March Madness, or the NCAA Tournament as it is also known, is one of the biggest sporting events to appear on the American calendar each and every single year.
It provides sports lovers with some of the most unpredictable basketball action that anyone has ever experienced, with each year’s tournament continuing to throw up a number of results that nobody would have ever been able to foresee.
This year’s March Madness could be one of the biggest yet for sports betting enthusiasts, though, as more and more states have eased many of the restrictions that were once in place for previous competitions. Indeed, since the laws on online betting became relaxed, Unibet has created a number of exclusive Iowa sportsbook promos that can be used, with some being available in conjunction with the NCAA Tournament.
However, who are the main contenders to win the upcoming edition of the competition? Well, as mentioned, it will be extremely difficult to try and correctly predict who will be the winners of the competition, especially when the single-elimination format that is followed has not been favorable to the team ranked No. 1 at the beginning. Those that have been ranked the best team have only gone on to win the national title on three occasions since 2004/05.
Many are already predicting that Gonzaga will be crowned the winners of the upcoming March Madness competition, and to be honest, it is not hard to see why they are the favorites for many.
The Bulldogs have remained the number one contenders for the national title due to their performances over the course of recent seasons. They were almost able to go undefeated last season before being beaten by Baylor Bears in the men’s championship basketball game, whilst they have continued to play rather well this season, including a seven-game winning streak.
The team has had to go without the likes of Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert this season after they were picked up in the NBA draft, however the Zags have seen forward Drew Timme and guard Andrew Nembhard step up; combining with Hunter Sallis and Chet Holmgren.
Having reached the national championship last season, many will be expecting Gonzaga to go further this season and clinch the title.
Duke is thought to be the team to have the most likely chance of competing alongside Gonzaga for the national title this season, with the team being fancied heavily by sportsbooks as a potential challenger.
Some have highlighted that the Blue Devils appear to have the most talent in the ACC and have been impressive throughout this season. There may have been a concern regarding their struggles over the years, but it would seem that they have been better than expected, with the likes of Wendell Moore Jr. who has emerged as a key player, whilst former five-star prospect AJ Griffin has recently joined the team too.
The current defending champions of March Madness from last year, it does not come as a shock to see the Baylor Bears be ranked highly as a potential favorite to win the competition once again this year.
They had started the year 15-0 but have recently seen performances on the court drop off slightly, but this has seen observers note that the team actually looks better in regard to athleticism compared to last year’s champions, despite the fact that they will be without a number of names who went on to the NBA. Nonetheless, individuals such as freshmen Kendall Brown and Jeremy Sochan have been incredibly impressive and have managed to put in a number of stellar performances.
The last of the teams that are believed to be challenges for the NCAA Tournament this season is the Purdue Boilermakers; a team that impressed last season as they were ranked No. 4 despite being a team full of freshmen.
The team, though, has since grown and become more experienced, with it being argued that they have some of the best players in the country currently available to them on the roster. Individuals such as Trevion Williams and guard Jaden Ivey have been identified amongst those.
A potential problem that Purdue may face, though, is that the team’s defense is not quite up to standard in order to win the national title if previous stats are to be used as an indicator. There is no concern in regards to the offense (nation’s best) but as they are currently 64th-ranked for defense, no team has been able to win the title since 2001-02 without a top 45 rank.
With so many games to be played across March and April, the defense might have to step up if they are to go the distance.