Bookies Favorites Gonzaga Bulldogs Look Worthy of No. 1 Ranking

This season in the NCAA basketball season is likely to be subject to more twists and turns than anything we’ve seen before, with the ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic likely to result in numerous changes to the schedule and potentially more injuries as a consequence.

With so much uncertainty as to how the season will unfold, predicting which college team will cut down the nets in Indianapolis in April might be considered foolish in the extreme, but here goes.

Bookies Favorites

The Gonzaga Bulldogs received 28 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 poll to give them the No. 1 ranking ahead of the Baylor Bears with 24 votes. There were no great expectations for Gonzaga ahead of last season, yet the Zags ended up with a 31-2 record.

The Bulldogs are seeking their elusive first national championship title and Mark Few might just have the roster with which to achieve that aim on this occasion. The bookies are certainly not underestimating them this season with Bovada odds of +1000 available on the Bulldogs.

In Corey Kispert (preseason All-American), Joel Ayayi, Drew Timme and freshman Jalen Suggs (the highest-ranked recruit in school history), the Zags already had enough quality to be considered among the favorites for the title.

Handy Andy

However, their hopes received a further huge boost on Tuesday when they received confirmation that Florida Gators transfer point guard Andrew Nembhard had been approved to play immediately this season.

It’s great news for the Zags, having lost starting point guard Ryan Woolridge and starting shooting guard Admon Gilder from last season, they can now call upon a top-rated guard who had previously said his intentions were to transfer and sit out, with no plans to attain immediate eligibility. Now Gonzaga’s backcourt unit should feature Ayayi, Suggs and Nembhard.

A Few Dollars More

Coach Few has arguably the most balanced team among the leading contenders, with a great mix of experience and ability across different positions that few, if any, other teams can match. Yes, the decision of Filip Petrusev to play professionally in his native Serbia and then enter the draft was a blow, but it’s one that Gonzaga can overcome.

Under Mark Few, the Zags are invariably one of the hottest teams in college hoops on offense every season and that should still be the case this time.

There is an argument that the defense could potentially be an issue, with the Bulldogs blocking fewer shots and forcing fewer misses in the paint once Brandon Clarke was no longer available.

Even so, there’s sufficient quality and depth in this Gonzaga roster to overcome that and the Zags will be looking to use their schedule to peak in March and then go all the way to the NCAA final.

Further Reading

* NCAA betting odds quoted correct at the time of publication.

Darren Moore

Sports fan, writer and keen gambler. (in moderation)