March Madness is here and the first games are only days away. The bracket is ready after Selection Sunday and the only thing left to do is to sit back and enjoy top college basketball.
Of course, March Madness wouldn’t be so exciting without predictions, so here are our Sweet 16 predictions to help you out when you try to fill out your bracket.
Sweet 16 Bracket Predictions – Who Gets to This Stage?
Reaching the Sweet 16 stage is a dream come true for many college teams, while it is a priority for some others. The Sweet 16 phase is just two steps outside of the Final Four, so this is the stage where everything becomes possible.
In any case, guessing who gets to the March Madness Sweet 16 stage is hard, and picking all 16 teams correctly is highly improbable, but we all like to try. So, here are our NCAA Sweet 16 bracket predictions:
West Region Bracket – Our Sweet 16 Picks
No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs
After roaring through the WCC as predicted and losing just one game, Gonzaga is rightfully considered as one of the main favorites to go all the way in this NCAA Tournament.
The Zags are the top team in the country if we look at the metrics and they are ranked as the number one overall seed. The Bulldogs also enter this tournament with 10 Quadrant 1 wins, so reaching Sweet 16 is expected from Gonzaga.
No. 2 Duke Blue Devils
This will be the last season in which the legendary Coach K, Mike Krzyzewski, is leading the Blue Devils, and getting out of the tournament before Sweet 16 would be nearly tragic.
But that’s not the only reason why we see Duke in the Top 16 – they are the second-ranked team in the West Region and they come into the tournament with 10 wins against Quad 1 and 2 opponents, including Gonzaga, Kentucky, and others.
No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders
The top defense in the nation belongs to Texas Tech, the team that reached the final game a couple of years ago, but their offense needs some work.
Now they are ranked third in the West and they enter this tournament with eight Quad 1 wins, so they have shown a lot of potential so far.
No. 5 Connecticut Huskies
The biggest strength for UConn is their backcourt with three capable playmakers that can push the tempo and control the games.
The Huskies haven’t had that many Quad 1 wins this season, five to be exact, but the team still has enough potential to reach Sweet 16.
East Region Bracket – Our Sweet 16 Picks
No. 1 Baylor Bears
The Bears dominated the competition last season when they came on top at the end of the March Madness tournament and they are the top seed in the East Region this year as well.
But the team has struggled with injuries and they will miss a few important players for this tournament, so we can’t see them going all the way. Still, they should be able to get to the Sweet 16 phase.
No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats
Many expect to see Kentucky in the Final Four and we’ve seen a lot of predictions that have the Wildcats as the overall winner of the NCAA Tournament.
At the very least, Kentucky should have no problem reaching the Sweet 16 stage, despite the somewhat tricky draw that pits them against Murray State or San Francisco in the second round.
No. 4 UCLA Bruins
The Bruins were the Cinderella story last year during March Madness since they managed to get from the First Four to the Final Four as the 11th seed.
UCLA is seeded fourth this year and we don’t see them repeating the success of last season, but we can at least see them getting to the Sweet 16 phase.
No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies
The first major upset among our NCAA Sweet 16 bracket predictions and our bracket is Virginia Tech since we expect them to eliminate a vulnerable Texas team and then the No.3 Purdue.
The reason lies in the fact that the Hokies came into the tournament after blowing the competition out of their way in the ACC tournament, including North Carolina and Duke. This is a veteran team that has experience of playing on the big stage and Sweet 16 wouldn’t be such a surprise for them.
South Region Bracket – Our Sweet 16 Picks
No. 1 Arizona Wildcats
Arizona is one of the best teams this year in the eyes of many pundits and many see them reaching the final game of the tournament.
So, they are certainly on our list of teams to reach Sweet 16, but one problem for their ambitions could be the injury of their starting playmaker Kerr Krissa, although the Wildcats showed that they can manage without him by sweeping the PAC-12 Tournament.
No. 2 Villanova Wildcats
The second-seed in the South Region won the NCAA Tournament two times in the last five years, so they are certainly favorites to get far this year as well.
So, reaching the Top 16 phase shouldn’t be a problem for a team that has Collin Gillespie, a two-time Big East Player of the Year.
No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers
The Volunteers enter March Madness after winning the SEC Tournament, in which they recorded seven straight wins, including victories over Auburn, Kentucky, and Arkansas.
That being said, Tennessee might have a tricky matchup in the second round against Colorado or Michigan, both respectable teams, but we see them getting to the Sweet 16 nonetheless.
No.5 Houston Cougars
The fifth-seed Cougars might have been seeded better according to some pundits, but that shouldn’t affect them too much and we should see them in the Sweet 16 phase.
After all, Houston came into the tournament after winning the AAC Tournament and an 18-point win in the final game over Memphis.
Midwest Region Bracket – Sweet 16 Picks
No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks
Despite the fact that the Jayhawks are not the top seed overall like they would’ve been in the 2020 tournament that was canceled, they are still one of the main favorites to go all the way.
That’s hardly a surprise for a team that comes into March Madness after winning the Big 12 Tournament and proving just how good they can be.
No.3 Wisconsin Badgers
One of the biggest stats of college basketball at the moment is Johnny Davies, who will lead the Badgers in this NCAA Tournament.
We don’t know how far he can take them, but a round of Sweet 16 doesn’t seem out of reach for third-seed Wisconsin.
No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes
While the Hawkeyes are the only fifth seed in Midwest Region and they don’t have an easy job in the first round against Richmond, we can see them getting to the Sweet 16 stage, or even further.
After all, Iowa has just two losses since the start of February, they have a deep team, and they are the second-most efficient attack in the country.
No. 7 USC Trojans
This is probably the second-biggest upset among our predictions since the Trojans have to eliminate Auburn to get to the March Madness Sweet 16 stage.
But we can see this happening because USC is a very good team, and because Auburn is just 5-4 in their last 9 games and overall don’t seem to be in the right forum for this tournament.