42 ESPN experts weigh in on the Final Four and NCAA tournament champions (2024)

  • ESPN

Mar 16, 2023, 01:05 AM

By now you're cross-eyed reading about every team competing for the 2023 NCAA title. You've picked your bracket and you're ready for all the rounds. But you're still looking for more.

Here you go.

We polled ESPN's crew of men's college basketball commentators, analysts and writers -- the experts off the court, if you will -- for their thoughts on the best of the field of 68. Who do they have winning each region, and who do they have winning it all?

Our group of 42 experts failed to reach a consensus this season on which team will win its way to a spot in the Final Four and cut down the nets at NRG Stadium in Houston on April 3. They picked from among 10 teams, which proves it's a wide, wide open field, and anyone's for the taking.

Don't forget to fill out your own brackets in ESPN's Tournament Challenge! Printable brackets can be found here.

42 ESPN experts weigh in on the Final Four and NCAA tournament champions (1)

The South region belongs to Alabama

The Crimson Tide's newsmaking off the court didn't hurt their selection as the No. 1 overall seed on Selection Sunday -- and hasn't seemed to hurt their chances to win the South Region, either. Twenty-nine of our 42 experts have Nate Oats' squad entering the Final Four. That's a whopping 69%. Other picks include 2-seed Arizona (7 votes), 3-seed Baylor (4) and one lone taker for 6-seed Creighton. Does Sam Ravech know something we don't about the upset potential within this region?

42 ESPN experts weigh in on the Final Four and NCAA tournament champions (2)

It's a Texas affair in the Midwest

Two teams from the Lone Star State anchor this region: Houston and Texas. Each of the top five seeds in this quarter of the bracket received at least one vote, with over half going to the 2-seed Longhorns (54.8%, or 23 votes), one-third to the 1-seed Cougars (14) and single-digit votes for 3-seed Xavier (2), 4-seed Indiana (1) and 5-seed Miami (1). The third Texan school in this region got a vote, too: Given 's relative success in the SEC this season, it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility for Marty Smith.

42 ESPN experts weigh in on the Final Four and NCAA tournament champions (3)

The East goes Blue

There's a lot of faith in Jon Scheyer among our experts and the larger population of bracket fillers. The first-year Duke head coach, who guided his freshman-dominant crew to a 5-seed, has the confidence of 62% of our experts. In fact, here's an interesting trend: 45% picked both Alabama and Duke to be in the Final Four; 26% picked Alabama, Texas and Duke for the Final Four.

A brave few (2) believe 1-seed Purdue's chances to reach the Final Four, but for the most part, our experts predict some significant upsets here. And why not? In addition to the Blue Devils, Big East champ Marquette is as dangerous as a 2-seed gets and comes in as the second overall favorite (11 of 42).

The West is at an impasse

This might be the most interesting of the regions this year, at least to ESPN's experts, who were split five ways on the eventual winner. There was surprisingly less confidence in reigning champs and 1-seed Kansas (19.5%) than in 4-seed UConn (31.7%). Gonzaga is tapped by 24.4% to slide into that Final Four spot. UCLA, even with injured defensive star Jaylen Clark out, still has a shot to some. And Arkansas, home to a couple of projected first-round NBA draft picks, gets a couple of nods.

So, who's going to cut down the nets?

Because that's what you, and we, all want to know.

Unfortunately, our experts are just as split as the rest of us. A combination of Texas and Houston (38.1%) has the Midwest Region winning out over Alabama and the South (26.2%). Meanwhile, a potential repeat for Kansas is not preferred by our experts (7.1%). Or, for that matter, a larger population. According to 9,295,314 brackets (and counting), just under 11% are predicting the Jayhawks to bring the Big 12 a third consecutive championship. Duke and UConn are more favored by our experts (11.9% and 9.5%, respectively) than by the larger bracket population 3.1% and 2.1% respectively).

And no, Jay Bilas doesn't have his alma mater winning it all -- although fellow Duke alum Carlos Boozer does.

See how everyone voted* below.

* Champion picks are indicated with an asterisk

ESPN's Kyle Soppe contributed to this story.

42 ESPN experts weigh in on the Final Four and NCAA tournament champions (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Prof. Nancy Dach

Last Updated:

Views: 5644

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. Nancy Dach

Birthday: 1993-08-23

Address: 569 Waelchi Ports, South Blainebury, LA 11589

Phone: +9958996486049

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Web surfing, Scuba diving, Mountaineering, Writing, Sailing, Dance, Blacksmithing

Introduction: My name is Prof. Nancy Dach, I am a lively, joyous, courageous, lovely, tender, charming, open person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.