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March Madness 2022: Grading the Top 20 Teams

Our college basketball expert Chuck has graded the top 20 teams ahead of this year's March Madness tournament.

From his grades you'll find some great value and high-level insight which you can use when deciding which futures you want to bet for the tournament - check out his ratings below!

Keep scrolling down to see which +15000 team is backing to be the underdog of the tournament.

All odds are via BetMGM.

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Gonzaga - B+

Gonzaga is number 1 in most rankings for good reason, but that doesn’t mean they’re well tested. Against teams that ended the season in the Top 25, Gonzaga finished 3-2. They have the personnel: Chet Holmgren is one of the most unique players to come through the NCAA and Timme is playing how we’ve come to expect him to. They don’t drop easy ones which matters, but come the Sweet Sixteen the level of play is all excellent and they will be tested. I don’t see them as a Final Four team, so I can’t give them an A.

Odds to win the tournament: +375 ($100 pays $475)

Arizona: A-

There’s a little more perspective to take here, but I see Arizona as similar to Gonzaga. They’ve done very well but they earned this top status by beating Pac-12 teams, which I view as one of the weaker conferences. Arizona split their two top out of conference matchups (Illinois and Tennessee) and in the Tennessee game we saw how they get beat. Experienced players took the ball to the rim and drew a lot of fouls. There are plenty of teams who can do that, but few who can limit Koloko like the Vols did. They’ve earned a 1 seed, but again I wouldn’t be surprised to see them fall before the Elite Eight.

Odds to win the tournament: +600 ($100 pays $700)

Kentucky: A+

We’re finally starting to see how special this Kentucky team is. They are elite on both ends and can take over a game quicker than anyone else. The win over Kansas this year at Kansas was the most impressive win of any team I’ve seen this year. Oscar Tshiebwe is a matchup problem and gives an already excellent offense too many second chances. Few teams have been really dominant this year so I have no problem taking Kentucky straight to the finals.

Odds to win the tournament: +800 ($100 pays $900)

Duke: A

Insufferable as the fan base can be, we have to give Duke their due this year. They get the same reputation treatment as Kansas, which led to 5 losses to objectively inferior teams. But they’ve shined in the biggest matchups against Kentucky and Gonzaga. Those are the games that give the best indication of deep tournament success. A few other factors that I look for in the best teams – good free throw shooting (check), experienced players (semi-check), great coaching (check) and a star player who will get you a bucket at the end of the game (big Paolo Banchero sized check). They fit the bill, Duke will probably end up in the final four.

Odds to win the tournament: +1000 ($100 pays $1,100)

Baylor: A+

Baylor gets one of my two A+ rankings because they do so much right. Conference wise, the Big 12 and Big 10 stand out this year and Baylor has been the most impressive in either. They’re the most difficult team to game plan against because they have 4 (maybe 5) serious threats. The guard heavy offense is the modern playbook in the NCAA and they know from last year exactly what works. No other team has the wins and the strength of resume that Baylor does, they’re a favorite to reach the finals in my book.

Odds to win the tournament: +1100 ($100 pays $1,200)

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Purdue: B+

The talent is too much to overlook here. Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams and Zach Edey will all be drafted this year, Ivey probably top 5. They’ve faced a gauntlet in the Big 10 but won all of their non-conference games. But the elephant in the room is they really struggle down the stretch in close games, especially away from home. An early loss to a team with a strong fan base is a strong possibility, so look out in the first few rounds. A strong Big Ten tournament that lands them a 2 seed would make a huge difference.

Odds to win the tournament: +1200 ($100 pays $1,300)

Auburn: A-

About a month ago, I would be telling you Auburn is the best team in the country. They’re still not far off, but they’ve shown some cracks. The team is young and can get into foul trouble quickly. That’s something good coaches key in on in the tournament. But still, Jabari Smith might be the best player in the country and at times is completely un-guardable. And though those problems can come up, they rarely do. I would be surprised this team lose before the final four unless they get an unlucky seeding matchup.

Odds to win the tournament: +1200 ($100 pays $1,300)

Kansas: B+

Kansas has the blessing and the curse of reputation. They’ll start most seasons ranked highly and generally get the benefit of the doubt come final rankings. But that also means every team you play has you circled on the schedule, and if you don’t come focused, there will be upsets. It happened against Dayton early in the season and TCU more recently. But at their best, Kansas is capable of beating anyone. Agbaji and Braun are excellent players and very consistent so it comes down on the rest of the team. I wouldn’t be surprised if they reach the final four, but for now my projection is to fall in the elite eight.

Odds to win the tournament: +1400 ($100 pays $1,500)

Villanova: B-

If you just follow those factors I listed, Villanova would be a great team. Collin Gillespie should be a huge tournament weapon. But they just haven’t held up against top teams. The defense is subpar and really struggle to guard good post players. If they get the right matchup, Nova might pull off some great games, but coming against any of the teams above I don’t think they’d have a chance. If they win the Big East tournament (which they should) they’ll secure a 2 seed which should book a ticket to the elite eight. That’s as far as I can take them.

Odds to win the tournament: +2000 ($100 pays $2,100)


After last year’s run I’ll be the last person counting out UCLA. Johnny Juzang is a pure scorer and could light anybody up. My worry for this team is that the competition in the Pac 12 this year isn’t as strong as the SEC, Big 12 or Big 10. They could be shocked by an Iowa or an LSU who’s been tested constantly this season and comes in with a chip on their shoulder. With the right path, they could go far but it’s more likely they’re upset before the in the early rounds.

Odds to win the tournament: +2000 ($100 pays $2,100)

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Texas Tech: B-

Texas Tech is a fun team to watch but they can fall apart and that scares me. This is one of the toughest teams to predict since they’ve beat some of the best teams in the country, Kansas, Tennessee, Baylor TWICE. They’ve also lost to Kansas State and Oklahoma, both by double digits. Look out for the turnovers – if they can limit them or even bring it down a little from the abysmal season average of 14 per game, then they might go far. But this one is very hard to guess.

Odds to win the tournament: +2200 ($100 pays $2,300)

Illinois: B+

Illinois has some dangerous momentum coming into the Big 10 tournament, no one would be surprised if they took the title as the number 1 seed. They’ll certainly be remembering the early loss from last season which I think they are resilient enough to learn from. There are a lot of teams that are going to run into trouble with Kofi Cockburn, but when they face a team who have a good match for him (Kentucky, Arizona, etc.) that’s when they’ll fall off.

Odds to win the tournament: +2500 ($100 pays $2,600)

Houston: C

Houston has played close games with good teams and owns the American conference. That’s where my compliments end. Houston doesn’t have even one impressive win on the season. The only other legit program in the conference (Memphis) beat them twice and probably will again in the conference tournament. I expect an early exit, this is not the team from last year.

Odds to win the tournament: +4000 ($100 pays $4,100)

Tennessee: A-

Tennessee is another team that at their best can beat anyone. Wins over Kentucky, Auburn and Arizona headline the resume but they’re also not streaky. They have no losses outside the KenPom top 25, which is valuable to know come tournament time. Not being prone to upsets gives you a lot of confidence through the first few rounds. High floor and high ceiling is a great combination. This team is as close as it gets to a lock for the sweet sixteen and wouldn’t surprise me if they end up in the final four.

Odds to win the tournament: +4000 ($100 pays $4,100)

Arkansas: B

JD Notae and Arkansas have put on some great shows this year and competed with the best. Although the game is very different, it’s a fair comparison to call them the Texas Tech of the SEC. They play great defense (for the SEC) and can score with the best. They look like they’ve put that ugly stretch of games from earlier in the season behind them and will make some noise, at least get to the sweet sixteen and put up a fight.

Odds to win the tournament: +4000 ($100 pays $4,100)

Wisconsin: B+

It appears now that Johnny Davis will not miss any time for an ankle sprain against Nebraska that resulted in a loss for Wisconsin. With him, this team is as tough as they come. Tournament games are won by thin margins and Wisconsin is the best in the country at doing that, with an insane record of 15-2 in games decided by 6 or fewer points. Oh and those two losses both came in games Johnny Davis came out of with injuries. Davis could end up being the best pro prospect coming out of college this year, he has unnatural burst and shot making ability plus extreme competitiveness. A scary combination for opponents that makes Wisconsin a dark horse for the final four and I think can at least carry them to the elite eight.

Odds to win the tournament: +5000 ($100 pays $5,100)

UConn: C+

Third place in the Big East is a feat but this team needs to do more to convince me. The Huskies have been good in the conference and have a stunning win over Auburn, but that was too early in the season to make much of. Basically they’ve struggled too much out of conference for me to think they can compete with a top Big 10, SEC or Big 12 team. My guess is they’ll lose to Villanova in the Big East semis but if not then keep an eye out. UConn has been known to make magic happen.

Odds to win the tournament: +6600 ($100 pays $6,700)

Providence: B-

Don’t sleep on the Friars this year. It may not always be pretty, but this team knows how to win games. Can they compete with the other top teams on this list? Probably not. But they can handle themselves and won’t be losing an easy one. Take them through the first two rounds without stressing it but I can’t see them beating any of the top seeds.

Odds to win the tournament: +6600 ($100 pays $6,700)

Saint Mary's: C+

Saint Mary’s is having a great Saint Mary’s season. They managed to beat Gonzaga in one of three matchups which not many teams would be able to do. But being ranked this highly might hurt them. I look at this team as a good water level – those teams above them are serious teams and those below them are not. Unfortunately, they stink of a 5-12 upset to me.

Odds to win the tournament: +12500 ($100 pays $12,600)

Murray State: B-

Go ahead and call me a hypocrite, but this team look really good. I know, they’ve faced one top 25 team this year and lost. But they also haven’t lost a game since December, which no one else in the country can say. They steamrolled the Ohio Valley Conference and should land around a 5 seed. KJ Williams is no Ja Morant but he does everything well and he shows up every single time. That’s a guy who I could see carrying a team in March to win one they shouldn’t.

Odds to win the tournament: +15000 ($100 pays $15,100)

Let us know your thoughts!

Do you agree or disagree with Chuck's gradings?!

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