Which Teams Are Playing in the Sweet 16 Round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament?
The regional semifinals of the 2022 NCAA Tournament are underway, and there’s a good mix of powerhouse programs and double-digit-seeded Cinderella hopefuls still in the hunt for the national title. As such, let’s take a quick look at the 16 teams left in the Big Dance as we gear up for another round of exhilarating college basketball postseason action set to resume on Wednesday.
Read on for our rundown of the teams left standing and ready to do battle in the Sweet 16 round of the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. And for even more March Madness coverage and the latest happenings from across the entire sporting world, head on over to Nitrogen Sports Blog after this.
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(1) Gonzaga Bulldogs
The top-ranked Bulldogs haven’t been blowing out the competition as expected, but their second-half scoring outbursts have been so potent that it’s as if they never lost a beat from their regular-season dominance. Drew Timme has been a beast, averaging 21.5 points in the second half of the first two rounds and an astounding 28.5 points per game in general.
(2) Duke Blue Devils
Even though Duke scored 85 points in their second-round win over Michigan State, it’s the team’s resurgent defense that’s been a bigger factor toward the team’s success. The boys from Durham are still keeping Coach K’s legacy alive and will need to keep up their offensive prowess going, especially against the defensively-adept Red Raiders up next.
(3) Texas Tech Red Raiders
Things have been up-and-down for Texas Tech, as the team needed huge defensive stops to prevail with a narrow second-round win over Notre Dame after routing Montana State by 35 points in the opening round. Going 1-for-11 in their last 12 field-goal attempts against the Irish simply will not do if the Red Raiders are to get in a shootout against Duke ahead.
(4) Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas rounds out the only side of the bracket with the top four seeds in a given region all advancing to the Sweet 16. However, the Razorbacks are not playing like the No. 4 seed that they are, as their combined margin of victory of nine points is the worst among all remaining teams in the tournament.
(3) Purdue Boilermakers
The Boilermakers could not have asked for a better matchup this deep into the tourney, as they’ll be facing 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s. Having a significant size advantage will be key for Purdue, as the Peacocks have no player standing taller than 6-foot-7. As such, look forward to another monster performance from center Zach Edey (three double-doubles in the last four starts).
(4) UCLA Bruins
Ball possession has been critical to the Bruins’ run in this year’s tournament. UCLA is averaging just nine turnovers per game this season (second in the nation), and this is in stark contrast to their Sweet 16 opponent in North Carolina, which committed 21 turnovers during its overtime win over the Baylor Bears.
(8) North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels shocked the nation when they jumped out to a 25-point lead in the second round against defending champion, Baylor. Although North Carolina needed overtime to complete the upset, the team is still a March Madness force to be reckoned with even with first-year head coach Hubert Davis taking over Roy Williams’ job at the helm of the coveted program from Chapel Hill.
(15) Saint Peter’s Peacocks
The one true Cinderella team of this year’s tournament, the Saint Peters’ Peacocks could crash back down to earth when they face Purdue on Thursday. Nevertheless, the Peacocks’ first-ever run to the Sweet 16 stage will be remembered for quite some time.
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(1) Arizona Wildcats
35 turnovers across the first two rounds call for a red flag on Arizona. Nevertheless, the heroics of Bennedict Mathurin (24.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.5 three-pointers per game) has been enough for the Wildcats to keep their amazing 2021-22 campaign alive.
(2) Villanova Wildcats
The other standout Wildcats from the East Coast, meanwhile, is having quite a cakewalk at the Big Dance so far. Villanova has won by an average of 15 points through the first two rounds, and the team’s ability to close out Ohio State in the final minutes of their second-round bout speaks volumes of Nova’s March Madness experience.
(5) Houston Cougars
The reigning AAC champions were not given a lot of credit in terms of their seeding in this year’s tournament given their lack of quality wins over the elite competition during the regular season. Now, Houston has picked up a couple of wins against Quad 1 opponents in the tourney and by an average of 14.5 points at that. Arizona has every right to be scared of the Cougars in their upcoming Sweet 16 showdown, that’s for sure.
(11) Michigan Wolverines
Controversies aside, Michigan head coach Juwan Howard deserves a lot of credit for keeping his team playing spirited postseason basketball. The Wolverines have a superstar in big man Hunter Dickinson (24.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG) carrying the scoring load, but will Dickinson be enough to match Villanova’s balanced effort on both sides of the ball?
(1) Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas joins Gonzaga and Arizona as the three No. 1 seeds left in the tourney that also needed a close win to escape the second round. The likes of standouts Ochai Agbajji and David McCormack have yet to put out consistent numbers. Thankfully, veteran guard Remy Martin has come off the bench blazing, averaging 17.5 points in the Big Dance.
(4) Providence Friars
Regardless of being pitted against a couple of mid-major hopefuls in the first two rounds, the fact remains that Providence’s defense is to be feared. The Friars held Richmond and South Dakota State to under 58 points apiece and are now faced with the tall order of containing a hungry Kansas squad with weapons aplenty.
(10) Miami Hurricanes
As the best double-digit-seeded team in the tournament left standing, Miami also has the benefit of facing a lower-seeded opponent in Iowa State. The Canes made second-seeded Auburn look like a fool in the second round, with Isaiah Wong (21.5 PPG, 50 percent FG%) looking like one of the best players in the entire field.
(11) Iowa State Cyclones
Had it not been for Saint Peter’s, Iowa State would be widely considered as the Cinderella team of the Sweet 16. The Cyclones were expected to be the worst team from the Big 12 considering their two-win campaign last season. Yet here they are with wins over No. 6 LSU and No. 3 Wisconsin. A matchup against 10th-seeded Miami is as winnable as it gets for Iowa State considering the tougher path it just had to endure.
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