Well over 300 teams began the season back in November with the goal of making a run through March Madness and winning the 2023 NCAA Tournament. We are down to 32 when the second round starts on Saturday. Now all that remains is to make your choices!
Our CBS Sports experts have spent months preparing for this very moment. We’ve broken down the tape, spotted the best players and gathered all the necessary information to help you build your bracket. From the No. 1 teams to the No. 16 seeds, we’ve got you covered across all 68 teams, all 65 matches and all three weeks of the tournament.
CBS Sports college basketball teams have filled out their expert brackets, so think of this as a cheat sheet to help you win your pool. (Copy all you want, we won’t judge.) We’re here to serve you, and our knowledge is your knowledge. Just know, if we are right and make the right choices, we are absolutely responsible and want credit (tweet us!). And if not, well, we take zero blame. They are the rules.
OK, enough with the funny. On to the brackets…
2023 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions
Click to enlarge Gary’s bracket
A great coach, great guards, experienced players and NBA talent is usually what it takes to win a national title. Houston checks every box considering Kelvin Sampson is a fantastic coach, Jamal Shead and Marcus Sasser are good guards, four of Houston’s top scorers are non-freshmen, and Sasser and Jarace Walker should both be first-round NBA Draft picks. Am I worried about Sasser’s groin injury? Sure, a little. But assuming he’s OK, I think Houston is better equipped than anyone to win six games in this bracket and cut the net on the first Monday night in April.
Click to enlarge Matt’s bracket
I’m going to a history book. I’m going to Houston to do what hasn’t been done since 1972: a team win the national championship in its hometown (UCLA did it in ’68 and ’72). I’m going to Houston to do this, with UH alumnus Jim Nantz on the mic for the final NCAA tournament of his Hall of Fame career. But I do this, most of all, because Houston has rated as the best team in college basketball in every mainstream advanced analytics metric for months. The proof is in. There is no guarantee that this team will even reach the Final Four, but it is the best candidate. And if Marcus Sasser’s groin problem can subside, that means the Cougars will have a nasty offense with three guards, a future lottery pick (Jarace Walker) and a coach (Kelvin Sampson) who took this school to the biggest stage just two years ago. They have the pedigree, talent, size, strength and toughness to do this.
As for Purdue, it has the best player in college basketball. Painter is right up there with Sampson on the short list of best coaches in the game. I think the Boilers end their March witch this year and finally break through to their first Final Four in 43 years, doing so with a heroic/dominant run from Zach Edey in the process. I’ll keep it brief about my other two Final Four teams: Gonzaga has the best offense in college hoops and has ranked as the best team nationally for a month. Creighton has one of the top 8-10 starting fives in the sport and checks every box for what you want in a Final Four team: experience, defense, shooting, NBA athleticism, high-level point guard play, a really good coach. It will be a non-1/2/3 seed breaking through. Why not Creighton?
Click to enlarge Kyle’s bracket
The health of star guard and leading scorer Marcus Sasser may cause doubt to creep into your mind about the Cougars’ chances, but should he return at full strength, Houston should be considered the front-runner for now. This Kelvin Sampson-led club is the toughest, most well-rounded team in the sport and the most grueling matchup for opposing teams. They routinely reach the offensive glass, thrive on second chances and grind teams down with their methodical pace. With 31 wins to just three losses entering March Madness, this Houston team ranks No. 1 on multiple analytics sites and has the necessary offensive/defensive balance you want from a contender as the only team in the sport with a top-11 offense and defense in adjusted efficiency ratings.
Click to enlarge Cobb’s bracket
Alabama struggled in its final four regular-season games after revelations about star tight end Brandon Miller’s connection to a fatal shooting became public. But the Crimson Tide regained their composure in the SEC Tournament, beating three NCAA Tournament teams by double digits en route to a title. With veteran guards, elite wings/forwards and a rim protector down low in Charles Bediako, this team lacks nothing. While the program’s handling of an off-court scandal has clearly been questionable, the team has more talent than anyone in college basketball.
Click to enlarge Jerry’s bracket
Alabama might not have been my pick for the #1 overall seed, but they certainly got a nice draw. Region Sør has the weakest two and four seeds and a three seed that struggles late in the season. When they get to the Final Four, I expect Brandon Miller to take over and lead Bama to their first national title. Gonzaga did not have a regular season that lived up to the standards we are used to from them. After the loss at Saint Mary’s, things changed. The Zags’ backcourt game was notably improved, and they are now on the verge of entering the NCAA Tournament. I expect the roll to continue all the way to Houston.
Click to enlarge Dennis’ bracket
Click to enlarge Chip’s bracket
I started filling out my bracket knowing how unlikely it is for schools to win a national championship and then run it back. I also know how unlikely it is for a program to win a national championship, lose most of its primary rotation players and then come back and compete for a national championship. But that’s exactly what Kansas has done, recording a record 17 Quad 1 wins, another Big 12 regular season crown and earning its third No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. I think the bracket breaks down favorably, as UCLA is dealing with injury issues and Kansas can match styles with the likes of UConn or Gonzaga depending on what is needed. From there it’s a fourth meeting with Texas, in Houston, which should be epic and then meeting the winner of my chaos side who has Arizona out of the South and Duke out of the East. The Blue Devils haven’t played like a No. 5 seed over the past nine games as they’ve gotten healthier and the incoming freshmen have gotten even more comfortable in their roles. It’s a bad draw for Purdue, made worse by the Madison Square Garden setting — a building Duke plays in every year — for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.
Click to enlarge Josh’s bracket
Click to enlarge Josh’s bracket
Get every pick, every game, every upset and fill out your bracket with our help! Visit SportsLine now to see which teams will make and break your bracket and who will cut the nets, ranging from the model who nailed 18 upsets of double-digit seeds.