The 2023/24 NCAAB season is officially underway now and the favorites to be crowned national champions are becoming clearer and clearer while the pretenders get weeded out game by game.
Last season it was the UConn Huskies who claimed a shock win as the number four seed, defeating the San Diego State Aztecs in the national championship game, but can they do it again? And who is their main competition to stop them going back-to-back?
We'll take a look at the favorites to win the 2023/24 national championship and provide you with our best free NCAAB betting picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash along the way.
|NCAAB National Championship
|Duke Blue Devils
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NCAAB Championship 2023/24 favorites
Below you'll find a list of favorites to win the NCAAB National Championship in 2023/24.
Kansas Jayhawks - (+1100)
Kansas crashed out of the 2023 NCAA Tournament at the hands of the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Round of 32 as the number one seed, and it was one of the shocks of the season. They now come into this season with a point to prove.
The Jayhawks are returning three starters from last season with Dajuan Harris Jr, Kevin McCullar Jr, and KJ Adams Jr. But leading scorers Jalen Wilson and Gradey Dick departed for the NBA. But despite that, McCullar Jr and Adams Jr were responsible for more than 10 points per game last season and are capable of stepping up.
The most significant change in the offseason was a big addition to the frontcourt. Former Michigan Wolverine Hunter Dickinson who had a falling out with Michigan over money, will suit up for the Jayhawks in 2023-24. Dickinson provides Kansas with a competent frontcourt alongside Adams Jr. The 22-year-old native of Alexandria, Virginia, averaged 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.8 blocks per game last season at Michigan.
Along with Dickinson’s ability in the paint, he is an excellent defender who should give Bill Self a lot of versatility, which makes them our pick to win the National Championship for a second time in three years.
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Purdue Boilermakers - (+1200)
There have only been two No. 1 seeds in NCAA Tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed. One was Virginia in 2018, but the Cavaliers rebounded in the best way possible by winning the NCAA championship the following year. The other is Purdue in 2023, and they have every chance of following Virginia's lead this season.
Purdue has the biggest weapon in the sport in reigning Player of the Year Zach Edey, and he now has a more experienced supporting cast that has all the chips to come back better this season. The majority of the team's core is back in place this season, and with an off-season to process and improve upon a heartbreaking post-season loss, they have the foundation to correct their mistakes last season.
For that to happen, Purdue needs improved guard play. It was not Edey's fault Purdue was upset but rather their guards who could not handle ball pressure and did not make winning plays in clutch time. If they can elevate their play in that way, then they can't be ruled out.
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Duke Blue Devils - (+1400)
Jon Scheyer’s Blue Devils finished with a record of 26-8 going into the 2023 NCAA Tournament. They were appropriately given a No. 5 seed, which seemed right after getting bounced in the Round of 32 against Tennessee.
Duke is expected to possess one of the most feared backcourts in College Basketball. With Tyrese Proctor and Jeremy Roach returning to school, Duke’s guard play is in good hands. In addition to their backcourt, the centerpiece of the frontcourt is back for the Blue Devils.
Center Kyle Filipowski led Duke in scoring and rebounding, with 15.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Also, Flilpowski swiped the most steals per game at 1.3. Proctor, Roach, and Filipowski provide the Blue Devils with the top three scorers on the floor from the 2022-23 team.
Duke bring in a compelling freshmen class, spearheaded by guards Caleb Foster and Jared McCain and eventually Cooper Flagg. In other words, the Blue Devils are stacked in the frontcourt and shouldn’t have any issues finding production from their guards. The addition of 6-foot-8 forward Sean Stewart beefs up the frontcourt alongside Filipowski, too.
There is ample talent for Duke to go on a deep run to the Final Four. Scheyer is under plenty of pressure to ensure that the Blue Devils have success, and if they make it to the top four then they simply can't be ruled out of winning a first title since 2015.
Kentucky Wildcats - (+1800)
Kentucky has not made it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament since 2019. It has lost to Kansas State, Saint Peter's and also missed the tournament entirely since then. So, the momentum under John Calipari isn't there right now.
But talent still matters more than I think the casual fan would care to acknowledge, and Kentucky has it in spades. Even with a completely suspect frontcourt thanks to preseason injuries, the Wildcats have two potential stars in Justin Edwards and DJ Wagner — the core pieces of a top-five incoming recruiting class. With Antonio Reeves back, there's a nice blend of experience and elite youthful talent to help Calipari get things back on track in Lexington.
Kentucky has not lived up to its typical standard in recent seasons, but head coach Calipari has built one of the most talented squads he has ever had.
The Wildcats' ceiling this season will be determined by how good their freshmen are come NCAA tournament time. Edwards and Wagner could be top-10 picks in next year's NBA draft. If both realize their potential, Kentucky will be a tough out for any opponent and could make a run at a National Championship. It's unlikely, but don't rule them out entirely.