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
There was plenty of excitement over the first two rounds. Not a ton of big upsets took place on Thursday and Friday. While there were five double-digit seeds to advance, several of those were the ones most were expecting. The 1-4 seeds in each region all advanced to the weekend.
Things got a lot more interesting on Saturday and Sunday. No. 1 overall seed and defending champion Villanova was sent home early by No. 8 Wisconsin. Two more top seeds would fall on Sunday. First was No. 2 Louisville going down to No. 7 Michigan. Then came No. 2 Duke losing to No. 7 South Carolina.
A big takeaway from the first week of action was the lackluster showing of the ACC. Most experts agreed that the ACC was the best conference in the country. They sent two more teams than any other conference with 9 schools in the field. Of those 9, only one is left standing (No. 1 North Carolina). It’s a complete flip-flop from last year when 6 of the 7 teams invited from the ACC made it past the first weekend.
Congrats if you were able to predict the four teams headed to New York out of the East. I’m sure a lot of you had No. 3 Baylor and No. 4 Florida advancing, but few had both Duke and Villanova going down early. It’s going to be interesting to see which of these schools advances to the Final 4.
The West has been all chalk expect for one outlier. That being No. 11 seed Xavier. The Musketeers eliminated No. 6 Maryland 76-65 and followed it up with an absolute thrashing of No. 3 FSU (91-66). All eyes will be on No. 1 Gonzaga and if the Bulldogs can keep it going.
There wasn’t a ton of talk about No. 1 seed Kansas in the Midwest going into the first round. That’s not the case anymore. The Jayhawks were by far the most impressive No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the field in the first two rounds. The other big story in this region is No. 7 Michigan. The Wolverines caught fire in the Big Ten Tournament and have carried over that momentum.
The South is the only one of the four regions that features the top four seeds. I’m not all that surprised. This region was absolutely loaded at the top with No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 UCLA. Not to mention a sneaky team in No. 4 Butler, who don’t forget beat Villanova twice in the regular season.
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
East Region (Friday/Sunday)
- No. 4 Florida (-1.5) vs No. 8 Wisconsin
- No. 3 Baylor (-3.5) vs No. 7 South Carolina
West Region (Thursday/Saturday)
- No. 1 Gonzaga (-3) vs No. 4 West Virginia
- No. 2 Arizona (-7) vs No. 11 Xavier
Midwest Region (Thursday/Saturday)
- No. 1 Kansas (-4.5) vs No. 4 Purdue
- No. 3 Oregon (+1.5) vs No. 7 Michigan
South Region (Friday/Sunday)
- No. 1 North Carolina (-7) vs No. 4 Butler
- No. 2 Kentucky (+1) vs No. 3 UCLA