAA championship game — 9 p.m. Monday, April 5

Of course, this is the era of COVID-19 so nothing is normal, and the NCAA tournament is not immune.  All games will be played in “bubbles” on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN, along with Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN.  Teams will practice at the Indiana Convention Center with multiple courts set up inside and all teams will be housed on dedicated floors in their hotel with special attention being paid to social distancing standards in meeting rooms and food halls.


Now that we’re into conference play the NCAA Men’s Division I landscape is becoming clear, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs remain the favorite.  Most credible basketball betting sites have Gonzaga as the +275 favorite, after being +450 in December.  After Gonzaga it’s the team that quite possibly matches up best against them on the court, the Baylor Bears at +300 in the odds.  Also in the odds placement are the Villanova Wildcats, who opened the season as the favorites, but are now at +1200.


Who to bet on?


Gonzaga has slaughtered their out-of-conference schedule including wins over the Virginia Cavaliers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Kansas Jayhawks, and the West Virginia Mountaineers.  Five of the Bulldogs’ 20 wins this season have come at the expense of ranked teams, with three of those in the top 10. 


Meanwhile, down south, the Baylor Bears have dominated the Big 12.  Their list of wins this season include Auburn, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Illinois.


Odds to win the 2021 NCAAB Championship (Top 10 odds)


Team                                       Odds

Gonzaga                                  +275

Baylor                                      +300

Michigan                                 +800

Villanova                                 +1200

Illinois                                      +1300

Houston                                  +1600

Iowa                                        +1600

Alabama                                  +1600

Creighton                                +2200

Ohio State                               +2200


Who’s your favorite?  You should decide now.  Because things are about to get interesting.