HOUSTON — The calendar officially flipped to March, signaling the start of college basketball's greatest month and the upcoming Madness that will ensue during the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Selection Sunday is still a few weeks away, but FanDuel Sportsbook has updated their odds for who will cut down the nets in Houston at the conclusion of the year.
In a year with more parity at the top of the AP poll than ever before, this year's tournament is even more difficult to predict than usual. Here are the ten teams with the most favorable odds to win the big dance, with insight into why each team could be the big winner.
1. Houston Cougars (+650)
Houston is the only team in the country in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency at KenPom, and they are fifth in both. This balanced, experienced, and battle tested team is poised to make another deep run under Kelvin Sampson and could play in front of a home crowd if they make the Final 4 in Houston.
2. Kansas Jayhawks (+800)
Kansas winning the Big-12 feels inevitable at this point, even with the conference boasting some of the strongest teams in the entire country top to bottom. Bill Self's team is absolutely in position to repeat as national champions, led by veteran forward Jalen Wilson and freshman sharpshooter Gradey Dick.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide (+900)
The Crimson Tide have been in the news for unsavory reasons the last few weeks, but that has not stopped them from continuing to dominate at a high level in the SEC. Brandon Miller's dominant scoring ability make this a really tough team to defend, and they get after you on the other end of the floor as well. They'll be a very tough out in March.
4. UCLA Bruins (+1000)
UCLA has dominated the Pac-12 this season, and Mick Cronin's squad only has four losses as they look to make another deep run in the NCAA Tournament on the backs of forward Jaime Jaquez and point guard Tyger Campbell.
5. Purdue Boilermakers (+1200)
Purdue spent many weeks as the number one ranked team in the country, but they have now lost three of their last four games and seem to be fading at the wrong time. Still, any team with Zach Edey is a threat to make a deep run - and coach Matt Painter has found ways to win big games throughout his career.
6. Baylor Bears (+1500)
Baylor has had ups and downs this season, and while their lack of low post scoring and overall defensive issues could hurt them in the big dance, the three-headed monster of Keyonte George, Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer will keep them in every single game.
7. Arizona Wildcats (+1700)
Arizona has a top ten offense in the country, but issues on the defensive end of the floor helped lead them to four losses in a down Pac-12 conference, including a buzzer beating loss to rival Arizona State and a tough loss to Stanford. Tommy Lloyd's team has a dynamic offensive attack, but can they protect the cup enough to make a run to the national championship?
8. Marquette Golden Eagles (+2000)
Similar to Arizona, Marquette has one of the best offensive teams in the entire country but they struggle on the defensive end of the floor - rarely a recipe for an actual national championship. Still, Shaka Smart has proven he can outcoach nearly everyone in the country, and after being picked ninth in the Big East before the season - this team is prepared to quiet the doubters once again.
9. UConn Huskies (+2000)
After an ugly stretch in the middle of Big East play, the UConn Huskies have now won six of their last seven and are rolling into the conference tournament. Dan Hurley's team boasts a top ten offense and a top 25 defense, but can they string together enough wins to make a Final 4 run?
10. Texas Longhorns (+2500)
The fact that Texas is here despite firing head coach Chris Beard amidst domestic violence accusations earlier this season is a testament to the talent on this roster and the job interim head coach Rodney Terry has done. The Longhorns have the length, athleticism, and experience to make a deep run, although questionable outside shooting and not a ton of low post scoring could be their downfall.