Duke Has +1200 Odds To Be Champion. Is that Too Ambitious?

  • Coach K is retiring after the 2021-22 NCAA basketball season.
  • His Duke Blue Devils have +1200 odds to win the NCAA Tournament.
  • Duke struggled last year, but many of the problems were temporary - and could be fixed.

DURHAM, N.C. - Mike Krzyzewski, better known as Coach K, has been coaching the Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team since 1980. That journey will come to an end in the 2021-22 season, when Coach K takes his final shot at winning the NCAA Championship.

Krzyzewski’s Duke team struggled in 2020, which the legendary coach partially attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, in his final year, the Blue Devils are near the top of the college basketball odds, with +1200 odds to win it all.

2022 NCAA Tournament Odds to Win

  • Gonzaga +650
  • Memphis +900
  • Michigan +1000
  • Duke +1200
  • Kentucky +1400
  • Texas +1400
  • UCLA +1400
  • Purdue +1600

Why Did Duke Struggle In 2020?

Much has been made of Duke’s 13-11 record in the 2020-2021 season, and while some attribute it to the pandemic, it remains true that other blueblood programs did not see the same negative effects as Duke did.

That said, there are a few major reasons that stand out as to why Duke struggled in 2020, and why they won’t in 2021.

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  1. Top recruit Jalen Johnson stopped playing as soon as he realized the team wasn’t going anywhere, 13 games into the season. With COVID-19 vaccines rolled out, the possibility of another player feeling as though this was the right decision is quite minimal.
  2. Duke was eliminated from the ACC Tournament due to a player testing positive for COVID-19. Post vaccine, this will be less likely to happen.
  3. Duke’s famed home field advantage at Cameron Indoor Stadium was much muted due to COVID-19 protocols. Post-vaccine, this will not be a problem, as crowds are allowed back in the stadium.
  4. Coach K was focused on recruiting, and has since turned those duties over to successor Jon Scheyer - much to his delight.

"It's completely different from last year, the relationship aspect of it,” Coach K said. “I've loved this summer. Actually, my wife said "why didn't you do this like 10 years ago?" and I said, 'what, retire?'"

Duke has an excellent recruiting class entering the season, ranked fifth nationally by 247Sports, and first in the ACC. They will also return several players from last season, including Mark Williams, Jeremy Roach and Wendell Moore.

All told, the Blue Devils have a coach focused on this year’s team, returning veterans, a conference-best recruiting class, and top four odds to win the NCAA Tournament according to the online sportsbooks.

Can they pull off the storybook ending for Coach K?