NCAA Tournament Futures: Unranked Underdogs

  • What: 2023 Men’s NCAA Basketball Championship Game
  • When: Monday, April 3, 2023. Time is TBD
  • Where: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas

With the 2022-23 NCAA Basketball season set to get underway on November 7, 2022, there may be no better time for bettors to place some NCAA Tournament futures wagers and make some March Madness picks. March Madness futures present some excellent value on even the favored teams, but now that the first Top 25 Coaches Poll has dropped, we can take a look at some of the unranked underdogs that could end up making a splash in the tourney.

While the preseason rankings predict what teams figure to be at the top of the nation, they’re not always accurate. Just because a team doesn’t enter the year with high expectations, doesn’t mean they won’t re-write the script. Purdue and Florida are prime examples of teams that could make a deep run and even win the NCAA Tournament despite starting the year unranked. Before we get into it, make sure to check out all our info on college basketball betting, as well as our March Madness betting guide in order to get all the knowledge you need.


NCAA Tournament Odds

BovadaOdds to Win NCAA Tournament
North Carolina+900
Texas Tech+4000
San Diego State+6000

Heading into the year, it’s mostly ranked teams who own the best odds of winning the tournament. Gonzaga, who enters the year as the No. 2 ranked team in the country have the best odds to win at (+800). Meanwhile, preseason No. 1 North Carolina have the third-best odds to win at (+900) with No. 3 Houston at (+850). But just because there’s a ranking next to a team, doesn’t mean they’re the only ones in contention.

Two teams that look like they could make serious runs during the NCAA Tournament that were not included in the first Top 25 are the Florida Gators (+6000) and Purdue Boilermakers (+5000). While both are considered longshots in the early odds, they are solid teams with tournament experience who could end up surprising people in 2022. We’re going to dive into each team and discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and why they could potentially make a deep run.


Matt Painter will look to lead this Purdue team on a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, and if they can perform well in the Big Ten, they should enter the tournament with a decent seed, potentially as high as a six seed. Losing Jaden Ivey will be tough to overcome. The superstar big man who now plays in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons was absolutely crucial for the Boilermakers last season, but their next top guy will be back and better than ever in 2022-23.

Zach Edey should give Boilermaker fans reason to be excited. The big guy was tenacious on the glass last season, and figures to run it back for an even more impressive season inside the paint this year. Standing in at 7-foot-4, Edey is one of the biggest players in all of college basketball. In 2021-22, the center averaged 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. While he could still stand to improve in his shot-blocking, Edey is one of the best rebounders in the business and his offensive game is outstanding on the interior.

Alongside Edey, Mason Gills will be returning to the fold, as will Brandon Newman and Caleb Furst, all of whom figure to take on bigger roles in 2022-23. Additionally, transfer acquisition David Jenkins Jr. should provide solid scoring following his move from Utah during the offseason.

While Purdue doesn’t appear on paper to be the most dangerous team in college hoops, the Boilermakers have gone to the NCAA Tournament in 13 of Matt Painter’s 17 seasons as head coach, including seven of the last eight seasons. That streak will continue in 2023, and they could make a surprising run with Edey leading the charge.

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Florida lost a lot of talent during the offseason, but they’re still well-equipped to make a run. The loss of Tyree Appleby, Anthony Duruji, Brandon McKissic, and Philandrous Fleming will be difficult to deal with, but they’ll be bringing back two-time All-SEC big man Colin Castleton, who should be the focal point of their gameplan for the coming season.

At 6-foot-11 and weighing nearly 250 pounds, Castleton is a force to be reckoned with in the interior. Last season, Castleton led the Gators in scoring across 28 games, averaging 16.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. He was dominant on both ends, protecting the rim and putting up points, and Florida will surely lean heavily upon him again this year.

He’ll be prepared for the challenge, and Castleton will welcome incoming transfer Kyle Lofton, who will be running the show from the point guard position. Lofton joins the Gators from St. Bonaventure where he averaged 12.8 points, 5.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.0 3-pointers per game last season. He shot the 3-ball at a 28.2 percent clip, which is not great, but his main strength is as a facilitator.

The Gators last year were truly lacking a playmaking point guard who could run the offense and help get the most out of Castleton, With Lofton commanding the ball atop the key, Castleton will be able to get better scoring chances down low and receive better looks at the basket. That duo could be a dangerous one during the regular season and come March if they develop a strong rapport. At (+6000), Florida has some of the best odds to win the big dance among unranked teams, and they could be one to watch come the NCAA Tournament.

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Chris Boline

Chris Boline is a renowned sports journalist with a lifelong passion for the industry. Originally from Reno, Nevada, he is a key business development figure in college athletics, with over a decade of experience with the NBA G League, Los Angeles Chargers, and Mountain West Conference. Boline holds an MBA from the University of Nevada. He has received MVP and "Best of" honors from the NBA/Sacramento Kings, Nevada Press Association, and more. His work has been showcased statewide and nationally. Boline has established himself as an expert in MLB and legal sports betting developments. When he's not immersed in the world of sports, Chris finds joy in exploring nature's wonders.