4. March Madness teams most likely to win the national title – Purdue Boilermakers
The East Region is certainly wide open now that its top two seeds, Baylor and Kentucky, didn’t survive the first weekend of March Madness. That fact is music to the ears of Purdue head coach Matt Painter, whose Boilermakers are now the presumptive favorites to get out of Philadelphia and earn a trip to the Final Four.
The calling card for Purdue all season long has been an explosive offense that can outscore anyone in the country. The problem has been that the Boilermakers’ defense is highly suspect, ranking as one of the worst units among tournament teams, but Purdue showed significant defensive improvement against Texas in the Round of 32.
If Purdue can build on the defensive effort they displayed against the Longhorns this team can beat anyone in the country. Drawing Cinderella Saint Peter’s in the Sweet 16 is also an advantage since the Peacocks will have a ton of difficulty handling the size the Boilermakers can throw at them in the form of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams.
It is also encouraging that Purdue is one of the few teams in the country that can keep pace with Gonzaga offensively, giving them a puncher’s chance of knocking out the most difficult team left in the field if they reach the Final Four. The sheer firepower that the Boilermakers possess makes them a true title threat and would give the Big Ten its first national champion since Michigan State won it all in 2000.