Only 8 teams remain in one of the most insane March Madness tournaments ever. Each team who has made it here is one step closer to making their National Title dreams come true. Who will win it? Can Saint Peter’s continue making history? Will there be more college basketball titans that fall? We break down the 8 remaining seeds ranking how strong each is.
Entering this tournament as a #5 seed is the biggest seeding mishap of the tournament as Houston has been storming their way through the tournament. Even with being a #5 seed and having 4 teams that are better seeds than them, Houston is the favorite to win the tournament at this point. The Cougars finished the regular season as the #2 team according to the College Basketball Power Index but were criminally underseeded even with only having 5 losses on the season. This Houston team led by Kyler Edwards knocked off #1 Arizona who was #3 in that same BPI and now face the best free throw shooting team in the nation in Villanova and are favored to win it for good reason.
As the only #1 seed remaining in the tournament, Kansas survived a scare against the Providence Friars in the Sweet 16. Kansas is the other favorite to win the tournament along with Houston and has the luck of the draw playing a double-digit seed in the Elite 8. Kansas is one of the best defensive teams in the nation who held Providence to only 20% in shooting in the 1st half and now faces a Miami team who has a high negative rebound deficit. If Kansas keeps their defensive effort up and can rebound the ball, they should have an easy path to the Final 4 and will have a tough matchup against the winner of the Villanova-Houston game.
In the first season without Roy Williams, Hubert Davis has proven that the UNC basketball program is still set up for success now and for the future. UNC has arguably the best starting 5 of all the teams remaining as they have 4 very capable scorers who can spread the ball around well between them. If the starting 5 can avoid foul trouble, they are a force to be reckoned with and can beat any team in this tournament. Without one or two of their starters, they lack depth and have shown they can be beatable by allowing a larger deficit of points when they don’t have their starting 5 out on the court.
The best free throw shooting team not only in this tournament, but currently on trajectory to be the best free throw shooting team of any program in Division I history. Villanova has many capable shooters on their team not just from the free throw line, but overall field goal percentage as well. To make it to the championship, they need to work on getting to the line more and capitalizing on one of their key strengths. They don’t get to the line enough and don’t get teams in foul trouble, but rather play very smoothly spreading the ball across the entire court. They aren’t a one man show and have several key leaders on their team including Senior Collin Gillespie who is looking to win yet another national championship for the Wildcats.
In Duke’s astounding win over Texas Tech, Coach K hit his 100th career NCAA Tournament win. This is a huge accomplishment for one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history. Coach K is only one win away from a potential UNC-Duke final 4 matchup which would be a perfect send off in his final season if the rivalry rematch could happen. Both teams are favored to win their next matchups and that would be a final 4 matchup for the ages. Coach K has a very talented team led with several NBA prospects including projected lottery pick Paolo Banchero who is looking to increase his draft stock from a top-5 to a top-2 pick in the upcoming draft. Duke’s superstars will make it tough for the Razorbacks to keep up with them.
2 Months ago, this Arkansas team was looking at the tournament from the outside in, then closed out their season with wins over both Kentucky & Gonzaga on their way to a #4 seed in the tournament. Arkansas is not a team that is going to blow you out or get blown out, but they will fight a hard fought battle to the very end and make you give it your all. Arkansas knows how to keep close and win ugly which is why they have the potential to take down Duke ending Coach K’s final dance aspirations. Arkansas can guard the big men of Duke as they were able to shut down the impeccable pair of Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme of Gonzaga on their way to the Elite 8.
#7: Saint Peter’s
The slipper fits! The Peacocks have pulled off the remarkable feat of being the first ever #15 seed to make the Elite 8. The Cinderella story of the New Jersey school is making basketball fans across the nation go crazy. Every school Saint Peter’s has faced has been the highest remaining seed available for that spot, they’ve taken down #2 Kentucky in an incredible upset, #7 Murray State who only had 2 losses on the season, and #3 Purdue who was a favorite to make the Final 4 from this region. Saint Peter’s has entered each game as massive underdogs but they are trying to prove to the country they are no joke and should be treated as a legitimate threat which is true as they currently hold the longest active win streak of any team in college basketball. The Saint Peter’s Peacocks will go down in history books as one of the most incredible stories in March Madness history and if they can make it to New Orleans, they’ll be further cementing their story.
#8: Miami (FL)
The Hurricanes took down the Cyclones in the battle of the storm themed teams on their way to their first Elite 8 in program history. The Hurricanes were in control for almost the entire game in Chicago against another double-digit seed who was also just thankful to be there. Miami has been a Cinderella team in their own right to get to where they are, but has been overshadowed by the incredible run of Saint Peter’s. Miami is trying to prove to people that they aren’t just a football school, but they have an accredited basketball program that can win games on their own as well. Compared to the other teams on this list, we don’t feel confident in placing the Hurricanes higher than any of them as each team left is where they are for a reason.