College Basketball

Andy Katz Tiers: Final Four sleepers galore in NCAA Tournament field

March 4

By Andy Katz
FOX Sports College Basketball Analyst

The tiers are continuing to take shape.

There are favorites. There are contenders and the list of sleepers could be even longer.

Get ready to digest and debate.

TIER 1: Titles favorites

Gonzaga: The Zags are clearly the favorites. They finished the regular season 24-0. Celebrate the regular-season accomplishments. It was something special.

Baylor: The Bears woke up post pause to outlast West Virginia in Morgantown and reassert themselves as a title favorite.

Illinois: The Illini beat Michigan in Ann Arbor without Ayo Dosunmu. That should send the strongest message possible.

Michigan: The Wolverines took a hit from Illinois. They were due for a dud. They will be fine and are still a No. 1 seed.

TIER 2: Title contenders

IowaLuka Garza is the national player of the year and he’s got plenty of help now offensively.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers are one of the toughest teams in the country. They will be one of the most difficult teams to finish off.

Ohio StateThe Buckeyes have hit a bit of a wall, but the pieces are there to still mount a deep run.

AlabamaThe Tide won the SEC. Outright. That’s why they are here.

Florida StateThe Seminoles didn’t look the part at North Carolina, but they will be fine once March Madness starts.

TIER 3: Final Four sleepers

ArkansasGet to know the name Moses Moody. He’s the real deal and could shine in the NCAAs.

Kansas: David McCormack is being much more aggressive and that’s a huge plus for the Jayhawks.

PurdueThe Boilermakers are on the rise. Buy stock. Love Jaden Ivey and Zach Edey.

UConn: The one-two punch of James Bouknight and R.J. Cole will be tough to match in the NCAAs.

Oklahoma StateCade Cunningham can carry this team deep in March. He’s that special.

Villanova: Collin Gillespie injury is a major concern, but never dismiss the Wildcats’ chances with so much depth/talent.

San Diego State: Won 11 in a row. Locking teams down defensively. Has Sweet 16 potential.


No. 17 Oklahoma State at No. 6 West Virginia
Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, CBS

This has the makings of being another overtime Big 12 thriller. These squads are balling right now. But I would lean Mountaineers late. Pick: West Virginia

No. 4 Illinois at No. 7 Ohio State
Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Illini had one of the best wins of the season ⁠— if not the best win ⁠— at Michigan by any team. But the Buckeyes will be desperate to reset for the Big Ten tournament. I think they get it. Pick: Buckeyes

Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, CBS

The Trojans looked really, really good in beating Stanford on Wednesday night. Oregon took down UCLA. USC gets the sweep. Pick: Trojans

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, 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.

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