2023 NCAA 10 Teams With the Best Value to Win it All in March

Marcus Sasser Houston Cougars Oregon Ducks
Marcus Sasser #0 of the Houston Cougars reacts after a three-point basket against the Oregon Ducks. David Becker/Getty Images/AFP.

Believe it or not, the 2022-23 college basketball season begins next Monday, November 7 already! Here are 10 teams with the best value to win the national championship with futures odds from Caesars Sportsbook, one of TheRX’s best sportsbooks.

The 2023 NCAA Tournament’s First Four begins on March 14 from Dayton and the Big Dance on March 17. The Final Four is on April 1 at Houston’s NRG Stadium and then the title game is on April 3.

Incidentally, this will be the last Final Four called on CBS by legendary Jim Nantz – he’ll still do the NFL and golf. Nantz’s first NCAA Tournament as a broadcaster came in 1986, the year after the field expanded to 64 teams. He worked as a studio host before transitioning to play-by-play for the 1991 Final Four.

1. North Carolina (+900)

How can we not include the Tar Heels after they nearly won it all last season, only to blow a 15-point halftime lead in a 72-69 loss to Kansas? UNC is the preseason No. 1 team in both polls.

The team’s best player from last season, big man Armando Bacot, could have turned pro and likely been a first-round pick but decided to return to Chapel Hill. He averaged 16.1 points and ranked third in the country with 13.1 rebounds. He also shot 56.9% from the field, good enough to rank in the Top 25 nationally. In the Big Dance, he averaged 15.3 points and 16.5 rebounds in the six games.

Northwestern transfer Pete Nance will replace Brady Manek but pretty much everyone else is back and Coach Hubert Davis brought in a terrific recruiting class.

2. Kentucky (+900)

The Cats, ranked No. 4 in the preseason polls, have been disappointments in recent NCAA Tournaments under John Calipari. Coach Cal returns Oscar Tshiebwe, the reigning Wooden Award winner – UK is the first men’s team in 40 years to have a returning Wooden Award winner.

Jacob Toppin, the brother of former lottery pick Obi Toppin, could have a breakout campaign and Calipari also brought in Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace, a pair of five-star recruits, and key transfers CJ Fredrick from Iowa and Antonio Reeves from Illinois State.

3. Houston (+1000)

The Cougars are No. 3 in the USA Today Sports Coaches preseason poll. It marks the highest preseason ranking for Houston in the Coaches poll since the 1967-68 team appeared at No. 2 in 1967.

Senior guard Marcus Sasser has been named to every Preseason All-American team and is the Preseason AAC Player of the Year. He had four 20-point games in his first 12 contests a year ago, including season highs with 26 points in wins against Rice and Northwestern State before being sidelined for the remainder of the season following foot surgery in late December 2021.

Houston was a unanimous selection as The American preseason favorite.

4. Gonzaga (+1000)

Still hard to believe the Zags haven’t won it all yet – they were the 2022 tournament favorites but lost in the Sweet 16 to Arkansas.

While Chet Holmgren is gone, Drew Timme is back and he’ll be a Wooden Award contender. Timme topped the West Coast Conference averaging 18.4 points per game and was first scoring 18.5 points per WCC outing. He was third in the conference shooting 58.6% from the field, sixth grabbing 6.8 rebounds per game, and eighth blocking 0.78 shots per game.

If Gonzaga is to finally break through, the biggest key will be Nolan Hickman and Hunter Sallis stepping up. While the two former five-star recruits didn’t play big roles as freshmen, they (and Chattanooga transfer Malachi Smith) need to provide playmaking Gonzaga’s backcourt lacked last season.

5. Arkansas (+1500)

Eric Musselman, who has established himself as one of the best transfer recruiters and coaches in the country, is bringing the nation’s second-best high school recruiting class to a program coming off back-to-back Elite Eight appearances.

The Hogs bring back just one starter in Devo Davis but there are three five-star prospects who will start: 6,5 Nick Smith Jr., 6,7 Jordan Walsh, and 6,7 Anthony Black. Missouri transfer Trevon Brazile will step in at center.

6. UCLA (+1200)

The Bruins welcome five-star prospects Amari Bailey and Adem Bona to pair with the elite duo of Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr.

After battling various injuries throughout 2021-22, Jaquez (13.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG) is healthy and ready to put together a complete season that could end with Wooden Award contention, along with a lengthy stay for the Bruins in the NCAA tournament.

UCLA has been chosen to win the Pac-12.

7. Duke (+1800)

It’s a new era at Duke with Mike Krzyzewski retired and Jon Scheyer taking over. Jeremy Roach is the lone key player returning from last season’s Final Four team, but he will be surrounded by the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class and a slew of veteran transfers.

Ranked No. 7 in the AP Top 25, Duke extends the nation’s longest streak of being ranked in the Top 10 at any point in a season to 27 consecutive years. The next closest program is Kansas, which has held a Top-10 ranking at some point in each of the last 17 seasons.

8. Creighton (+2500)

The Bluejays are favorites in the Big East and have a chance to field their best team in school history. The Bluejays have size, experience, athleticism, defense, wanting passers, and an experienced coach.

They return Big East Defensive Player of the Year Ryan Kalkbrenner and Big East Freshman of the Year Ryan Nembhard. Though the team lost Ryan Hawkins to graduation, it gained a big piece in South Dakota State fifth-year senior transfer Baylor Scheierman, who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists last season, along with TCU transfer Francisco Farabello.

9. Tennessee (+2500)

The Vols’ 2022-23 roster features 18 players (12 scholarship student-athletes) representing six states as well as Finland, Serbia, and Uruguay. Tennessee returns 58.3% of last season’s scoring,a mark that ranks third in the SEC behind only Georgia and Texas A&M.

Three of the top four scorers from last season highlight the Vols’ returners. Santiago Vescovi is the leading returning scorer after averaging 13.3 points per game a year ago, followed by Josiah-Jordan James (10.3 ppg) and Zakai Zeigler (8.8 ppg).

The backcourt trio of Vescovi, James, and Zeigler each saw elevated scoring totals in SEC play last season—Vescovi posted 14.3 points per game, James tallied 10.7 and Zeigler recorded 10.1. Five-star recruit Julian Phillips will be an X-factor, given his length and skill.

10. Texas Tech (+4000)

Kevin Obanor is the lone returnee who averaged more than 2.2 points last season, and nine newcomers join the Red Raiders.

The star is two-time first-team All-WAC selection Fardaws Aimaq, who averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 rebounds last season at Utah Valley. But Aimaq suffered a foot injury in late September and will miss some time.

Coach Mark Adams also landed De’Vion Harmon (Oregon), Kerwin Walton (North Carolina), Jaylon Tyson (Texas), D’Maurian Williams (Gardner-Webb), and five-star recruit Elijah Fisher.