The summer is quickly coming to an end, especially where the NCAA is concerned. College football is nearly back and, while there’s still a bit of a wait for basketball – the season kicks off on November 25 – schools are already making preparations for the campaign.
Rosters are almost set for the grind and bettors are already taking advantage of NCAAB odds, with all of the top bookmakers offering picks.
While there’s still a bit of a way to go, now is actually a great time to assess rosters and point the early favorites out, which is exactly what we have done below.
The Bulldogs were unbeaten until the national championship game last season, going 30-0 before they clashed with the Baylor Bears. While they’ve lost Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi, they’re quite likely to go all the way next season. The Zags have brought star Drew Timme back, as well as Andrew Nembhard. They have also enrolled the No.2 recruiting class in the United States, which is led by Chet Holmgren, who is already touted as next year’s No.1 NBA Draft pick.
Gonzaga boasts the best collection of talent in the NCAA. It would be no surprise to see them crowned champions next April.
UCLA has returned four of its top five scorers while adding Peyton Watson, who could be a lottery pick in 2022. The college maintains its core, with Mick Cronin poised to lead them into battle. They should be exciting to watch and are tipped to win their league.
Texas has returned Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones but that’s more than can be said for the rest of the roster, which is pretty stacked with transfers. The school has also hired a first-year coach in Chris Beard. Texas is also touted to win its league and should also be great to watch.
There’s a lot to be had on Purdue in terms of value as they’re one of the most promising teams in the Big Ten. They have Jaden Ivey and Trevion Williams back, which is already as good as it gets as the pair make up one of the most dangerous combos in college basketball.
Zach Edey and Sasha Stefanovic are also back, leaving Purdue with the top four scorers from last season all still in their fold.
Alabama also represents great value heading into next season. The Crimson Tide are well placed to run it back after winning the SEC regular season and SEC Tournament the last time out. They have returned their top two scorers in Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly and have added some depth all around. J.D. Davison, a five-star point guard, and transfer guard Nimari Burnett are expected to be major contributors under Nate Oats too.
The Duke Blue Devils have made some key talent upgrades after going 13-11 last season, bringing in the likes of Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin, Trevor Keels, and Theo John. There are still questions looming, though, given that scouting for the 2022 draft class was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, there’s still value following the acquisitions of Banchero and Griffin, who could be All-American stars under Mike Krzyzewski. That Coach K is going into his last season is also reason to take a chance on Duke as he will want to go out on a high and everyone involved in the program will be keen on giving him that perfect sendoff.
Kansas & Kentucky
Both of these colleges present value for punters. They aren’t necessarily heavy on talent but Bill Self and John Calipari will give them the best chance to win, having built teams featuring a mix of transfers and experience. Kansas has several guards who could both rack up the points and create scoring opportunities for others.
Calipari has also fixed the shooting and shot creation problems and his frontcourt is quite formidable.
The long odds on Memphis also look to be top value as they have brought in a five-star player in Jalen Duren, a player tipped to go No.1 in the 2022 NBA Draft, as well as Emoni Bates, who is also a contender for that No.1 pick.
Transfers Earl Timberlake, Chandler Lawson, and Tyler Harris have also joined the program while the college’s top two scorers, Landers Nolley and Deandre Williams, are also returned. The Tigers are quite stacked and could have a pair of top-five picks in their squad, with Duke the only other team that could boast such.