HOUSTON — March Madness is officially here, with the majority of teams beginning their tournament run on Thursday and Friday.
College basketball was full of parity this season, with teams like UConn and Purdue catapulting from unranked to top five - while North Carolina went from preseason number one to out of the NCAA Tournament entirely.
Despite the parity, the NCAA Tournament is almost always won by a top seed. 78% of the NCAA Tournament winners since 1985 have been either a one seed or a two seed, so as fun as it may be to pick an underdog - it doesn't happen often.
Locked on College Basketball hosts Andy Patton and Isaac Schade believe the 2023 champion will be one of the eight top teams in the country, and they lay out reasons why each of the one seeds could win it all....as well as why they won't.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Why they will: Brandon Miller is the most difficult player in college basketball to defend. They have the number three overall defense, per KenPom, including number one two-point defense and number three three-point defense. They have a favorable draw as the number one overall seed.
Why they won't: Below average three point shooting team at 33.8%. If you can stop Miller and make someone else beat you, they could fold. Can Mark Sears or Noah Clowney step up? Changing the pace can throw them off as well.
Why they will: Extremely balanced team with a top five defense (fourth per KenPom) and the 11th ranked offense. Experienced guard play with Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead. Very well coached.
Why they won't: Injury to Sasser could have him playing at less than full strength. Depth is mostly freshmen, are they ready for the big stage? Second round game could be matchup against Auburn in Birmingham, Alabama.
Why they will: Players on the team have clearly defined roles: you have the facilitator (Dajuan Harris) the superstar (Jalen Wilson) the sniper from long range (Gradey Dick) and the lockdown defender (Kevin McCullar). Bill Self is one of the best coaches in the game. Many players on this team have championship experience.
Why they won't: Bill Self may not see the sideline due to a recent heart procedure. They received an extremely tough draw with UCLA, Gonzaga, and UConn in their region. They lack size on the interior, starting a 6'7 player at center in KJ Adams.
Why they will: Zach Edey is the toughest player in the country to defend. They are top 25 in offensive efficiency (9) and defensive efficiency (23) in the country, per KenPom. Elite on the offensive glass.
Why they won't: Freshman guards have struggled toward the end of the season. This team got exposed against full court pressure and will face that in the tournament. Team shot 32.6% from three this season - lowest ever for a national champion is 32.9%.