HOUSTON — March Madness is officially here, with the majority of teams beginning their tournament run on Thursday and Friday.
College basketball was full of parity this season, with teams like UConn and Purdue catapulting from unranked to top five - while North Carolina went from preseason number one to out of the NCAA Tournament entirely.
Despite the parity, the NCAA Tournament is almost always won by a top seed. 78% of the NCAA Tournament winners since 1985 have been either a one seed or a two seed, so as fun as it may be to pick an underdog - it doesn't happen often.
Locked on College Basketball hosts Andy Patton and Isaac Schade believe the 2023 champion will be one of the eight top teams in the country, and they lay out reasons why each of the two seeds could win it all....as well as why they won't.
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Why they will: They are a balanced team with a top 20 offense and defense per KenPom (18 and 11, respectively). Seventh most experience in the country, very valuable especially in the backcourt. Turn teams over 23% of the time.
Why they won't: Poor outside shooting team (33.9% from deep). Lack depth outside of starting lineup, and lack size in the frontcourt.
Why they will: Among the nation's most efficient offensive teams. Two-headed monster of Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo down low is really difficult to defend. Play at a fast pace.
Why they won't: Overly reliant on low post scoring, guard play is inconsistent at best. Defense is 41st in the country, no champion has ever been worse than 22nd.
Marquette Golden Eagles
Why they will: Tyler Kolek is perhaps the best pure point guard in the country. Eagles elite at distributing the ball and shoot 58.8% on two pointers - fifth in the country. Balanced offense with five scorers between 9.3 and 15 points per game.
Why they won't: Among the worst defensive top seeds in the tournament. Barely top 50 defensively. Average under 32 rebounds per game, 317th in the country. Lack of size will hurt them against bigger, more physical teams.
Why they will: KenPom's top defensive team in the country. Rarely turn the basketball over. Tyger Campbell and Amari Bailey are playing extremely well. Jaime Jaquez is a matchup nightmare.
Why they won't: Jaylen Clark is out, and he won the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Take very few three pointers, could hurt them if they can't shoot their way back into a game. Depth will be tested.