5 dark horse candidates for the 2023 Final Four

It’s by no means too early to start out trying forward!

Check beneath for our checklist of 5 dark horse candidates that would attain the 2023 Final Four.

In no specific order:

TCU: The Horned Frogs return 89 p.c of their scoring and all 5 starters from a crew that gained 21 video games and was inches away from beating Arizona in the NCAA Tournament. Veteran guard Mike Miles (15.4 factors, 3.4 rebounds, and three.8 assists) ought to push for All-American honors as a junior whereas the remainder of TCU’s starters — Damion Baugh, Chuck O’Bannon Jr., Emmanuel Miller, and Eddie Lampkin — all boast all-conference caliber potential. This might be the finest crew that Jamie Dixon has had at his alma mater since he grew to become TCU’s head coach in 2016.

San Diego State: The Mountain West’s flagship program hasn’t reached the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament since 2014, however it’s obtained an excellent probability to take action in 2023. San Diego State returns arguably the convention’s finest participant in fifth-year senior Matt Bradley (16.9 factors , 5.4 rebounds) in addition to the reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year in 6-10 veteran Nathan Mensah. Lamont Butler, Keshad Johnson, Aguek Arop, and Adam Seiko are additionally again as invaluable position gamers who averaged quarter-hour or extra on final yr’s crew that gained 23 video games and misplaced to Creighton in the first spherical of the NCAA Tournament. TCU switch Jaedon LeDee is anticipated to make a serious influence up entrance whereas Seattle switch Darrion Trammell (17.4 factors) ought to immediately add offense and quickness. San Diego State head coach Brian Dutcher posted a 30-2 document throughout the 2019-20 season previous to the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament attributable to COVID and by no means obtained an opportunity to educate as a excessive seed in the bracket. Don’t be shocked if he will get one other alternative to take action in March of 2023.

Virginia: Can a crew miss the NCAA Tournament one yr after which play deep into the bracket the subsequent? Yes, if that crew is Virginia. The Cavaliers return 93.1 p.c of their scoring from final season’s crew that gained 21 video games, headlined by a pair of fifth-year seniors in Kihei Clark and Jayden Gardner. All 5 of Virginia’s projected starters — Clark, Reece Beekman, Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner, and Kadin Shedrick — are both juniors, seniors, or graduate college students. Ohio switch Ben Vander Plas (14.3 factors, 6.8 rebounds) must also make a direct influence due to his exterior taking pictures (67 made three-point photographs in 2021-22). Expect a big leap in (*5*).

Indiana: The Hoosiers could also be considered as the favourite in the Big Ten by default, however you possibly can’t argue with the information: Indiana returns 90.9 p.c of its scoring from a crew that reached the NCAA Tournament final season and boasts a seasoned frontcourt with All- American Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson. Xavier Johnson and Miller Kopp additionally return as starters whereas Jordan Geronimo, Trey Galloway, Tamar Bates are rotation gamers who return with sport expertise. Indiana additionally added a pair of five-star newcomers in freshmen Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau. The expertise base in Bloomington has drastically improved.

Tennessee: It’s not an oversight, it is an insult. If you think about each Zakai Zeigler and Olivier Nkamhoua as beginning caliber gamers (I do), then Tennessee returns 4 of its prime 5 scorers and 4 starters from final season’s crew that gained 27 video games and the SEC Tournament. The Vols’ different two returning starters — Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James — ought to each be all-conference gamers in 2022-23. Add five-star freshman Julian Phillips and you have got a crew that appears like the prime challenger to Kentucky in the SEC by way of returning personnel and general expertise.

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