March Madness Sweet 16 standings for every remaining 2022 team
What was once 68 is down to just 16 after six days of near-nonstop action.
The men’s Sweet 16 is set, and after a week of upheaval, it’s time to reset and reclassify the teams still in contention to cut the nets in New Orleans. Nine different seed lines and eight different conferences are represented as we head into the second weekend of the tournament, and three of the four No. 1 seeds remain standing (but not defending champion Baylor). Which team to beat? And who’s just lucky enough to dance again? Here is our updated ranking of the top 16 powers.
1. Gonzaga (#1 seed, West Region)
It took more work than expected for the Zags to emerge from the first weekend for the seventh straight tournament, but after surviving a pair of thwarted offers from Georgia State and Memphis, they are in the Sweet 16 again. Gonzaga’s struggles with Memphis were, again, emblematic of the team’s vulnerability against rosters with elite athleticism and physique, which could cause the Bulldogs problems in later rounds, especially during a possible Elite Eight rematch with Duke.
2. Arizona (#1 seed, Southern Region)
The Wildcats got all they could handle from TCU in the Round of 16, but the second seed in the field advanced thanks to huge late moments from Bennedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko. We know this group can be more explosive than anyone offensively when at their best, and a few more days for Kerr Kriisa to rest his ankle will be good for Tommy Lloyd’s side. Sweet 16’s opponent Houston could cause some problems, however, given the way the Cougars defend.
3. Villanova (Seed No. 2, South Region)
Villanova are a very tough team to beat when they get good frontcourt play, and that’s exactly what they got in their first two games in the Big Dance. Center Eric Dixon scored in double figures for both games, while veteran forward Jermaine Samuels had 15 and 17 points in the Wildcats’ two wins at Pittsburgh. Nothing this team does will impress you, but they share the ball at a high level, take shots and have a clear identity. Additionally, the Wildcats have a championship coach in the person of Jay Wright. It’s a tough combination to bet against.
4. Kansas (#1 seed, Midwest Region)
Kansas received the full push from an understaffed Creighton team but survived the upset offer to advance to their first Sweet 16 since 2018. One bright spot in that second-round win over the Bluejays was was a huge day for point guard Remy Martin, who came off the bench to score 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists against a single turnover. The Jayhawks are a different team offensively when they have a point guard who can shoot to go along with Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun. And with four straight double-digit games, Bill Self could finally get the most out of Martin at the right time.
5. Duke (#2 seed, West Region)
Coach K and the Blue Devils flirted with disaster in the second round against Michigan State, trailing late before rallying to eliminate the Spartans and book a trip for the second weekend. Duke did little to allay fears over its defensive concerns against Sparty, giving up more than 1.2 points per possession. Still, there might not be a more talented team in the country than this team from Duke, and they’ve already beaten No. 1 seed West Gonzaga in Las Vegas in November.
6. Texas Tech (No. 3 seed, West Region)
The nation’s top-ranked defense qualified for the program’s third Sweet 16 in the last four tournaments by passing Notre Dame in a closely contested second-round game. It wasn’t the greatest performance, but this time of year doesn’t have to be. You know what you’re going to get from the Red Raiders: defense, toughness and enough shooters to hang around in any game. We’ll see if they have the firepower to qualify for a Final Four, but any team that beats Tech will have to win it against a team that plays as hard as any in the sport.
7. UCLA (#4 seed, East Region)
Returning in the second weekend for the second straight season, UCLA got the first-round scare from Akron before going past Saint Mary’s to punch their ticket to Philadelphia for the Sweet 16. Given the experience of the Bruins’ March, combined with top-two seeds Baylor and Kentucky falling the first weekend, UCLA should be considered the favorite to escape the East and return to the Final Four.
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8. Purdue (No. 3, Eastern Region)
Many felt the Boilermakers were vulnerable to an early exit due to their defensive struggles throughout the season, but Purdue is one of only two Big Ten teams still standing on weekend two. Jaden Ivey is one of the most explosive players in the sport and looked more locked in than ever in the Boilers’ win over Texas on Sunday night, punching a late three key and scoring 18 points on just seven shots in an 81- 71. Also, after losses to Baylor and Kentucky, the Boilermakers are the highest remaining seed in the East.
9. Houston (No. 5 seed, South Region)
The Cougars have more wins over KenPom’s top 50 foes (two) in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament than they have won all season. It was an impressive performance in Pittsburgh for Kelvin Sampson’s club, which returns to the Sweet 16 despite all the injuries they have suffered this season. The bottom line is this: Houston is playing so hard and so connected that it’s hard to play against him, even without the star power he had when Marcus Sasser was in the lineup earlier in the year.
10. Arkansas (No. 4 seed, West Region)
The Hogs faced two excellent mid-major teams this weekend and survived major tests in Vermont and New Mexico State. The Razorbacks are now off to a second straight Sweet 16 after not having been there since 1996 under Nolan Richardson. The defensive end marked Arkansas’ turnaround in the past two months; it’s the third-best defense in the nation since Jan. 8, according to T-Rank. It will take a yeoman’s effort to that end to overtake top seed Gonzaga in San Francisco this week.
11. Providence (No. 4 seed, Midwest Region)
So much has been done this season on Providence’s remarkable run in close games, but the Friars mostly got through the first two rounds in Buffalo. After keeping South Dakota State’s No. 13 seed at bay most of the time, Providence blasted Richmond to land the program’s first ticket to the Sweet 16 in 25 years. Ed Cooley’s club won’t overwhelm you in talent, but they are balanced and incredibly disciplined on both sides. Six players averaged eight or more points per game in the first weekend of the tournament.
12. North Carolina (#8 seed, East Region)
The Tar Heels qualified for weekend two with a dominating win over Marquette, followed by an epic slump to defeat defending national champion Baylor. For all the Tar Heels flaws, they clearly found something with the five-man roster they deployed massively to the stretch. RJ Davis gives UNC a top game at point guard, Brady Manek has scored a combined 54 points in his last two games and Armando Bacot is a force to be reckoned with on the inside. Consistency has been an issue, but the door is wide open in the East for the Heels to win the region and make it to the Final Four.
13. Miami (10th seed, Midwest Region)
What drives the Hurricanes is their terrific guard game. Auburn just couldn’t keep the Canes’ backcourt trio of Charlie Moore, Isaiah Wong and Kameron McGusty out of the paint, and once they got down, the Miami guards made big play after big play. to defeat the Tigers. Miami isn’t a very good defensive team and has been topped by 5.5 boards per game in ACC play. But when you get great backcourt play in a knockout tournament, you’re going to be tough.
14. Michigan (11th seed, South Region)
You may wonder if the Wolverines even deserved to enter this tournament, but Juwan Howard’s team have left their mark on the Big Dance since entering. After being punched in the mouth early by Colorado State, the Wolverines have played terrific basketball in their last 60 games. minutes of action in the first two rounds, knocking down a burning Tennessee team in the process. Hunter Dickinson averaged 24 points in the first weekend and rose to the occasion on the sport’s biggest stage. This team can beat anyone when they play their best.
15. Iowa State (#11 seed, Midwest Region)
The Cyclones basically go on the road and beat Wisconsin in Milwaukee to make it to the Sweet 16 is yet another standout achievement in an overperforming Year 1 at Ames for TJ Otzelberger. This Iowa State team is clearly very limited — they rank outside the top 150 in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom, and won both games last weekend without going over 60 in either. But the Cyclones really defend and have tough guards who can make big plays in big moments, and that’s often enough in March.
16. Saint Peter’s (#15 seed, Eastern Region)
The Peacocks are the history of the tournament, as the small Jesuit school of Jersey City shocked the world by eliminating Kentucky and then Murray State to become the first MAAC team to make the men’s Sweet 16. against Purdue? They may be undersized, but the Peacocks did a terrific job on the glass against Oscar Tshiebwe and Kentucky and certainly won’t back down against Purdue’s huge bodies up front.
More March Madness coverage:
• The Sweet 16 for men is truly diverse and Unpredictable
• Big Ten disappoints again in men’s first weekend
• The ACC showed up to dance