We’re down to the March Madness 2017 Sweet 16 teams. It’s not quite the exciting Final Four, but it’s certainly more intriguing than the field of 64. It’s hard to predict the winner, but we do know that since Villanova is out there will be a new champion. Here’s a closer look at who’s competing for the NCAA basketball tournament crown.
March Madness 2017 Sweet 16 teams
Lots of hardware
The upcoming matchup between the UCLA Bruins and the Kentucky Wildcats will set a record before the game even gets under way. The two teams have combined for 19 NCAA championships, and so it will be the tournament game with the most ever titles among the teams.
Interestingly enough, 9 of the 16 teams have won at least one title: Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon ,North Carolina, UCLA, Wisconsin.
Final Four first?
Only 3 of the remaining teams have never made it to a Final Four. They are: South Carolina Gamecocks, Xavier Musketeers and Gonzaga Bulldogs. That’s right, even with all of the success of the Zags over the last 15 years, they’ve never been that far. Is this the year?
Of the 16 teams still standing, 5 teams have been to at least two straight Sweet Sixteens: North Carolina, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Kansas and Oregon. In fact, the Badgers from the cheese state have now been to 4 straight final 16s in the tourney.
Nothing counts before this round
It doesn’t matter if you were undefeated or had only a loss or two in the regular season, or if you dominated in the previous rounds. All teams start over in the Sweet 16.
Amazingly, the last time to go undefeated in the regular season and then run the tables in the NCAA tournament was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. Wow, over 30 years ago! Crazy.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.