March Madness Betting: The best NCAA basketball teams in states O - T

By Andrew D

December 06, 2022

NCAA March Madness Houston Cougars Hakeem Olajuwon #24

Here are what we consider to be the best NCAA teams from states O - T

A quick word about rankings

The Associated Press has been ranking the top basketball teams since 1948. The top 25 teams in Division I are ranked using the ballots of 65 sports journalists from across the country. The ranking has no official say in the March Madness tournament selection process. Even a No. 1 ranking in the AP poll does not guarantee any team a place.

The coaches' poll uses the exact same premise. This time, the votes are cast by head coaches representing each of the 32 Division 1 Conferences.

View the latest AP & Coaches Poll rankings here

NCAA Xavier Musketeers


Xavier Musketeers

March Madness odds progression

@ 101.00 — @ 81.00

Although the situation looks rosy for a few NCAA teams in the Buckeye state, we make it a 2-horse race at the end of the day. Dayton vs Xavier.

The AP and coaches’ polls have Ohio State in the top 25 but nobody ever accused us of going with the crowd…

It seems like it will be a close-run thing but we have to pick one so we’re going for Xavier. They currently have 5 players scoring in double figures. Top of the tree being:

  • Souley Boom (*PTS: 17.0, TRB: 3.7, AST: 4.2, FG%: 53.5%)

Quite apart from having one of the coolest names ever, Souley Boom is leading the charge for Xavier but is being capably assisted by several others. Not least of which:

  • Colby Jones (*PTS: 14.9, TRB: 5.1, AST: 5.6, FG%: 48.0%)

  • Zach Freemantle (*PTS: 13.3, TRB: 7.5, AST: 3.0, FG%: 60.0%)

Yes - that is a 60% field goal conversion rate. We told you they were looking good. 

We predict even better things to come so watch this space…

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NCAA Oklahoma State Cowboys


Oklahoma State Cowboys

March Madness odds progression

@ 201.00 — @ 301.00

The story of the Oklahoma Cowboys and their ban from the 2021/’22 postseason is quite remarkable. This is not the place to go into it but suffice to say that it has probably fired up the team to perform this season. We were expecting them to push for the NCAA postseason tournament. But it’s tough in the Big 12 and they currently sit 2nd from bottom with 7-3! One place above Oklahoma State…

Still, that record is decent and we think they’ll rally as the season progresses. Especially when we see performances from the likes of:

  • Moussa Cisse (*PTS: 8.8, TRB: 10.4, AST: 0.6, FG%: 59.7%)

Cisse is averaging a staggering 3.1 blocks (BLK) per game at the time of writing. That with over 10 rebounds and an almost 60% field-goal conversion rate make us stand up and take note. 

Another key player:
  • Avery Anderson III (*PTS: 12.8, TRB: 3.9, AST: 3.1, FG%: 42.1%) 

Not quite as good at converting chances as Cisse but scoring tremendously nonetheless. Oh, and he throws in 2.1 steals (STL) per game as a cheeky bonus. Those 3.1 assists (AST) make Anderson III the Cowboys’ chief provider and that gives us slight cause for concern. 

They’re going to need more playmakers to make it all the way and waltz very far in the Big Dance. scoring drops off pretty significantly as we move down their roster too, so strength in depth might not be a thing they are lucky enough to be blessed with right now. Still, we predict good things for them. 

And remember those names, we genuinely believe that they will be future NBA superstars. 

NCAA Oregon Ducks


Oregon Ducks

March Madness odds progression

@ 61.00 — @ 101.00

The Oregon Ducks are pretty firmly cemented as the number 1 team from the Beaver State.

Their top scorer is:

  • Will Richardson (*PTS: 14.1, TRB: 5.7, AST: 3.9, FG%: 47.9%) 

Solid numbers but he is shouldering an awful lot of responsibility, leading them in points, assists, and steals.

But he’s playing heavy minutes (36.0) to get them. 

There are certainly others on the roster like N’Faly Dante and Quincy Guerrier who are performing well. But the lack of depth seems real for the Ducks. 

The Oregon State Beavers are also in the same conference but are given little chance of success. 

As for the rest of the state’s Division 1 teams? Well, the Portland Pilots might be dark horses. They won the magical 19 games last season and have retained more of their roster than any team in the country. Time will tell if that stability helps them. The Portland State Vikings? Not so much.

NCAA Villanova Wildcats Logo


Villanova Wildcats

AP ranking: 16

Coaches’ ranking: 17

March Madness odds progression

@ 61.00 — @ 41.00 — @ 151.00

The Wildkats have some pretty heavy hitters when it comes to scoring this season. Even their third-best scorer gets 15.7 per game. Top of the tree right now is:

  • Caleb Daniels (*PTS: 16.8, TRB: 4.7, AST: 3.4, FG%: 44.5%)

Excellent points and decent assists from Daniels. He’s getting the most minutes per game right now with 35.6 and we have a sneaking suspicion that the number 2 scorer:

  • Eric Dixon (*PTS: 15.9, TRB: 5.5, AST: 1.5, FG%: 50.4%)

…would be running him really close if he was getting the same minutes. His conversion rate is certainly much better. 

But the real dark horse here might be that 3rd-placed scorer we mentioned:

  • Cam Whitmore (*PTS: 15.7, TRB: 5.3, AST: 0.7, FG%: 50.0%)

Whitmore is averaging 1.1 points less than Daniels per game. But he’s getting 12 fewer minutes! He’s competently holding his own with the top 2 players with much less time on the court and that is always something that makes us pay attention. 

The Big East but it is a tough conference. With 5-5 at the time of writing, Villanova are going to have to turn things around in a big way to push for March Madness action. But they have just won 3 games in a row and we still make them the best team in Pennsylvania. 

Take from that what you will…

NCAA Providence Friars Logo

Rhode Island: 

Providence Friars

March Madness odds progression: @ 201.00

At 8-3 at the time of writing, the Providence Friars are currently 2nd in the Big East. Nobody has contributed more to that so far than:

  • Bryce Hopkins (*PTS: 14.9, TRB: 8.5, AST: 2.6, FG%: 48.7%)

But he has not done it alone, not by a long way. There have been significant contributions from the likes of:

  • Ed Crossley (*PTS: 11.8, TRB: 6.6, AST: 0.1, FG%: 62.5%)

Yes, you read that right. A 62.5% conversion rate for field goals. 

Strength in depth seems to be a wider issue for the Friars. Only 3 players make double-figures in scoring and, apart from Jared Bynum with 5.1 per game (in 28.3 minutes) they are struggling for players to provide assists. Nearest to him are Jayden Pierre with 3 per game and Hopkins with 2.6. Probably not enough to go far in the longer term. 

We’re still a way off from having some serious in-state competition for the overall bragging rights. But things are looking up in Rhode Island with the Bryant Bulldogs sitting 2nd in America East, also 8-3. The Rhode Island Rams have got some work to do at 4-7. Currently 2nd bottom in the Atlantic 10

NCAA Clemson Tigers

South Carolina: 

Clemson Tigers

March Madness odds progression: @ 201.00

The driving force behind the Clemson Tigers being 8-3 and 2nd in the ACC is a tale of two hunters. 

  • Chase Hunter (*PTS: 14.6, TRB: 2.2, AST: 5.0, FG%: 44.6%)

  • Hunter Tyson (*PTS: 14.4, TRB: 9.1, AST: 1.9, FG%: 45.0%)

Between them, the Hunters have most angles covered.

It would be interesting to see if another player could surge forwards but he needs more minutes. In just 20.1 minutes per game, we have some excellent numbers from:

  • P.J. Hall (*PTS: 12.4, TRB: 3.6, AST: 0.6, FG%: 54.1%)

That’s in 12-14 minutes less than either of the Hunters gets. Seems Hall may be a secret weapon moving forwards but if he wants to really impact games then he needs to snatch a few more rebounds. He provides no playmaking for others like the Hunters, so needs to shine in more than just scoring.

Time will tell but the situation looks good for Clemson right now and we make them the best team in South Carolina.

NCAA South Dakota State Jackrabbits

South Dakota: 

South Dakota State Jackrabbits

March Madness odds progression: @ 1001.00

At 5-7, both the Coyotes and the Jackrabbits are trailing 5 teams, including their North Dakotan Fighting Hawk rivals in the Summit League. We were very hard pushed to choose between them and, in the end, it came down to this. The Coyotes currently have more players in double figures scoring-wise. But they don’t have:

  • Zeke Mayo (*PTS: 14.3, TRB: 6.5, AST: 2.6, FG%: 45.0%) 

Not a very scientific way to do it. But we’re not scientists…

We just get a feeling about Mayo. He has the potential to be a game-changer and that’s enough of a hunch for us to lean towards the Jackrabbits for now.

Hayes and Kamateros take quite a lot of rebounds for the Coyotes. But the Jackrabbits have more players that get decent amounts and the drop-off is not as severe. Both teams have appalling options for playmakers, so whichever of them can propel a player to make more assists will win the battle. 

NCAA Tennessee Volunteers


Tennessee Volunteers

AP ranking: 11

Coaches’ ranking: 11

March Madness odds progression: @ 31.00

The Volunteers look set to be the team to beat from Tennessee again this season. They will certainly prove troublesome to a lot of teams. Their major problem is that there is such strength in the SEC. There are a good few state-best teams in that conference and they will have to really pull out all the stops to compete at the top.

A key player for the Volunteers remains the highly experienced and talented:
  • Santiago Vescovi (*PTS: 13.3, TRB: 4.4, AST: 3.2, FG%: 41.3%)

Both the AP and coaches’ polls have them in 11th position this season. High praise indeed. 

We cannot see them achieving such dizzy heights, given the competition they face in the SEC. We hope to be proven wrong. 

NCAA Houston Cougars Logo


Houston Cougars

AP ranking: 3

Coaches’ ranking: 3

March Madness odds progression

@ 13.00 — @ 9.00 — @ 8.00 (current favourites)

After their impressive run to the Elite Eight regional final against Villanova, the Houston Cougars are our top pick from the Lone Star State. When they were ravaged by injuries last season, several players stood up to be counted. We think that will give them confidence heading into the ’22/‘23 season. Some key players:

  • Jamal Shead (*PTS: 10.0, TRB: 3.0, AST: 5.8, FG%: 40.5%)

Superb assists there from Shead. 

  • J’Wan Roberts (*PTS: 3.2, TRB: 4.9, AST: 0.5, FG%: 62.8%) 

Solid and dependable. We expect to see Roberts getting more minutes this season. 

  • Marcus Sasser (*PTS: 17.7, TRB: 2.8, AST: 2.6, FG%: 43.7%)

Sasser was thwarted by injury last season, playing only 12 games. But his stats were impressive up to that point. We are hoping to see big things from him this time around. 

So, the Cougars look strong. But, oh boy, is it tight at the top. 

The Associated Press and coaches’ polls ranked the other teams from Texas as follows - AP/Coaches:

  • Baylor Bears - 5th/6th: @ 18.00 — @ 12.00

  • Texas Longhorns - 12th: @ 30.00 — @ 21.00

  • Christian Horned Frogs - 14th/16th: @ 51.00

  • Texas Tech - 25th/24th: @ 41.00

The Red Raiders squeezed into the top 25 after their Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2022’s March Madness.

Texas is really in a strong position these days in the NCAA. 

Taking up 20% of the top 25 ranking positions!

Strength in depth right across Texas and they will surely trouble a good few teams between them this season. 

*M = minutes

PTS = points

TRB = total rebounds

AST = assists

FG% = field goal percentage

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