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Ranking Sweet 16 teams on who is most likely to win National Championship

We take a look at our top picks to win the Big Dance this season.

Maryland v Alabama Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images

As we prepare for the second four-day stretch of March Madness, just 16 teams are left in contention for the 2023 national title. We ranked the remaining teams on who is most likely to win this year’s National Championship, based on their paths to the title game as well as the talent and resumes of each program. Let’s take a look.

The top contenders

  1. Alabama
  2. Texas
  3. UCLA
  4. Tennessee

Alabama may have the easiest path to the Final Four out of any team. In the South Region, they will have to get past San Diego State as well as the winner of Creighton vs. Princeton — the highest seed among those a 5-seed. Texas has a big hurdle in Houston, but a hot Miami team may just eliminate the Cougars before they reach the Elite Eight. UCLA has to get past both Gonzaga and UConn, neither of whom will be prepared to give up the fight early, and Tennessee will have to beat FAU and the winner of Michigan State-Kansas State.

It’s not out of the question

5. Houston

6. UConn

7. Creighton

8. Gonzaga

Houston does not inspire a lot of hope for a national championship. Though Marcus Sasser is back, the Cougars’ resume doesn’t exactly raise eyebrows. They will face Miami and then take on the winner of Texas vs. Xavier. UConn and Creighton have been showing just how good the Big East really was this year, and both start the Sweet 16 with matchups against low-ranked teams. Gonzaga will have to get past UCLA, but if things start swinging in their favor, it’s not out of the question.

Maybe with a miracle

9. Michigan State

10. Kansas State

11. Arkansas

12. Xavier

Michigan State and Kansas State have both been very fun to root for this season, but getting through what will likely be a path of Tennessee in the Elite Eight and Alabama in the Final Four does not seem likely. Arkansas faces a similarly challenging path even earlier against UConn and the winner of Gonzaga-UCLA, while Xavier will need to beat Texas and the winner of Houston vs. Miami to even reach the Final Four.

It’s not going to happen

13. Miami

14. San Diego State

15. Princeton

16. Florida Atlantic University

Sorry guys, just not your year. SDSU does not have the offensive power to get far enough along to have a real shot, Miami’s path to the championship game is basically a minefield, and Princeton and FAU have already exceeded expectations. It would be a delightful surprise but a very shocking one if they were to continue further along past this week.