Whether you prefer to call it "parity," "anarchy" or "just another January in men's college hoops," the fact of the matter is I have no freaking clue who is going to win it all this season, and neither do you.
The favorite right now is Houston at +600 per DraftKings, but is anyone really sold on the Cougars winning a title?
Don't get me wrong. They'd be my pick if I had to bet a limb on it today, because that defense is some kind of special and, you know, defense wins championships. But they struggled at home with Kent State and UCF, scored 53 in a semi-home game (in Fort Worth) against Saint Mary's, lost at home to Alabama and play in what might be a one-bid league.
We've seen that story before. It's usually more efficient on offense, not as dominant on defense and called "Gonzaga," but it never actually wins it all as the favorite. (Though, the fact that the Final Four will be held in Houston could be an advantage for the Cougars.)
Kansas is No. 2 in the AP poll and tied for No. 2 in the betting odds at +1000, but the Jayhawks just lost a game Tuesday night, seem to love playing in games that come down to the final second and we haven't had a repeat national champion in men's college basketball since the Florida Gators won it all in 2006 and 2007.
Long story short, anything could happen in the 2023 NCAA tournament.
And that includes a scenario in which four programs earn their first-ever trip to the Final Four—something that hasn't happened since 1943.
Even three programs making the Final Four for the first time would be exceedingly rare, as that last happened in 1970 when Jacksonville, New Mexico State and St. Bonaventure all made it for the first (and still only) time.
However, four is feasible.
And atop the list of candidates is renowned football school Alabama.
The Crimson Tide are ranked No. 4 in the latest AP poll, have won seven consecutive games by double digits and have been to 23 NCAA tournaments in program history.
Nary a Final Four, though, and they got smashed by Connecticut in 2004 in their only trip to the Elite Eight.
However, with Brandon Miller leading the way, a national title feels doable.
Miller is a skinny 6'9" with limitless range on his sweeter-than-honey shooting stroke. He has a nose for rebounds and is a key contributor to an excellent defense. There's a lot to like there.
And Miller is just one piece of the championship puzzle in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has a rock-solid eight-man rotation, which has drastically cut down on its biggest red flag as of late: Turnovers.
After averaging 16.6 giveaways through the first 13 games of the season, Alabama is sitting at 10.2 turnovers over its past five games. Keep that Achilles' heel protected against the likes of Missouri, Mississippi State and Tennessee, and it might be time to start talking about the Crimson Tide as the singular favorite to win it all.
Speaking of Tennessee, the ninth-ranked Volunteers are another "never been there" Final Four contender—one we wrote a full column about last week.
The TL;DR version of that is: Impeccable, championship-caliber defense, but can we trust the offense? And that was written before the Vols were held to 56 in a home loss to Kentucky and before Tuesday night's game against Mississippi State in which (sans starting seniors Santiago Vescovi and Tyreke Key) they scored 23 in the first half and 47 after the intermission.
If they can avoid one of those disastrous outings in March, though, Tennessee might finally make it to a national semifinal in what will be its 25th trip to the dance.