March Madness is in full swing, people. One-seeds and two-seeds have gone down, controversial calls have been made and “One Shining Moment” is shaping up to be as wonderful as ever.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at the sixteen remaining teams and reseed them.
16. UCLA—Everyone in Westwood should be thanking their lucky stars that they’re still in the tournament. After sneaking into the tournament, UCLA got a questionable goaltending call in their favor on a last-second Bryce Alford three-pointer, and, after shellacking 14-seed UAB in the second round, the not-supposed-to-be-here Bruins find themselves in the Sweet 16.
15. Louisville—After barely squeaking by UC Irvine, Rick Pitino’s squad drew a great matchup in Northern Iowa, and Montrezl Harrel and Co. responded accordingly. However, I’m not convinced this team can play at the requisite high-level needed for the rest of tournament, largely owing to the dismissal of Chris Jones.
14. Xavier—This is a tough, tough team, and they’re consistently solid. Unfortunately, I think that’s about it for the Musketeers, and I don’t really see them advancing past Arizona this weekend.
13. West Virginia—Bob Huggins’ squad beat out a strong Maryland team this past weekend, but, unfortunately, they now face the Kentucky Wildcats. As talented as this team is, they’re nowhere near that level. It’s been fun, guys.
12. NC State—I have a lot of faith in this team. They’ve beaten both Duke and Villanova this season, and they seem to be peaking at just the right time. A date with Louisville looms, but I think they’ve got the right stuff to make a run.
11.Oklahoma—Buddy Hield is a special player, and Oklahoma is one of the best defensive teams remaining in the field. However, they’ve beaten Dayton and Albany—not exactly what you would call “powerhouses.” This team remains a bit of a question mark.
10. Utah—This team will live and die by Delon Wright, who has really separated himself from the pack as one of the best guards in the country. The Ute’s defense is positively stingy, but if Wright isn’t on, the offense struggles. If he stays hot, this is another team that could make a serious run.
9. Michigan State—Every year, there’s one thing that we have to be reminded: Tom Izzo is a magician. In beating a very strong Virginia team for the second year in a row—behind a masterful performance from Travis Trice—the Spartans proved to everyone once again that they’re absolutely a threat and are likely to make it out of their region.
8. North Carolina—Paige, Tokoto, Williams are a formidable trio, but this team has looked shaky as of late, and Wisconsin does not appear to be messing around. If this team can use their superior athleticism to its advantage, it’ll be a good game, but if Wisconsin can use that advantage against the Tar Heels (as they’re wont to do), it’s going to be a long day for North Carolina.
7. Wichita State—I make a solemn oath to you, readers, not to make a single “shocker” pun here. Truthfully, I don’t think one even needs to be made—this team was great last year, and most of the core came back. Tekele Cotton, Fred Van Fleet, Ron Baker—this is a strong, strong team, and, if they can stay consistent, they might be looking at another Final Four run.
6. Gonzaga—Kyle Wiltjer might be one of the best players in whole tournament, and this is a damn strong team, but they haven’t faced a really tough competitor just yet. I don’t think they’ll have too much trouble with UCLA, but if they draw and beat Duke, then we’ll know if they can really win this thing.
5. Notre Dame—First of all, this is the best offense Notre Dame has had in years. Jerian Grant is an absolute stud, and if he’s on, this team looks absolutely unstoppable. Though their tournament competition hasn’t been super strong, they were one of the best teams in the country during the regular season. Mike Brey is going to have to work hard to hide this team’s defensive shortcomings, though.
4. Arizona—They can go pound-for-pound with the blue bloods, talent wise, but I just think this team has a tendency to choke. Sean Miller is one of the best coaches in the country, but his teams have had tendencies to underachieve. We shall see.
3.Wisconsin—Frank Kaminsky might be the best player in the tournament, and Bo Ryan might be the best coach. That’s a good combination, and they’ve been annihilating teams left and right, but if Traveon Jackson isn’t at full capacity, it leaves some big question marks for this team.
2. Duke—This. Team. Is. Insane. Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow, Quinn Cook… even Grayson Allen got in on the action against San Diego State. Mike Krzyzewski has done more with less talented teams, and the Blue Devils could very well find themselves in the Final Four.
1. Kentucky—Let’s get this straight. Kentucky is going to win this tournament. This team is too talented, too big and too strong for anybody to beat it. Hate on them all you want, but they are headed straight for an undefeated season and a national championship.
Bernstein is a member of the class of 2018.