NCAA Basketball Futures: Will Gonzaga Contend in 2022-23?

It’s still several months until the 2022-23 College Basketball season gets underway after the Kansas Jayhawks won it all in March with a thrilling 82-79 victory over North Carolina in the title game in New Orleans. KU has lost most of its core, but the Tar Heels are expected to be a serious contender in the NCAA Basketball Futures. There is one team that also cannot be totally slept on, though, due to their history of recruiting top-level talent: The Gonzaga Bulldogs. Mark Few’s squad lost their two best players to the NBA Draft in Chet Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard, but there are some intriguing guys waiting to make their impact in Spokane. The sportsbooks clearly believe in the Zags too, with their title odds sitting at +700, which is just above UNC (+750) and Houston (+1100).

Before diving into the analysis on Gonzaga, make sure to check out the best sites for March Madness betting. Also, take a look at our NCAA College Basketball betting page for tips and advice on how to wager on college hoops.

2023 NCAA Championship Futures

North Carolina+750

Who Will Star For Gonzaga?

Back in May, it looked possible that Gonzaga would not only lose Holmgren and Nembhard to the NBA but also Drew Timme, Julian Strawther, and Rasir Bolton. Thankfully, these three decided to run it back and play another season for the Bulldogs, with Timme heading into his senior year. This trio alone should absolutely make the Zags a legitimate contender in the NCAA Basketball Futures, but Mark Few also went out and made a serious splash on the transfer portal. He signed Chatanooga standout Malachi Smith, who posted averages of 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.0 assists last season. Smith is a versatile guard with a high motor, and he’ll fit perfectly into Few’s plans in 2022-23. He can also make it rain from deep, shooting 40.7% a year ago.

Timme is a very solid big man on both ends of the floor and frankly could’ve gone to the Association and probably made an impact. He averaged 18.8 points and 6.8 rebounds last season and was Gonzaga’s best player in March Madness before they lost in the Sweet 16 to Arkansas. Strawther and Bolton are no pushovers, both scoring in double-digits. Any good team also needs depth on their bench, and the Zags have just that. Efton Reid and Hunter Sallis were once five-star recruits who can make their presence felt in the second unit, while veteran wing Anton Watson is another solid bench piece for Gonzaga. Reid is an intriguing prospect as he also joined the program earlier this year as a transfer from LSU. He’s only going to be a sophomore and has an extremely high ceiling. Last season with the Tigers, the former IMG Academy standout put up 6.3 points and 4.3 boards per night while starting all 34 of LSU’s games.

No Holmgren is obviously a huge loss. He was a generational big man with one of the most complete skill sets that college basketball has seen in years. Nembhard was the ultimate floor general and a leader for Gonzaga. But, Few is a Hall of Fame coach who knows how to get the best out of his players. The Zags are a team that every single top prospect wants to play for because they know how much the program develops its players. Hence Smith and Reid joining. We also can’t forget the Bulldogs have been ranked No.1 in back-to-back seasons. Gonzaga has a winning culture and there is little doubt they will contend again in the NCAA Basketball Futures.

The question is, can Few’s groups actually win it all? From a talent standpoint, they’re actually deeper than last year. Timme is one of the most experienced players in the country and will be poised to not only win a title before he goes to the NBA but boost his draft stock as much as humanly possible. Under a coach like Mark Few, Smith should flourish even more after lighting it up for Chatanooga in 2021-22 before he also takes his talents to the pro level.

Is Gonzaga Worth a Bet?

North Carolina is the real deal and could very well be the team everyone is chasing when the Big Dance rolls around next March. Houston is another magnificent program that is getting back two of their best guards who missed most of last season due to injury. In my opinion, these are the two squads that pose the biggest threat to Gonzaga. That being said, there is absolutely no way you count out the Bulldogs in the NCAA Basketball Futures. Anything is possible for them. Honestly, putting a bit of money down on the Zags, Houston, and UNC is worth it.

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Quinn Allen

Quinn Allen is a Sports Journalist from Vancouver, Canada. He's an associate editor for ClutchPoints by day then also writes sports betting picks in the evenings for a variety of sites including MTS, OSB, and SBD. Quinn graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology with a degree in broadcast journalism. He primarily focuses on basketball, soccer, football, baseball, and tennis. Quinn is also a former college baseball player and has played soccer his entire life as well.

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