/2021 NCAA Tournament: Gonzaga, Baylor dominance over field stands out in latest March Madness simulations
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2021 NCAA Tournament: Gonzaga, Baylor dominance over field stands out in latest March Madness simulations

It’s well-documented just how dominant No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor have been this season as the only two remaining undefeated teams in college basketball and virtual locks to earn No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. But does that regular season superiority translate to good national title odds relative to the pack on the chase lurking behind them in the polls?

According to odds formulated by Sportsline’s Stephen Oh based on the projections of CBS Sports Bracketology expert Jerry Palm, the answer is a resounding yes. Combined, the Bulldogs (32.3%) and Bears (30.9%) have a 63.2% chance of cutting down the nets when a national champion is crowned in Indianapolis on April 5, according to Oh. That leaves just a 36.8% chance for the remainder of the 68-team field, as even the projection has No. 3 Michigan registering just an 8.8% chance at winning it all.

In a sport that thrives on upsets and unpredictability, anything can happen come March, but the data is one of the most striking illustrations to date of just how far ahead Gonzaga and Baylor are of anyone else in the sport, including a Wolverines squad that has lost just one game in the ultra-competitive Big Ten.

Baylor’s attempts to overtake Gonzaga in the AP poll and NET ranking have been stifled this month by an extended pause due to COVID-19 precautions. The Bears are scheduled to play their first game in three weeks on Tuesday against Iowa State. As of Tuesday morning, William Hill Sportsbook had Gonzaga pegged at +280 odds to win the national title with Baylor just behind at +325.

Even a well-respected team like Ohio State — projected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament by Palm — had odds paling in comparison to those given to Gonzaga and Baylor. The Buckeyes, according to William Hill, are at +1800 to win it all; all things considered, those are good odds. But they are also a reminder that everyone is considered a massive underdog compared to the Gonzaga and Baylor teams that have clearly separated themselves from the pack.