The 2016 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen field is made up of six ACC teams (North Carolina, Virginia, Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Miami) three Big 12 teams (Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa State), three Big Ten teams (Indiana, Maryland and Wisconsin), one from the WCC (Gonzaga), one from the SEC (Texas A&M), one from the Pac-12 (Oregon) and one from the Big East (Villanova).
Kansas are a number one seed that’s been close to unstoppable this season. They won the Big 12 and the conference tournament, and had no problem dealing with Austin Peay in the first round, followed by beating Connecticut 73-60. After missing the Sweet Sixteen in the last two years, they’re back in it, set up to face Maryland. Perry Ellis with 21 points per game is their leading tournament scorer.
North Carolina Tar Heels
ACC champions and conference tournament champions, North Carolina are one of four number one seeds remaining. They beat Florida Gulf Coast 83-67 in the first round followed by a more impressive 85-66 victory against Providence. It’s their second Sweet Sixteen in a row, led by Brice Johnson with 19.5 points per game.
The number one seed out of the Pac-12 (only team remaining from there) won both the league and the conference tournament, on their way to the first Sweet Sixteen since 2013 and fifth overall for the program. They’ve beaten Holy Cross 91-52 followed by a much more difficult victory against Saint Joseph’s, beating them 69-64, setting themselves up with Duke. Sophomore Dillon Brooks is their leading scorer with 18 points per game in the tournament.
The number one seed finished second in the ACC this season and lost to North Carolina in the conference tournament final. It’s their second Sweet Sixteen in three years, this time without Michigan State to worry about anymore. They beat Hampton 81-45 in the first round and Butler 77-69 in the second round, now on a date with Iowa State. Anthony Gill with 19 points in each game is their leading scorer so far.
The Sooners had a great season in the Big 12, going 12-6 and losing in the conference semifinals to West Virginia. They’ve made it to the Sweet Sixteen after beating Cal State Bakersfield 82-68 followed by a great game against VCU, beating the Rams 85-81. It’s their second consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance, something that hasn’t happened since the 2002-2003 run, which included one Final Four. Buddy Hield with 31.5 points per game is their top scorer in the tournament. Next up? Texas A&M.
The number two seed dominated the Big East yet again this season, going 16-2 in the conference before losing to Seton Hall in the conference tournament final. In the NCAA Tournament they’ve so far gotten past UNC Asheville (86-56) and then Iowa with an impressive 87-68. It puts them in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2009, when they also made the Final Four. Senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono is leading them with 15 points per game through the first two. Miami are their next opponents.
The number 3 seed out of the ACC makes it to the Sweet Sixteen for the third time in school history and second in four years. Miami finished third in the ACC with a 13-5 conference record, losing in the conference tournament semifinal to Virginia. They’ve gotten past Buffalo (79-72) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, followed by beating Wichita State in the round of 32. Angel Rodriguez is leading them in the tournament with 26 points per game. They face Villanova next.
Texas A&M Aggies
The 3-seeded Aggies are in the Sweet Sixteen (the furthest they’ve ever gotten) for the first time since 2007 and for only the fourth time in program history. They shared the SEC title with Kentucky and lost to them in the conference championship game. In the NCAA Tournament they’ve beaten Green Bay easily (92-68) and pulled off a big comeback when beating Northern Iowa. Danuel House is their leading scorer through the two games with 21 points a night. Their next opponent? Oklahoma, rekindling an old Big 12 rivalry.
Duke Blue Devils
Some thought Duke were primed to be upset, but they’ve gone through UNC Wilmington and Yale so far. Not too smoothly, but good enough to make the Sweet Sixteen once more, following their championship run last season. The Blue Devils are a number four seed after going 11-7 in the ACC and losing in the conference tournament quarterfinals. In their two games so far, Grayson Allen is the top scorer, averaging 26 points. Up next? Oregon.
Iowa State Cyclones
The number 4 seed had another solid Big 12 season although not winning a single game in the conference tournament. In the NCAA Tournament they’ve gone through Iona with a 94-81 win and Arkansas-Little Rock, beating them 78-61. It’s their second Sweet Sixteen in three years, up against Virginia next. Georges Niang is leading the scoring with 28 points a night in the tournament.
Indiana are a 5-seed and Big Ten regular season champions, making the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2013. The Hoosiers beat Chattanooga in the first round 99-74 before upsetting Kentucky 73-67 in the second round. They’re now going to face North Carolina. Yogi Ferrell is their leading scorer with 19 points per game.
The 5-seeded Terps are in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2003, when they were the defending national champions. A 12-6 Big Ten season was followed by a conference tournament semifinal. In the NCAA Tournament they’ve gone through South Dakota State (79-74) and Hawaii (73-60) to set themselves up with a game against Kansas. Melo Trimble is their leading scorer in the tournament with 21.5 points per game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
ND are a six seed this time, making it into the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive season, something that hasn’t happened to them since the 1970’s with Digger Phelps. They beat Michigan 70-63 in the first round and stunned Stephen F. Austin with a putback winner to beat them 76-75. They had a good (11-7) ACC season, including a semifinal loss to North Carolina. V.J. Beachem is leading their scoring with 16.5 points per game.
The 7-seeded Badgers didn’t have a great Big Ten season, also losing in the second round of the conference tournament. They beat Pittsburgh 47-43 in the first round and stunned Xavier with a buzzer beating three pointer in the second round, winning 66-63. It’s their third Sweet Sixteen in a row and ninth since 2000. They face Notre Dame next, and are led by freshman Ethan Happ, averaging 16.5 points in the tournament.
In the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2013, Syracuse are a 10 seed many through didn’t deserve to make it into the NCAA Tournament. They were just 9-9 in the ACC this season and lost their opening game in the conference tournament. But they’re here after beating Dayton 70-51 in the opening round, followed by a 75-50 beatdown of Middle Tennessee. Michael Gbinije is their leading scorer with 16.5 points per game.
The Zags are the lowest remaining seed in the NCAA Tournament (11) and one of only two double digit seeds remaining. They won the WCC Tournament after not winning the conference outright which is quite rare. They beat Seton Hall 68-52 in the first round and crushed Utah 82-59 in the second round, now destined to meet Syracuse. Domantas Sabonis with 20 points per game is their leading scorer, as they make it into the Sweet Sixteen for a second straight year.