Will the UCLA Bruins Win the 2022 NCAA Tournament? – Odds and Analysis

By Dan Vasta in College Basketball
| August 27, 2021 11:11 am PDT

The UCLA Bruins put together a magical run that ended in a buzzer-beating Final Four loss to Gonzaga.

They limped into the postseason and snuck in at that. They were a mid-tier squad from a struggling Pac-12 conference. The conference then dominated during the first weekend of the NCAA tournament and UCLA became one of the top surprises of the entire dance.

The expectations will be their highest preseason ranking since the 2008-09 campaigns. UCLA was ranked in the preseason polls last year but certainly struggled until March rolled along.

This season will come down to Mick Cronin having his team fighting for each possession as they did in those final six games of the season. They have high hopes this season in Westwood, so the Bruins seem likely to be knocking on the door again.

It is time to discuss whether or not the UCLA Bruins are a good bet to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament. To gauge that, let’s look at their 2022 March Madness odds, and look at it from both sides.

UCLA’s 2022 March Madness Odds

We have seen value across many sportsbooks, but BetOnline and Bovada bring the most favorable odds for the Bruins. In terms of chances to win it all, MyBookie and BetUs remain bold on Mick Cronin’s squad placing their odds at 10/1.

The Bruins will start in the top five, meaning the expectations will be high. The majority of the team is back from their Final Four squad last season.

This season could be one of the most exciting ones in decades.

There is a solid value for the Bruins due to the Pac-12 schedule. There won’t be many that will have the talent to keep up with UCLA, so they could post an impressive record heading into Selection Sunday.

Getting into the tournament restarts a whole new season. We have seen upsets in every NCAA Tournament. UCLA will be looking for its first title since 1995. But are they a great bet to win it all?

Why UCLA Will Win the 2022 NCAA Tournament

UCLA had not appeared in a Final Four since 2008 before having their magical run last season. Russell Westbrook was in his final season with the Bruins as a sophomore.

To make matters even more challenging, UCLA pulled off a Final Four as an 11-seed last season. They became the fifth team to do so.

  • 2021, UCLA (won the play-in round)
  • 2018, Loyola
  • 2011, VCU (won the play-in round)
  • 2006, George Mason
  • 1986, LSU

UCLA is one of the better programs in the history of the sport. They showed in April that they could return to national relevancy. Mick Cronin has been a tremendous motivator, and the ability to dominate on the defensive end has been remarkable.

Entering his third season with the program, folks from Los Angeles remain hopeful they can hang up a banner.

Here are the top reasons why the Bruins are ready to win the 2021-22 national championship.

UCLA is Ready to Win

The NCAA Tournament provides more upsets than some often realize.

Texas was a sexy pick to reach the Final Four, and they fell flat on their faces against Abilene Christian. Illinois was a consensus pick to reach the Final Four, and they lost to Loyola on the opening weekend. Predicting what happens is easier said than done.

Top seeds lose every year, and that could help benefit UCLA’s chances of getting back to the Final Four with a chance to win it all. If they end up winning the Pac-12 during the regular season, their national title chances certainly increase. Take a look at these notes that favor chalk in the NCAA Tournament.

  • 32 of the last 42 seasons, the national champion has been either a 1-seed or a 2-seed (76%)
  • Since seeding began in 1979, 1-seeds have won it all 25 times out of the 42 seasons (over 60%); 1-seeds have won five of the last six titles (four straight)
  • 40% of a yearly Final Four field is a 1-seed, meaning there are nearly TWO per year
  • There have been more 1-seeds to win the national title (25) than any other seeds combined (17)

Several other trending numbers would favor the Bruins if they could avoid a disappointing regular season. Gonzaga, Villanova, and North Carolina are on the non-conference schedule. Wins there would put them in good standing with the selection committee.

Too many signs are pointing in favor of the Bruins. If they live up to some of their preseason hype, they likely will be among the top title contenders.

Johnny Juzang’s March Heroics

Before March, the lack of star talent seemed to be impacting the Bruins. Juzang took over and dominated down the stretch in all six tournament games. There were glimpses of nearly all six games that UCLA would come up short.

UCLA’s fearless leader wouldn’t let them be denied.

Juzang willed them to victory, and he has the goods to turn his special tournament into an even better final season in Westwood. The preseason All-American wing dropped 20-plus points in four of the six games averaging 22.8 points per contest.

He was unstoppable due to his size and quickness and is the perfect closer at the end of games. The role players were outstanding in the tournament, and everybody returning will make this team even more challenging to defend.

Why UCLA Won’t Win It All in 2022

UCLA has not had many successful trips in the NCAA Tournament, and yet they surprised us all last season as an 11-seed.

Most folks had Michigan State beating them in the play-in round. I even had my doubts and took Sparty in most of my brackets.

The beauty of March gives us so many crazy finishes. Many could argue lady luck could be their biggest weakness. These Bruins will have their work cut out since the tournament is a random draw by the committee per se.

Here are the top reasons why the Bruins will disappoint and come up short of winning a title.

Pac-12 Tournament Woes

The Pac-12 before last season had not appeared in the Final Four since Oregon made it in 2017. The conference in college sports has been an ongoing joke for years.

The inability to dominate with any consistency has been a concern.

The Bruins will have pressure to make a return trip deep into the tournament, but Cronin has them back in the national title picture.

UCLA had not reached the Elite 8 since 2008 before their magical run last year.

The conference needs somebody else to be relevant, and perhaps it will be Oregon under Dana Altman. Oregon State had a sensational run in the dance but hasn’t shown any consistency.

That is the definition of the conference. Colorado is a question mark, and Arizona has had concerns off the court with coaching changes and rules violations.

The conference has been a complete mess, and the respect card is not up to standard with the ACC or the Big Ten. If the Bruins were to lose a handful of their non-conference games, that could prevent them from being a top seed come March.

The Field

Taking the field over a specific team is often the easy choice. I loved Baylor and Gonzaga last season. Still, most college seasons are wide open when determining the title contenders.

The Big 12 will have a few Final Four threats next season, and it might be the third-best conference in America. The ACC, outside of last year’s struggles, is an absolute juggernaut.

North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, and Florida State have been consistent threats overall. Despite the Blue Devils missing the dance last season, they should return to national prominence.

North Carolina is coming off another mediocre season. They lost their first game in the round of 64 under Roy Williams (15-0 previously and now retired). The Tar Heels bring their entire team back and have a few grad transfers to shore up their shooting issues.

The Big Ten was arguably the top conference in America last season, and they will have a few more contenders like they did going into last year’s dance.

The Big Ten has been made fun of for not having won a title since 2000. The Pac-12 hasn’t won a national championship since Arizona won it all in 1997.

The field could be the strongest we have seen in years, and UCLA could get bounced with one bad shooting night.

Should You Bet on UCLA to Win 2022 March Madness?

The Bruins will be a fun team to catch this upcoming season, and they will likely be one of the higher-ranked squads. It is tough to get through a region when you are the hunted and not the hunter.

UCLA will have a target on their backs all season, and it is easier said than done.

The pressure was not on the squad last season after they started in the preseason polls. They picked it up towards the end of the season before the NCAA’s and then went on a historic run.

It is challenging to consistently be a dominant tournament team when the roles change in terms of expectations. A lot of luck is involved, and the draw is a crapshoot. Despite the value that the Bruins bring, winning a national title probably isn’t in the cards.

Whether you love or hate UCLA to cut down the nets after the dust settles in 2022 March Madness, they sure are interesting.

There’s more March Madness betting where this came from, too. Check out the posts below to get ready for the new college basketball season.

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