We’ve had a crazy NCAA Tournament through two rounds. Three of the four No. 1 seeds remain, but the Sweet 16 also features an 8 (Loyola Chicago), two 11s (Syracuse, UCLA), a 12 (Oregon State), and the second-ever 15-seed to make it this far (Oral Roberts). It isn’t a huge surprise that ESPN’s Basketball Power Index still favors the highest seeds to make it to the Final Four. With the second-round over, the pre-tournament favorites still dominate the college hoops metrics.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are undefeated, and trying to be the first team since 1975-76 Indiana to go wire-to-wire and win the NCAA Tournament with a perfect season. The West No. 1 seed has a 66.4-percent chance to reach the Final Four, per BPI. The Bulldogs have 5-seed Creighton in the Sweet 16, with the winner earning a spot against either 6 USC or 7 Oregon, two Pac-12 powers.
The team with the second-best chance to reach the Final Four is not a 1-seed. With Illinois, one of the pre-tournament favorites, knocked out in the second-round, BPI has 2-seed Houston with a 59.7-percent chance to emerge from the Midwest. The Cougars have a date with red-hot 11-seed Syracuse on Saturday night.
Baylor has a team that many had counted out due to injuries, 5-seed Villanova, in the Sweet 16. The Bears are a big favorite, but Jay Wright’s Wildcats have a championship pedigree. 3 Arkansas and 15 Oral Roberts face off on the other side of that region.
Michigan, the last hope for the Big Ten to end its long title drought, has a tough matchup with a deep Florida State team out of the ACC. 2 Alabama and 11 UCLA also play in the East Region semifinals.
The Sweet 16 begins on Saturday, March 27.