BG’s Early March Madness Rankings

It’s that time of year again…

With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament just a few weeks away, here are my rankings for the top 10 teams in the country:


  1. Alabama – The Crimson Tide are proving that they’re not just a football school. This team has already defeated five ranked opponents this season, picking up quality wins over Houston, Arkansas, Michigan State, and Mississippi State along the way. As long as they finish the regular season and SEC Tournament without major upset losses, Alabama’s position as the number one overall seed shouldn’t be questioned. The Tide are led by future NBA lottery pick Brandon Miller (20 points per game), and with his availability up in the air amid recent controversy, Alabama should be closely monitored before brackets are made. Essentially, if Miller is playing, the team stays at #1; if he’s not playing, they fall outside the top 10.


  1. Kansas – It’s tough to bet against the defending champs. Last season (2021-22), Kansas was never rated inside the country’s top 10 in the weekly AP Top 25; this season(2022-23), they’ve never been outside the country’s top 10. After losing stars such as Ochai Agbaji, Remy Martin, and Christian Braun, it’s hard to imagine that the Jayhawks have gotten better. But they have. Now led by junior Player of the Year Candidate Jalen Wilson (20 points, 8 rebounds per game) and 6’8” freshman Gradey Dick (15 ppg), Kansas is as deep, versatile, and resilient as ever. The Jayhawks have a solid resume with 15 Quad 1 wins over top teams like Baylor, Kansas State, Indiana, and Texas; yet, what’s impressive is not as much about who they’ve beaten, but how they’ve won. At halftime of a game against Oklahoma State, Kansas was down by 15 points and still managed to win by two. At halftime of a game against Baylor, they were down 12 and came back to win by 16 points. Nobody wants to face this Jayhawks team in the NCAA Tournament.


  1. UCLA – This past Sunday, UCLA clinched the Pac-12 regular season title for the first time since 2013. The Bruins are looking to continue their dominance into March, as they haven’t lost a game in over a month and are 24-2 since the week of Thanksgiving. Led by seniors Tyger Campbell (12 points, 5 assists per game) and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (17 points, 8 rebounds per game), this is an experienced, poised, and consistent team known for their relentless and stifling pressure on the defensive end. Junior Jaylen Clark ranks fourth out of all players in the nation in steals per game (averaging 2.6), and the team as a whole ranks seventh in points allowed per game (59.7). While the Bruins aren’t one of the most athletic and high-scoring teams, look for them to fly under the radar and make some noise once again in the tournament.


  1. Houston – The Cougars are always a scary team in March, and having not lost a game in more than a month, they’ve got great momentum leading into the tournament. While Houston is definitely a top five team in the nation, their overall strength of schedule isn’t impressive enough to be ranked above any of the first three teams. They haven’t played against a ranked opponent since non conference play in mid-December, when they beat Virginia but lost to Alabama in back to back weeks. As the only ranked team in their conference, Houston has steamrolled virtually everyone with large margins of victory. Once the Cougars reach the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, they’ll be tested for one of the first times this year against legit opponents.


  1. Purdue – The Boilermakers have been the consensus #1 for most of the year, but after rough back to back losses to unranked teams, they’re on the bubble to be one of the four projected one seeds in March Madness. Purdue has been solid at home this year but inconsistent on the road; just in the last month, they’ve lost away games to Northwestern, Maryland, and Indiana. The game environment has to be a concern for the Boilermakers heading into March Madness – in the NCAA Tournament, every round is a loud, hostile, pressure-filled road game. But when you have the best player in college basketball on your team – 7’4” center Zach Edey (22 points, 12 rebounds per game) – you’ll never be counted out.


  1. Arizona – Even after recent losses to Stanford and Arizona State, the Wildcats have a strong enough resume to land as a two or three seed in the NCAA Tournament. Led by Player of the Year Candidate Azuolas Tubelis (20 points, 9 rebounds per game) and seven footer Oumar Ballo (14 points, 8 rebounds per game), Arizona has picked up quality ranked wins over UCLA, Indiana, Tennessee, San Diego State, and Creighton. With a high-powered offense averaging nearly 85 points per game (but also 13 turnovers per game), the Wildcats have all the tools needed to outscore teams and pick up March Madness wins as they make their way through the bracket.


  1. Kansas State – The Big 12 is quickly becoming the most competitive conference in all of college basketball, as six out of its ten teams are ranked nationally within the top 25. The Wildcats’ resume is becoming tough to ignore, as they’ve produced high quality wins against TCU, Texas, Kansas, Baylor (twice), and Iowa State (twice). Led by seniors Keyontae Johnson (17 ppg) and Markquis Nowell (16 ppg), Kansas State is one of the top teams in the country in defensive efficiency ratings – they create a turnover on more than 20% of defensive possessions and when playing against the Wildcats, teams shoot an average of only 28% from three-point range. The Kansas Jayhawks should be on upset watch if they have to face this familiar K-State team again in the NCAA Tournament.


  1. Baylor – Aside from a couple of close losses to TCU, Kansas State, and Virginia, the Baylor Bears have had a great 2022-23 season. The Bears have one of the best guard trios in the country in freshman and projected lottery pick Keyontae George (16 ppg), as well as senior Adam Flagler (15 ppg) and junior LJ Cryer (14 ppg) – who are both averaging over 40% from three-point range. This team is an offensive juggernaut with the ability to score in the high 90’s in any given game, while still remaining top-two in the country in offensive efficiency ratings. Baylor’s in a prime position to end up as a two or three seed in the tournament, as they look to avenge last year’s brutal second round March Madness overtime loss.


  1. Marquette – The Golden Eagles have been the most surprising team in college basketball this year. Entering the year not even ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, Marquette has quickly moved up the ladder and is now considered a legit national championship contender. This young team – with a core four of sophomore guard Kam Jones (15 ppg), 6’8” junior Oliver-Maxence Prosper (12 ppg), sophomore Tyler Kolek (12 ppg), and 6’9” forward Oso Ighodaro (12 points, 6 rebounds per game) – has impressive wins this season over Baylor, Creighton (twice), UConn, Providence, and Xavier. They definitely have the potential to break some brackets as a dark horse in this year’s tournament; however, even if they have a disappointing March Madness run, the Golden Eagles have the potential to be a dominant force for years to come.


  1. Texas – The Longhorns are not the team to bet on right now. Led by seniors Marcus Carr (16 points, 4 assists per game) and Timmy Allen (11 points, 5 rebounds per game), they started the Big 12 conference play off strong with wins against TCU, Baylor, and Kansas State – averaging nearly 80 points per game as a team. However, they’ve slipped and regressed in the last few weeks, moving down five spots in the AP Top 25 poll after near double-digit losses to Baylor, Iowa State, Tennessee, Kansas, and Texas Tech. Although they aren’t playing their best basketball as of late, keep tabs on the Longhorns throughout their final games and conference tournament – this team has enough time and talent to gain some momentum before March Madness and go on a streaky run.