College basketball experts roundtable: Who will win the 2023 national championship?

– The Athletic’s Eamon Brennan, Seth Davis, Brian Hamilton, Brendan Marks and Justin Williams contributed to this story.

Seven weeks after the NCAA Males’s Basketball Event kicked off, the athlete He takes inventory of the 2022-23 season and predicts what’s to come back. With this in thoughts, a panel of 5 specialists will focus on numerous subjects all through the week. Subsequent is an important query of the season – and one with many potential solutions.

Who would you select to win the nationwide championship?

Eamon Brennan: I actually don’t know. That is good. We have gone into the final two tournaments with very clear concepts about the very best group or two within the nation. Gonzaga is normally concerned. This yr is extra ambiguous in the mean time; There are eight or 9 (or possibly just a little extra?) high-level groups, all of them have flaws, all of them can win the factor, and selecting between any of them appears like throwing darts on the board.

Houston has been probably the most seen flag-bearers for some time now, nonetheless Residence loss for Sunday Temple He hinted at issues there — that from time to time, Houston’s offense may go away. (Getting tons of offensive rebounds is nice, but when nobody ever shoots, all that further possession simply goes to this point.) That very same downside (with controversial maximalism) is what’s holding us from going any additional at Tennessee. I’d lose a bit after dropping Arizona and choose UCLA, as they boast main leaguers with deep event expertise, a terrific veteran guard, a bunch of prime expertise, and an elite group protection. However once more: throw darts on the board.


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Which males’s school basketball coach might be fired or retire?

Seth Davis: I bought Purdue as my first group, so now they’re my choose. Typically we get too caught up in conventions and historical past, and within the case of Purdue, each of these issues make me really feel like Charlie Brown is attempting to kick that aim with Lucy holding on. (Or Brett Maher attempting to kick the pat. Too quickly?) One such conference is that you should play nice guard to win a nationwide championship. Effectively guess what – Purdue has it. And I am not simply speaking about these daring newbies Braden Smith and Fletcher Lauer. I am speaking about Massive Maple itself. He is not a base guard within the recreation trade, however Zack Eddy is an skilled at recognizing and overcoming double groups. You merely cannot shield this man one-on-one, however he is so good at studying defensive assists that he at all times makes the fitting cross. And, in fact, it is simpler for him as a result of he at all times will get previous the little defenders.

As a group, Purdue makes solely 32.6 p.c from 3-pointers, and whereas that appears fairly low, Smith is the 44.6-percent 3-point shooter, and the opposite three Boilermakers are at 35 p.c or larger. They do not must be nice at this a part of the sport. They simply must be adequate, and so they clearly are.

The opposite think about my prediction is Purdue’s protection. Sure, everybody needs to power Edey to defend the ball screens, however the Boilermakers are sixteenth within the county for modified defensive effectivity in KenPom, in order that they have to be doing one thing proper. That rating has gone up by means of the season, and mixed with their #4 rating in offensive effectivity, it is clear we’ve a championship caliber group.


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How did he grow to be the 196th rookie on the fourth flooring of a Remaining 4 competitor?

Brian Hamilton: Decide Houston pre-season and hold on to the Cougars within the second. Hulk loss was… suspicious. I can not get previous the concept that the entire course of is predicated on protection and bouncing missed pictures on the different finish… Now the Houston offense is efficient sufficient that there is much less selection. He would not want to attain a second probability simply to outlive. It is a prime 15 offense that additionally rebounds at over 40 p.c extra misses than it misses. Possibly I ought to know myself effectively sufficient to know that my prediction expertise are garbage, so the Houston choice is doomed, so I ought to take UCLA right here. Which I virtually did. However I do not know you guys. Possibly this time Lucy will not pull the soccer ball again.

Justin Williams: After a season during which football-obsessed Alabama followers had been struggling strokes from a two-loss loss, a no-off marketing campaign, and a second-straight Georgia title, love the irony of Nate Oates and the Crimson Tide who received this system’s first males’s basketball championship. Bama has an thrilling freshman crowd, led by Brandon Miller, an skilled fifth-year senior at Jahvon Quinerly, and a horny in-state switch level guard at Mark Sears. The tide went for it within the non-conference, with wins over Houston, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Memphis, with solely two losses to UConn and Gonzaga. They’re presently undefeated in SEC play, although they nonetheless have Auburn twice and Tennessee on the highway. This group might be out of the take a look at battle in March, however with sufficient simpler video games in convention play (thanks, South Carolina) to keep away from working out of fuel.

Brendan Marks: I appear to be the mistaken man to ask; I took North Carolina within the preseason, which… aged like unrefrigerated milk. Technically it is nonetheless potential, however I am going to take a mulligan piece and choose it up once more. Purdue should still be the very best group I’ve seen dwell this season — topping Alabama, UConn, Xavier, Texas, and a pre-crumbled Virginia — however I can not convey myself to belief a very backcourt who received six video games in March. , even alongside somebody as distinctive as Eddie.

So I assume give me… Arizona? The Wildcats have a win over their greatest competitors within the Pac-12, UCLA — who can be value contemplating right here — and have probably the greatest resumes within the nation. Taking part in as All-People, Oumar Ballo and Kerr Kriisa are excellent complement gamers, and as evidenced by the latest lineup change, Tommy Lloyd remains to be determining how you can get probably the most out of his squad. Am I just a little frightened about Arizona’s protection, and the truth that it isn’t a terrific rebounding defensive or turnover group regardless of its measurement? In fact I’m. However I additionally suppose you’ll be able to select 15 totally different solutions to this query, and Zona is a legitimate reply.

(Picture by Invoice Larson of Arizona and Tiger Campbell of UCLA: Kristian Petersen/Getty Photos)

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