NCAA Basketball Tournament: Early Preference for Houston, Alabama

Marcus Sasser, Brandon Miller 030823

No matter how you feel about Alabama’s Brandon Miller or Crimson Tide basketball in general, they were viewed as one of the top teams in the country. And as such they along with Houston, Purdue and Kansas, were rewarded with a top seed for the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Another thing that’s very clear. Bettors like the Cougars and Crimson Tide. Those two teams are co-betting favorites to win the NCAA tournament at BetOnline (+500).

Alabama is No. 1 overall 

With the off-court controversy surrounding Miller, Alabama (29-5) struggled after word of his involvement came out. But the Tide rebounded in a big way by cruising through the SEC tournament. Alabama won all three of its tournament games by double digits and seems to be peaking at just the right time. They’re +160 favorites to win the South Region.

The Cougars Claw Their Way to #1 in the Midwest

The big question for Houston is how healthy is Marcus Sasser? He missed the AAC title game loss to Memphis with a groin injury and is a vital piece of the Cougars three-headed monster at the guard spot. Sasser averages 17 points per game, shoots 38% from beyond the arc and is a maniacal defender. If he’s healthy, it’s easy to see why Houston can win the national title. If he’s not, then there could be a surprise team emerge from the Midwest, like perhaps Texas. The Cougars are +140 favorites to win the region with the Longhorns listed at +350.

A #1 seed that isn’t favored in the region

The Kansas Jayhawks may have gotten a top seed but they’re the third betting choice (+385) in the tough West Regional. BetOnline has them listed as  the third betting favorite in the West behind UCLA (+280) and Gonzaga (+375). If Kansas wins a second straight championship, it will be well earned.

The Boilermakers are tops in the East.

Purdue (+260) earned the final #1 seed by virtue of winning the Big Ten tournament. That victory, coupled with UCLA’s loss in the Pac-12 title game to Arizona, sealed the deal for the Boilermakers.

Yes, the East Regional has schools like Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State- – but none of those blue bloods are seeded higher than 5th..

Credit where credit is due.

This year the NCAA basketball tournament committee, for the most part, got it right. All of the top seeds  had flaws. But in a season which was historic because of its parity, the much-maligned folks at the NCAA did a solid job this year.

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