Sweet 16 brackets 2023 explored: Which teams are the favorites to go all the way?

Maryland v Alabama
Alabama's quest for a national title continues against San Diego State.

The Sweet 16 starts with four games Thursday night. The NCAA Tournament's remaining field is filled with upstart programs, storied powerhouses and Cinderella underdogs.

Who will advance to the Final Four in Houston, Texas, and who will cut down the nets and raise the national championship trophy?

The Big Dance returns tonight! 🕺#MarchMadness #Sweet16

Let’s take a look at the favorites to win it all and which teams have the best chance of being crowned champions.

Each team’s current odds to win the national championship are in parentheses.

Alabama Crimson Tide (+340)

The Tide (31-5), the No. 1 overall seed, have been one of the best teams in the country all season and have not slowed down in the tournament. They destroyed both of their opponents in the first two rounds. They cruised past No. 16 seed Texas A&M Corpus-Christi in the first round 96-75. Alabama then rolled through No. 8 seed Maryland 73-51.

Star Brandon Miller – a first-team All-America, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and tournament MVP – is the Tide's driving force. He should have a favorable matchup against No. 5 seed San Diego State (29-6).

Alabama’s offense is one of the best in the country, scoring 82.3 points per game. It is the eighth-best in Division I.

CRIMSON TIDE ROLLS ON ‼️No. 1 Alabama advances to next round 👏

Houston Cougars (+360)

Houston (33-3) has put up one of the best performances in the tournament. The No. 1 seed put together an outstanding second half against Auburn, outscoring the Tigers 50-23 in the half to erased a 10-point deficit into an 81-64 romp.

Houston’s defense can smother teams. The Cougars allow only 56.5 ppg. That's the second best in the country. Advanced analytics are a fan of Houston’s defense as well. KenPom rates Houston fourth in adjusted defense. Houston’s star player, Marcus Sasser, has been battling a groin injury but will be available for Houston’s game against No. 5 seed Miami (27-7) on Friday.

UCLA Bruins (+800)

The Bruins (31-5), seeded second in the West, have been one of the most consistent teams all season. They have been led by seniors Jamie Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell. Both were a part of UCLA’s 2021 Final Four run.

Jaquez, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a consensus second-team All-American, is the team’s leading scorer with 17.5 ppg. He also averages 8.1 rebounds per game and has scored 41 points through the first two tournament games.

UCLA has been playing without Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jaylen Clark yet won comfortably against UNC Asheville 86-53 and pulled away from Northwestern 68-63 in its first two tournament games.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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