2013 March Madness: 10 Teams With the Best Chance to Win
March Madness is upon us, and this year it could be anybody’s tournament to win. There truly is no clear-cut favorite at this time, which means college basketball fans are in for a thrill each and every round.
The one-seeds of this year’s NCAA Tournament, Louisville, Indiana, Kansas and Gonzaga, have been given the best opportunity to reach the Final Four in Atlanta, but lower seeded squads like Miami, Ohio State and even Florida have shown us they’re every bit as capable of cutting down the nets.
This could even be a year where we see an eight-seed, like Butler in 2011, find its way into the National Championship game. Literally anything can happen, and that’s why we love (and hate) it so much.
Mid-majors capable of upsetting top seeds are littered throughout the field, and not a single one of them can be counted out until they’re actually headed home for good. Who knows, this might even be the year we finally see a No. 16 seed topple a No. 1. I’m not brave enough to predict that, but it has to happen sooner or later, right?
Like it or not, your bracket is more than likely to be busted this year. It happens to the best of us; that’s just the undeniable truth of the NCAA Tournament and the madness it creates.
So pick away with as much confidence as you can muster, but keep the following teams in mind, as they are the ten squads most likely to win it all in 2013.
If the Gators are to go all the way, they’ll be doing it behind stellar defensive performances night in and night out. Like any team coming out of the South, Florida has a tough road to the Final Four, but it is capable of getting the job done despite a relatively weak regular season schedule that didn’t provide many true tests.
Otto Porter strikes me as the type of player that can carry a team deep into the tourney. Any squad with hopes of getting past the second-seeded Hoyas has to shut him down first. The only other problem is you still have to score, and Georgetown fields one of the best defenses March Madness has to offer.
The Wolverines haven’t been able to win consistently after a 16-0 start to the season, but Big Ten play is over with and John Beilein’s uber-talented (but young) squad, led by Trey Burke, is ready to unleash its athleticism on the tourney field. In my opinion, they'll challenge Kansas to win the South region.
The Zags may be a No. 1 seed, but Mark Few’s bunch will be doubted until they either win the big dance or start beating up on a higher level of competition than what you’ll find in the West Coast Conference. I’m not entirely convinced this team is a contender, either, but my gut tells me Kelly Olynyk and his boys have plans to dominate a weak region and at the very least work their way into the Elite Eight.
The ACC regular season and tournament champions didn’t get enough love to earn a one-seed, but they sure are playing like one. If they can get past the Hoosiers, you can pretty much pencil the Hurricanes into the Final Four.
Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils haven’t looked very convincing at times this season, but they’re a much better team with senior Ryan Kelly in the lineup and we all know you can’t write off any squad led by the one and only Coach K.
It goes without saying that the Big Ten regular season champs are one of the favorites to win it all. The Hoosiers can score in so many ways, while still playing smothering D when they don’t have the ball. They also got an easy draw in the East, with Miami serving as the only legitimate threat to keep them out of the Final Four.
The Jayhawks are a tough squad to figure out, but when the offense finds a rhythm, there may be no stopping them. There are some challengers in the South region that Kansas will have to fight through, but they definitely have the firepower to handle each opponent one game at a time.
Ohio State Buckeyes
With Deshaun Thomas’ offense and Aaron Craft’s defense, the Buckeyes are one of the most dangerous teams in the tournament. If Craft or one of this team’s role players can chip in offensively each game, dominating the West region and reaching the Final Four won’t be much of a problem.
The Big East tourney champs really are as good as advertised, and proved against Syracuse they can overcome just about anything. Rick Pitino and the Cardinals own the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s bracket, and despite being thrown in a region with heavyweights like Duke and Michigan State, they’re still the favorites to come out on top.