This year’s NCAA tournament features several young, exciting teams. Defending champions, the Kansas Jayhawks look to make it back-to-back championships. However, there are plenty of up-and-coming teams looking to take it away.
The current field boasts five teams to watch throughout the March Madness schedule. These teams have become betting favorites to take the title.
Purdue has been on a roll this season. At 21-1, they stand atop the Big Ten Conference, with their lone defeat this season coming at the hands of Rutgers in a tight 65-64 contest. Since then, Purdue has won nine in a row, including wins over Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State.
Boilermakers’ leading scorer Zach Edey has averaged 22.0 points per game, with 61.7% shooting from the field. Edey has also added 13.0 rebounds per game. In addition, Braden Smith has chipped in 1.1 steals per game and 4.3 assists.
Overall, the Boilermakers look like the team to beat. Purdue has no significant weaknesses, making them the top pick to watch throughout the NCAA tournament.
Alabama Crimson Tide
This season, Alabama’s 19-3 mark has them first in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Their losses have come against the well-established UConn, Gonzaga, and Oklahoma programs. However, the Crimson Tide has won nine of their last ten games, including blowout wins against LSU (106-66) and Missouri (85-64).
The Tide has averaged 83.3 points per game, with freshman Brandon Miller leading the club with 19.2 PPG, and Jaden Bradley leads them with 3.4 assists per contest. Defensively, Noah Clowney has averaged 8.4 rebounds, and Mark Sears has added 1.5 steals per game.
Overall, the Crimson Tide is a young and up-and-coming team. With a freshman leading the team in scoring, Alabama looks to have the wheels to take them to the Final Four. The Tide should give fans and bettors several key games to watch throughout the tournament.
The American Athletic Conference-leading Houston Cougars look to be an exciting team to watch during March Madness. Their 21-2 record includes key wins over Virginia, Oregon, Oral Roberts, and Tulane. Houston’s two losses have come against SEC leader Alabama and Temple.
Before dropping a tight 56-55 decision to Temple, the Cougars had won nine in a row. Since the loss, the Cougars have bounced back with three straight wins over UCF, Cincinnati, and Wichita State and look to ride that momentum into the NCAA tournament.
The Cougars have averaged 75.2 PPG, with senior guard Marcus Sasser leading the club with 16.2 PPG. Jamal Shead has added 5.3 assists, J’Wan Roberts has chipped in seven rebounds, and Sasser adds 1.8 steals per contest for Houston.
Overall, the Cougars look solid. They have an experienced team looking to take home the title and are a must-watch team for every matchup they play in March Madness.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The Scarlet Knights make the list, as they are the only team to have beaten Purdue thus far. Rutgers has a 15-7 mark this season placing them second in the Big Ten Conference behind the Boilermakers. The Knights’ losses have come against top-quality programs in Miami, Temple, Ohio State, and Seton Hall.
Rutgers is an exciting young team to watch. Their leading scorer, Junio Clifford Omoruyi, headlines an emerging group that could provide several exciting matchups. Rutgers’ last win, a 68-64 victory over Ohio State, was one of the most pivotal games in the Big Ten this season.
Boise State Broncos
The Boise State Broncos look like a solid sleeper pick in this year’s NCAA tournament. At 18-5, the Broncos lead the Mountain West Conference and have won three games since a gut-wrenching 81-79 defeat against New Mexico.
The Broncos feature an exciting core led by sophomore Tyson Degenhart, whose 14.4 PPG leads the club. The Broncos average 72.4 PPG while shooting 73.3% from the free-throw line.
They are one of the most underrated teams that will be selected this year and have all the tools to make some noise in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.