Odds format
United States

2022 NCAA Tournament: Ranking the Four Teams with the Easiest Paths to the Final Four

Sometimes, NCAA Tournament success can come down to the luck of the draw. Here are the four teams with the easiest path to New Orleans for this year's Final Four.
| 10 min read
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Copy Link

2022 NCAA Tournament: Ranking the Four Teams with the Easiest Paths to the Final Four

The 2021-22  college basketball season has been set apart by a heightened level of competition and parity all across the country. From the extra year of eligibility offered to student-athletes to the advent of the transfer portal, multiple factors have created an extremely level playing field. While there are well over 20 “good” teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament bracket, it’s hard to make a case that there is even a single “great” team.

As is the case any other year, some teams drew more favorable draws than others. Given the widespread parity in the sport this season, projecting each contender’s path to the Final Four might be even more important than normal when analyzing this year’s March Madness bracket. The following article looks at the four teams that have the easiest paths to New Orleans and the 2022 NCAA Final Four.

March Madness: Bet $5, Win $150 - Even if your wager loses

Error fetching data.

Teams with Easiest Paths to the Final Four

Arizona Wildcats

The Pac-12 regular-season and tournament champions landed as the 1-seed in the South Region. Although Arizona is not the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, it’s hard not to argue that they have an easier road to the Final Four than Gonzaga, who earned such honors. We can start with the very first round of the tournament. Whichever side emerges from the Wright State-Bryant play-in game will be a much lesser opponent than the Georgia State team that the Zags must contend with.

Arizona’s first power conference opponent would come in the Second Round against either Seton Hall or TCU. If chalk holds, the Wildcats would face Illinois in the Sweet 16. Although still talented, the Illini pales in comparison to last year’s team which bowed out from the NCAA Tournament on the very first weekend. Thus, Tommy Lloyd and Arizona won’t face a true championship contender until the Elite 8 at the very earliest. While both Villanova and Tennessee would pose a worthy challenge, Arizona simply has too much size and depth for either team to handle.

Kansas Jayhawks

For as powerful of a program as Kansas is on an annual basis, they certainly have had a fair share of flops in the NCAA Tournament. This year, the Jayhawks caught a nice break in the form of being seeded No. 1 in a Midwest Region that is by far the weakest quadrant of the bracket. Armed with superstars, experience and one of the best coaches in the country, KU could not ask for a more favorable avenue to the Final Four.

After they beat either Texas Southern or Texas A&M CC by 30+, Kansas will match up with one of San Diego State or Creighton in the Second Round. While the Aztecs’ defense is not to be taken lightly, the Jayhawks would have a stark talent advantage over both schools. Considering that Providence is way overseeded as the 4-seed in the Midwest, we’ll argue that Kansas will face Iowa in the Sweet 16 in a matchup between conference tournament champions. This will be a true chance for the Big 12 to prove once and for all that the Big Ten has been overrated all season. If chalk holds at the bottom of the region (which there’s a great chance it won’t), the Jayhawks would draw Wisconsin or Auburn in the Elite 8. 

Before you place a bet on March Madness, make sure you get the best sportsbook promos available in your state

Duke Blue Devils

One of the many farses with the 2022 March Madness bracket is Duke being seeded second in the West Region. The Blue Devils were regular-season champs in a poor ACC and then got housed by Virginia Tech in the tournament final. Not a great look, to say the least. With this being Mike Krzyzewski’s final season in charge, perhaps the selection committee wanted to help him out a little bit. After all, the NCAA clearly sets the field with ratings in mind.

Duke may not deserve to be a 2-seed, but the Blue Devils have a great draw thanks to being one. First Round opponent CSU Fullerton was picked eighth in the Big West Conference preseason poll. A Second Round blueblood battle against Michigan State would feature a Spartans team that drastically overachieved this season. That is, if Sparty can even get past 10-seed Davidson. Either way, Duke should roll. From a pure talent standpoint, Coach K’s crew would also have an edge over 3-seed Texas Tech. That would leave 1-seed Gonzaga as the likely Elite 8 opponent, a team that Duke already beat on a neutral floor once this season.

Auburn Tigers

The natural inclination when writing this column was to try and find one team from each region to include. Here’s the problem: the East Region is a complete and total meat grinder. As a result, we are actually dipping back into the Midwest Region a second time and dissecting the path of the 2-seed Auburn Tigers. Although Bruce Pearl’s team sputtered down the stretch after winning the SEC regular-season title, a favorable draw could help them get back on track in March Madness.

Although a First Round game against Jacksonville State should be smooth sailing, Auburn will need to come to play. The Gamecocks were a top-10 three-point shooting team this season, thus giving them the key ingredient to pull an upset. Assuming the Tigers get the job done, they would likely draw USC. While nothing is guaranteed here, Auburn certainly had the more impressive resume of the two schools. The Sweet 16 would most likely feature an overrated Wisconsin team which would then leave Kansas as the toughest obstacle in Auburn’s way. It’s hard to give Auburn any definitive victories considering how they bowed out of the SEC Tournament early. However, in terms of opposition, their path sets up quite nicely.


Henry has had a passion for sports that few can match for as long as he can remember. What started out as a five-year-old taking interest in the New York Jets and their green jerseys has since become a full-fledged career as a writer and sports betting analyst. His coverage primarily includes the NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, college football, and college basketball. In 2020, he ranked among the top-10 most accurate experts ATS in the BettingPros NFL season contest. You can follow Henry’s sports work on Twitter and other social media platforms @HankTimeSports.


Almost there!

We are loading your bets, and they will be here in a second.