2023 March Madness: No. 1 Seeds Alabama, Houston on Upset Alert in Sweet 16?

  • No. 1 Purdue already lost to No. 16 FDU in the Round of 64
  • Kansas was knocked out by No. 8 Arkansas in the Round of 32
  • There have only been two Final Fours without a No. 1 seed
  • Houston and Alabama struggled with teams similar to their next opponents
Tournament bracket
Alabama and Houston are on upset alert heading into the Sweet 16 round of 2023 March Madness. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Sweet 16 upsets brewing

Is it too early to call March Madness 2023 “The Year of the Upset?” Maybe just for a few more days until the Sweet 16 tips off.

No. 1 Purdue has already been bounced out of the tournament thanks to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson, the second 16 seed to ever knock out a top seed, as is No. 1 Kansas, which lost to No. 8 Arkansas in the Round of 32. 

staring down the barrel of disaster

Only Alabama and Houston are left holding it down for the number ones, and both are staring down the barrel of disaster. There is a very real possibility that all four top seeds are eliminated before the Elite Eight.

Houston: favorites no more

There have only been two Final Fours without a single No. 1 seed. All four being knocked out before the Elite Eight would be unprecedented for the neutral and devastating for the loyalist.

what happened to the team that dominated so many opponents in the regular season

Houston was the pre-tournament favorite to win it all, but has not convinced in its first two games. Despite winning the second half of its second-round game against No. 9 Auburn 50-23 to secure a spot in the Sweet 16, its first three halves of tournament basketball have left many wondering what happened to the team that dominated so many opponents in the regular season.

Houston’s starting backcourt is also pretty banged up. Marcus Sasser did not play in the second half of the opening-round matchup against Northern Kentucky because of a groin problem, and Jamal Shead has a knee problem that head coach Kelvin Sampson said he was “very concerned about.”

The Cougars’ next matchup is against the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes, who also made a run to the Elite Eight as the No. 10 seed last season. Miami is plagued by inconsistency, but looks like one of the best teams in the country when it is firing on all cylinders like it was in the second half of its matchup against the No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers.

Houston did not show many flaws in the regular season, but struggled when opponents made difficult shots, which is a specialty of the Hurricanes. It also didn’t have a prolific offense to begin with and will be up against it if Sasser and Shead aren’t fully healthy.

Alabama on thin ice?

Whereas the Cougars were the betting favorite before the tournament started, the honor has been gifted to the Crimson Tide, who are now +350 to win the national title at BetMGM sportsbook.

Bama won its first two March Madness games against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Maryland by 21 and 22 points and has looked a class above its opponents thus far. However, it faces a daunting prospect in San Diego State University in the Sweet 16.

physicality and aggression, which Alabama has struggled to beat

The Aztecs aren’t overwhelmingly amazing at any particular area of the game, but they are very strong at nearly everything. One of those strengths is their physicality and aggression, which Alabama has struggled to beat.

Four of The Tide’s five losses this season came against teams that are typically described as “physical.” The lone exception was a 93-69 loss to the University of Oklahoma during which the Sooners shot a ridiculous 69.2% from three-point land.

National Player of the Year contender and standout freshman Brandon Miller has also been far from his best in the tournament. He posted a goose egg on 0-5 shooting in the first round and put up 19 points in the Round of 32, but took 17 shots to do so. He is now averaging 9.5 points on 22.7% shooting and 22.2% from beyond the arc.

If both number one seeds were to flame out, UCLA would take over as the betting favorite, assuming it can get past the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *