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2022 NCAA Tournament odds: No college basketball unbeaten teams remain; history says either Baylor or USC will win national championship

There will be no unbeaten team entering the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
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No question that the biggest storyline by far entering the 2021 NCAA Tournament – other than the fact it was held only in the greater Indianapolis area due to the COVID pandemic – was that Gonzaga entered the Big Dance unbeaten and was trying to become the first national champion without a loss since Indiana in 1976. That didn't happen. On Tuesday, the two remaining unbeatens in the sport this season, No. 1 Baylor and No. 5 USC, both lost. However, history says one of those two will cut down the nets in April.

Baylor's 21-game winning streak was snapped in a 65-62 home loss to No. 19 Texas Tech. On the surface, that's not a massive shock because the Red Raiders are very good, but BU led by 15 points in the first half and had won 22 consecutive home games, taking those by an average margin of more than 26 points. The Bears were 11.5-point favorites.

For what it's worth, Baylor played its first game of the season without freshman Jeremy Sochan, who suffered a sprained left ankle in the team's previous game. He averages 7.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists, so things may have been different with Sochan in the lineup. Baylor hadn't lost anywhere since March 12, 2021, to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals. Of course, the Bears would upset Gonzaga in the 2021 national championship game.

Currently, Scott Drew's team is a +1100 fourth-favorite at Caesars Sportsbook to repeat as national champion behind Gonzaga (+600), Duke (+800) and Purdue (+900). Presumably, the Bears will fall out of the top spot in the AP poll and either be replaced by the Zags, Blue Devils – although they could lose tonight at Wake Forest – or Auburn.

Southern Cal tipped off a few hours earlier than Baylor on Tuesday as a 6.5-point favorite at unranked Stanford, which hadn't played since Christmas due to COVID. The Cardinal upset the Trojans 75-69, their first win over a Top 5 school since 2007. Stanford had lost 14 straight games against teams in the Top 5 of the AP poll since beating No. 3 UCLA 75-68 on Jan. 28, 2007. USC missed six of seven shots and three free throws over the final five minutes. The Trojans are +5000 longer-shots to win the national title.

So why will either Baylor or USC win it all on April 4 in New Orleans? Tuesday marked just the fourth time in the last 40 years that all the remaining unbeatens lost on the same night. In the previous three occasions, one of those teams went on to win the title. Here's a look:

  • Jan. 19, 2019 – No. 2 Michigan, No. 4 Virginia both lost; Wahoos won national title
  • Dec. 30, 2017 – No. 1 Villanova, No. 3 Arizona State, No. 10 TCU lost; Wildcats won title
  • Jan. 21, 2006 – No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Florida, No. 9 Pittsburgh lost; Gators won title

The 2022 NCAA Tournament begins with the First Four on March 15-16 in Dayton.

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