It’s the same thing every year, but it’s still hard to grasp just how quickly the NCAA Tournament unfolds. Just a week ago we were making our predictions on the field of 68 teams. Now we are down to the Sweet 16 and by this time next week we will know what teams will be headed to the Final Four.

NCAA Tournament Recap & Sweet 16 Preview

The first round of the NCAA tournament did not feature as many upsets as last year’s bracket, but it was good to be a No. 12 seed with Liberty, Oregon, and Murray State all advancing to the round of 32.  The biggest upset to note came from 13 seed UC Irvine, who beat No. 4 seed Kansas State 70-64.

In the round of 32, the majority of potential Cinderella’s ended up heading home with only No. 12 Oregon advancing to the Sweet 16.  Based on seeding, only 1-4 seeds should be expected to advance this far and, using that assumption, only Oregon and No. 5 seeded Auburn could be considered surprises to be in this round.  As far as upsets go, this year’s tournament has to rank near the bottom in history.  All four #1 seeds, all four #2 seeds, and all four #3 seeds have advanced along with two of the four #4 seeds. In 2019, the surprise has really been how uniformly each game has played out.

Sweet 16 Seed History (Biggest Upsets)

To gauge how surprising a Sweet 16 is each year, we like to look at the sum of the remaining seeds. You can assuming a higher total equals more shocking upsets since bigger seeds have advanced to a round they were not expected to.

A perfect seeding would have a sum of exactly 40, that is, all 1-4 seeds advancing to this round.  Last year we had one of the most unlikely brackets ever with a total seed sum of 85, while this year’s sum is just 49, meaning the tournament has pretty much played out as expected so far.

Here are the top seasons in terms of total seed sum for the Sweet 16:

  • 1986:  89
  • 1990:  88
  • 1999:  88
  • 2018:  85
  • 2000:  85
  • 2013:  81
  • 2010:  80
  • 2011:  80

Find out who Vegas thinks is the best team left in the field with our updated odds to win the NCAA Tournament.

If you are looking for a blank Sweet 16 bracket, you can grab one here.

March Madness Sweet 16 Bracket, Schedule & Betting Odds

Thursday, March 28th

  • 7:09 PM ET: (1) Gonzaga vs (4) Florida State [CBS]
    • Gonzaga -6.5, O/U 147.5
  • 7:29 PM ET: (3) Purdue vs (2) Tennessee [TBS]
    • Tennessee -1, O/U 146.5
  • 9:39 PM ET: (3) Texas Tech vs (2) Michigan [CBS]
    • Michigan -2, O/U 126
  • 9:57 PM ET – (1) Virginia vs (12) Oregon [TBS]
    • Virginia -8.5, O/U 118

Friday, March 29th

  • 7:09 PM ET: (3) LSU vs (2) Michigan State [CBS]
    • Michigan State -6, O/U 148.5
  • 7:29 PM ET: (1) North Carolina vs (5) Auburn [TBS]
    • North Carolina -5, O/U 163
  • 9:39 PM ET: (1) Duke vs (4) Virginia Tech [CBS]
    • Duke -7.5, O/U 144
  • 9:57 PM ET: (3) Houston vs (2) Kentucky [TBS]
    • Kentucky -3, O/U 135.5

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