The 2023 NCAA Tournament is finally upon us. The first round of March Madness matchups will begin Thursday, which means you have just hours to submit a bracket to that person in the office who organizes the pool every year and sends a dozen e-mails about it in the process.
We at The Sporting News have put together plenty of content to help prepare you to make relatively educated decisions when filling out your bracket — and to enjoy the tournament in general.
Here’s a roundup of our March Madness bracket predictions, regional previews, upset picks, tournament odds and more to help guide you through the NCAA Tournament.
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You can get a printable NCAA Tournament bracket here to fill out before and during tournament play. The Sporting News will continue to update the bracket as games are played.
Download Sporting News’ printable NCAA Tournament bracket (PDF) by clicking here.
Houston opened with the best odds to win March Madness in 2023 at +550, according to the BetMGM sportsbook, but an injury to star Marcus Sasser has cast some doubt on the Cougars and it’s truly anybody’s tournament.
No. 1 overall seed Alabama (+800) and defending champion Kansas (+800) are next in line, followed by Purdue (+1100) to round out the No. 1 seeds. The second tier of UCLA, Arizona, Texas and UConn are slightly sneakier bets to win it all but still have the high-end talent to erase the chalk.
A team seeded 3 or lower has won the NCAA Tournament only five times since 1990, but it’s always possible — especially in a season filled with as much uncertainty as this one. The lowest seed to win the NCAA Tournament was No. 8 Villanova in 1985.
March Madness odds 2023
You can check out the opening odds for the entire field of 68 here.
It wouldn’t be enough to just have one expert tell you who they think will win it all, so we got several writers to submit their NCAA Tournament predictions to help you deflect blame when your bracket busts in the first round. Here are our experts’ picks to reach the 2023 Final Four with links to their full bracket analysis.
Mike DeCourcy: Alabama, Duke, Texas, UConn
Bill Bender: Alabama, Duke, Texas, Kansas
Ryan Fagan: Alabama, Marquette, Texas, Kansas
Elliott Pohnl: Alabama, Duke, Texas, Kansas
Vinnie Iyer: Alabama, Marquette, Texas, UConn
The Sporting News’ experts are also breaking down individual game matchups to help make sense of the biggest toss-ups across your bracket.
Upsets in the NCAA Tournament are never easy to predict. If they were, it wouldn’t be called March Madness. However, there are always at least a few underseeded teams every year that pull off an upset or two in the first weekend and go on a Cinderella run. It’s just a matter of uncovering them.
The Sporting News’ Bill Bender broke down his nine sleeper teams most likely to pull off an upset in 2023.
Oral Roberts (Round 1 opponent: Duke -6.5)
Oral Roberts checks a lot of boxes as a No. 12 seed – almost so many that the upset pick might become a 50/50 game. The Golden Eagles rank third in the nation in points per game (84.2) and they commit just 9.4 turnovers per game at that pace. Max Abmas – the hero of the last Sweet 16 run – averages 22 points per game and made 117 3-pointers, and 7-foot-5 center Connor Vanover is a matchup problem. This is coach Paul Mills’ best team, but Duke is a tough first-round matchup. The Blue Devils limit opposing teams to a 30.6% mark from three-point range. We like Oral Roberts, but we hate the first-round matchup.
Charleston (Round 1 opponent: San Diego State -5.5)
Pat Kelsey leads No. 12 Charleston to the NCAA tournament in his second season, and senior guard Dalton Bolton and Ante Brzovic – a 6-foot-10 sophomore from Croatia – are a tough inside-outside combination. Charleston scored 80.8 points per game and ranked fourth in the nation in total rebounds (40.5). That’s a style that can make anybody uncomfortable, especially in the second half. In five previous tournament appearances, the Cougars advanced to the second round once and lost by 10 points or less each season. If Charleston can beat San Diego State – which won’t be easy – they could offer a true test for Virginia in the second round.
Read the rest of The Sporting News’ sleeper picks here.
If simple picks aren’t your cup of tea, Mike DeCourcy has gone ahead and broken down all four of the bracket’s regions for some in-depth analysis of the best storylines, most likely upsets and more. We’ve also got stats and sleepers that could decide each region.
South Region: No. 1 overall seed Alabama has been college basketball’s most dominant team. If the Tide aren’t in the Final Four, it’ll be the biggest upset since Duke and Zion Williamson missed in 2019.
Midwest Region: Texas looks to be a class above in a region where the best team is dealing with a major injury, the third-best team struggles on defense, the fourth-best team is inconsistent and the fifth-best team will have a tough time escaping the first round
West Region: UConn has the sort of high-end performance on both ends of the court that suggests the Huskies could be national championship material. But sharing a bracket with Kansas and UCLA means the West will be a gauntlet.
East Region: Duke looms large in its first tournament of the post-Coach K era. The Blue Devils have a challenging road of No. 4 Tennessee, No. 1 Purdue and No. 2 Marquette to make it to Houston, but they’re good enough to manage.
Play the odds: Know each seed’s history when picking your Final Four and championship teams.
Upset alerts: These sleepers and Cinderella candidates are most likely to bust your bracket in Round 1, according to The Sporting News’ model.
Best Final Four bets: The Sporting News breaks down Vegas odds as well as our own projection model to come up with the most likely team to advance to the Final Four in each region.
Best prop bets: For those who are tired trying to pick the perfect bracket, prop bets can be a more efficient way to win money off March Madness.
Round 1 best bets, parlays: SN’s guide to the odds, lines, and point spreads for every game as well as the best bets and parlays to consider in Round 1 of March Madness.
TeamRankings’ Tournament Prediction Tool: Use it to identify the highest-probability tournament winners and the most likely NCAA upset picks.
Best, funniest names for your bracket: Trouble coming up with a clever name for your bracket? We’ve got you covered.
Perfect March Madness bracket odds: Here’s why it’s nearly impossible to pick all 63 games correctly.
Best March Madness bracket of all time: What is the longest an NCAA Tournament bracket has stayed perfect?
Sporting News’ 2022-23 college basketball All-Americans: SN’s Mike DeCourcy names the 15 best players from the 2022-23 college basketball season.
Sporting News Player of the Year: Purdue’s Zach Edey joins rare company as winner of the award, which includes legends like George Mikan (1945) and Bob Kurland (1946), repeat winners Oscar Robertson (1958-60) and Michael Jordan (1983 and 1984) and Purdue’s one previous winner, Glenn Robinson, in 1994.
Sporting News Coach of the Year: Texas’ Rodney Terry unexpectedly took over as head coach when Chris Beard was fired in January. How he handled the aftermath and held the Longhorns together, going 16-7 since Beard’s dismissal, made Terry and obvious choice for 2022-23 Coach of the Year honors.
37 best teams that didn’t win the NCAA Tournament: Sporting News picks teams from the past three decades that didn’t deliver a title. Which was the best?
March Madness Cinderella players we’ll never forget: Stephen Curry is among the greatest Cinderella players in March Madness history, but he’s not No. 1 on our list.
Most hated college basketball players of all time: Sporting News looks at the most-hated college hoops players of all time. Don’t worry, there is a lot of Duke on this list.
10 best schools without a Final Four appearance: Who are the best schools that haven’t made a Final Four since the 64-team era began in 1984-85?
Best college players who never made the NCAA Tournament: Say hello to Ben Simmons, Noah Vonleh, Nerlens Noel, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and others who watched March Madness on TV. It’s quite a list.