March Madness 2023: which teams are the latest favourites to win NCAA Basketball Championship?

If you’re into college basketball and love to bet on March Madness, you already know what time it is. We’re approaching National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball’s biggest tournament, one of the most talked about sporting events in the country.

At March Madness, 64 teams will be given a shot at the national title, but there can only be one winner. Year in and year out, March Madness has given us plenty of top-level basketball, drama, and controversies, and this year will be no exception.

The final four last year featured the Kansas Jayhawks, Duke Blue Devils, North Carolina Tar Heels, and Villanova. Both the Jayhawks and UNC advanced to the finals, with the former coming out on top to claim its sixth national championship.

With March Madness just less than two months away, here’s a look at the team that is most favored to win the national championship, with odds, according to FanDuel Sportsbook:

Houston +550

Kansas +800

Purdue +1000

UCLA +1100

Alabama +1100

Tennessee +1600

Virginia +2000

Gonzaga +2400

Arizona +2400

Connecticut +2400

Texas +2400

Xavier +3000

TCU +3000

Baylor +3500

Iowa State +4000

North Carolina +4500

Kentucky +5000

Marquette +5000

Kansas State +5000

Arkansas +5000

Duke +5000

Making a case for some of the top favourites

No. 1 Houston Cougars (+550)

Houston is the current favourite to win March Madness for obvious reasons. Since Head Coach Kelvin Sampson took charge five seasons ago, the Cougars have been one of the best college basketball teams in the country.

Houston put the college basketball world on notice last year with an Elite Eight finish. Quite impressive, considering they were without top scorer Marcus Sasser and guard Traon Mark due to injury.

Fast forward to this season, and with a fully healthy Sasser and Mark back in the line-up, plus a five-star recruit in Jarace Walker, the Cougars are clearly the team to beat. They are 18-1 in the season and sitting pretty comfortably atop the American Athletic Conference standings.

The Cougars’ biggest asset is arguably its defence. Last season, they allowed the third-fewest points and ranked fourth in overall defensive rating. This season, the defence is averaging nine steals and five blocks per game and conceding only 51.5 points per game.

No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (+800)

The defending champions entered last year’s finals as the odds-on favourites against UNC and will be hoping to repeat as champions in style.

No. 2 Kansas may look a bit like the shadow of its championship self after losing five of its key role players during the offseason, but the team still boasts Dajuan Harris and Jalen Wilson. The latter is averaging 20 points, nine rebounds, and three assists this season.

Kansas are 16-2 so far, with both losses coming vs No. 22 Tennessee and No. 13 Kansas State. However, the Jayhawks’ next seven games could give us a better clue of what the team is really about as March Madness approaches; they face No. 13 Iowa twice, No. 14 TCU, No. 7 Texas and Kansas State.

No. 5 UCLA Bruins (+1100)

UCLA had a great season last year, finishing the season with a 27-8 record and ranking No. 11. The Bruins clinched the 4th seed in March Madness and made it to the Sweet Sixteen round but came up short against the Tar Heels.

Head coach Mick Cronin will be without his last season’s leading scorer Johnny Juzang, but seniors like Jamie Jaquez and David Singleton and juniors like Jaylen Clark have been great so far this season. Amari Bailey and Adem Bona, both freshmen, have also made their respective marks on the team.

The Bruins are 16-2 so far and on a 13-game winning streak since losing to Illinois and Baylor at the start of the season.

No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers (+1600)

Rick Barnes has completely transformed this team since he took charge in 2015, making them one of the best teams in the Southeastern Conference. The Volunteers have featured in the last six March Madness tournaments and have been no lesser than a top 5 seed during this span.

And it looks like this streak is alive and well this season, as Tennessee currently boasts the best defensive rating in college basketball. In addition, the seniors are having a great run on the offence, while freshman Julian Phillips and sophomore Zakai Zeigler are stepping up to the occasion.

Tennessee is 15-3 this season, losing against Colorado, Arizona, and, most recently, Mississippi.

featured image credit: Francisco Lerma on Unsplash

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