With the NCAA tournament just around the corner, everyone is looking to unscramble the mystery of who will reach the Final Four. Here is a breakdown of some of the teams with the best chances of playing basketball in April.
Following last year’s runner-up finish with a 26-win regular season, the Kansas Jayhawks know how to win. They locked up their fifth-straight Big 12 regular-season title last week, and in the tournament, they will look to expand their success.
The Jayhawks have a great mix of players and are led by one of the best coaches in college basketball, Bill Self. Freshman star Ben McLemore, who has been compared to NBA star Ray Allen, leads the bunch with an outstanding jump shot and exceptional athleticism. Veteran guard Elijah Johnson and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jeff Withey will also be crucial if Kansas hopes to make a run at the title.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are one of the most talented and versatile teams in college basketball. The power trio of Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash makes them one of the most athletic and dominant squads in the nation.
Smart, a big and physical guard, leads the team and is determined to win at all costs. The freshman was named the Big 12 Player of the Year, averaging 15.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Look out as the freshman sensation and the Cowboys make a run for the championship.
The Indiana Hoosiers are giants sitting atop the most powerful conference in college basketball, the Big Ten. Boasting an impressive 26-5 record with two major wins over Michigan, this team is a serious contender for the title.
The Hoosiers have a great inside presence and a future NBA player in Cody Zeller, and a potential John Wooden Award winner in Victor Oladipo. They score the second most points per game in the nation at an efficient 49 percent from the field.
Their versatility and inside presence gives them a major edge in the tournament.
The Saint Louis Billikens have emerged as a major threat in capturing a championship.
They are led by upperclassmen Kwamain Mitchell and Dwayne Evans, who have great experience and maturity. The Billilkens have surprised the nation with impressive wins over three ranked opponents in New Mexico, VCU and Butler.
Saint Louis is looking to make a huge run in March and could be a major sleeper pick.
No strangers to the tournament, the Blue Devils are one of this year’s strongest teams.
With the return of star forward Ryan Kelly, Duke has looked unstoppable. The inside force of Mason Plumlee and 3-point marksman Seth Curry are vital to their success.
The Blue Devils move the ball well, play solid defense and score at an efficient rate. They look to reach the top of the mountain and secure their fifth championship in school history.
This year’s tournament is gearing up to be a memorable one, with a slew of teams that have a real shot at the title and handful that seem poised to surprise. Other key teams to look out for include Michigan, Georgetown and New Mexico.
In the field of 64, only one can be crowned champion. Who will it be?