The Sweet 16 starts Thursday, and if it’s as good as the first three rounds of the NCAA’s we are in for a whale of a Sweet 16 and Elite 8… Let’s ranks the teams from 1-16.
Arguably the best defensive team in the country, and they can get scoring from multiple positions. I filled out multiple office pool brackets and I just kept coming back to Arizona as the best team in the field. Aaron Gordon may not have gotten the hype Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker got, but he’s been a rock solid freshman.
Florida kind of reminds of those mid 90s Kentucky and Arkansas teams. The apply tons of pressure on the ball, maybe not the extent of those mid 90 teams, but they can harass you into submission. Billy Donoven has won 2 National Titles. He’s been here before, and he’s got a senior laden team too.
3) Michigan St.
I had a really hard time separating Michigan St. and Virginia. Michigan St. has monster in the middle in senior Adreian Payne, and a solid guard in another senior Keith Appling who’s going to have a breakout game sooner or later. Of course they have one of the best in the business Tom Izzo roaming the sidelines.
Virginia is an outstanding defensive team, that has far more offensive punch that they are given credit for. They have a nice mix of seniors and underclassmen, and Tony Bennett is a rising coaching star. It’s a shame that Michigan St. and Virginia meet in the Sweet 16 in what should be a heavy weight battle.
Louisville came into the tournament red hot, but they’ve been a little shaky in the NCAAs so far. I think they will play better against Kentucky, but this is not a big team. That could cause them issues against the Wildcats huge frontline. Coach Rick Pitino is Hall of Famer.
The UCLA Bruins are very solid offensively, and could give Florida all they can handle. They won the Pac 12 tournament, and have rolled so far in the NCAAs.
Michigan may be the best perimeter shooting team remaining in the field, but they could vulnerable inside. It could be very interesting if they end up facing Kentucky’s big men.
Wisconsin has been under the radar during this tournament, but make no mistake this is a good good team. It’s probably one of Bo Ryan’s more athletic teams.
I know Baylor is playing extremely well and they have been for about a month and a half, but I just didn’t buy Creighton at all this year. Of course I didn’t expect a 30 point blowout either, so that was still really impressive. Interesting matchup with Wisconsin….
When Kentucky’s guard are on, they can play with anyone in the country. They are young and talented along the front line and just knocked off tourney darling Wichita St. I’m coming around on the Wildcats, but I’m not sure I can trust their guards for the long haul.
11) Iowa St.
Had Iowa St. not lost Georges Niang I would have had them in the top 7 in this list. That said this is still an extremely dangerous offensive team even though they lack size.
Any team with Shabazz Napier is going to be a tough out. The matchup between Napier and DeAndre Kane of Iowa St. will be one of the best individual matchups of the tournament. That’s going to be fun.
Tennessee has taken full advantage of favorable matchups. They face a struggling Iowa team, an overseeded UMASS team, and then a Mercer team that lost their center Monty Brown after their Duke upset. The Vols have nothing to apologize for and they are playing their best basketball of the season. An upset over Michigan wouldn’t be that shocking.
14) San Diego St.
This is a typical Steve Fisher San Diego St team… They are physical athletic and have good size especially at the guard position, so why don’t I have them ranked higher? At times they can be a bit offensively challenged.
Stanford took advantage of a depleted Kansas team to reach the Sweet 16. The Cardinals aren’t terribly athletic, but they have some size to them. It will be a pretty even battle with Dayton for the right to go to the elite 8.
Dayton it’s been a nice run. They’ve beat Syracuse and Ohio State on their to the Sweet 16. I’m not sure I have them in the same class as the first 9 or 10 teams on this list, but they play hard scrap and head coach Archie Miller does a great job. They have a great shot at an Elite 8.