2023 Final Four team odds: Kansas State, Arkansas Among Dark Horse Contenders
Kansas, Arkansas Shaping Up as Potential Value Final Four picks
Saint Peter’s stunned the rest of the NCAA Tournament field last year when it knocked off men’s college basketball behemoth Kentucky and advanced all the way to the Elite Eight as a No. 15 seed. While order was restored in time for the Final Four, which included perennial national championship contenders Duke, Kansas, North Carolina and Villanova, the Peacocks’ shocking journey reminded everyone just how unpredictable March Madness can be. Is there another surprise in store this year? Here are a few teams — with 2023 Final Four team odds of +1000 or greater) capable of making a deep run this March.
Kansas State (+1000)
Kansas State has undergone a radical transformation under first-year coach Jerome Tang. After finishing below .500 last season, the Kansas State Wildcats find themselves at 21-7 and in the thick of the Big 12 race.
Keep in mind, the conference is currently rated as the strongest in the country by many metrics, including the NET. That means no matter what happens between today and Selection Sunday, Kansas State will enter the NCAA Tournament having been battle-tested.
The Wildcats have proven capable of beating the country’s best teams, with wins over Kansas, Texas, TCU, Iowa State and Baylor (twice). Plus, if you believe experience pays in March — trust us, it does — there are not many better senior duos than the Wildcats’ Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell.
You won’t find many NBA prospects better than Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr — at least not anyone currently in college. The freshman guard, who recently returned from a knee injury, has the potential to carry the Razorbacks on a Carmelo Anthony-type run through the NCAA Tournament, if healthy. Look what Smith did in his third game back, scoring 26 points on five 3-pointers in a win over Georgia.
Talent wins, as does coaching. And the Arkansas Razorbacks have someone in Eric Musselman who knows how to push the right buttons when the calendar flips to March. The Razorbacks advanced to the Elite Eight each of the last two seasons. Despite the 2023 Final Four team odds, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them take the next step.
Jim Larranaga authored one of the greatest Cinderella runs in NCAA Tournament history when he guided George Mason to the Final Four in 2006. It wouldn’t be nearly as surprising if he took Miami there. Still, it feels like the Hurricanes are being overlooked to a degree.
Miami is 23-5, including 14-4 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, and has quality wins over Providence, Rutgers, NC State, Virginia, and Duke. Additionally, the Hurricanes are rated favorably by most metrics.
They rank eighth among Division I teams in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency rating. With the Hurricanes — who are averaging 79 points per game, per the NCAAB team stats — scoring isn’t an issue.
At 10/1 odds for the Final Four, Miami offers good value.
A blueblood such as Kentucky doesn’t scream dark horse. Then again, as is the case with Michigan State, which you’ll read about shortly, these Wildcats aren’t your traditional powerhouse. Not this year, that is. Sure, they’ve got reigning National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe and a potential one-and-done in Cason Wallace, but the Wildcats aren’t a top 10 or top 20 team.
In fact, they’re not even ranked. Still, they’ve heated up of late, going 8-3 over their last 11 games. Notably, two of those wins came against a bona fide contender in Tennessee. Oftentimes, it helps to ride the hot hand.
Michigan State (+2000)
Let’s get this out of the way before we go any further: this isn’t a vintage Tom Izzo team. You probably figured as such based on the 2023 Final Four team odds. The Spartans have a decent record at 17-10, but they’ve yet to go on any real type of run.
Perhaps, it’s still to come. It certainly can’t be ruled out. After all, consider whom they’ve faced: the Spartans, based on the KenPom college basketball rankings, have played the fourth toughest NCAAB schedule in the country, behind only Kansas, Oklahoma, and Baylor.In addition to a Hall of Fame coach, the Spartans have an underrated trio in Tyson Walker, Joey Hauser and A.J. Hoggard. That makes for a tough out.Follow us on Twitter
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