2023 NCAA Tournament: 50 causes to be excited for March Madness
College Basketball Broadcaster and Reporter
The greatest Thursday and Friday of the calendar yr are about to reach.
There’s merely nothing just like the NCAA Tournament, and this yr’s version of March Madness may present all-time ranges of drama. Nothing within the sport proper now needs to be handled as an absolute, and with the extent of parity throughout the nation, anticipate the surprising to happen.
View the complete bracket right here.
From superstars to observe, to a title protection at stake, to potential Cinderellas and new head coaches added to the highlight, listed here are 50 causes to get excited for the NCAA Tournament.
[March Madness 2023: Schedule dates, locations, how to watch]
1. Alabama is 29-5 and the No. 1 general seed within the NCAA Tournament, with the most effective NBA Draft prospect within the nation, Brandon Miller. Will the Crimson Tide merely preserve forging on regardless of vital current off-court drama concerning Miller’s alleged function in a deadly capturing? There’s at all times an added media highlight for a prime event staff. Cameras shall be following the Tide intently.
2. Jon Scheyer makes his NCAA Tournament debut as Duke’s chief after changing into the primary in ACC historical past to win the convention event as each a participant and a head coach. Jeremy Roach and the Blue Devils are 18-1 after they have their full roster wholesome.
3. Will John Calipari break Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament win drought? It’s been 4 years for the reason that Wildcats gained on the large dance flooring. That chilly spell has to finish for Big Blue Nation.
4. Houston. In Houston. The Cougars are searching for their first nationwide title at school historical past, they usually have the possibility to do it of their residence metropolis. Marcus Sasser is battling by way of a groin damage however is predicted to be accessible.
5. Dan Hurley vs. Rick Pitino. UConn vs. Iona on Friday in Albany. That broadcast deserves an unique present with simply photographs of the coaches. The officiating crew deserves to be compensated double!
6. The Big Ten hasn’t gained a nationwide championship in 23 years. Zach Edey and Purdue goal to vary that.
7. We haven’t had a repeat nationwide champion since 2006-07, when Billy Donovan’s Florida groups pulled it off. It’s completely on the desk for Bill Self and Kansas to realize the feat behind All-American Jalen Wilson.
8. The mustache is again. Drew Timme and Gonzaga might be the staff exterior the top-2 seed strains that has a stable shot to achieve the Final Four.
9. Trayce Jackson-Davis is a First-Team All-American in my e book. He has a shot to place his title within the historical past books much more if Indiana can attain the Sweet 16 for the primary time since 2016.
10. The final time Marquette made the Final Four was in 2003, with Dwyane Wade main the way in which. Shaka Smart and his Big East champions bought a positive draw with a well-recognized venue ought to they attain the second weekend: Madison Square Garden.
11. What Rodney Terry has completed in not simply maintaining Texas afloat, however main the Longhorns to the Big 12 Tournament crown and rolling into the NCAAs is absolutely spectacular. Look out for Marcus Carr.
12. Jalen Pickett is an All-American for 10-seed Penn State and the Nittany Lions’ matchup with Wade Taylor IV and 7-seed Texas A&M shall be a enjoyable one.
13. The Bryce Hopkins Bowl is going on. The Kentucky switch, who has led Providence in scoring and rebounding this season, would be the focus when the Friars and Wildcats meet Friday evening.
14. The 12-seeds are all kinds of enjoyable, and I imagine a number of 12s are transferring on to the second spherical of the NCAA Tournament: College of Charleston is tied for the nationwide lead in wins at 31-3 and attracts a San Diego State staff that’s elite defensively however not nice within the scoring column. Look for Dalton Bolon and Ante Brzovic to attempt to impose their will on the sport.
15. Furman is dancing for the primary time since 1980! Bob Richey has a star guard in Mike Bothwell and a big-time participant in Jalen Slawson. They shall be a frisky upset candidate to knock off Virginia.
16. We’ll keep proper on the upset prepare: Look out for Drake. I really like the truth that we get a father/son duo for the Bulldogs, with head coach Darian DeVries and MVC participant of the yr Tucker.
17. We’ve seen a 15-seed win within the final two tournaments! Who will make it three in a row? Look out for Princeton in opposition to Arizona. Tosan Evbuomwan is a reputation to know for the Tigers, one of the uncommon gamers within the huge dance as a 6-foot-8 level ahead.
18. Even after dropping Jaylen Clark for the season, Jaime Jaquez and Tyger Campbell can will UCLA. The Bruins are eyeing two Final Four appearances within the final three years.
19. Someone name Julia Louis-Dreyfus — Northwestern is dancing for the second time in program historical past and the primary time since 2017. The Wildcats get a balanced Boise State staff within the first spherical.
20. Kansas State has among the best duos to observe in Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell. The third-seeded Wildcats have a stable draw to make the second weekend.
21. Dusty May and 31-3 FAU are dynamic and harmful. Can they get previous Kendric Davis and red-hot Memphis? That’s a really compelling 8/9 recreation.
22. Speaking of 8/9 video games, the Iowa/Auburn Midwest recreation shall be one other teaching matchup of characters between Fran McCaffery and Bruce Pearl. Will we see a stare down enter the Madness? Never say by no means!
23. Arkansas has among the best NBA prospects in Nick Smith, and the Hogs are able to surprising Kansas within the West.
24. Don’t. Count. Out. Sparty. Michigan State ought to beat USC within the first spherical. A second-round showdown would doubtless come in opposition to Marquette. Could Tyson Walker restrict Tyler Kolek?
25. Jeremy Roach vs. Max Abmas in Orlando is an impressive guard matchup on Thursday evening when Duke squares off in opposition to Oral Roberts. The Eagles made the Sweet 16 below Paul Mills simply two years in the past.
26. Aidan Mahaney vs. Ace Baldwin within the backcourt shall be must-see faculty hoops when Saint Mary’s squares off with VCU in a 5/12 recreation.
27. Missouri and Utah State are two of the top-15 KenPom offenses within the nation, they usually meet within the first spherical on Thursday at 1:40 p.m. ET from Sacramento.
28. Baylor has as robust a backcourt as any in America. Will that be capable of carry the Bears, or do defensive struggles mount? Look out for Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer and Keyonte George.
29. Watch out for Baylor’s opponent, UC Santa Barbara, to be an upset candidate. Ajay Mitchell is a big-time sophomore level guard, averaging 16.4 factors and 5.1 assists.
30. Creighton/NC State in a 6/11 recreation goes to be enjoyable. Ryan Nembhard, Trey Alexander and Baylor Scheierman squaring off with the Wolfpack’s Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner has the makings for buckets.
Ryan Kalkbrenner dominates
Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner confirmed his power inside on this play in opposition to Villanova final week.
31. Bob Huggins and West Virginia are again within the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers draw one other robust turnaround story in Kevin Willard and Maryland. Who wins the battle of WVU’s offense versus the Terrapins’ protection? To be decided.
32. MAC champion Kent State is all kinds of enjoyable at 28-6, and look out for lead guard Sincere Carry. The Golden Flashes are dancing for the primary time in six years.
33. Sean Miller is again within the NCAA Tournament with a Xavier staff that shall be hungry to bounce again from a blowout Big East championship recreation loss to Marquette. Don’t let Souley Boum get scorching.
34. The Mountain West and Pac-12 each getting 4 bids to the NCAA Tournament got here off a shock. Will these leagues again up the committee and carry out? We get a First Four recreation between the 2 leagues on Wednesday evening when Arizona State meets Nevada.
35. Iowa State is a harmful 6-seed within the event, however they want Jaren Holmes and Gabe Kalscheur to knock down perimeter photographs. Can the Cyclones make a second straight Sweet 16?
36. Mike Miles Jr. and a powerful TCU core got here again for this second: to go on a deep event run. The 6-seed Frogs may get Gonzaga within the second spherical. That could be nearer to a Sweet 16 recreation in high quality.
37. This NCAA Tournament could have not only one however two Hurleys, with Bobby’s Arizona State Sun Devils among the many final 4 in. They get Nevada on Wednesday at 9:10 p.m. ET from Dayton.
38. As for Dan Hurley, it is time for Connecticut to make noise within the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies are 9-2 of their final 11 video games, have an NBA Draft first-round decide in Jordan Hawkins and an elite huge in Adama Sanogo. The Sweet 16 needs to be a good expectation.
39. Valparaiso legend Bryce Drew is again within the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years with a Grand Canyon staff that may mild it up from downtown, hitting 9 3s per recreation. Look out for the Antelopes.
40. Could Tennessee overcome not having Zakai Zeigler (out for yr — torn ACL) on this NCAA Tournament? Santiago Vescovi has to play nicely for the Vols to advance, and Rick Barnes’ staff must make it overly bodily and hope the officers allow them to play a bit bit.
41. Three years in the past, Kennesaw State gained one recreation your entire season. The Owls are dancing for the primary time as a Division I member and as a 14-seed, they draw Xavier within the Midwest. Amir Abdur-Rahim has engineered an incredible story.
42. John Becker’s Vermont Catamounts have made it to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments and take a 15-game profitable streak right into a 2/15 showdown with Marquette within the East.
43. One can dream of this, proper? There’s a state of affairs on the East Regional inside Madison Square Garden that we may get this doubleheader:
— Purdue or Memphis vs. Duke
— Kentucky vs. Marquette
Doesn’t that simply say enjoyable?
44. What model of 9-seed Illinois are we going to see? The Illini have been far and wide, going 5-10 away from their residence courtroom. They want Terrence Shannon Jr. to steer them, and Matthew Mayer should knock down some 3s for Brad Underwood’s squad to have a shot.
45. There’s a chance for a Houston/Indiana NCAA Tournament recreation. Kelvin Sampson was pressured to resign as Hoosiers coach regardless of beginning the 2007-08 season 22-4 because of impermissible contact with recruits by way of telephone. Can you say … drama?
46. If Texas A&M can get previous Penn State, we may very nicely see an old-school Big 12 second-round matchup in Des Moines.
47. Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo have been the most effective frontcourt duo all season for Arizona. Will we see that proceed, and Tommy Lloyd taking the Wildcats on a deep run? If the Cats have some form of perimeter rhythm behind Courtney Ramey and Kerr Kriisa, they’ll win all of it.
48. USC’s Boogie Ellis is an absolute bucket, averaging 24.3 PPG during the last seven contests. He fees the Tenth-seeded Trojans in opposition to Michigan State on Friday.
49. To suppose that we may get a Houston/Texas Elite Eight recreation for the proper to go to the Final Four in Houston? That could be completely bonkers within the Midwest.
50. Alabama has already gone into Houston and brought down the Cougars. However, a soccer stadium is only a tad totally different venue. On Dec. 10, when the Tide gained 71-65 and Miller did not even report a made area objective. That’s as a result of Nate Oats’ staff held Sasser to 2-for-11 from the ground and Jamal Shead wanted 20 photographs to get to 19 factors.
A rematch of that encounter in a championship recreation? Yes please, if chalk is even allowed within the insanity … which it is usually not!
John Fanta is a nationwide faculty basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports. He covers the game in quite a lot of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to offering commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.
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