Dribble Handoff: Which Top Team Can Be College Basketball’s Rich Strike, Win 2023 NCAA Tournament

The parallels between college basketball and horse racing are minimal, but one trait both sports share is that their fanbases love betting on the underdogs. It was less than two months ago when the nation began to fall in love with Saint Peter’s when the No. 15 Peacocks made a miracle run that began with an all-time Kentucky big surprise in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Anyone who bet on San Pedro during their legendary march to the Elite Eight has embraced the Peacocks’ underdog status in every game they’ve won. But Saint Peter’s couldn’t win it all like Rich Strike did on Saturday at the Kentucky Derby. At 80-1 odds, Rich Strike came from behind to win and became the second-highest ranged shot to capture the Kentucky Derby.

Could a team with such high odds in this college basketball era win the national title? While the NCAA Tournament regularly produces unexpected deep runs from poorly seeded teams, it’s usually a big name that ends up lifting the trophy in the end. With the help of Caesars Sportsbook’s early national title odds, our writers are looking back at the 2022-23 season and paying tribute to Rich Strike by picking the team with odds of 80-1 or worse that they think could win the trophy. national title next season.

Here are the picks from CBS Sports college basketball experts Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander, Kyle Boone, and David Cobb.


Odds: 150-1

Obviously, I don’t believe any team with odds of 80-1 (or worse) is winning a national title. It is possible, but unlikely. That said, I’m going with Dayton because the Flyers are the highest ranked team in my top 25 and 1 that meets the criteria for this question. They’re 100-1 to win the 2023 NCAA Tournament – but I like them better than that. Dayton is returning the top five scorers from a team that was literally the last to be cut from the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Four of those players – among them former high school top 100 DaRon Holmes, who averaged 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds – were sophomores. If they develop and grow together properly, the Flyers should compete with Saint Louis at the top of the Atlantic 10. — Gary Parrish


Odds: 100-1

It’s hard to imagine someone with +7000 or worse winning the 2023 title, but then: that’s the point of this post. Give me the Ed Cooley guys. The Friars are coming off their first Big East regular season title in the show’s history, a first-time Sweet 16 under Cooley and will bring back Jared Bynum. Louisville’s Noah Locke (9.6 ppg), South Carolina’s Devin Carter (9.0 ppg) and Kentucky’s Bryce Hopkins (a paltry 2.1 ppg) could easily transition into big transfer seasons, like Al Durham and Noah Horchler did last season. The Big East will also be a little more for next season. Creighton is likely the favorite, but Villanova will be more of an unknown at 22-23 than at any point in the past decade. The impulse of the program is there, and it is not difficult to see the Friars receiving 5 seeds or better again. They are my candidate for Rich Strike. Speaking of which, there may not be a trainer I’d rather see working on the track than Cooley. — Matt Norlander


Odds: 150-1

LSU fired Will Wade just before the 2022 NCAA Tournament and shrewdly picked Matt McMahon from Murray State. Since his arrival, McMahon has effectively made LSU the Southern Murray state – but in the most captivating way possible – picking up transfer engagements from three of the Racers’ top four scorers last season on a team that went 31-3 and unbeaten at Ohio Valley Conference game. LSU also has two top 100 new recruits and three other committed transfers in Cam Hayes of NC State, Derek Fountain of Mississippi State and Kendal Coleman of Northwestern State. The Tigers are a total wild card — how Murray State’s talent is transferred is a question, and effectively replacing the entire roster is a big unknown — but McMahon is a revered tactician who appears to be starting with a clean slate in Baton Rouge. If the unknowns become known, and Good Knowing this, then LSU could emerge out of nowhere from an interesting show about the arrival of a real contender next season. — Kyle Boone


Odds: 150-1

If manager Jim Larranaga can foster some depth in the young half of his roster, his team can build on their success in 2022 and be an underdog national contender next season. The Hurricanes are losing some players from their Elite Eight team to Kam McGusty and Charlie Moore. But with the help of backup John Ruiz, they got two of the top rated transfers this offseason on former Kansas state guard Nijel Pack and former Arkansas state forward Norchad Omier.

Star guard Isaiah Wong is coming back later threatening to leave if your NIL compensation has not been increased. He is set to join veteran collaborators Anthony Walker and Jordan Miller. Those three, combined with the two big transfers received, give Miami a formidable and experienced starting lineup. Replacing the rim protection provided by graduate Sam Waardenburg will be among the hurdles. But if four-star center Favor Aire can help, that team could be on the hunt, even with odds that currently stand at 150-1. — David Cobb

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