Hoosiers, Spartans tough
I'm tempted to say "all of them."
In this topsy-turvy never-know-what's-coming college basketball season it seems like everyone has a chance. This is a season in which five No. 1 teams have been displaced in five consecutive weeks after all. But by looking critically at the season, I'll give weight to teams that are consistent and have been warming up recently.
Indiana fits the former, Michigan State fits the latter. Both teams have all the right ingredients in terms of personnel. The Spartans have been battle tested and are peaking.
Other teams that I would say have a legitimate chance are Miami, Gonzaga, Duke, Florida and Michigan. But the way this season goes, nothing would shock me.
Plenty of contenders
From Arizona to the Zags, the group of legitimate national title contenders runs from A to Z and darn near every letter between.
Indiana confirmed favorite status with Tuesday's victory at Michigan State, but the Hoosiers could easily stumble next week at Minnesota. Miami is unbeaten in the ACC and has won 14 straight, but the Hurricanes lost to Florida Gulf Coast.
It has been that type of season, in which any one of 20-25 teams could celebrate in Atlanta on April 8. This includes usual suspects such as Florida, Kansas, Duke and Louisville, not to mention recent Final Four crashers Butler and VCU.
Lack of such pedigree notwithstanding, Miami, Gonzaga and New Mexico are capable of six-game championship runs as well.
No clear-cut favorite
There's no clear-cut favorite going into the final month before Selection Sunday, meaning there are a few teams with a chance to capture a title.
Indiana is back in the national spotlight as the Hoosiers have held the top spot in the rankings for at least half the season and appear to be one of the top contenders, thanks to the play of Victor Oladipo.
Not since the days of the Fab Five has Michigan had such a talented team. The Wolverines can make waves as well.
Miami has been a pleasant surprise and the Hurricanes are loaded with senior talent, which has proved beneficial during big wins against Duke and North Carolina.
And as long as Mike Krzyzewski is the coach of the Blue Devils, Duke should be considered a title contender as well.
Indiana team to beat
Los Angeles Times
This may be the most wide-open field in recent years. I wouldn't even eliminate Kansas, which recently put on the floor the worst team in school history, according to hyperbolic coach Bill Self.
There ARE no great teams. The Big Ten boasts the most Final Four candidates in Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State. Never count out Syracuse because of coach Jim Boeheim. Miami is hot-hot-hot.
Duke will be a different team when Ryan Kelly returns. Out west, I like Gonzaga way more than Arizona.
But the team to beat is Indiana. The combination of Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo, plus the team's obvious road resolve, gives the Hoosiers the best chance (right now).
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