The 2014 edition of the NCAA Tournament has reached its Sweet Sixteen stage, with three teams from the Pac-12 (Arizona, Stanford, UCLA), three from the SEC (Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee) three from the Big Ten (Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin), two from the Big 12 (Baylor, Iowa State), two from the American Conference (UConn, Louisville), one from the ACC (Virginia), one from the Atlantic 10 (Dayton) and one from Mountain West Conference (San Diego Aztecs).
Both the defending champion (Louisville, up against state rival Kentucky next) and the finalists (Michigan, facing Tennessee) from last year are still in the tournament, while Michigan’s in-state rival, Michigan State, are still in the tournament as well.
The #1 Wildcats are also #4 in the nation going into the tournament. They started out by beating #16 Weber State 68-59, followed by destroying #8 Gonzaga 84-61. Nick Johnson with 17.5 points per game is their leading scorer. It’s the second consecutive Sweet Sixteen for Arizona, who’ll be facing #4 San Diego State next.
The #6 Bears (and #23 in the polls) are in the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in three years. They beat Nebraska 74-60 in the round of 64 before walloping #3 Creighton 85-55. Cory Jefferson, averaging 13.6 points per game, is their leading scorer this season. They’re playing #2 Wisconsin next.
The #7 Huskies have made it into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2011, when they won the national title. They beat St. Joseph’s 89-81 in the round of 64, followed by a win over former Big East rivals Villanova 77-65. Shabazz Napier averaging 24.5 points per game is their scoring leader. They’re up against #3 Iowa State next.
The #11 Flyers, coming out of the Atlantic 10 conference, are coming through into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 30 years after two major upsets: First against #6 Ohio State (60-59), followed by beating #3 Syracuse 55-53. Dyshawn Pierre, averaging 13 points per game, is their leading scorer so far. They’re up against Stanford next.
The Gators, a #1 seed, are also the number one team in the nation going into the tournament. So far, they’ve overcome #16 Albany 67-55 in a game that was slightly harder than it should have been, followed with a dominant performance against #9 Pitt, beating them 61-45. Scottie Wilbekin is their leading scorer so far in the tournament with 15.5 points per game. It is the team’s fourth consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance. They’re up against #4 UCLA next.
Iowa State Cyclones
The #3 Cyclones (#9 in the nation) are in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2000. They beat North Carolina Central 93-75 in the round of 64, followed by a dramatic victory over North Carolina, 85-83. DeAndre Kane, averaging 19 points in the two wins, is their leading scorer. They’re up against #7 UConn next.
The Wildcats were only seeded #8 going into the tournament, but have made it to the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth time in five years. They overcame Kansas State 56-49 in the round of 64, followed by being the first to beat #1 Wichita State this season in the round of 32, coming away with the 78-76 win. Julius Randle, averaging 15.1 points per game, is their leading scorer this season.
The defending national champions are #4 in the region and #5 in the nation going into the tournament, although that doesn’t make a lot of sense. They beat Manhattan 71-64 in the round of 64, followed by beating Saint Louis 66-51 in the follow up. Russ Smith with 18.1 points per game is their leading scorer this season. They’re up against #8 Kentucky next.
Things are looking up for Michigan basketball, hoping to do a bit better than their runner-up finish last season. The #2 Wolverines opened the tournament with a win over Wofford (57-40), followed by beating Texas 79-65. Their leading scorer is Nik Stauskas with 16 points per game. They’re up against #11 Tennessee next.
Michigan State Spartans
The #4 Spartans were ranked #11 in the nation before the tournament began. They’ve beaten #13 Delaware 93-78 to start things off before fighting off #12 Harvard 80-73 next. Gary Harris, averaging 16.9 points per game, is their leading scorer. The Spartans are playing in the Sweet 16 for a third consecutive seasons. They’re up against #1 Virginia next.
San Diego State Aztecs
The #4 team in the region and #13 in the nation. The Aztecs beat #13 New Mexico State 73-69, followed by overcoming #12 North Dakota State 63-44. Their leading scorer so far has been Xavier Thames with 17.4 points per game. It’s only the second Sweet Sixteen for SDSU, and first since 2011. They’re up against #1 Arizona next.
The #10 Cardinal are into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2008, following their 58-53 win over #7 New Mexico and then with the massive upset of #2 Kansas, 60-57. Their leading scorer is Chasson Randle with 18 points per game, and they’ll be playing the surprising Dayton in the next round.
The Vols are the only team still standing from the First Four, as the #11 seed make it into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2010. They beat Iowa in the play-in round 78-65 in overtime, followed by beating UMass 86-67 and then against Mercer 83-63. Jordan McRae with 18.6 points per game is their leading scorer. They’re up against #2 Michigan next.
The Bruins, a #4 seed, entered the tournament as the 20th best team in the nation according to the polls. So far they’ve beaten #13 Tulsa 76-59, followed by beating #12 SF Austin 77-60. Jordan Adams, averaging 20 points per game, is their leading scorer so far. It is their first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2008. They’re up against #1 Florida next.
The ACC champions and #1 seed (#3 in the nation) have looked very dominant so far, beating #16 Coastal Carolina 70-59 before beating #8 Memphis 78-60 in the round of 32. Their leading scorer this season has been Malcolm Brogdon averaging 12.6 points, as the Cavaliers make their way into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1995. They’re playing #4 Michigan State next.
The #2 Badgers, also #12 in the nation, are into the Sweet Sixteen for the third time in four years and first since 2012. They beat American 75-35 to open the tournament, followed by beating #7 Oregon 85-77. Their leading scorer so far is Frank Kamisky, averaging 13.6 points per game. They’re up against #6 Baylor next.