The West Region of this year’s Sweet 16 definitely isn’t hurting for storylines. Duke is college basketball royalty with a king for a coach looking another Final Four appearance. Oregon, the No. 1 seed, is still fighting for respect outside of the paper tiger that is the Pac-12.
The Elite Eight for the Midwest Region is already assured of having a double-digit seed, as No. 11 Gonzaga and No. 10 Syracuse are set to square off in the Sweet 16 on Friday. This feat has only been accomplished nine times, with two No. 11 seeds eventually making it to the Final Four.
There won't be a lot of brotherly love in Philadelphia this weekend as we hit the Sweet 16. North Carolina arguably has the most talent in the country, but Indiana has been mighty impressive in its two NCAA Tournament games.
In many ways, this has been an unpredictable first weekend — Middle Tennessee’s historic upset of Michigan State, Northern Iowa’s one-of-a-kind collapse, rare NCAA tournament wins for Yale and Hawaii.
At the same time, the Sweet 16 field is totally predictable. All four No. 1 seeds advanced to the second weekend. Blue bloods like Kansas, Duke, North Carolina and Indiana are in every bracket. The lowest-seeded teams to make it this far are familiar names — Wisconsin, Syracuse and Gonzaga.
The first week of the NCAA Tournament has come and gone, and we have cut down the field to the Sweet 16. Northern Iowa, Stephen F. Austin and Middle Tennessee tried their best to play the role of Cinderella, but the clock has struck midnight on the mid-majors, as the Sweet 16 has turned into a battle of the college basketball big boys — including a record six ACC teams.
Let’s face it, chances are pretty good that your NCAA Tournament bracket is busted. Take heart, you’re not alone in this after all the chaos, fantastic finishes and unexpected outcomes that took place in the first and second rounds. But the good news is it’s not too late to redeem yourself. The Sweet 16 is set, and with it comes a shot at redemption.