March Madness Favorites After Selection Sunday – NCAA Tournament Odds Favor Houston, Alabama and Kansas
- The NCAA Tournament field is set, with Houston boasting the shortest odds to win it all at +550, followed by Alabama at +700 and Kansas at +750
- Gonzaga enters March Madness in peak form and offers plenty of value at +1800
- See the latest NCAA Tournament odds here, plus analysis and predictions
The NCAA Tournament field is set, and it’s now officially time to start filling out your brackets. There wasn’t a ton of surprises on Selection Sunday, especially at the back end of the field, as few bubble team made deep enough runs in their conference tournaments to play themselves into March Madness.
The top-three teams, Houston, Alabama and Kansas have been the class of college hoops all season, and it’s no surprise they boast the three shortest odds to win it all.
2023 NCAA Tournament Odds
|San Diego State||+7500|
The Cougars, fresh off a defeat versus Memphis in the AAC title game, are the +550 favorites in the NCAA Tournament odds. The Crimson Tide and Jayhawks are next on the oddsboard at +700 and +750 respectively, followed by Purdue at +900.
Kansas was also taken down in its Conference Championship Game, however you can make the argument that they should be the favorite heading into March Madness.
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Top of the Board
For starters, the Jayhawks are the defending national champs. Three of their starting five were part of last year’s championship team, and Kansas has by far the best resume of any program this season. They started the campaign with average title odds of +1620, and after stumbling early in the season, their price has been shortening ever since.
The Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular season, and made it all the way to the Conference Championship Game before falling to a very good Texas team. The Big 12 was easily the toughest conference in the nation. Seven of their teams qualified for the March Madness bracket, with three programs producing at least 11 Quadrant 1 wins.
If the Kansas Jayhawks aren't ranked #1 in the country and the overall 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, the decision makers for both don't have a clue what they're doing.
— Jeff Toeniskoetter (@toeniskoetter2) March 11, 2023
Kansas posted a nation best 17 Quadrant 1 victories, four more than Alabama, and 10 more than Houston. They beat 10 teams ranked 25th or better at the time of their meeting, and rank seventh in the nation in defensive efficiency.
Houston meanwhile, opened the campaign with +900 championship odds. The dropped to +680 within the first month of the season, and have been hovering around that number ever since.
The Cougars dominated their schedule this season, but they were rarely tested. Houston hasn’t faced a ranked opponent since December 17th. They got past Virginia that night, but came up short against Alabama later in the season, their only other ranked opponent to date.
Since that victory over the Commodores, the Cougars only other matchups versus a March Madness opponent have come against Memphis. To make matters worse, star guard and leading scorer Marcus Sasser suffered an injury in the AAC semifinal, and was held out of Conference Championship Game.
Kelvin Sampson was asked how he & his staff would approach the status of Marcus Sasser heading into tomorrow's title game. "I would probably err on the side of holding him out…because of how important next week is."
"The most important thing is Marcus…not winning" @KHOU pic.twitter.com/4BdZFh4SFj
— Daniel Gotera (@DTGoteraKHOU) March 12, 2023
Sasser leads the team in not only points per game, but also field goal percentage and three-point shooting, while ranking second in assists. The severity of the injury is unclear, but this team cannot compete for a championship if he’s not 100%.
As for Alabama, the Crimson Tide are very deserving of their short price tag. They’re one of only three programs who rank top-20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency per KenPom, and they feature one of the most talented players in the country in Brandon Miller.
The controversial forward is a projected lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, despite his off the court issues.
Alabama has six more Quadrant 1 victories than the Cougars, but their wins aren’t as impressive as the Jayhawks’. Yes, they beat Houston, but they also came up short versus Tennessee, UConn and Gonzaga, the next three best teams they faced.z
Gonzaga Finally Offers Value
Speaking of the ‘Zags, after back-to-back years as the NCAA Tournament’s number one overall seed, there’s finally value on the Bulldogs to win it all.
Gonzaga began the season with one of the shortest prices to win March Madness at +950. They threw everybody off their scent with a trio of early season losses to contenders, but since then Mark Few’s program has played exceptionally well.
After a one point loss to Baylor in early December, they ripped off 11 straight victories, including a 10 point win over Alabama. They stubbed their toe versus Loyola Marymount in another one-point defeat in mid-January, but they have just one loss since. That came against no. 16 Saint Mary’s, and they’ve beaten the Gaels twice since.
Last 5 NCAA Tournament Champions
Both of those wins were by at least nine points, with the latest coming by 26 in the WCC Championship Game. The Bulldogs have won nine straight, with eight of those victories coming by nine or more points.
They boast the most efficient offense in the nation, leading college hoops in points per game and field goal percentage. Drew Timme is back for another run at that elusive national title, while all five of their top scorers are upperclassmen.
A well coached team, with plenty of veteran leadership that can shoots the lights out is a recipe for success at the NCAA Tournament. Sure, they’re likely to run into Kansas if they reach the Final Four, but you can’t win the title without knocking off some of the best teams in the country along the way.
Pick: Gonzaga Bulldogs (+1800)
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