Following a fast and furious six-day stretch of college basketball that saw 52 teams play their final game of the season, the Sweet 16 of the 2022 Men’s NCAA Tournament is set. And what a surprising Sweet 16 it is. We’ll get to the reseed in just a few moments, but let’s first look at a bid of the madness that’s accompanied this particular March.
No matter what happens over the next couple of weeks, we’re guaranteed a new national champion as Baylor, the defending champ and No. 1 seed in the East, was knocked out by eighth-seeded North Carolina in the Round of 32. The other three No. 1 seeds (Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas) are still in.
Also gone from the East are the second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats, who were upset in the Round of 64 by the No. 15 St. Peter’s Peacocks, who find themselves in the Sweet 16 after also defeating seventh-seeded Murray State.
The Auburn Tigers, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest, also saw their season end earlier than expected in an upset loss in the Round of 32 to 10th-seeded Miami, who will play a rare 10 vs. 11 matchup in the Sweet 16 against Iowa State. The Cyclones made their way here by knocking off No. 6 LSU and No. 3 Wisconsin.
The Badgers were one of nine teams from the Big Ten to go dancing, but just two remain. Purdue, the highest remaining seed in the East at No. 3, will play St. Peter’s in the Sweet 16. And then there are the Michigan Wolverines, the No. 11 seed in the South and a team some didn’t even feel had earned their way into the tourney. Juwan Howard & Co. knocked off Colorado State and Tennessee and will take on Villanova on Thursday night.
And then, of course, you’ve got five-time champ Coach K and his last dance at Duke. The Blue Devils, the No. 2 seed in the West, eliminated Cal State Fullerton and Michigan State on the way to the Sweet 16, where they’ll match up with third-seeded Texas Tech.
What the actual Sweet 16 of the Men’s 2022 NCAA Tournament looks like
Before we get into what the new bracket would look like, let’s first look at how the actual Sweet 16 for the men’s tourney shakes out.
- (1) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (4) Arkansas Razorbacks
- (2) Duke Blue Devils vs. (3) Texas Tech Red Raiders
- (4) UCLA Bruins vs. (8) North Carolina Tar Heels
- (3) Purdue Boilermakers vs. (15) St. Peter’s Peacocks
- (1) Arizona Wildcats vs. (5) Houston Cougars
- (2) Villanova Wildcats vs. (11) Michigan Wolverines
- (1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (4) Providence Friars
- (10) Miami Hurricanes vs. (11) Iowa State Cyclones
What a reseeded Sweet 16 of the Men’s 2022 NCAA Tournament looks like
Now let’s look at what a new Sweet 16 would look like if the teams were reseeded 1-16 and placed into one bracket.
As they were named the top overall seed for the 2022 NCAA Tournament, the Gonzaga Bulldogs would take the No. 1 spot here. And as you can imagine, the St. Peter’s Peacocks, the lowest remaining seed, would be our new No. 16.
Original seeding plays into the rest of the bracket as well. A better seed in the actual tournament means a better seed in this fantasy one as well. If teams had the same seed, I simply went with their standing in the season’s final AP poll, just as I did a year ago. So seeing as Arizona was ranked second when the regular season ended, they got the No. 2 seed here, while Kansas sits at No. 3.
It’s also why Villanova is ahead of Duke, Purdue is ahead of Texas Tech, and UCLA is ahead of Providence.
The only time I couldn’t take that into account was with the pair of No. 11 seeds. As neither Michigan nor Iowa State earned even a single vote in the final poll, I went with the team that beat the highest-ranked opponent. As the Wolverines defeated Tennessee, who was ranked fifth, Michigan got the nod with the No. 14 seed here.
So here’s how the new Sweet 16 looks.
- (1) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (16) St. Peter’s Peacocks
- (8) UCLA Bruins vs. (9) Providence Friars
- (5) Duke Blue Devils vs. (12) North Carolina Tar Heels
- (4) Villanova Wildcats vs. (13) Miami Hurricanes
- (6) Purdue Boilermakers vs. (11) Houston Cougars
- (3) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (14) Michigan Wolverines
- (7) Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. (10) Arkansas Razorbacks
- (2) Arizona Wildcats vs. (15) Iowa State Cyclones
Is it just me, or does anyone else really want to see some of these matchups? Come on — North Carolina with a chance to bounce Coach K from a tournament for the second time in two weeks and end his career? That game alone makes this worth it.
Okay, so it’s not the best matchup for St. Peter’s, but did anybody really think they would beat Kentucky? UCLA vs. Providence would be fun to watch, as would Purdue vs. Houston.
But this was all for kicks, although some of these matchups are still possible down the line. I hope you had as much fun with this as we did.