Dribble handoff: Oregon, Auburn amongst our high longshot 2022 nationwide championship contenders

Although long-shot nationwide champions in school basketball are uncommon, one of many stunning components of the game is how typically groups swoop in from off the radar, put collectively glorious seasons and do injury within the NCAA Match. Simply take a look at what the next groups completed within the 2020-21 season regardless of their slim preseason nationwide title odds: Alabama earned a No. 2 seed within the NCAA Match, Arkansas earned a No. 3 seed and USC made the Elite Eight — all with 75-1 odds. 

Going additional down the betting sheet, Oregon State made a surprising Elite Eight run regardless of minuscule preseason nationwide title odds of 300-1. In the long run, a Baylor crew with 10-1 preseason odds lower down the nets, which made for an anticlimactic end for individuals who love underdogs. However the potential is there for groups on the periphery to get scorching, make a run and reward these believed in all of them alongside.

So who’re one of the best long-shot nationwide title contenders for the 2021-22 season? Our writers evaluated the subject this week and picked their favourite from the group of groups with odds of 50-1 or decrease at Caesar’s Sportsbook:

Tennessee (60-1)

The very best-ranked crew in my Prime 25 And 1 with 50-1 or decrease odds is Tennessee, so I will roll with UT. The Vols return 5 of their high eight scorers from a crew that earned a No. 5 seed within the 2021 NCAA Match — most notably Victor Bailey and John Fulkerson. Coach Rick Barnes has an skilled core to construct round, and he’ll be combining it with a top-five recruiting class highlighted by the nation’s top-ranked freshman level guard (Kennedy Chandler) and a switch from Auburn who averaged 11.7 factors per recreation final season whereas capturing 44.2% from past the 3-point line (Justin Powell). That is sturdy. And it is why the Vols are worthy of your consideration in case you’re on the lookout for an extended shot with the items to possibly win the 2022 NCAA Match. — Gary Parrish

Indiana (75-1)

The Hoosiers are +7500 proper now, so this can be a long-shot choose with tempting upside. A +7500 crew is not even a projected Candy 16 squad, so why IU for me? New coach Mike Woodson adjustments the dynamic of this system and likewise supplies a chance to get forward of the oddsmakers early. Nobody actually is aware of what to anticipate. I get a blueblood program that may have an almost-definite top-10 participant in America at +7500? Gotta take it below the parameters of this Dribble Handoff publish. Trayce Jackson-Davis is likely one of the few big-time massive males within the Large Ten. Indiana is your sleeper crew that could possibly be exterior the highest 25 firstly of the season however discover itself as a mainstay within the polls by January. I believe the Hoosiers make numerous sense as a believable long-shot.  — Matt Norlander

Auburn (60-1)

I have been increased on Auburn than the consensus all offseason, so why would I cool on the Tigers now? They’d an important offseason. I am very a lot in on them at 60-1 as a viable flier to take. Allen Flanigan’s harm throws some uncertainty into the formulation right here — he is anticipated to overlook a number of months — however I believe the harm is baked into the 60-1. This crew enrolls a five-star in Jabari Smith and added two elite transfers in Walker Kessler and Okay.D. Johnson, who ought to absolutely equip the Tigers to once more be a top-half-of-the-SEC crew able to making March noise.  — Kyle Boone

Oregon (50-1)

Do not fall into the entice of assuming the Geese are headed for a down season simply because they’re dropping their high three scorers from a 21-7 crew. All it’s essential to do is take a look at the identify of the coach to determine if Oregon will probably be a nationwide contender. Is it nonetheless Dana Altman? Sure, and meaning the roster is restocked with expertise adequate for the Geese to progress within the NCAA Match for the seventh time previously eight seasons.

How far the Geese advance within the Large Dance will rely closely on how incoming transfers Jacob Younger (Rutgers), Quincy Guerrier (Syracuse) and De’Vion Harmon (Oklahoma) gel along with main returning scorer Will Richardson. However Altman owns an impeccable observe file of efficiently integrating transfers into his roster, and people three had been every double-figure scorers for NCAA Match groups final season. 

Assuming these transfers make a seamless transition, you possibly can go forward and pencil Oregon in for the Candy 16. From there, it could depend upon the power of a promising, however unproven, entrance court docket. If former five-star prospects Nathan Bittle, a real freshman, and N’Faly Dante, an injury-prone junior, can play close to their potential, this crew could possibly be downright dominant. — David Cobb

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