Who do you love? March Madness 2023 futures

Show me someone who has an idea who will be cutting down the nets following 2023 NCAA Division I Tournament and I’ll show someone you someone grasping at straws. There are teams with tremendous potential, however, there isn’t one bona fide contender to add a national championship to their trophy case.

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There is much left to sort out in February and early March as teams search for the best seed in the big dance. Three teams — Houston (+700), Purdue (+850) and Alabama (+900) have been among the favorites all season — but there are plenty of contenders lurking beyond the top three.

Cougars would like to kick down the door

Houston coach Kelvin Sampson spent nearly seven seasons out of basketball after a scandal ended his tenure at Indiana. Since taking over the Cougars’ program, he established the program’s national reputation. Houston, which twice reached the national title game in the 1980s, have once again returned to the top of the heap.

The Cougars made the Elite last season and were in the Final Four two seasons ago. For much of this season, Houston has been the top-ranked team or close to it. The Cougars are led by Marcus Sasser, who averages 16.4 points per game.

Houston doesn’t have much to show on its resume outside of American Athletic conference play. The Cougars has an eight-point win over Virginia and took at six-point loss to Alabama. Houston is a strong team, but relies on its defense and grinding out opponents, which can be tough in a one-and-done format.

Boilermakers and the big man

Purdue has been in the top five for most of the season thanks to the efforts of 7-foot-6 center Zach Edey. Edey isn’t one of these new-age big men that helps spread the floor. Edey is a back-to-the-basket, bull on the block big man that had seemingly gone extinct.

Behind Edey’s 22.2 points and 13 rebounds per game, Purdue will likely win the Big Ten regular season crown. The Boilermakers are still searching for their first deep postseason run under Matt Painter. Purdue has made the Elite 8 once since Painter took over during the 2005-06 season.

Last season, the highly-seeded Boilermakers bowed out to Cinderella Saint Peter’s in the Sweet 16.

Alabama, basketball school

Crimson Tide forward Brandon Miller has shown he is the total package as a freshman. Miller has been putting up 18.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He also shoots 42.5 percent from the 3-point line.

While Miller will go on to professional success, the Crimson Tide have proven themselves to be a tough out. Alabama can claim ranked wins over Michigan State, UNC, Houston and Mississippi State. While three of those four teams fallen out of the rankings, the Crimson Tide should be rewarded for a tough schedule.

Alabama also took on Gonzaga and UConn in the non-conference, which should help sharpen the Crimson Tide’s resolve in the postseason.

Is it wise to invest in survivor of Big 12 cage match?

There should be little debate that the Big 12 is the best league in basketball from top to bottom. But in a league where there are no real nights off, will there be battle fatigue for the top teams once they have to play in the tournament? Defending champion Kansas has the best odds to win the national title out of the teams in the Big 12.

Baylor (+1600), Texas (+2200), TCU (+3500), Kansas State (+4000) and Iowa State (+4000) are also among the top 20. All of these teams have excellent players and coaching. Out of all of the candidates, the Longhorns’ case remains the most fascinating.

Texas’ players have survived the scandal of their coaching getting the axe following a domestic abuse scandal. The Longhorns are near the top of the Big 12 and have a number of talented players that can hang with any team.

Conference of Champions would like seat at table

UCLA returned Tyger Campbell and Jamie Jaquez Jr. hoping to make another deep run. While the Bruins (+1200) have had their share of bumps in the road, UCLA looks like it is on a path to winning the conference regular season title. Arizona (+1400) also looks like a contender as well.