The last 16 that remain in this tournament are teams that nobody predicted all 16 to be where they are at. We have only the 2nd #15 seed to ever make the Sweet 16 in Oral Roberts university who is hoping to make history as the 1st #15 seed to make the Elite Eight. To prepare us all for what’s ahead, we wanted to rank the 16 teams remaining.
Gonzaga was the #1 overall team entering the tournament and has remained the #1 overall team in the country. The Bulldogs very well may finish the entire tournament with an undefeated record as they haven’t lost a beat since the tournament started. They are proving why they were awarded the #1 spot and should remain there.
Baylor is the 2nd of 3 #1 seeds remaining in the tournament. Baylor has a tough matchup ahead of them, but they are one of the best 3 point shooting teams in the country which will allow them to be prepared for the matchup ahead against a team who has been to the big dance twice in the last 5 years. The Baylor Bears are one of the national title favorites and for good reason.
We slot the 3rd remaining #1 seed as the 3rd spot in the remaining teams. Michigan is a good team, but without Isaiah Livers, the Wolverines haven’t looked as good. The Wolverines still look like a top team even without Livers but aren’t nearly the team they were in the regular season. The Wolverines still have the talent to set them apart from the other teams left in the tournament.
#4: Florida State
After a shaky start in the tournament against UNC Greensboro, Florida State put that to a rest with a beatdown of a strong Colorado team. Michigan will have their hands full in a very close sweet 16 matchup. If Florida State can get hot, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Alabama had one of the top 30 offenses in the country during the regular season averaging nearly 80 points a game. UCLA’s defense is on the opposite end of the spectrum with the 106th defense. This is a perfect opportunity for Alabama to prove that they’re not just a football school anymore.
#6: Loyola Chicago
The Ramblers are on pace to make another Cinderella run this year, especially since they have the best defensive unit of the teams remaining in the tournament. Even with having a top defense, the Ramblers have the blessings of Sister Jean on their side which can take them far. Porter Moser is a great coach combined with Cameron Krutwig’s leadership, the Ramblers can easily make another final four appearance.
#7: USC Trojans
The USC Trojans have looked hot so far with Evan Mobley playing like one of the best players in the entire country. The Trojans have easily handled their first 2 matchups including an upset over #3 seed Kansas. This was an impressive victory knocking out basketball’s last blue blood standing. The Trojans have a tough test against a fellow upset team in the Oregon Ducks.
#8: Oregon Ducks
The Oregon Ducks are seeking revenge over Pac-12 rival USC. The Ducks are one of the hottest teams in the country and have been since the end of the regular season. The Ducks slaughtered Iowa who had potential player of the year in Luka Garza. The Ducks ended Garza’s incredible collegiate career and are looking to put an end to USC’s tournament hopes.
#9: Oregon State
The other team remaining in Oregon earns the #9 spot in this list even as a #12 seed. Oregon State has knocked off #5 Tennessee and #4 Oklahoma State in commanding fashion. Oklahoma State had a roster that featured top NBA draft prospect Cade Cunningham as well. Oregon State is not playing around and is facing another Cinderella favorite Loyola Chicago in a battle of the Cinderellas.
#10: Syracuse Orange
Buddy Boeheim, the son of legendary coach Jim Boeheim has been lights out from anywhere on the court for the Syracuse Orange. The Orange were one of the last teams to make the tournament and are playing like one of the best teams. The Orange need to be efficient on the offensive end of the court if they want to beat the Cougars who have a strong defensive unit.
#11: Houston Cougars
Houston narrowly avoided an upset against #10 Rutgers by going on a 14-2 run in the final minutes of the game. Houston was able to get that done with the 2nd best scoring defense in the country and have plenty of talent on that end of the ball, but they tend to get themselves in a hole when they can’t get it it in the basket which can happen often for the #2 seed in the Midwest.
#12: Oral Roberts
The upset story of the tournament, Oral Roberts has made history as only the 2nd #15 seed to ever reach the sweet 16. Oral Roberts is looking to make history over Arkansas by being the 1st #15 seed to reach the Elite Eight. Max Abmas is the nation’s leading scorer and has played every single minute of this tournament so far alongside Kevin Obanor. Both players are on fire and have accounted for 113 of the 156 points that the team has scored thus far. An incredible story regardless if they move on or not.
Arkansas is the 6th highest scoring offense in the nation. When Arkansas gets hot on offense, they are hot and showed signs of that during their first 2 games. However, Arkansas also had rough patches narrowly avoiding an upset in a shaky first game against Colgate and barely getting past Texas Tech. Without Moses Moody, the Razorbacks are not a top-tier team and can be knocked off by the right team.
If Villanova didn’t lose Gillepsie towards the end of the season, who knows how high of a seed that Villanova could have made it. Villanova is an elite team who has excelled at the top of the Big East in recent years. Villanova would be in a much better spot with their leader on the team, but don’t count them out just yet. Villanova still has veteran leadership on their roster that can take them the distance. Villanova has had an easier schedule so far which has been in their favor with the true test being against the #1 Baylor Bears.
One of the last four teams in the tournament, UCLA has had the longest trek of any team so far with 3 games played so far against Michigan State, BYU, and Abilene Christian. 2 of the 3 teams were seeded 11 or higher and BYU was ranked much higher than most people thought they would be. Johnny Juzang has been impressive for the Bruins, but without Juzang in the picture, there is no way they could have made it as far as they have.
The Blue Jays have avoided upsets to not one, but two double digit seeds in back to back matchups. Creighton will now face a much tougher opponent in the #1 overall Gonzaga Bulldogs. We don’t expect this game to be a close one by any means.