The Sweet 16 is set.
The first two rounds of the men’s NCAA Tournament trimmed the 64 teams to 16, and there was a record number of bracket-busting upsets this year that have made the madness extra maddening this March.
Now, those survivors will square off Saturday through Tuesday in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight with a slot in the Final Four on the line.
But which of these teams are cut out for the second weekend of March Madness? Which of them has the best chance to cut down the nets in Indianapolis? USA TODAY Sports ranks the Sweet 16 teams based on potential of winning the national championship.
No. 1 seed. The Bulldogs (28-0) have so many offensive weapons, whether it’s Corey Kispert (19.3 ppg, 46% from three-point range) on the wing, Drew Timme (30 points, 13 rebounds vs. Oklahoma) in the post or freshman guard Jalen Suggs (14 ppg, 4.4 apg) running point. This nation’s leading offense (averaging 92.1 points) is as good as it gets. Coach Mark Few has a shot at winning his first national championship, but it needs to be defense – where the ‘Zags rank eighth nationally in KenPom.com efficiency ratings – that propels any net-cutting.
No. 1 seed. The Bears (24-2) are a national title contender based on the best backcourt in the remaining crop of teams, headed by Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell. Baylor ranks third in KenPom.com rankings in adjusted offensive efficiency and leads the nation in three-point shooting percentage (41.4%) based on the threesome of guards, who complement each other well. Butler leads the team in scoring and serves as the go-to player down the stretch. Coach Scott Drew has a disciplined defense, too, and one that can turn turnovers into points, ranking fifth nationally in turnover margin.
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Source: USA Today