Gonzaga and Arizona are out after losing in the Sweet 16. How will their exits shake up the rankings for the Elite Eight teams?
It’s safe to say that the ranking exercise of the Sweet 16 teams goes to show that predicting March Madness is a fool’s errand. Gonzaga, the top team on the board, was bounced by Arkansas while Arizona also found their way to the exits by losing to red-hot Houston in San Antonio, which became a de facto home game for the Cougars.
Now that the Elite Eight is set, how would these teams rank today in terms of national championship odds? Read on to find out.
Re-ranking the Elite Eight teams in March Madness
8. Miami Hurricanes
The ACC’s March Madness renaissance has gotten a huge boost from Miami, which toppled one Big 12 foe in Iowa State after upsetting Auburn to get to the Elite Eight. It will take a herculean effort from the veteran Hurricanes to knock off the tournament’s last 1-seed in Kansas in order to help Miami reach its first Final Four.
7. Saint Peter’s Peacocks
Yes, they’re still here. The Peacocks have shown no fear of the moment and are incredibly well-coached, giving them an excellent chance to win on any given night. This ranking is based purely on the talent disparity between Saint Peter’s and the teams above them but the Peacocks have shown that anything can happen in a 40-minute game.
6. Arkansas Razorbacks
Eric Musselman did a tremendous coaching job by getting his team to push Gonzaga around and knocking the nation’s highest-flying offense out of whack. Repeating that task against a Duke team with better perimeter players is necessary for the Razorbacks to reach the Final Four for the first time since 1995.
5. North Carolina Tar Heels
It’s hard to believe that this team was squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble a month ago. The Tar Heels have caught fire in March thanks to some hot shooting from Caleb Love and Brady Manek, making them extremely dangerous to Saint Peter’s on Sunday and potentially Duke in the Final Four.
4. Villanova Wildcats
The most underrated blue blood in America, Villanova is loaded and has the offensive weaponry to win Jay Wright’s third national title in a seven-year span. The Wildcats will get a different test as they play a very physical Houston team in San Antonio, which should be a hostile environment for them.
3. Houston Cougars
Kelvin Sampson’s team continues to impress by dominating the South’s top seed, an amazing accomplishment since many thought that the loss of starters Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark to season-ending injuries would curb the upside of the Cougars. It sure looks like Houston is capable of winning a title without them right now.
2. Duke Blue Devils
The red sea has seemingly parted for the Blue Devils, who took care of business against Texas Tech and have seen Gonzaga, Kentucky and Baylor all lose on their half of the bracket. Everything seems to be falling into place for Mike Krzyzewski to go on a championship run to end his storied career.
1. Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks operate primarily with six men but every member of their rotation fits together well and is capable of carrying the team on a given night. Remy Martin’s emergence has become an X-factor for Kansas as Bill Self’s team is set up nicely to at least reach the national championship game, giving them the best shot to win of anyone still standing.
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