- This week, NCAA men’s basketball returns with the NIT Season Tip-off (Nov. 25) and the Wooden Legacy tournament (Nov. 26)
- The Final Four is scheduled for April 3-5, 2021, and there are 11 teams with odds of +300 or shorter to make it there
- Find Final Four odds for all Power Six teams, plus our top pick from each conference, in the article below
This Wednesday, college basketball will be back. Finally.
The men’s NIT Season Tip-Off begins on Nov. 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, followed by the Wooden Legacy tournament in Anaheim on Nov. 26. Fast forward to April 3-5, 2021, and the Final Four will be underway (or so we hope) in Indianapolis.
But who will make it all the way to the coveted national semifinals? Let’s take a look at the odds, then discuss one noteworthy pick per conference.
2021 Final Four Odds
|Big 12 Teams||Odds|
|Big East Teams||Odds|
|Big Ten Teams||Odds|
|Pac 12 Teams||Odds|
Odds as of Nov. 20 at FanDuel.
ACC Pick: North Carolina (+650)
The Tar Heels are one of just two teams with multiple incoming freshmen ranked in 247 Sports’ top-15 composite rankings (the other team is listed below). As is often the case for blue blood programs, they have significant talent leaving every year — but they are among the best at reloading.
With point guard Caleb Love, ranked No. 14 in the freshman class, North Carolina hopes to replace the production of Cole Anthony (who was picked in Wednesday’s NBA draft). And new center Day’Ron Sharpe, ranked No. 15, should be able to do plenty of damage, too.
Pretty sweet gather and space creation for the pull-up 3 from Caleb Love. Big-time shooter pic.twitter.com/SejBk4W5pm
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) November 12, 2020
Redshirt freshman guard Anthony Harris will not play in UNC’s opener as he continues recovering from a knee injury, but he’s expected back soon and should have a huge impact with this team as well.
Big 12 Pick: Baylor (+165)
We don’t know much about the 2020-21 college basketball season yet, but we know this: KenPom loves Baylor. In the 2021 team rankings on KenPom.com, Baylor ranks No. 1 in the site’s most important metric — adjusted efficiency margin.
How much does that mean right now, at a time when no schools have played? Very little, I’d imagine. But it’s what we have to go off of, and that makes it exciting.
“It was a great option for me.”
Testing the waters with the @NBA gave Jared Butler a chance to make the best decision about his future with the flexibility to return to @BaylorMBB. pic.twitter.com/NF5AOtrYjC
— NCAA (@NCAA) November 18, 2020
Also, Baylor returns Jared Butler, who averaged 16 points per game last year and put Baylor (26-4 in 2020, fifth in the NCAA’s final rankings) in excellent position to make a deep tournament run. He can absolutely do that again.
Big East Pick: Villanova (+120)
This one is a bit of a legacy pick. Villanova just finds a way to go far in March, you know? It’s like you can already picture them in Indianapolis.
In the past seven NCAA tournaments, the Wildcats have reached at least the second round all seven times and the third round four times. Oh, and they’ve won it all twice. Jay Wright knows how to prepare his team for the big stage.
After defeating Texas Tech 71-59, Villanova is heading to the Final Four for the 2nd time in 3 years by winning the East Region! Villanova will play the winner of the Duke vs. Kansas contest. #TheWrightStuff ? pic.twitter.com/1XFXDy6SL0
— Sean 4 Sports (@Sean4Sports) March 25, 2018
You know what helps a deep run? Having a veteran guard lead the offense. Jalen Brunson (2018) and Ryan Arcidiacono (2016) were both upperclassmen during recent championship teams at Villanova, and now it might be Collin Gillespie’s turn. The senior averaged 15.1 points and 4.5 assists per game last year.
Big Ten Pick: Michigan (+800)
What’s fun about the Big Ten is that there’s a universe where all four teams in the Final Four are from this conference. Seriously, it’s that deep (but also seriously, that’s not actually going to happen).
The point is, with a conference like this, why not take a flier on a team that’s a bit farther down the odds list? Michigan makes sense, as a team that has made the Elite 8 in three consecutive tournaments (and made the national championship game once in that span).
Michigan hasn’t lost since Feb. 6.
Now they’re Final Four bound. pic.twitter.com/t1HrFktGFN
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 25, 2018
The Wolverines have some exciting returnees, like guard Isaiah Livers (12.9 points/game last year) and forward Franz Wagner (11.6 points/game). You know they’ll be battle-tested, based on their schedule. So why not?
Pac 12 Pick: Arizona State (+600)
The Pac 12 has less stud teams than the Big Ten, but it’s equally crowded. We’ll stick to the top of the list here with the Sun Devils, who return senior guard Remy Martin.
After averaging 19.1 points/game a season ago, Martin is motivated to end his college career strong. He might embark on a Naismith Player of the Year campaign while he’s at it.
America’s Point Guard.
Remy Martin named 2020 AP Preseason All-American ?? pic.twitter.com/C5JVeP02JC
— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) November 11, 2020
Potentially joining Martin in the backcourt is freshman Joshua Christopher, a five-star recruit who is the No. 3 shooting guard in his class. It’ll be neat to watch the youngster learn from the vet, and maybe it’ll lead to great things in Tempe.
SEC Pick: Kentucky (+200)
Did you expect us not to go chalk here? I mean, come on.
Kentucky, like North Carolina, has a pair of prominently-placed freshmen in 247 Sports’ composite rankings: Brandon Boston Jr. (No. 5) and Terrence Clarke (No. 8). Whew.
Brandon Boston Jr is a NIGHTMARE to guard! Official senior season mixtape!! ?? @bboston_ pic.twitter.com/2tYPmjaMld
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 18, 2020
Both are listed as shooting guards, but it seems likely that they’ll find time on the court together once they acclimate to the college game.
Kentucky hasn’t been to the Final Four since 2015 (that’s a long time in Calipari Years), but they are always a strong threat to make it back.