There is only one weekend left in the 2021-22 men’s college basketball season, which was definitely a sad sentence to write just now.
At least college hoops fans are in for a treat this weekend, with four different blue-blood programs slated to square off in New Orleans. Kansas vs. Villanova, followed by North Carolina vs. Duke, should be a semifinal round to remember.
WynnBET adjusted the futures market ahead of the final weekend, so let’s take a look at our updated odds for the 2022 men’s college basketball national championship.
WynnBET’s national championship odds
(Updated Monday, March 28)
North Carolina +525
One trend to know
As I have mentioned in each one of these college basketball futures articles, there is a noteworthy trend related to Kenpom and the college basketball champion.
Ken Pomeroy created a website for advanced metrics for every college basketball team, which includes both offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency. Dating back to 2002, all but two teams that went on to win the national title have ranked inside the top-20 in adjusted efficiency on both sides of the ball.
As of Monday, only two of the four teams remaining fit that category.
Kansas | No. 7 offense, No. 17 defense
Duke | No. 1 offense, No. 45 defense
Villanova | No. 9 offense, No. 18 defense
North Carolina | No. 18 offense, No. 39 defense
Getting hot at the right time
That Kenpom trend suggests that both Duke and North Carolina would be outliers, based on their season-long defensive metrics. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible, especially since each of these four teams are now only two wins away.
So let’s adjust the parameters a bit. You can look at where these teams rank in certain metrics over a specific time period, using Bart Torvik’s analytics website. We know these teams are playing well down the stretch, otherwise they wouldn’t be here. But how do they compare to each other?
Since Feb. 1, Kansas is actually the nation’s best team via Torvik’s metrics. The Jayhawks rank fifth in adjusted offensive efficiency and fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Duke is the eighth-best team in the country since Feb. 1, with a No. 1 ranking on offense and an abysmal No. 105 ranking on defense. Villanova is 11th overall, thanks to a No. 15 ranking on offense and a No. 25 ranking on defense. North Carolina comes in at No. 12 overall, ranking 21st on offense and 20th on defense.
It seems pretty clear that these four teams have all put it together at the right time.
Why is Duke the favorite?
Whether you are talking about the whole season or just the last two months, the Kansas Jayhawks are the best team left in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. And, yet, it is Duke that is the favorite to win the 2022 men’s college basketball national championship.
There is a chance that public money played a part in this, with many bettors wanting head coach Mike Krzyzewski to get his sixth national title during his final season. The Blue Devils appear to have a more winnable game in the semifinal round, too, as Kenpom gives Duke a 64% chance of beating North Carolina while Kansas has just a 53% chance of defeating Villanova.
That said, if Kansas and Duke were to meet in the championship game, there is a good chance that Bill Self’s squad would be a small favorite when the betting lines were released. Because of that, I’d consider betting one of the other three teams — if you are looking to get invested in this market ahead of the final weekend.
As a person sitting on a 14/1 ticket for Kansas to win the national title, I will stay away and just hope for two more wins.