The NCAA Tournament gets underway tonight. The best three weeks in sports are about to start.
There is no clear-cut favorite to win it all this year. Even when there has been an established favorite in recent seasons, it hasn't always worked out for them (see Kentucky in 2015 and Michigan State in 2016).
There are seemingly about 8-10 teams with legitimate chances to win it all, unless a major Cinderella emerges. Of that group, ESPN experts prefer Michigan State the best.
ESPN’s panel of experts released its Final Four and national title predictions today. Twenty-seven analysts, writers and personalities in total weighed in.
Nine of them chose Michigan State, edging out Virginia as the most popular pick. Here is the full breakdown.
- Michigan State: 9 votes
- Virginia: 8 votes
- Villanova: 5 votes
- Arizona: 2 votes
- Duke: 1 vote
- Kansas: 1 vote
- Purdue: 1 vote
Do the Spartans have what it takes to function in a favored role? Sometimes, Tom Izzo does his best work in March when he isn't one of the hunted, like in 2010 and 2015. Even as a No. 2 seed in 2009, the Spartans weren't expected to get to the national title game.
You can view all of ESPN’s predictions here.