Andy Katz Tiers: NCAA Tournament field boasts intriguing depth
By Andy Katz
FOX Sports College Basketball Analyst
The tiers are starting to take shape.
We are seeing divisions, and we can’t wait to see how it all shakes out.
We’ve got less than two weeks before conference tournaments start to begin the thinning out process.
We will get there. March Madness is almost here.
TIER 1: Title favorites
Gonzaga: The Zags are the most dangerous offensive team in the country and will roll into the No. 1 overall seed.
Michigan: The Wolverines are playing the best basketball in the country for any team not named Gonzaga.
TIER 2: The Contenders
Ohio State: No shame in losing to Michigan in the final two minutes at home.
TIER 3: Deep run potential
West Virginia: Bob Huggins has a squad that shows no quit and late in games this team delivers with poised performances.
TIER 4: Trendy picks
Texas: The Longhorns have shown at times they can play with anybody in the country.
Arkansas: The Hogs have the offensive balance, athleticism and speed to be a tough out.
No. 5 Illinois at No. 23 Wisconsin
Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Illini ran into a hungry Michigan State in East Lansing. Wisconsin is up next. The Badgers will have to make shots and get Kofi Cockburn in foul trouble. That shouldn’t happen. Micah Potter must play huge. I still like the Illini to avoid a road sweep. Pick: Illini
No. 2 Baylor at No. 17 Kansas
Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
If the Bears didn’t struggle at Iowa State then this wouldn’t be a question. But they did. Still, the Bears will have had a few days to get the continued rust out. Kansas has defended well, save the last few minutes against Texas. This should be a late-possession game, and I still like Baylor. Pick: Bears
The Mountain West title could be on the line in this weekend series. I say they split the two games.
Andy Katz is a longtime college basketball reporter, analyst and host. He can be seen on FOX Sports and Big Ten Network platforms, as well as March Madness and NCAA.com, and he hosts the podcast "March Madness 365." Katz worked at ESPN for nearly two decades and, prior to that, in newspapers for nine years.