Martin Green •
College Basketball Season Preview
A new NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball season gets underway when the Villanova Wildcats host Mount St. Mary’s at The Pavilion on Tuesday. It promises to be another exciting year for college basketball bettors, as the games will come in thick and fast until April. Read on for a detailed guide to the upcoming season.
When Does the College Basketball Regular Season Begin?
The regular season begins on Tuesday, November 9, when Villanova takes on Mount St. Mary’s in Pennsylvania. There are three big games taking place later that evening – Akron vs. Ohio State, MI State vs. Kansas and UConn vs. Central Connecticut – and then the likes of Gonzaga, UCLA, Texas, Michigan, Purdue, Duke, Illinois and Memphis are all in action. You can bet on games most days until the regular season draws to a close on March 13, 2022.
When Does March Madness Take Place in 2022?
The NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament will begin with the First Four on March 15, 2022. The First and Second Rounds are held across the country from March 17-20. The Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight will be held from March 24-27, and then all eyes will be upon the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, where the Final Four begins on April 2, followed by the Championship game on April 4. It will be the fifth time that New Orleans has hosted the Final, having previously done so in 1982, 1987, 1993, 2003, and 2012.
Which Team is the Reigning NCAA Division 1 Men’s Champion?
Baylor is the defending champion after it pulled off a shock 86-70 win against Gonzaga in the Championship game. The Zags were on the brink of a perfect season, having won 31 games in a row, and they were the heavy favorites to lift the trophy. However, Gonzaga could not cope with Baylor’s ferocious defense in the big game.
What are the Biggest College Basketball Transfers this Season?
The NCAA is now allowing instant eligibility for transfers, sparking a flurry of big moves ahead of the 2021-22 season. These are some of the biggest moves we have seen:
Remy Martin, Kansas
The veteran has decided to head to Kansas to link up with Bill Self for his additional year of eligibility. The dynamic point guard averaged 19.1 points, 3.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds at Arizona State last season, and he regularly dazzled with his individual brilliance. However, he also tends to frustrate with his wild man approach, so it will be fascinating to see how this move pans out. Will he mature like a fine Cognac or fail to live up to the hype?
Marcus Carr, Texas
Chris Beard will preside over a potentially brilliant team featuring newcomers Carr, Timmy Allen, Devin Askew, Christian Bishop, Dylan Disu and Tre Mitchell this season. They all have great potential, but Carr stands out after averaging 19.4 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game at Minnesota last year. He will be crucial to the Longhorns’ chances of going all the way.
James Akinjo, Baylor
Akinjo flourished alongside Martin at Arizona last year, where he was the leading scorer. The 6-foot-1 guard has now decided to head to Baylor as a senior with two years of eligibility remaining. Akinjo averaged 15.6 points and 5.4 assists while starting all 26 games last season.“James brings a wealth of experience at the high-major level and is a proven all-conference performer,” said Baylor’s championship-winning coach, Scott Drew. “He’s an extremely hard worker who is a tremendous culture fit. We can’t wait to get him on campus and into our program this summer.”
DeVante’ Jones, Michigan
Michigan pulled off a significant coup in signing Jones for Coastal Carolina. He was named Sun Belt’s Freshman of the Year in his debut season, and then Player of the Year in 2020-21 after averaging 19.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He will slot in alongside Eli Brooks to form an experienced backcourt for the Wolverines, and it will be exciting to see him operate in tandem with Hunter Dickinson.
Kellan Grady, Kentucky
Grady is one of several big signings at Kentucky, along with Oscar Tsiebwe and Sahvir Wheeler. He scored more than 2,000 points at Davidson, but it remains to be seen whether he can translate that form to the SEC.
Which Second-Year NCAAB Players are Poised for a Breakout Season?
We regularly witness promising freshmen develop into dominant sophomores in the opening stages of a college basketball season. These are the second-year players that could be poised for a breakout year:
Adama Sanogo, Connecticut
Sanogo has the potential to develop into the most devastating big man in the Big East. The 6-foot-9 center from Mali has a full summer of weight training under his belt, and he looks poised to blaze a trail of destruction across the conference.
Davonte Davis, Arkansas
“Devo” has always been a tremendous athlete, but he started to display a lot more poise and control on the court in the second half of the 2020-21 season. He ended with an average of 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, and he should put up much bigger numbers this season.
Andre Curbelo, Illinois
Curbelo will be the main man at Illinois this season after Ayo Dosunmu joined the Chicago Bulls. He plays at breakneck speed, and he is always entertaining to watch, so he could end the season as one of the top NCAA point guards.
Zach Edey, Purdue
This 7-foot-4 center could be a destructive weapon for Purdue if Matt Painter can get the best out of him. He managed 8.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in just under 15 minutes per game on average last year, and he should kick on in 2021-22.
Who are the Favorites to Win the 2021-22 NCAAB Championship?
The sportsbooks have released futures betting odds on the 2021-22 NCAA college basketball champion. These are the top contenders, with odds from FanDuel Sportsbook:
The Zags held the No. 1 ranking for every single day of the 2020-21 season. Their defeat to Baylor in the National Championship game was one of the biggest shocks we have seen in recent years. Big players have left, including star shooting guard Jalen Suggs, but Mark Few’s team remains the favorite to make amends and win a national title this year. A frightening backcourt duo of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren will lead the charge, making Gonzaga the team to beat once again this year.
Michigan finished top of the Big Ten with a 20-4 record last season, which earned it the No. 4 overall seed. The Wolverines were a little unlucky in their narrow Elite Eight defeat to UCLA, and they should go deep into the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament in 2022. They have built a strong team around Dickinson, Caleb Houstan and Jones, who chose Michigan ahead of Texas Tech, Texas and Memphis.
The new roster featuring Carr, Allen, Askew, Bishop, Disu and Mitchell could be lethal if it gels into an effective unit. Beard has an almighty task on his hands as he bids to make everything fit, but Texas certainly boasts great potential.
The Jayhawks endured their worst season from an offensive perspective during Bill Self’s tenure in 2020-21. He responded by signing Martin from Arizona and Jospeh Yesufu from Drake. That should make Kansas more threatening offensively.
Edey, Jadon Ivey, Mason Gillis and Brandon Newman should all improve as sophomores this year. Trevion Williams, who starred at the FIBA U19 World Cup in the summer, could also develop into a key player for Purdue. Williams, Ivey and Edy will be physically dominant in lots of games, and Purdue will take some stopping in the Big Ten.
The Wildcats will bid for the third National Championship in six years this season. They should continue to dominate their conference after welcoming Collin Gillespie back from an MCL tear. Jermaine Samuels, Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels will bring a great deal of experience to proceedings.
The most successful team in NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament history will return with another strong group of players this season. UCLA went all the way to the Final Four last season, and it did well to take the Zags to overtime in the National Semifinals, so it has impressive foundations in place. Key players have returned for another year with the Bruins, while the additions of Myles Johnson and Peyton Watson should make UCLA very dangerous in the spring.
This will be Mike Krzyzewski’s final year at the helm after enjoying a glittering 42-year career at Duke. He has secured five national titles, most recently in 2015, and he will naturally be keen to go out on a high. Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams and Theo John have all arrived to bolster Duke’s chances of success, and it is among the favorites for glory with the best sports betting sites in the country.