NCAA Tournament power rankings: Reseeding the Elite Eight with two No. 1 seeds out – The Athletic

By Jesse Temple3h agoSupported By

The Athletic has live coverage of the NCAA Tournament.

(Editor’s note: This is part of the Bracket Central Series, an inside look at the run-up to the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments, along with analysis and picks during the tournaments.)

The Sweet 16 matchups in the NCAA Tournament didn’t disappoint. Six of the eight games were decided by single digits, and a pair of No. 1 seeds were knocked out. Oh, and a No. 11 seed that once stood 17-14 overall entering the ACC tournament is still standing.

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All four Elite Eight matchups offer plenty of intrigue: UConn vs. Illinois, Alabama vs. Clemson, Duke vs. NC State and Purdue vs. Tennessee. The Duke-NC State, Alabama-Clemson and Purdue-Tennessee games are rematches of games from earlier this season.

With the regional finals upon us, here are our latest NCAA Tournament power rankings for all eight remaining national title contenders. We will update this ranking after every round and until the Final Four begins. If the Sweet 16 was any indication, the eight teams left should put on quite a show. Which teams are in the best position to make a run at the championship? Here’s a look at where things stand.

Conference ACC Big East Big Ten SECRegion East Midwest South WestExpand allCollapse allLoadingTry changing or resetting your filters to see more.1

Connecticut Huskies

3Last Rank

Matt Painter has Purdue on the brink of history following an 80-68 victory against Gonzaga. Purdue can reach its first Final Four since 1980 with a win against Tennessee in the Elite Eight. Purdue has spent all season trying to respond from losing its first-round NCAA Tournament game as a No. 1 seed a year ago, and the Boilermakers have met the challenge. Zach Edey tallied 27 points and 14 rebounds against Gonzaga, while Braden Smith added 14 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds. Purdue beat both Gonzaga and Tennessee earlier this season in the Maui Invitational and will have to do it again with a whole lot more on the line.

Seed1Record32-4GamesNo. 16 Grambling State78-50No. 8 Utah State106-67No. 5 Gonzaga80-68Big TenMidwest3

Illinois Fighting Illini

5Last Rank

Tennessee took out Creighton 82-75 to earn its second Elite Eight appearance and first since 2010. Dalton Knecht scored a game-high 26 points, while Zakai Zeigler scored 18 points and Josiah-Jordan James added 15 points. Tennessee plays Purdue for a spot in the Final Four. Purdue beat Tennessee 71-67 in the Maui Invitational after the Volunteers shot just 33.3 percent from the field.

Seed2Record27-8GamesNo. 15 Saint Peter’s83-49No. 7 Texas62-58No. 3 Creighton82-75SECMidwest5

Duke Blue Devils

14Last Rank

The breakneck pace at which Alabama plays continues to pay dividends. Alabama upended No. 1 seed North Carolina 89-87 to advance to its second-ever Elite Eight (and first since 2004). Grant Nelson was the star of the show, scoring 19 of his 24 points in the second half and finishing with 12 rebounds and five blocks. Rylan Griffen and Aaron Estrade scored 19 points apiece, and Mark Sears added 18. Now comes a postseason matchup most fans are accustomed to seeing in football: Alabama vs. Clemson.

Seed4Record25-11GamesNo. 13 Charleston109-96No. 12 Grand Canyon72-61No. 1 North Carolina89-87SECWest7

Clemson Tigers

16Last Rank

NC State’s magical March continued with a 67-58 victory against No. 2 seed Marquette, which moved the Wolfpack to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1986. That marks eight consecutive victories for NC State, which won all five games it played in the ACC tournament to earn a spot in the big dance. DJ Horne scored a team-high 19 points, while Mohamed Diarra added 11 points and 15 rebounds. NC State plays a Duke team that the Wolfpack beat 74-69 during the ACC tournament, though Duke did win the regular season matchup between the teams.

Seed11Record25-14GamesNo. 6 Texas Tech80-67No. 14 Oakland79-73 (OT)No. 2 Marquette67-58ACCSouth

 

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GO DEEPER

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Tucker: Illinois may present the greatest challenge to the UConn machine

 

(Top photo of Grant Nelson: Kirby Lee / USA Today)

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Jesse Temple is a staff writer for The Athletic covering the Wisconsin Badgers. He has covered the Badgers beat since 2011 and previously worked for FOX Sports Wisconsin, ESPN.com and Land of 10. Follow Jesse on Twitter @jessetemple

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