The 2023 NCAA tournament is finally here, and our VSiN experts have provided their Final Four predictions!
Alabama, Duke, Houston, UCLA
Houston over Duke
A month ago, I determined with conviction that UCLA would be my pick to win it all, but injuries happen and plans change. Unfortunately, the Bruins lost their best defensive player, Jaylen Clark, and they probably lack the depth to win six games in this tournament. I’m pivoting to Houston, which can follow the lead of star guard Marcus Sasser and use lock-down defense to win as the hometown favorite.
Arizona, Kentucky, UConn, Houston
Arizona over Houston
The duo of Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo is the only in the bracket where both players both average more than eight rebounds per game. The Wildcats pair this up with four different guards averaging more than 10 points per game, and as a whole, the team is 14th in the country in 3-point shooting percentage away from home. The offense has been there for Arizona all season, but an improved defense is why they take home the title.
Jonathan Von Tobel
Alabama, Duke, Houston, Gonzaga
Gonzaga over Duke
The expectations for Gonzaga were immense the last two seasons, but it seems that the Bulldogs enter the NCAA tournament with little hype. The 'Zags got a beneficial draw with a wounded No. 2 seed in UCLA as well, and they come into this tournament on a great 9-0 SU/6-3 ATS run. Everything is coming up Bulldogs.
Creighton, Purdue, Houston, UConn
UConn over Purdue
The Huskies are one of four teams (Houston, Alabama, and Texas the others) to rank in the Top 20 in KenPom's Offensive and Defensive Efficiency Rankings. UConn ranks No. 1 in the nation for Offensive Rebounding and they take away opposing threes (only allowing opponents to take 30% of their shots from the three). After losing six of eight games in a bad January, the Huskies have won nine of their last 11 games and will be the team that comes out of the brutal West Region.
Arizona, Marquette, Houston, Gonzaga
Houston over Arizona
Of the No. 1 seeds, Houston has clearly the best draw to me. The top pod in the Midwest Region features a bunch of flawed teams in one way or another and the bottom of that bracket is also the weakest in the field in my estimation. Houston has a good chance at facing a double-digit seed in the Sweet 16 and I think they square up well in a potential Elite Eight game against Texas in an “anything you can do, I can do better” type of matchup.
Admittedly, I’d worry about Houston against any one of the top-15 teams in the loaded West Region in the Final Four, but I think that would be the tougher of the two games in Houston for them.
Alabama, Houston, Gonzaga, Duke
Houston over Alabama
We’re all looking for upsets in our brackets, but the reality is you need to have the champion to win your pool (and probably at least as many Final Four teams as your nearest competitors). In my primary bracket, I have No. 3 seed Gonzaga and No. 5 Duke in the Final Four, though I’ll be swapping out other teams in the East and West regionals in my secondary brackets. But I’m going chalky with Houston as the likely champion assuming Marcus Sasser is 100% – they’re saying he will be, though the Cougars really don’t need him until the Sweet 16.
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