In a little over a month, March Madness will take over men’s college basketball. This NCAA Division I event has a festive feel and is synonymous with making bracket predictions. You’ll see plenty of bracket predictions from now to the start of the tournament, and we think we can identify who might be at the top of each side of the bracket.
Most teams have played around 19 games so far, with no undefeated team still in the competition. Predicting a winner at this stage of the season can be a fool’s errand, but that has never stopped sports fans and experts from predicting the winner of sports events before a season has even started – never mind halfway into a season. Instead of predicting a winner, let’s take a look at the favorites with college basketball betting sites and see where they may land come March.
The Purdue Boilermakers have been the best team in the nation this season and sit at No. 1 in the Top 25. They are the only team to have suffered just one defeat so far this season. They are also on a six-game winning streak and should comfortably end up as the top seed in the south, which should make them favorites to advance deep into March Madness brackets. Given their current form, they are likely to be popular college basketball picks.
The loss to Rutgers was also a very tight affair – they lost 65-64 earlier this month. They have also beaten some very strong teams, such as Gonzaga, Duke, and Ohio State, which is just the sort of preparation a team needs before March Madness beckons.
Their upcoming fixtures aren’t that difficult – they face no more ranked teams the rest of the season - which is why they should end up on top of their conference and get an easier draw for March Madness.
They’ve also got some star power in Zach Edey, who has been a phenom in college basketball prop bets with his 21.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a night. He’s the sort of player that can take the game away from an opponent within seconds, which is important in the knockout rounds.
Alabama Crimson Tide have got some difficult matches coming up against ranked opponents Auburn (twice) and Tennessee, but they’ve already beaten the likes of Mississippi State, Houston and North Carolina. They should get the top seed in the Midwest but will face some tough competition from the likes of Arizona and Texas.
They fear no one, and it’s why they’ve got a 17-2 record so far this season. Brandon Miller has been excellent for Alabama, with 19.8 points per game, but they aren’t entirely reliant on him.
Jaden Bradley has been excellent with 8.7 points and 3.7 assists per game, while Noah Clowney has been excellent on the boards with 8.6 rebounds per match. This is a proper team that’s not as reliant on one superstar, which means they are well equipped to go far in their side of the March Madness bracket and could be a good team to keep on your shortlist of potential winners when visiting USA sports betting sites.
Despite losing their second game of the season last week to Temple to drop to No. 2 nationally, it should be noted that Houston have been one of the best teams in the country this season. They’re 18-2, which includes wins against No. 7 Virginia and No. 22 Saint Mary’s. The West is one of the less-challenging regions, which should help Houston maintain their top seed for the March Madness brackets.
Key to Houston’s progress this season has been Marcus Sasser, who has put in some all-round displays. He has averaged 16.6 points 1.9 steals per game.
With Jamal Shead handling the playmaking and J’Wan Roberts managing the defense, they have a team full of excellent contributors, but their lack of a true star could hold them back. Their upcoming fixtures are quite manageable, which should help them hold onto the top seed in the West.
Let’s now take a look at some potential matchups that could bust some March Madness brackets.
If Purdue get to the Final Four, they’ll have to cross paths with some elite teams. They’ve got Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas State in the South.
Gonzaga haven’t really hit form yet, with four losses this season, but they have one of the best players in the league donning their colors. Drew Timme has averaged 22 points per game this season, and it’d be quite a contest to see him go up against Zach Edey. The two are MVP-level athletes, and it’d be fascinating to see who comes out on top when it matters most. Gonzaga are a dark-horse contender to look out for on US betting apps.
The Midwest, on the other hand, has Alabama, UConn, Baylor, Texas and Arizona. UConn have fallen off a cliff in recent weeks, while Baylor have recovered – they’re strong opposition, but the likes of Texas and Alabama shouldn’t have a lot of trouble if they face them. Arizona, on the other hand, looks like the bigger test for Texas and Alabama, so we could see the top seed fall before the Final Four in that side of the bracket.
Houston have a relatively easier path to the Final Four, with UCLA being their biggest challenger. In the East, defending champions Kansas Jayhawks will mostly have to contend with Tennessee, which would be a great battle in itself. Picking a team from the South or Midwest seems inadvisable because of the competition in those regions, but Purdue’s consistency suggests they’re a good wager when looking at betting apps.
There’s still some time before the March Madness bracket is set, and the narratives around these teams could change drastically in the next month. As wild as the playoffs are, there are some trends from the regular season that will almost certainly be visible in March, and this piece should serve as a guide for any bracket predictions.