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Sweet 16 Power Rankings

These rankings are based off of my personal opinion of each team's chance at the title.

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (1): If the Bulldogs were huge favorites going into the tournament, they should be even more favored now. Multiple threats to them have been knocked out, but more importantly, Gonzaga has not wavered at all through two games. They have not had the toughest competition, but they have looked even more dominant than many expected. It's crazy to think that their closest game this season came in a five point victory over West Virginia on December 2nd. They haven't really been tested since.

2. Baylor Bears (1): Baylor has been one of the most fun teams to watch in the tournament. Their offense is electric. They play fast, and can score from pretty much anywhere. Collectively, they have the best guards in the country. They normally play with four or five guards on the floor because they have such depth at the position. A matchup against a team like Gonzaga that has strong big men would be a fascinating game to watch. I just don't know if any team has the firepower to stop the Bears offense. They are looking primed for a final four appearance at the least.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (2): Alabama is another fun team to watch. Their decision making on offense is lightning quick. They waste no time. When they get the ball, they are usually either passing it or shooting. There isn't much one on one for them. They can do that because they have a lot of guards that can really shoot. This team can keep up with anyone in the country offensively.

4. Michigan Wolverines (1): Michigan has most definitely reassured their supporters through their first two games. Isaiah Livers will remain out, but collectively, the Wolverines have filled his gap. That is where their depth has been huge. Their offense has simply been rolling. They have so many guys that can lead the team in scoring any given night. It makes them extremely difficult to defend. Don't count Michigan out just yet.

5. Loyola Chicago Ramblers (8): The Ramblers were criminally underrated going into the tournament, and that has no doubt been proven by now. It really shouldn't have been much of a surprise considering their 26-4 record, Missouri Valley Conference championship, and eight game winning streak, but small conference teams get overlooked. Cameron Krutwig was the guy to get hot vs. Illinois, but the Ramblers have a bunch of guys that can lead them to victory. In addition, their first two tournament games have not been all that close, and the story has been that close games actually favor them. Loyola Chicago is absolutely a title contender.

6. Houston Cougars (2): Houston took a scare against Rutgers, but proved that they are never out of a game. Their path to the final four has been cleared for them: the three remaining teams in the Midwest are all eight seeds or higher. While saying that though, they have looked less than comfortable so far in the tourney. DeJon Darreau has also been fighting through injuries. Before the tournament if someone had showed me the current bracket, I would have almost automatically slot the Cougars into the Final Four. After two games though, I am much less confident of that.

7. Florida State Seminoles (4): Florida State absolutely shut down the Colorado Buffaloes in the round of 32. Colorado shot just 36% from the field, and turned the ball over 19 times. The result was a 71-53 blowout for the Seminoles. Anthony Polite led Florida State with 22 points that game, but FSU still doesn't really have a go to guy on offense. Their five starters all averaged at least 9 PPG this year, but no one on the team averaged 13 or more. The Seminoles are going to have to ride their defense and most likely a hot hand or two if they want to beat Michigan.

8. Syracuse Orange (11): The Orange are a very unique team, and because of that most definitely have a shot at the final four. Often, their offense runs through lean 6'10" center Marek Dolezaj. He sets up down in the paint, and can either go at the hoop, or kick it out to one of Syracuse's shooters on the outside. Dolezaj is a great decision maker. Their most important player though is Buddy Boeheim. He had 30 points vs. San Diego State, and 25 vs. West Virginia, both times catching fire in the second half. In those two games he is a combined 13/23 (57%) from three. He is arguably the best straight up shooter in the tournament. In addition, Syracuse's zone defense has caused problems so far in the tourney for opposing offenses.

9. Villanova Wildcats (5): A lot of people counted Villanova out after the Collin Gillespie injury and the two ensuing losses. They have had a pretty easy path to the sweet 16, but their two games in the tournament so far have been very impressive. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and this offense have been on point. It's hard to ever count out Jay Wright, but the Wildcats will have a tall task in taking down the high flying Baylor Bears.

10. Arkansas Razorbacks (3): The Razorbacks first two games of the tournament have not been pretty. Besides Moses Moody and Justin Smith, they have not shot the ball well at all. They squeaked by Texas Tech in the round of 32. But wins are wins, and the Razorbacks will now face off against a 15 seed with a golden opportunity to get to the elite eight for the first time since they went to the finals in 1995.

11. USC Trojans (6): The Trojans absolutely pummeled Kansas for the Jayhawks third worst loss in franchise history with a 85-51 loss in the round of 32. USC was pretty much perfect. It was really never a close game. The Mobley brothers have proven than they are a tough duo to play against. Furthermore, the Trojans have had a lot of experience in close games over the last few weeks. These two victories by USC really shouldn't surprise anyone. They have a very good team, although expect their shooting to cool down a little.

12. Oregon Ducks (7): The Ducks advanced by "no contest" in the first round, but then dominated two seed Iowa in a 95-80 victory in the round of 32. The simple truth of that game was that it felt like the Ducks could not miss on offense. Oregon is another small ball team: not one of their starters stands over 6'6". It showed in allowing 36 points to Luka Garza. Even still, Oregon will be a tough team to beat, because they have so many guys that can score from anywhere.

13. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (15): When you have a duo like Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor, you can win any game that you play in. They have combined for 116 points through two games. The rest of their team put together has scored just 43 total points. That is how much Abmas and Obanor mean to Oral Roberts. In fact, no one else on the team has managed double digits in points so far in the tournament. The Golden Eagles have a very legit chance of advancing to the elite eight.

14. Creighton Bluejays (5): It's difficult to put Creighton any higher on these rankings due to the fact that the two teams they have beaten are UC Santa Barbara (12) and Ohio (13). And the win over UCSB could have easily gone the other way were it not for countless errors by the Gauchos in the final few minutes. While saying that, all five of Creighton's starters reached double digits vs. Ohio, led by Marcus Zegarowsky's 20 points. They also shot 42.9% from 3. Still though, their entire bench combined for a total of 25 minutes and 4 points. This lack of depth could definitely hurt them vs. Gonzaga.

16. Oregon State Beavers (12): The Beavers turnaround this season has been absolutely astounding. After starting the year 7-9 in PAC-12 games, they have since won the conference, and are now in the sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. The question is, how long can they stay this hot? They are shooting at very high clips, especially from 3. They have defeated two very strong teams though in Tennessee and Oklahoma State. When a team is this hot, they can win any game, but the Beavers better stay hot.

15. UCLA Bruins (11): The Bruins have had a lot of different types of games in the tournament so far. Their first four game against Michigan St. was a nail biter, they couldn't miss against BYU, and then they shutdown Abileine Christian in the round of 32. Overall, they have shot 43% from 3 in the tournament. The Bruins are feeling it, but I think the sweet 16 is where their run ends.

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