One of the things that endears college basketball to fans is that any team in the country can theoretically win the national championship. It doesn’t matter if it’s Purdue or Fairleigh Dickinson. The path to the championship is there in college basketball for any team. It’s not the same in college football, as UCF found out several years ago when an undefeated season wasn’t enough to get them into the college football playoffs. The chances are the college basketball champion will be from one of the major conferences. But it’s not guaranteed. There are several small conference schools that can play with the big boys, and we’ll look at some of their NCAAB 2024 future odds.
You can count on Gonzaga having a top-notch college basketball team, and it looks to be more of the same this season. The Zags have won or shared 10 straight West Coast Conference regular season titles and are favored to make it 11. The Bulldogs are -125 to win the WCC this year.
Gonzaga returns Drew Timme, who scored 18.4 points and grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game, along with Julian Strawther (11.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Rasir Bolton (11.2 points, 2.3 assists). But the Bulldogs didn’t rest on their laurels.
Gonzaga brought in some key NCAAB players, including Southern Conference Player of the Year Malachi Smith, who scored 19.6 points and 6.7 rebounds for Chattanooga last season. Efton Reid III started every game for LSU last season and should have a bigger role with the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs should finish at the top of the WCC’s NCAAB standings, although St. Mary’s is a solid team and will again be a contender to win the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs will be one of the top offensive teams in the country. As usual, the defense needs to play tough for Gonzaga to make a serious run in the tournament. But at odds of +2500, the Bulldogs have a bit of appeal.
Florida Atlantic is out to prove last year’s Final Four appearance was no fluke. But this time, they’ll be doing it as members of the American Athletic Conference.
FAU was in Conference USA last season. The Owls return most of the faces that led them to the Final Four, including co-Preseason Players of the Year in Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin. Davis averaged 13.8 points and 5.4 rebounds a year ago, while Martin scored 13.4 points and had 5.3 rebounds.
The Owls also signed coach Dusty May to a long-term deal that will keep him on the Owls’ bench through the 2032-33 season. FAU and Memphis should battle it out for the AAC regular season title. Florida Atlantic is even money to win the conference. But it’s not going to be quite so easy.
Teams will be gunning for the new kids on the block. The odds on the Owls of +4000 could be a bit low compared to the team’s actual chance of winning it all. The NCAAB lines are also likely to have Florida Atlantic a bit overrated at the beginning of the season.
The Gaels should give Gonzaga another solid fight in the WCC. The NCAAB 2024 future odds on St. Mary’s are +130 to win the West Coast Conference and +5000 to win the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels have been one of the best small-conference teams in the country not named Gonzaga for several years now. St. Mary’s returns Logan Johnson (11.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and senior forward Alex Ducas (10.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg). There are also some promising newcomers.
Freshman point guard Aidan Mahaney was the team’s leading scorer on a six-game summer tour of Australia. The team also signed 7-1 Australian U19 national team center Harry Wessels, along with 6-foot-8 freshman Joshua Jefferson, out of Nevada. The Gaels will be good. But it looks as though Gonzaga is going to be better.
Memphis is the reigning AAC champion, and the Tigers will again be a solid team. Florida Atlantic’s run to the Final Four has pushed into the backseat a little bit. But the Tigers can still play. There will be some new faces on the Tigers this season, including Jahvon Quinerly, who comes over from Alabama. Guard guard Carl Cherenfant and forward JJ Taylor shared the AAC Preseason Rookie of the Year designation.
Jordan Brown scored 19.3 points per game and grabbed 8.6 rebounds for Louisiana last season. He’s another new face expected to do good things for the Tigers. Memphis isn’t too far behind FAU in terms of talent. At odds of +170 to win the AAC regular season title, the Tigers are worth a wager.
San Diego State isn’t the most exciting college basketball team to watch. But the Aztecs do win, which is all that counts. San Diego State’s tenacious defense will be back again this season. It’s a matter of how much the offense can contribute that will determine how the Aztecs fare. The NCAAB 2024 future odds on San Diego State at +140 to win the Mountain West. The Aztecs are +8000 to win the NCAA Tournament.
The Aztecs will be good. But this isn’t likely going to be their best team. The team returns a pair of starters in Lamont Butler and Darrion Trammell. But San Diego State will be counting on some newcomers to play key roles.
One of those newcomers is MWC Preseason Newcomer of the Year Reese Waters, who will be a good one. He scored 9.8 points for USC last season. When the Aztecs play, you can expect to see the NCAA basketball scores lower than usual. But it works and San Diego State isn’t a bad wager at +140 to win the MWC.