Early Predictions and Betting Picks for the 2021 NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments

| November 20, 2020 7:32 am PDT

With the NBA Draft in the rear-view mirror, college basketball coaches can get back to the “here and now.” It’s time to focus on the start of the 2020-21 NCAAB season.

You’ve still got time to lock in your futures bets, which is exactly where this post comes in handy.

Check out these college basketball conference tournament predictions and fire away where you see fit.

Houston Cougars to Win the AAC Tournament

I’m tempted to back Memphis to win the American Athletic Conference. Penny Hardaway lured in a big-time prospect in Moussa Cisse, but the Cougars have too much firepower on offense to ignore.

Led by Caleb Mills, the preseason player of the year in the AAC, Kelvin Sampson’s club is loaded on the perimeter. Kansas transfer Quentin Grimes has settled in and senior DeJon Jarreau will provide leadership. The X-factor that makes me like Houston to win their conference tournament is Cameron Tyson. The Idaho transfer shot 43% from beyond the arc with the Vandals.

Richmond Spiders to Win the Atlantic 10 Tournament

The Spiders didn’t add any major pieces and were dealt a big blow finding out that Nick Sherod will miss the entire season (torn ACL in right knee). At the same time, Chris Mooney’s squad was 24-7 (14-4) last year and returns three other guys who averaged more than 12 points per game.

Grant Golden is a load in the post and Blake Francis poured in 17+ points in each of the last two years.

Expect Saint Louis to pose as a threat, but Richmond is my pick to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

Virginia Cavaliers to Win the ACC Tournament

Duke and UNC are the sexy picks, but college basketball tournament predictions aren’t about being “sexy.” To be truthful, I think Florida State could be the team that presents the biggest challenge for Virginia.

However, the Hoos will be too tough in the end.

As highlighted in this ACC basketball preview, the Cavaliers bring back five major components from their 2019-20 team. That team was rated as the top defensive team in the country, plus it added a sharpshooting transfer (Sam Hauser) who can provide instant offense.

Illinois Fighting Illini to Win the Big Ten Tournament

Led by Ayo Dosunmu, one of the best players in college basketball. Illinois not only has a great shot to win the Big Ten Tournament.

The Fighting Illini are a legit Final Four contender with NCAA Championship aspirations.

Rather than solely boast about how talented Dosunmu is, know that Brad Underwood brings back a seven-foot double-double machine (Kofi Cockburn) and landed one of the top incoming shooting guards in America (Adam Miller).

Baylor Bears to Win the Big 12 Tournament

As good as Scott Drew’s 26-4 team was last season, the group in Waco should be even better this year. For starters, Jared Butler is back and is racking up all sorts of preseason accolades.

Even if you were to remove Butler from the equation, the Bears backcourt would still be in good hands thanks to studs like Mark Vital, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell.

Whether Bill Self and Rock Chalk Nation like it or not, the Baylor basketball program will be a force to be reckoned with.

Villanova Wildcats to Win the Big East Tournament

Part of me thinks Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski will be good enough to single-handily carry the Blue Jays to a Big East Title. Then again, Villanova has a nifty PG of their own in Collin Gillespie.

Jay Wright has confirmed that Gillespie’s hamstring injury has fully healed, and shooting guard Justin Moore’s bone bruise will not be a hindrance. Nova’s star-studded backcourt will most certainly lead the way, but don’t sleep on Jeremiah Robinson-Earl being one of the most intriguing big men in the nation.

San Diego State Aztecs to Win the MWC Tournament

Malachi Flynn won’t be easily replaced, but give credit to Brian Dutcher and his staff. The Aztecs lured in Terrell Gomez to place Flynn at the point – a rising senior who led NCAAB in free-throw % last year (94.8%). The CSUN transfer shot 44% from downtown and averaged more than 19 ppg in each of the last two years.

Did I mention Matt Mitchell – the MWC Preseason POY, or trusty guards like Trey Pulliam and Jordan Schakel?

Boise State and Utah State are likely the only two teams that can even sniff SDSU.

Arizona State Sun Devils to Win the Pac-12 Tournament

Should I just close my eyes and draw from a hat for this college basketball conference tournament prediction? Seriously, I see at least four teams who can genuinely contend for Pac-12 supremacy and as many as six or seven.

Nevertheless, conference tournaments generally come down to guard play. That’s where I cue in Bobby Hurley’s club in Tempe.

The Sun Devils have a bevy of options on the perimeter – none more explosive than Remy Martin. The 19.1 ppg scorer from last season’s team is the consensus pick to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Kentucky Wildcats to Win the SEC Tournament

As well-rounded as the Volunteers are, I’m not sure they’ll even be able to hold a candle to the Wildcats.

To learn more about how John Calipari will be replenishing the roster in Lexington, check out this SEC basketball season preview.

The cliff notes are Kentucky brings in the top recruiting class in NCCAB and landed a 7’0” transfer (Olivier Sarr) who averaged 14/9 last year for Wake Forest.

Gonzaga Bulldogs to Win the WCC Tournament

This one can be kept short and sweet because nobody will be confronting the Zags in the West Coast Conference. Sorry St. Mary’s, sorry BYU, it’s just the truth.

To pinpoint just how deep the program Mark Few has built in Spokane is, know that the Bulldogs are currently #1 in the AP Poll despite losing two of their top-three scorers.

Corey Kispert and Drew Tillie will be the faces in 2020-21, but Joel Ayaji is the glue-guy that holds everything together.

College Basketball Conference Tournament Betting Picks

Now that my predictions for college basketball conference tournaments are out of the way, it’s time to endorse some bets.

  • Virginia to Win the ACC Tournament (+255)
  • San Diego State to Win the MWC Tournament (+165)
  • Kentucky to Win the SECX Tournament (+170)

Florida State had two underclassmen drafted in the top 11 picks of the 2020 NBA Draft. Duke lost a horde of talent and UNC is rebuilding. The Cavs are by far the most dependable team in the ACC.

Shifting gears to the Mountain West Conference, SDSU has been and remains the cream of the crop.


Because the Aztecs are the most well-coached team in the conference and they have more talent than everyone else. Pretty simple stuff.

Speaking of having more talent than any other team in its conference, how about the Kentucky Wildcats?

It’s safe to say that Coach Cal’s crew is the best of the bunch in all of the SEC.

Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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