This season of college basketball has been a chaotic one, to say the least. We are just two weeks from Selection Sunday and I think I can speak for everyone when I say we have no idea what’s going on.
Last year’s NCAA tournament runner-up North Carolina ninth in their conference, Duke and Kentucky are scraping just to get by, and everyone is getting a chance to be the number one team. Fear not! That is just an opportunity for us to cash massive winning tickets.
In this article, I am going to break down some of my favorite ‘less favorite’ teams to win it all. I will focus on teams that aren’t necessarily the most talked about as we get closer to selection Sunday. Let the Madness Begin!
NCAA March Madness 2023: Mid-Tier Favorites To Win It All
The UCLA Bruins just barely escaped Colorado to claim the Pac-12 title. They will win the Pac-12 with a record of 25-4 overall and 16-2 in the Pac-12 conference.
The Bruins will win the Pac-12 with a dominant record 15-0 at home. Perhaps, maybe even more impressive is there their record of 9-2 on the road.
The Bruins were 2021’s Cinderella team that went from an 11 seed to the Final Four. To end their season, they fell to Gonzaga in the semi-finals on a near half-court buzzer-beater.
This is a redemption tour for Mark Cronin and the UCLA Bruins. If they can take care of business at home against Arizona and Arizona State this week and finish 17-0 at home, they make a strong case to secure that final one-seed.
Don’t Look Now… UCLA Is Heating Up…
The Bruins have averaged 71.8 points and limited the opposition to 59.4 points in their last five matchups.
Senior, Jamie Jaquez Jr. has averaged 22.2 points and 8.4 rebounds and shot 50.6% in UCLAs last five matchups.
The Bruins also finished February with an undefeated record of 8-0.
UCLA has been ranked second in the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings, trailing only Houston.
UCLA is seeking its first perfect home record since the 2006-07 season when UCLA went 16-0 at home.
The Pick: UCLA Bruins To Win 2023 NCAA Tournament (+1100 at WynnBet)
Baylor currently sits at 22-8 this season, 11-6 in the Big 12, 14-2 at Home, and a lousy 5-5 on the road.
The Baylor Bears will more than likely not be looking at a Big 12 Championship three-peat this season.
They currently sit third in the Big 12, two games behind Kentucky and Texas with only three games to go.
With that being said, it’s not impossible…
If Kansas can lose their next two and Texas can lose to TCU before beating the Jayhawks, and Kansas State can lose one of their next two, then a Baylor win would mean a third straight conference title.
It’s rare we get an opportunity to ‘buy low’ on the Bears during March Madness and this season we might just be able to do it.
Hot & Healthy!
Baylor may be another team that gets hot and gets healthy at the right time. Success during March Madness is your team getting right in the right moment. The Bears look to be on that track after defeating Texas 81-72 despite losing star freshman Keyonte George to injury and trailing 18-4 in the first half.
The Bears have fallen victim to injuries over the past couple of weeks, where some see troubles others see opportunity and the Bears may have found out they have more game-ready depth on this roster than most teams heading into the tournament.
Baylor is a team that is in the conversation every year and I think because of the chaos within the Big 12 this season, they have fallen to the side. As a gambler, I look for value in my futures and I think you are getting a ton of value with Baylor at +1100.
The Pick: Baylor To Win 2023 NCAA Tournament (+1100 at WynnBet)
Don’t look now…
UConn is surging up rankings after a 95–86 win over St. John’s. UConn currently sits at number 14 with a record of 22-7 overall and 11-7 in the Big East. It’s not the most impressive record, but once UConn gets in, they could be dangerous.
I am a big ‘momentum heading into the tournament’ kind of guy and I think UConn might have the most momentum.
UConn finished the month of February with a record of 5-1 and is the winner of six of their last seven.
The Huskies remain atop the famous KenPom rankings, sitting fifth overall.
UConn is also ranked first nationally in offensive rebounding percentage.
The hopeful huskies will finish the season against unranked DePaul and Villanova. If they can secure those two wins, they are in a great spot heading into Selection Sunday.
UConn appears to be rounding into early season form, I would back UConn as my sleeper team to win it all in 2023.
The Pick: Uconn To Win 2023 NCAA Tournament (+2000 at WynnBet)
Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquette had an impressive 69-68 victory over Xavier on February 22nd. This win shook up the projected bracket and pushed Marquette to the three seed, putting them in a solid position to win the Big East.
Marquette currently has a record of 23-6 overall and 15-3 in the Big East. However, they do struggle on the road with a less-than-stellar record of 7-4 (When I say less-than-stellar, I say that with the standard of winning it all.)
This may be one of the hottest takes of the century, but Marquette may be the most well-rounded team heading into the tournament.
Now, hear me out… Marquette ranks Top 10 in the Nation in a handful of categories.
Currently, they rank…
4th in FG percentage (59.3%)
6th in overall shooting (.494 FG%),
7th in assists (17.7),
8th in made shots (30.1)
9th in steals (9.5).
In my opinion, this is the type of team you want to back in this competitive season. They are not necessarily dominant in one or two categories, but they play really good basketball in most facets of the game. I like Marquette to make some real noise in the 2023 men’s tournament.
The Pick: Marquette To Win 2023 NCAA Tournament (+4000 at WynnBet)