With shocking upsets, buzzer-beaters, and amazing individual efforts, the first two rounds of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament have been everything fans could have hoped for. The next round should be even sweeter.
One-quarter of this year’s field of Sweet 16 teams entered the tournament as a 10-seed or higher (Syracuse and UCLA are 11-seeds, Oregon State is a 12, and this year’s Cinderella, Oral Roberts, is a 15). ESPN’s John Gasaway crunched the numbers and determined that this year’s Sweet 16 is officially the “wackiest” since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, with the average seed coming in at 5.88, compared to the average of 4.45 (interestingly, the last tournament in 2019 was the “chalkiest” in terms of favorites, with the Sweet 16 average a 3.09-seed).
The other major storyline is the success of the Pac-12, and the disappointing performance of Big Ten teams. Often considered the weakest of the “Power 5” conferences, the Pac-12 sent five teams to the Big Dance and four of them are still playing (after routing Georgetown, Colorado was knocked out in the second round). Conversely, the Big Ten saw nine schools make this year’s tournament, the highest of all Power 5 conferences. After stunning first and second round losses from tournament favorites like Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio State (which was bounced by Oral Roberts in the first round), only Michigan remains.
Still, along with the Wolverines, three-of-four 1-seeds are still alive, including the overall 1-seed, the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs, and Baylor, which overcame a great Wisconsin defense to win by 13-points in the second round. So we’ve reached an interesting point in the tournament, where the favorites could reestablish order or the Cinderellas could keep dancing.
To help us make sense of it all, we hopped on Zoom with Jared Smith, co-host of The Morning After on SportsGrid. Check out a handful of Jared’s Sweet 16 picks in the video above, along with the full schedule of games below.
Sweet 16 Schedule
|Sat. March 27|
|Sweet 16||2:40 PM||(8) Loyola Chicago vs. (12) Oregon State||TBS >|
|Sweet 16||5:15 PM||(1) Baylor vs. (5) Villanova||CBS* >|
|Sweet 16||7:25 PM||(3) Arkansas vs. (15) Oral Roberts||TBS >|
|Sweet 16||9:55 PM||(2) Houston vs. (11) Syracuse||TBS >|
|Sun. March 28|
|Sweet 16||2:10 PM||(1) Gonzaga vs. (5) Creighton||CBS* >|
|Sweet 16||5:00 PM||(1) Michigan vs. (4) Florida State||CBS* >|
|Sweet 16||7:15 PM||(2) Alabama vs. (11) UCLA||TBS >|
|Sweet 16||9:45 PM||(6) USC vs. (7) Oregon||TBS >|