NCAA Basketball: 3 way-too-early Final Four sleepers for 2022-23 season

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Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks NCAA Basketball (Photo by Handout/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Even though the calendar still reads September, there are certainly some teams that can be considered Final Four favorites. NCAA Basketball teams such as Gonzaga, North Carolina, and the reigning champion Kansas are just three of the many teams that have higher odds than other schools at this point. Squads like Duke, Villanova, Baylor, the list goes on and on with schools that are consistent year in and year out title contenders.

Despite all of these favorites, there are always teams that fly under the radar in preseason rankings. I can guarantee that nobody predicted Loyola Chicago making the Final Four in 2018 back in September of that season. The same thing could be said with North Carolina last year, as the Tar Heels were on the bubble for a lot of February before securing a spot in the dance.

It doesn’t even have to be the Final Four. Just this year, 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s went on a run to the Sweet 16, defeating two-seed Kentucky and seven-seed Murray St. Once March Madness begins, anything can happen. That’s the madness part of it. A whole year’s worth of preparation is decided by 40 minutes of play. It can be nerve-wracking.

For every Cinderella story, there is heartbreak. 16-seed UMBC became the first 16 seed to upset a one-seed ever, but that came at the expense of No. 1 overall seed Virginia. In 2013, “Dunk City,” or Florida Gulf Coast, shocked the world as a 15-seed by defeating two-seed Georgetown. For every ounce of joy that was felt by the 2018 Retrievers and 2013 Eagles, the Cavaliers and Hoyas felt the same amount, perhaps even more, of sorrow.

Like those UMBC and FGCU squads, teams surpass the odds and expectations all the time in college basketball. It’s part of what makes the sport so great to watch and follow. Here are three teams that I think will go overlooked when people make their early Final Four predictions but have as good a chance as any to make it.

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