The opening weekend of March Madness is complete, and now we are down to the final 16 teams. Only two 1 seeds remain, and for the third consecutive tournament, we have a 15 seed moving on to the sweet 16. Let's re-rank the remaining teams and predict the final four and national championship matchup.
Alabama entered the tournament as the overall #1 seed, and they haven't disappointed. They are by far the best offense left in the tournament and it is looking uncertain if anyone can stop them. Also, Alabama has probably the easiest schedule to make the national championship game out of anyone else in the tournament.
Alabama does struggle with turnovers offensively, most likely because of their pace of play, so that could hurt them moving forward, but it is safe to say Alabama is legit and has serious national championship potential.
Houston has not looked like their usual self the last couple weeks, but a dominating second half against Auburn has proven that they still are a contender. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the Cougars, but year after year, they continue to prove they are a great team.
Thir offensive struggles will definitely hurt them, but their defense is one of the best in the country. It will be interesting how they do against an offensive powerhouse, like Alabama.
Another team in the Midwest Region, the Texas Longhorns could find themselves in the final four if they can knock off Houston. Texas won the Big 12 championship and have continued that momentum into the tournament. I would not want to get in their way right now, because they are playing great basketball.
The only thing that can hurt Texas is that they got screwed in their seeding and region. The Midwest Region has the best remaining seeds, and it is going to be a gauntlet to get out of that region.
Another year, another great UCLA tournament run. This team has taken over march the last 3 years, and they have the experience that most teams lack. Their defense ranks 2nd in the country behind Tennessee, and their offense may lack scoring power, but they get the job done.
Similar to Texas, UCLA got a bad draw with their region. They have to play Gonzaga next, who just so happens to be our next team in the rankings, but the winner of that game should advance to the final 4.
Where UCLA lacks scoring power, Gonzaga makes up for it. They have the number 1 offense in the country and also have Drew Timme in the front court. It is odd seeing Gonzaga struggle a little bit in the regular season, but it is also very dangerous that they are a 3 seed.
It's the same problem every year for Gonzaga, their defense just can't do it in big games. As said before, their next game against UCLA should be great. Two complete opposites facing off against each other in the sweet 16. I'm excited to see who comes out on top.
Probably a hot take, but it seems that UCONN is playing as well as anyone in the country right now. The Huskies were ranked as high as #3 in the country in the regular season, but then suffered a couple bad losses. They now have started to play like that team they were earlier, and they are scary.
Ranked 3rd on offense and 14th on defense makes UCONN one of the most complete teams remaining. However, they as well, are in that gauntlet of the Midwest region. Can they make it out? They have the ability to, but it isn't going to be easy.
Tennessee is a tricky team. They do have the #1 defense according to KenPom's defensive efficiency rankings, but lacks scoring on offense. They also have a high turnover rate to add to their offensive struggles.
The good thing about Tennessee is that they have a relatively easy schedule to make it to the final four. They should handle business against FAU, and then face two beatable teams in Michigan State or Kansas State.
A lot of people jumped on the Creighton futures towards the end of February, and they probably cashed out some sweet 16 futures. Unfortunately, I did not bet them, but they are playing really good right now, and have the easiest opponent to advance to the Elite 8.
It's hard to bet against Creighton right now, but they are just not a top team remaining in this tournament. It should be noted that they played in the Big East which still has 3 teams remaining in the tournament, so that adds to the legitimacy, but I just can't buy into them.
They are ranked 23rd on offensive efficiency and 13th on defensive efficiency, so maybe they are the real deal...
9. Kansas State
K State is getting the complete opposite public opinion as Creighton. They face off against MSU, the 7 seed, and are still the underdog. I love this Kansas State team, and I think they are better than most people think.
They had a great battle against Kentucky, and they played all year in the Big 12, so they are definitely battle tested. They rank 17th on defense and 43rd on offense but have a serious turnover problem. That could be an issue against MSU.
Your guess is as good as mine as to where to put the Razorbacks. I have them pretty far down on this list because of their inconsistency during the season, but looking at their draft capital, I have no idea why they aren't better.
This is a terrible spot for UConn or any team that has to face Arkansas, because they have the ability to beat anyone with the amount of talent in their backcourt.
They rank 15th on defense, and 50th on offense, but their offensive is now fully healthy and again, very dangerous. I don't know if they can take down UConn, but it definitely will be a great battle.
There are too many Michigan State people in my circle that believe the Spartans are better than what they actually are. They are well coached, and definitely tough to beat, but they are outmanned to almost every team remaining.
They rank in the mid 30's for both offensive and defensive efficiencies and they play very fast and have a physical defense. I am still not sure how they are favorited over K State, but regardless of it should be a great game, and maybe they prove to me that they are a worthy team.
Big hot take here. I don't like Xavier, and think they got a lucky draw to get to where they are. They barely escaped 14 seed Kennesaw State. They were down for a majority of that game, and only won because Kennesaw went scoreless for 6+ minutes.
Xavier does bring a powerful offense to the table, however their defense ranks 4th worst out of the remaining teams. They will get clobbered by Texas, and I can't wait to rub it in everyone's face.
Not a whole lot of people thought Miami was going to make it this far. A lot of people had Drake to upset them in the first round, but Miami is still kicking. They also have a dangerous backcourt, and they proved that with their dominating win over Indiana.
Miami has relied on their offense a majority of the season and its worked this far. However, they have the worst defense remaining in the field and it could catch up to them quickly. Luckily, they play Houston next, who can't score more than 70 points.
The sole remaining Mountain West team. Mountain West are frauds every single year, including this year. SDSU has beat a 13 seed and a 14 seed. Nothing special and now they face the overall number one seed.
I just have one thing to say, good freaking luck. SDSU and the Mountain West are terrible, and I also can't wait to share that opinion after they lose to Bama by 15.
There is probably an argument to be made that FAU deserves to be higher on this list. They do have the best record in the tournament with only 3 loses on the season, but their strength of schedule is in serious jeopardy.
They rank 28th in offense and 31st on defense, but the best thing about FAU is they compete with everyone. They play to the level of their opponents, and although I doubt they beat Tennessee, I do believe it will be a close game where the Owls cover!
The only double-digit team remaining is Princeton. I do really like how they are playing, and the Ivy League is a competitive conference, however, they are by far the worst remaining team in the tournament.
Raking 100th in offense and 96th in defense is also the worst combo left in the tournament. They are a tough team and will be a battle for Creighton, but unfortunately there is no way Princeton advances.