March Madness is upon us and it has been a chaotic year. Only two 1 seeds remain after Kansas and Purdue were both upset. Only two 2 seeds remain as well as Arizona and Marquette have both lost. This is also the first year where a 15 and 16 seed both advanced into the Round of 32. The Sweet 16 is now upon us as we gather our emotions from bracket-busting first two rounds. For the Sweet 16, I thought: why not re-rank every team? So that is exactly what I did. I have two criteria: how they played in the tournament compared to other teams and previous seeding. If I felt like they exceeded their seed, their ranking reflects that. Overall it is a great time to be a fan of college basketball.
Tennessee was assumed to have been highly overrated considering their leading scorer Zakai Zeigler was out for a year with an ACL injury. Instead, this team avoided an upset alert against Louisiana and beat a good Duke team. The defense stepped up when the offense was struggling against Losuaiana. Against Duke, they got to the line plenty and were able to use that stellar defense again. This looks like the hottest team in the tournament which is why they are number 1.
Alabama has a quite simple analysis based on the games they have played so far. They are the same team that we thought they were going to be. They had two good wins against lesser opponents, and they have played the part of the number one overall seed. The only reason they aren’t number one is that the Volunteers played at a high level against tougher opponents.
The Huskies have been one of the better teams in the tournament handling both of their games in the tournament with ease. They flirted with passing Bama in my head, but ultimately I put them at 3. The defense and offense look very good and they should be a final-four team considering Kansas is no longer in contention. The Huskies have passed the eye test in the tournament and are one of my favorites going forward.
I know what many of you guys are thinking right now, why is Houston below UConn? Let me explain. The Cougars had a rocky opening tournament game against North Kentucky that bumped them down. They bounced back against Auburn which is why they are this high, but that close game is going to lose them spots.
The Longhorns have taken care of business against everyone they have played so far. They dominated Colgate and beat Penn State to get where they are. There doesnt seem to be any issues with the Big 12 champions so far in the tournament. For them, it is too early to move higher in the rankings. Give me the game against Xavier before I can say they exceeded the two seeds.
The Zags have taken care of business against Grand Canyon and TCU so far in the tournament. Drew Timme continues to be the guy for this team and they are playing well on both sides. TCU was a tighter game, but they were also a better opponent than the seed gave them credit for.
The Bruins were another one of those teams that were supposed to exit early in the tournament due to injuries hurting the team. Instead, they have played like a two-seed and won both their games. They had a closer affair with Northwestern, but they were able to pull it together. Beating a better opponent in Gonzaga would solidify them as contenders.
The ACC regular-season champion bounced back by winning their first two games including a massive win over Indiana. Theta re playing with a lot of confidence and I like this team to give Houston a run for its money. Not only are the Hurricanes proven winners, but they have a stellar defense. They are playing with some energy and I could see them beating Houston in the Sweet 16.
- Kansas State
If you guys read my articles you know I love Kansas State. This team has what it takes on both sides of the ball to beat anyone in the country. They played well in both their first games with the win over Kentucky being extra sweet. I said it before and I will say it again, they win close games. K-State should win their next game which could set up an interesting matchup with Tennessee.
Almost losing to Kennesaw State is the reason that I have dropped Xavier so much in this ranking. There is no room for slow starts now as everyone they have left to face will be a challenge. Their two wins so far are against double-digit seeds, look for them to have a drop-off in these upcoming games.
Crieghton has gotten hot in both of their games to give their offense an extra boost. They look like a good team, but it is pretty simple to limit them. Any team that can get them cold will win their matchup. They have two great wins, but the offense is the centerpiece of the Jays.
Arkansas had one of the best wins of the tournament when they knocked off the Jayhawks in the Round of 32. They have plenty of issues on their team that will prevent me from moving them higher up the list. They look like they are primed for a blowout loss, but I refuse to count them out. They have momentum, and anyone can win with that.
- Michigan State
What a job Tom Izzo has done to bring this team this far. While it will continue to be an uphill climb for the Spartans, they are certainly not out of it yet. Defense seems to be the biggest strength for the Spartans in their first two games. If they utilize it well, there is no question they can make a run
- San Diego State
SDSU has won the two games that have been placed into their laps. Charleston was a close game when it probably shouldn’t have been. Furman was lucky to be in the Round of 32, to begin with. SDSU has played well in both of their games, but they aren’t getting the nod over these teams playing tougher opponents.
Princeton has certainly shocked the world by making it this far. Unfortunately, they are going to continue to have tough matchups if they want to continue forward in the bracket. They have played extremely well to make it this far, but this is going to be tough. Princeton has had multiple players step up offensively to give them the edge in their wins. They will have to do something similar against a great Creighton offense.
While the Owls have played some good basketball, they had one of the easiest paths into the sweet 16. Remember this re-rank is about who is playing the best through two basketball games. FAU escaped the game vs Memphis and let FDU hang around the entire game. They are gritting out wins but aren’t at the same 5 standards as the other 15 teams in here.
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