The 2023 NCAA Tournament is here. What are some compelling, realistic candidates to win the national championship which are currently not among the top tier of favorites? There are some very attractive choices, partly because the amount of choices is so great that you’re bound to identify some enticing options. Let’s take a look at the teams and their odds to win it all at


Texas Longhorns

Odds To Win Championship At 16/1

The Longhorns have opened as a 16-to-1 choice in some betting markets, but beyond that, let’s inform you that in the early lines for national championship teams – before any game has been played in the NCAA Tournament, including the First Four in Dayton – only six teams have smaller odds than 15-to-1. Those six teams are the four No. 1 seeds – Alabama, Kansas, Houston and Purdue – plus No. 2 seeds UCLA and Arizona. That’s it. Those are the only six teams with odds smaller than 15-1. Everyone else is larger than 15-1, so you have a wide selection to choose from.

Texas is in a region where Houston is the No. 1 seed and Miami is the No. 5 seed. Those two teams have the potential to go to the Final Four, but both of those teams are dealing with important injuries as the tournament begins. Houston’s Marcus Sasser got hurt over the weekend in the AAC Tournament. Miami’s Norchad Omier got injured over the weekend in the AAC Tournament. Until we know more about those injuries, Houston and Miami face significant questions. Simply by process of elimination, Texas is currently the best bet to come out of the Midwest Region and get to the Final Four. It might play Kansas in the semifinals, and it just did beat KU twice over the past 10 days. The Longhorns are for real.

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Kansas State Wildcats

Odds To Win Championship At 39/1

The Wildcats got a great draw. They are a No. 3 seed. Marquette is the No. 2 seed in their region, a really good team but also a team no one will fear. The top seed in Kansas State’s region, the East, is Purdue, a team which feasted on a bad Big Ten Conference this season and which is bound to struggle once it plays other really good teams from other conferences. Kansas State plays really good defense and has demonstrated toughness throughout this college basketball season. The Wildcats are in a great position to finally return to the Final Four for the first time since 1964.

Duke Blue Devils

Odds To Win Championship At 34/1

The Duke Blue Devils are seeded No. 5, but they have a very workable draw. They are in the same subsection of the bracket as Purdue. A lot of people in college basketball would tell you that Duke is likely to beat Purdue if the two teams met now. Purdue crushed Duke in November, but Duke has gotten a lot better since then, and rematch could easily go the other way. Duke could play Tennessee in the second round. Tennessee is missing guard Zakai Zeigler, an important part of the Vols’ roster during the regular season. Duke has a great chance to make the Elite Eight, and if it does, all things are possible for the Blue Devils.

Baylor Bears

Odds To Win Championship At 20/1

The Bears have struggled recently, but they are a No. 3 seed in the South Region. Arizona is the No. 2 seed in their region. Arizona does not play strong defense. Baylor can win that matchup and get to the Elite Eight. Alabama is the No. 1 seed in Baylor’s region. Alabama is a feast-or-famine team: great when everything is going well, mediocre when 3-point shots are not falling. Baylor can beat Bama and get back to the Final Four.