March Madness is one of the best times of the year for basketball fans and sports fans in general. The NCAA tournament is the one time of year when college basketball takes over the sports and news cycle. Even non-sports fans are talking about the big upset around the coffee pot the following day at work.
Those who do not follow college basketball closely for the entire season may not know what teams are doing well right now. This article will share the five teams most likely to be the college basketball national champion this season. We will use odds from Caesars Sportsbook to be unbiased for the top five favorites.
For those that are not typically sports bettors, you may want to place a few bets on the NCAA Tournament. If that is the case, most sportsbooks offer great promos, especially during the NCAA tournament. Caesars Promo Code for bettors is always solid and helps bettors get the best value out of their wagers.
Houston Cougars +700
The Cougars are 17-1 on the season and have looked dominant from the very start of the season. The Cougars’ only loss on the season was to a ranked Alabama team. The biggest question about Houston is that the Cougars have not played a very strong schedule. In their two games against ranked teams, Houston is 1-1. The loss to Alabama and a good win over Virginia.
Playing in the American conference, it is also unlikely Houston will play another ranked team until the NCAA Tournament. Houston is solid on both sides of the court, ranking 2nd in defensive rating and 11th in offensive rating by Kenpom.
Houston is also very balanced and has five players averaging over eight points scored per game. Of those five, four players have had at least one game of 19 points scored. That is what makes Houston so challenging to defend. If a team limits their leading scorer Marcus Sasser (16.6 ppg), another player can pick up the slack.
Arizona Wildcats +900
Arizona is one of the highest-scoring and fastest-paced teams in the nation. Come NCAA Tournament time. The Wildcats will likely be a fan favorite as their play style is fun to watch.
The Wildcats might have the best-scoring frontcourt duos in the country. Azuolas Tubelis (20.8 ppg) and Oumar Ballo (16.7 ppg) and are hard to stop. Both are shooting way over 50% from the floor, and Tubelis does not shoot a ton of threes (nine made this year) but shoots enough to keep teams honest, as he is shooting 47.4% from three.
The Wildcats will need to be sharp from the start of the tournament as Arizona’s two losses this year are to two unranked teams, both unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas Jayhawks +1200
Rock Chalk Jayhawk is alive and well, as Kansas looks to have another potential National Championship in its sights. No team has won back-to-back National Championships since Florida did it in 2006 and 2007.
The Jayhawks’ only loss this season came to a ranked Tennessee squad. Kansas has a good balance of veterans and some explosive young talent. Junior Jalen Wilson leads the way with 20 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. At the same time, Freshman Grady Dick is second on the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game and has also shown a knack for hitting big shots in clutch moments.
Kansas’s one weakness may be their need for a true center that gets significant playing time. Freshmen Ernest Udeh Jr. is the tallest player on the Jayhawk roster but only averages about seven minutes a game while only playing in 12 out of 16 games.
Tennessee Volunteers +1200
The Volunteers are 14-2 on the year, with an odd loss to Colorado in the second game of the season and a close loss to Arizona. Tennessee is first in the SEC and looks to be the team to beat in the conference.
The team’s offensive balance makes up for Tennessee’s lack of a true star player. With an astounding six players averaging over eight points per game. There is no way to shut down one Volunteer, as the rest will punish an opponent if given the opportunity.
The most important question is, without an identified star player, does Tennessee have a guy that can hit the clutch shot? Volunteer fans may argue they have six players capable of it, while opponents would say there is no one. Typically March Madness’s best teams have one player that becomes known for their magic moment.
The Bruins are full of solid veteran players, and that experience could come in handy come March. Jaime Jaquez (16.4 ppg) and Tyger Campbell (13.5 ppg) are seniors who were a part of UCLA’s 2021 Final Four team. This year the two seniors are looking to get back to the Final Four and win it all this time.
That is not to say the Bruins do not have excellent young talent. Amari Bailey, a top-ten recruit from last year, is being talked about as a first-round talent in this upcoming NBA draft. Bailey has missed a few games due to a minor foot injury. As long as Bailey can come back and continue to get better, UCLA might be a hard team to beat in the NCAA Tournament.