NCAA Tournament power rankings: Reseeding the Sweet 16 after top teams survive – The Athletic

By Jesse Temple4h agoSupported By

The full NCAA Tournament bracket has been released with UConn leading the way as No. 1 overall.

(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.)

Eight double-digit seeds secured first-round upsets in the NCAA Tournament to bust brackets across the country. But when the dust settled on the opening weekend, only one double-digit seed was left standing in the Sweet 16: No. 11 NC State in the South Region.

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Despite a season filled with so many evenly-matched teams, every No. 1 and No. 2 seed is still alive in the Sweet 16 for the first time in five years and just the fifth time since the NCAA Tournament began seeding in 1979. Of the 16 games involving one or two seeds, only three were decided by single digits.

With the Sweet 16 upon us, here are our latest NCAA Tournament power rankings for all 16 remaining national title contenders. Consider this our re-seeding of the Sweet 16, if you wish. We will update this ranking after every round and until the Final Four begins. Many of the top-seeded teams have looked dominant. Which one is in the best position to make a run at the championship? Here’s a look at where things stand:

Conference ACC Big 12 Big East Big Ten MWC Pac-12 SEC WCCRegion East Midwest South WestExpand allCollapse allLoadingTry changing or resetting your filters to see more.1

Connecticut Huskies

3Last Rank

The baggage that clung to Purdue all year after losing in the first round as a No. 1 seed last season is a whole lot lighter. Purdue played every bit like the No. 1 seed this time around, beating Grambling State 78-50 in the first round and dominating Utah State 106-67 in the second round. The 106 points surpassed the program’s previous NCAA Tournament record of 104 set in 1987. Center Zach Edey has 53 points and 35 rebounds in two NCAA Tournament games. All the pieces are in place for the Boilermakers to reach their first Final Four since 1980.

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

Houston Cougars

4Last Rank

UNC trailed ninth-seeded Michigan State by as many as 12 points early in the second round before a sizzling 23-3 run helped propel the Tar Heels on to the Sweet 16. RJ Davis once again led the team in scoring with 20 points, but North Carolina also got 18 points from Armando Bacot, 17 points from Harrison Ingram and 14 points from Cormac Ryan.

Seed1Record29-7GamesNo. 16 Wagner90-62No. 9 Michigan State85-69ACCWest5

Tennessee Volunteers

6Last Rank

Arizona, which beat Long Beach State in the first round, held off Dayton 78-68 to reach the Sweet 16 against Clemson. The Wildcats’ quick pace and defensive length gave the Flyers fits. Caleb Love, the team’s leading scorer, scored 13 points in the first 12 minutes and finished with a team-high 19. Pelle Larsson, Keshad Johnson and Jaden Bradley also reached double figures in scoring.

Seed2Record27-8GamesNo. 15 Long Beach State85-65No. 7 Dayton78-68Pac-12West7

Marquette Golden Eagles

9Last Rank

At this point, opponents know exactly what they’re getting into when they play Iowa State. It’s going to be a grind, and the Cyclones make teams work for every point. Iowa State’s 67-56 victory against seventh-seeded Washington State was yet another example. Iowa State, which ranks fourth in the country in scoring defense, held Washington State 18 points below its season average. T.J. Otzelberger has Iowa State in the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons. The Cyclones will play No. 3 seed Illinois.

Seed2Record29-7GamesNo. 15 South Dakota State82-65No. 7 Washington State67-56Big 12East9

Illinois Fighting Illini

12Last Rank

Duke absolutely manhandled James Madison in a 93-55 victory behind a program NCAA Tournament record eight 3-pointers from Jared McCain, who finished with 30 points. Tyrese Proctor, Jeremy Roach and Kyle Filipowski also scored in double figures for the Blue Devils. It’s the first Sweet 16 for Jon Scheyer, whose debut season as coach last year ended with a second-round loss. Duke will play top-seeded Houston on Friday.

Seed4Record27-8GamesNo. 13 Vermont64-47No. 12 James Madison93-55ACCSouth11

Creighton Bluejays

14Last Rank

It’s truly remarkable what Mark Few has achieved at Gonzaga. The Bulldogs don’t simply qualify for the NCAA Tournament — they have staying power. Gonzaga, which dominated the second half against Kansas in an 89-68 victory, have reached the Sweet 16 for a ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga scored 15 straight points in the second half to pull away. Anton Watson scored 21 points and led five players in double figures. Next up: A date with top-seeded Purdue.

Seed5Record27-7GamesNo. 12 McNeese 86-65No. 4 Kansas89-68WCCMidwest13

San Diego State Aztecs

13Last Rank

Alabama survived a scare from No. 12 seed Grand Canyon, turning a 58-55 deficit into a 72-61 victory over the final six minutes. The Crimson Tide, who lead the country in scoring, showed they could win in a physical rock fight type of game after dropping 109 points in their first round victory against Charleston. Mark Sears led the way for Alabama against Grand Canyon with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Alabama will play top-seeded North Carolina in the Sweet 16.

Seed4Record24-11GamesNo. 13 Charleston109-96No. 12 Grand Canyon72-61SECWest15

Clemson Tigers

NALast Rank

NC State entered the ACC tournament just 17-14 and needed a miracle — five wins in five days — to reach the NCAA Tournament as an automatic qualifier. Seven wins and two weeks later, the Wolfpack are onto the Sweet 16. NC State dispatched Texas Tech 80-67 in the first round and then fended off No. 14 seed Oakland and Jack Gohlke 79-73 in overtime. DJ Burns Jr. has become a star on the national stage, tallying 24 points and 11 rebounds against Oakland.

Seed11Record24-14GamesNo. 6 Texas Tech80-67No. 14 Oakland79-73 (OT)ACCSouth

 

The Bracket Central series is part of a partnership with E*TRADE.

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(Photo of NC State’s Casey Morsell: Charles LeClaire / 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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