The full 68-team field for the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament just dropped and some of you may spend the next few days doing meticulous research to create the perfect bracket.
Not me. I’m gonna wing it.
That’s right, I’m firing from the hip with no deep pondering about this at all. Here’s my initial, gut feeling for how the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will go down, with thoughts on region winners and potential Cinderellas. You can put together your own bracket and print it here.
2023 March Madness bracket: Rapid Reaction
1 Alabama vs. 16 TAMU-CC/SEMO
8 Maryland vs. 9 West Virginia
5. San Diego State vs. 12. Charleston
4 Virginia vs. 13 Furman
6 Creighton vs. 11 NC State
3 Baylor vs. 14 UC-Santa Barbara
7 Missouri vs. 10 Utah State
2 Arizona vs. 15 Princeton
Alabama is the No. 1 overall seed in of the tournament and I have the Tide advancing to the Final Four out of this corner of the bracket. My big upset right out the gate is SoCon Champion Furman clipping Virginia in round one as we’ve seen the slow and methodical Cavaliers fell prey to an underdog in the big dance before. Ultimately, I went chalk and had No. 1 Bama edging No. 2 Arizona in the Elite Eight.
1 Purdue vs. 16 Texas Southern/FDU
8 Memphis vs. 9 Florida Atlantic
5 Duke vs. 12 Oral Roberts
4 Tennessee vs. 13 Louisiana
6 Kentucky vs. 11 Providence
3 Kansas State vs. 14 Montana State
7 Michigan State vs. USC
2 Marquette vs. 15 Vermont
The East region has the most potential for chaos in my opinion as I haven’t been too particularly high on Purdue in recent weeks. Max Abmas and Oral Roberts are no strangers to pulling stunners in the NCAA Tournament and I have them making the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in three years. I also think Kansas State is flying a little bit under the radar even as a 3-seed and the Wildcats are my Final Four representative out of the East.
1 Kansas vs. 16 Howard
8 Arkansas vs. 9 Illinois
5 Saint Mary’s vs. 12 VCU
4 UConn vs. 13 Iona
6 TCU vs. 11 Arizona State/Nevada
3 Gonzaga vs. 14 Grand Canyon
7 Northwestern vs. 10 Boise State
2 UCLA vs. 15 UNC-Asheville
Kansas is the defending national champion and is the most tournament ready team with 17 Quad 1 victories this season. But surprise! I don’t have them surviving the first weekend! C’mon, this wouldn’t be the first time this has happened to a Bill Self KU team. I really liked UCLA throughout the season and was stumping for them to get a No. 1 seed before losing in the Pac-12 Tournament final. Give me the Bruins to come out of the West.
1 Houston vs. 16 Northern Kentucky
8 Iowa vs. 9 Auburn
5 Miami vs. 12 Drake
4 Indiana vs. 13 Kent State
6 Iowa State vs. 11 Mississippi State/Pitt
3 Xavier vs. 14 Kennesaw State
7 Texas A&M vs. 10 Penn State
2 Texas vs. 15 Colgate
Houston is kind of in a weird spot right now with Marcus Sasser’s groin injury, but I trust them to get it together and make a deep run. On the other side of the bracket is Texas, who rallied to win the Big 12 Tournament and is one of the hottest teams in the country heading into the big dance. I have these two Lonestar State schools in the Elite Eight with UT-Austin advancing to Houston.
I have Alabama replicating what its football team did to Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on one side of the bracket and Texas edging UCLA in the other matchup.
In a battle of two future SEC rivals, I have Marcus Carr, Tyrese Hunter, and the Longhorns cutting down the nets in front of a partisan, burnt orange crowd in Houston. UT wins the natty.