College Basketball Futures: Early best bets to win the 2023-24 national title
The 2022-23 college basketball season is over and it's time to start looking ahead. There's still a lot we don't know heading into next season, but we have a good idea of which teams have enough to compete right now. Whether it's with returning contributors or fresh faces, a few teams stand out as tremendous value plays to do something special in March Madness next season. Here are some of the teams we'd suggest betting on to win the 2023-24 national championship.
MORE: Check out our Pro Picks page for everything our experts are betting!
(All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook)
Arizona Wildcats (+2000)
If it wasn’t for the top-seeded Purdue Boilermakers losing to the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights, everybody on the planet would be putting Tommy Lloyd and the Wildcats on blast for losing to the Princeton Tigers in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. However, Arizona was fortunate enough to avoid the all-out blitz in public scrutiny, and the returning Wildcats players — along with incoming ones — will now lace up their boots and go to work in the offseason.
For as poorly as things went in the postseason, it’s hard to ignore the season Arizona had last year. The Wildcats finished the year 11th in the nation in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, and this is a group that won the Pac-12 Conference tournament. Now, the Wildcats bring back a bunch of key members of last year’s rotation, as Oumar Ballo, Pelle Larsson and Azuolas Tubelis all seem likely to return for Arizona. The Wildcats will also have more minutes for point guard Kylan Boswell, who will be a sophomore next season. Boswell was a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school, and the thought is that he’ll be a massive upgrade over Kerr Kriisa, who is transferring out of the program.
The Wildcats will just need somebody to step in and contribute at shooting guard, where Courtney Ramey hit some big shots for them last season. Perhaps freshman K.J. Lewis can help, or Lloyd can hit the transfer portal. But this is a very talented team that plays the right way. And the fluky loss to Princeton should light a fire underneath these players.
Michigan State Spartans (+2000)
Michigan State made a nice run in the NCAA tournament, and the team is going to be absolutely loaded next year. Starting point guard Tyson Walker is expected to return to college as a fifth-year senior, and he’ll join A.J. Hoggard, Jaden Akins and Malik Hall as some of the key contributors from last year’s team to be back for another run. And Joey Hauser, who averaged 14.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last year, could join them.
The Spartans also happen to be bringing in one of the most impressive recruiting classes in all of college basketball. Xavier Booker, a five-star center from Indiana, headlines the group, but there are three other four-star players heading to East Lansing. That’s a heck of a lot of talent to be giving Tom Izzo, who is one of the best coaches in the history of the sport. This team is going to play the right way on both ends of the floor, and it’s just hard not to like Michigan State’s chances of going all the way next season — especially after having gained some valuable experience last year.
Arkansas Razorbacks (+2500)
Arkansas is going to lose a lot of the talent from the team that made the Sweet 16 last year, but the Razorbacks are going to feel good about their chances of being great in the 2023-24 season. For starters, Trevon Brazile will be back from a torn ACL at some point next season. Brazile is a future NBA player and will join up with incoming freshman Baye Fall to make up one of the best frontcourts in college basketball next season. Also, four-star freshman Layden Blocker should immediately do a good job of running the show at the point guard position, and Devo Davis will be back as one of the team’s primary shotmakers.
This Arkansas team has also been consistently excellent under head coach Eric Musselman, who is 95-42 since taking over as the head coach of the Razorbacks. The program seems like its on the verge of another breakthrough, and next year’s team will be talented enough to do it — especially if the Razorbacks can find another shotmaker in the transfer portal.
Florida Atlantic Owls (+5000)
After going 35-4 and being a buzzer beater away from making the finals of the NCAA tournament last year, the Owls won’t be sneaking up on anybody anymore. However, this run also means that it’ll be hard not to consider FAU for an at-large bid, if the Owls somehow don’t win the C-USA tournament next year. And if FAU does get back into the Big Dance, the team will feel like it has a shot at winning it all.
The only important player from last year’s team that won’t be back in Boca Raton is Michael Forrest, but Johnell Davis, Alijah Martin, Nicholas Boyd, Vladislav Goldin and Bryan Greenlee all seem set to return. This is a team that ended up being 17th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin when all was said and done, and head coach Dusty May just signed a fat contract extension to stick with FAU.
This team proved that it was very close to playing at a championship level last season, and another year of seasoning should only make things a bit better. Florida Atlantic just has to find a way to navigate mid-major life and get back in the tournament field. From there, the Owls will have as good a shot as anyone. These odds just seem very, very generous.