The 2023 NCAA Tournament is upon us, and while we’re all interested in who is getting to the Final Four and who is going to win the 2023 national championship, the more immediate concern for the various teams in the field of 68 is to get through this first weekend and reach the Sweet 16. The NCAA Tournament is essentially three two-game tournaments.
Teams can’t get to the Final Four before first reaching the Sweet 16. It is often the case that surviving the first weekend gives the top teams the confidence and relaxation to then improve and really loosen up when they arrive at the Sweet 16. Kansas did that in 2022 after the Jayhawks nearly lost in the Round of 32 but escaped Creighton. Then they flexed their muscles in the next few rounds and rolled to the national title game before winning it all against North Carolina.
Let’s look at some lower seeds which might be able to make the Sweet 16 this year. These are teams that might be a good bet to win two games, along with their odds to reach the Sweet from BetAnySports.eu.
Charleston Cougars Odds To Reach Sweet 16: +400
The Charleston Cougars are 31-3. They’re a really good team that is accustomed to winning games. They are playing the San Diego State Aztecs in the first round. San Diego State is a good, solid team, but the Aztecs are from the Mountain West Conference, which has been notoriously bad in the NCAA Tournament in recent years. Last year, the MWC went winless in March Madness.
Wyoming lost to Indiana, Colorado State lost to Michigan, Boise State lost to Memphis, and San Diego State lost to Creighton. San Diego State has a lot to prove, but Charleston is not an easy assignment. Moreover, this game will be played in Orlando, giving Charleston – not SDSU – the partisan crowd advantage. There will be a ton of Charleston fans at this game, very few Aztec fans.
If Charleston wins, it could easily face 13th-seeded Furman, which has a great chance to beat 4th-seeded Virginia. While Virginia is a good team, Furman has a lot of battle-tested veterans on its club. The Paladins will be full of confidence after earning their first NCAA Tournament bid since 1980. Charleston will have a great chance of winning two games this week as a No. 12 seed.
Memphis Tigers Odds To Reach Sweet 16:+400
The Memphis Tigers do not have an easy matchup in the first round: Florida Atlantic has won 31 games, just as Charleston has. The Owls are really good. However, Memphis just did beat the Houston Cougars, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, this past Sunday. Memphis is playing its best ball of the season.
The Tigers have two elite scorers, DeAndre Williams and Kendric Davis, which makes it really hard for opposing defenses to stop them in crunch time. If Memphis beats Florida Atlantic, it would get a crack at Purdue. The Boilermakers are a No. 1 seed, but they have a weak backcourt which sometimes fails to help likely Player of the Year winner Zach Edey, their superstar big man. Memphis has the guard play to foil Purdue’s backcourt and take charge of this game. Memphis is a very dangerous team in this bracket.
TCU Horned Frogs Odds To Reach Sweet 16: +215
The TCU Horned Frogs blew out Kansas at Kansas. They have scored a number of other impressive wins this season. Yet, they were without their star player, guard Mike Miles, for several games. They are a number six seed, but had Miles been healthier, they would have been a No. 4 or No. 3 seed. TCU could play Gonzaga in the second round. Gonzaga is good, but the Zags aren’t nearly as good as they were the previous two seasons. TCU can win that game and reach the Sweet 16.
Michigan State Spartans Odds To Reach Sweet 16: +270
Tom Izzo has taken Michigan State deep into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed before. He took a 7 seed to the Final Four in 2015. He took a 7 seed to the Elite Eight in 2003. Michigan State gets a very inconsistent USC team in the first round.
That should be a win. In the second round, MSU could play Marquette, which is a very good team but also a team coached by Shaka Smart, who failed to win an NCAA Tournament game at Texas and who lost his first-round game last year. Michigan State could definitely play Marquette closely for the whole game. Just one or two key plays could lift the Spartans to the Sweet 16.