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Sweet Sixteen Power Rankings

Sweet Sixteen Power Rankings

SWEET SIXTEEN POWER RANKINGS – This week ushers in some of the greatest basketball on planet earth: the Sweet Sixteen. While plenty of under-seeded teams shocked their foes in the round of 64, most of the favorites took care of business in the second round.

We’re left with some absolutely incredible potential for basketball this weekend, as we hurtle towards the Final Four. With some of the best teams in the country still left, it’s time for our NCAA Men’s Tournament Sweet Sixteen power rankings.

Hey, while you’re at it, check out our Godzilla Wins Daily Picks for all of your daily winners.

The Top Four

#1 UConn

The Huskies have shown that they are easily the most dominating team in the tournament. We may be headed for a Donovan Clingan vs. Zach Edey matchup in the championship. UConn looks hungry and they should handle San Diego State with ease.

#2 Purdue

As much as I hate to admit it, Matt Painter’s squad looks poised to run through the rest of the midwest. Creighton or Tennessee could cause them trouble, especially if Purdue can’t keep up with the three pointers, but any team that tries to run their offense through the post is going to have a difficult time beating the Boilermakers.

#3 Houston

I initially listed Houston as #2 in the power rankings, but they looked beatable against Texas A&M and needed overtime to advance. I still think this defense can lock down any team in the tournament, but they have struggled in high stress environments both in the NCAA and Big 12 tournaments against Iowa State.

I’m not impressed with Duke, but don’t be surprised if the Blue Devils take down the Cougars.

#4 UNC

The Tar Heels are supposed to be the weakest top seed in the tournament, but they handled Izzo’s magic and the specter of the Spartans easily in the second round. They now get an Alabama team that has to score 100 to beat good teams. UNC will advance to the Elite Eight and, based on the strength of the bottom of that region, may have an easy path to the Final Four.

The Mixed Bag

#5 Iowa State

The Cyclones are the best team outside of the top four seeds. Iowa State won both their games by double digits and seemed to have picked up where they left off in the Big 12 tournament.

This has been an incredible defense all year long and the strength of their D has landed them just outside the top four in the power rankings.

#6 Creighton

The Blue Jays are coming out of the best conference in basketball and are heating up in the tournament.  While it may have taken two overtimes to put away the Ducks, it shows Creighton’s maturity and poise. I like poise.

#7 Illinois

Who can blame me for putting Illinois so high in our once-in-a-lifetime power rankings? They crushed both Duquesne and Morehead State. Their potent offense will need to be locked in against the Cyclones’ defense, but I think this is the best matchup in the Sweet Sixteen. It should be an incredible game.

#8 Arizona

I believe in the Wildcats and I like them even more after watching them handle Dayton in their round of 32. But I’ve got them at #8 because I’m not sure the fast tempo will age well in the tournament. At some point they’ll run into a defense that can slow them down. Once that happens, the Wildcats might be on a flight back to Tucson.

#9 Tennessee

Does anyone think an SEC team is still dangerous? I sure don’t. If the Vols keep winning, it will be because of Dalton Knecht. The SEC has shown its true colors and we won’t see any of these teams in the Final Four.

#10 Duke

I should probably have the Blue Devils higher than #10, but they still look soft to me. They haven’t been truly challenged this tournament and Houston is going to show them a lot more than James Madison did.

If the Blue Devils upset the Cougars, I promise I’ll move them up to at least #6!

#11 NC State

NC State is the most fun team in the tournament, but they were gifted a game against Oakland, which went down to the wire. I have the Wolfpack at #11 simply because DJ Burns is unstoppable on the block. Let’s all cheer for more DJ Burns basketball.

#12 Gonzaga

The Zags really should be higher, but I’m not convinced that they are playing elite basketball. We’ll see soon enough.

Bottom Feeders

#13 Alabama

There’s not much to say about Alabama. Teams that rely on a potent offensive and a weak defense don’t make it very far in the tournament. Their run ends this week.

#14 Clemson

This is a nice story, but the Tigers are Jekyll and Hide. I’m never sure which Tiger team will show up. They do love playing as an underdog, though, so don’t sleep on them in the Sweet Sixteen.

#15 San Diego State

The Aztecs are vulnerable, especially against the far and away best team in the country. The Yale game was Auburn’s parting gift to San Diego State and they handled the Ivy League darling as expected. They won’t have enough to get past the Huskies.

#16 Marquette

They should have lost to Western Kentucky. I’m tired of the Golden Eagles and I hope they lose.


  • Jack Fredericks, Editor

    Jack Fredericks is the editor of Godzilla Wins. He has a M.A. Literature and the Environment and a M.A. in Teaching. He covers the NFL, college football, and the NBA. He combines his unique perspective with advanced metrics to provide robust analysis for your enjoyment. Twitter: @JohnMattFred

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