Villanova’s Jay Wright Favored to Win 2021 Naismith Coach of the Year – See Odds for All Candidates


Jay Wright Villanova

Villanova coach Jay Wright’s Wildcats are ranked third in the Associated Press preseason poll. Photo from @NovaMBB (Twitter)

  • The opening odds have been released for the 2021 Naismith Coach of the Year Award
  • Villanova’s Jay Wright is the favorite at odds of +700
  • See odds for all contending coaches, along with our analysis and best bet below

Jay Wright is seemingly a contender for the Naismith Coach of the Year award every season.

After all, Wright has compiled a .722 winning percentage and won two national championships during his 19 seasons at Villanova. He has also led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament in 14 of the last 15 full seasons.

The oddsmakers feel Wright can work his magic again this season. He has opened as a favorite to win the award and his Wildcats are strong contenders to win another national title.

2021 Naismith Coach of the Year Odds

Coach Odds
Jay Wright (Villanova) +700
Scott Drew (Baylor) +800
Mark Few (Gonzaga) +800
Fran McCaffery (Iowa) +800
Tony Bennett (Virginia) +900
Bill Self (Kansas) +1100
John Calipari (Kansas) +1100
Greg Gard (Wisconsin) +1200
Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) +1200
Brad Underwood (Illinois) +1200
Leonard Hamilton (Florida) +1500
Tom Izzo (Michigan) +1500
Bob Huggins (West Virginia) +2000
Greg McDermott (Creighton) +2500
Roy Williams (North Carolina) +2500

Odds taken Nov. 13

Wright Has Plenty of Talent

Villanova is ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press preseason poll and has a strong nucleus of players returning, led by guard Collin Gillespie.

Gillespie averaged 15.1 points and 4.5 assists a game last season. The Wildcats went 24-7 and won the Big East regular-season championship in 2019-20 before the remainder of the season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two other plays return who had double-figure scoring averages last season in forwards Jermaine Samuels (10.7 ppg) and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (10.5 ppg). That duo also combined for an average of 14.9 rebounds a game.

Wright, who has a record of 472-182 at Villanova, also welcomes guard Caleb Daniels, who sat out last season after transferring from Tulane. Daniels scored 16.9 points per game for the Green Wave in 2018-19.

Other Contenders

While Wright is the Coach of the Year favorite at +700, Baylor’s Scott Drew, Gonzaga’s Mark Few, and Iowa’s Fran McCaffery are all right behind at +800.

Gonzaga and Baylor are Nos. 1 and 2 in the poll. Iowa is fifth.

Baylor’s hopes of a first-ever national championship are buoyed by the return of their top two scorers, guards Jared Butler and MaCio Teague. Butler averaged 16.0 points a game last season and Teague was at 13.9.

Baylor went 26-4 last season and Drew has a 364-224 record in his 17 seasons coaching the Bears. He has also taken them to the NCAA Tournament eight times.

The expectation for Few and Gonzaga have never been higher as the Bulldogs try to run down their first national title. Few has a .828 winning percentage in 21 seasons at Gonzaga – taking the school to the NCAAs in each full season — and is one win away from 600.

Forward Corey Kispert and guard Joel Ayayi give Gonzaga a strong inside-outside combination.

Kispert scored 13.9 points a game last season when the Zags went 31-2. Ayayi had a fine all-round year with averages of 10.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.

The presence of star forward Luka Garza gives Iowa hope of reaching the Final Four for the first time since 1980. Garza, citing loyalty to McCaffery, decided to forego the NBA Draft and return for his senior season.

Garza is the favorite to win Naismith Player of the Year.

Last season, Garza averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds a game as the Hawkeyes finished 20-11. In years at Iowa, McCaffery has a 194-143 record and four NCAA Tournament appearances.

Keep An Eye On Izzo

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo made headlines this week for testing positive for COVID-19.

However, Izzo has felt only mild symptoms and expects to be on the bench for the Spartans’ opener, which has yet to be finalized.

Michigan State is ranked 13th. While the Big Ten is loaded with three teams in the top eight – No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 8 Illinois join Iowa – the Spartans have a chance to win the conference.

Stars Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman are gone from a team that went 22-9 but Michigan State believes guard Rocket Watts is ready to become a big-time player. He averaged nine points a game last season as a freshman.

2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker

The Spartans should also get a boost from Marquette transfer Joey Hauser, who sat out last season. The forward averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Golden Eagles two years ago.

Izzo has compiled a 628-241 in 25 seasons. He has guided Michigan State to 22 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, eight Final Four appearances, and a national championship in 2000.

Somehow, it would be fitting that someone who contracted COVID-19 would be the Naismith Coach of the Year.

It’s worth a shot at +1500.

Best Bet: Tom Izzo (+1500)

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John Perrotto

NFL MLB NCAAF NCAAB Sports Writer

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