March Madness began with 68 teams and is now down to 16. How would the Sweet 16 be ranked if we re-seeded the field today?
The 2022 NCAA Tournament has been wild and filled with dramatic upsets that have shaken up the field. We have seen four double-digit seeds reach the Sweet 16, including Saint Peter’s becoming the third 15-seed to ever reach this point, while top seeds like Baylor, Kentucky and Auburn have gone home.
Before the Sweet 16 tips off on Thursday, let’s re-rank the 16 teams left in the field. We’ll start from the bottom as we assess the odds of each team left to cut down the nets iN New Orleans on April 4.
Re-ranking the Sweet 16 teams in March Madness
16. Iowa State Cyclones
Going from two wins in the 2020-21 season to two NCAA Tournament wins is an impressive accomplishment for T.J. Otzelberger’s team. The Cyclones have to pick up the pace offensively after scoring a combined 113 points in two games.
15. Saint Peter’s Peacocks
The first MAAC school to ever reach the Sweet 16 has captured the hearts of America by slaying Kentucky and Murray State to get here. No 15-seed has ever gotten past this point and the Peacocks have a brutal matchup with Purdue on tap.
14. Miami Hurricanes
The Hurricanes impressed by dominating Auburn to get to Chicago with a winnable game against Iowa State in the Sweet 16. Experience will help Miami but dealing with Kansas in the Elite Eight won’t be easy.
13. Arkansas Razorbacks
The last SEC team standing, Arkansas’ preferred method of bully ball didn’t work very well against a pair of double-digit seeds. The chances of slowing Gonzaga with bully ball aren’t good.
12. Providence Friars
Lady luck continues to side with the Friars after they knocked out a pair of double-digit seeds to reach the Sweet 16. Playing Kansas in the Sweet 16 is a step up in weight class and we’ve seen how well that’s gone for Providence lately (see a late-season sweep by Villanova).
11. UCLA Bruins
The second-round win against Saint Mary’s was fantastic but the Bruins’ sleepwalk against Akron can’t exactly be forgotten. Mick Cronin’s team can shoot significantly higher on this list if it manages to play to its potential consistently.
10. Michigan Wolverines
Hunter Dickinson is a matchup problem for anyone as the Wolverines knocked out two excellent teams to get to the Sweet 16. Michigan’s matchup against Villanova is one of the highlights of the Sweet 16.
9. North Carolina Tar Heels
Few teams were more impressive in the first two rounds than North Carolina, which blew out Marquette and was about to do the same to Baylor before nearly suffering a historic meltdown after Brady Manek’s ejection. That collapse is a cause for concern against strong competition going forward.
8. Purdue Boilermakers
One of just two Big Ten teams left, the Boilermakers played very well on the defensive end against Texas but need to demonstrate a more consistent commitment on that end of the floor. Purdue has a huge talent edge on Saint Peter’s but will need to execute well to avoid getting picked off by the Peacocks.
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Defense is the calling card of the Red Raiders, who can smother anyone in the country. Getting consistent offensive production is a challenge and could be the kryptonite for Texas Tech, which likely has to go through Duke and Gonzaga to reach the Final Four.
6. Houston Cougars
The metrics were right on about Houston, which dominated its first two games despite missing two starters that were lost to season-ending injuries before February. Kelvin Sampson has built a very dangerous squad that can easily get back to the Final Four.
5. Villanova Wildcats
Jay Wright is one of just three coaches left in the field with a national title on his resume, experience that will come in handy as the Wildcats navigate a loaded South Region. Villanova will need to put the ball in the bucket in bunches to return to the Final Four.
4. Arizona Wildcats
TCU gave the Wildcats a huge scare on Sunday but Arizona’s superior talent base prevailed in the end. Few teams in the country can give Gonzaga a run for their money but Tommy Lloyd’s squad is one of them.
3. Duke Blue Devils
Talent was never the question with Duke but the Blue Devils finally showed some major guts by going on a 20-6 run to close out Michigan State after trailing by five points with just over five minutes to go in the Round of 32. That experience could unlock another level for one of the most skilled rosters in the field.
2. Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas’ path to the Final Four is extremely favorable as they should be heavily favored to get out of a region that includes Providence, Iowa State and Miami. Bill Self’s narrow rotation will be tested heavily if the Jayhawks run into teams like Arizona or Gonzaga later in the tournament.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
It hasn’t been easy in the first two rounds, particularly with a difficult 9-seed in Memphis, but the Bulldogs have shown guts to overcome slow starts to reach the Sweet 16. Gonzaga entered March Madness as the favorites and nothing we’ve seen so far has changed that.
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