There have been many close games and some heartbreaking losses in this year’s March Madness. Before I get into the Sweet Sixteen games, I want to point out a couple of those crazy games and heartbreaking losses from each round of the tournament.
Round 1: 5 Auburn vs. 12 New Mexico St.
This one one of the first games of the tournament and it sure did set the tone for madness. Auburn had pulled away with the lead with about ten minutes left in the second half and everyone believed the game would be over. Then Auburn decided to start blowing the lead late and made it a close one.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 21, 2019
This shot was a big one for the 12 seed, but two missed free throws and an airball on an open look in the corner at the buzzer cost them the game in the end. Auburn won the game 78-77.
Round 2: 1 Duke vs. 9 UCF
It was a close game from the jump in this one. Aubrey Dawkins, the coach’s son, had himself a game finishing with 32 points and along with the whole UCF team he did not let up. Zion also finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 24, 2019
This has got to be one of the most heartbreaking losses that March Madness has ever seen. The way UCF fought and hung on all the way to the end, it seems that they deserved to win this game.
Now here are the power rankings for the remaining 16 teams:
16. 12 Oregon Ducks
I would like to put the Ducks higher, and I give them full credit for making it to the Sweet Sixteen, but I just do not think they have proved too much in the tournament. They played a Wisconsin team that they were projected to beat anyway, then beat a 13 seed in the second round.
15. 3 LSU Tigers
It feels strange putting a 3 seeded team as number 15 in the power rankings, but the only teams outside of the 1 through 4 seeds in the Sweet Sixteen are 12 Oregon and 5 Auburn. LSU has not performed like they should be, having very close games with a 14 seed and a 6 seed. Luckily, Tremont Waters was clutch and hit the game-winner to send the Tigers to the Sweet Sixteen.
TREMONT WATERS FOR THE WIN!
— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 23, 2019
14. 4 Virginia Tech Hokies
We have not really seen much out of Virginia Tech this March Madness, and they also had a relatively close game with number 12 Liberty. Another thing is that they have to play Duke next, which they are probably not too excited about.
13. 3 Houston Cougars
The Cougars are one of the best three-point shooting teams left in the tournament, and they have played great so far. If it weren’t for all these other great teams they would be higher on the list.
12. 4 Florida State Seminoles
Ja Morant and Murray State stood no chance against the Seminoles as they took a commanding win last round. This team has a lot of talent and are coming off a very strong win, so they are hyped up to play number 1 Gonzaga, and I would not be so surprised if they pulled off the upset.
11. 1 Virginia Cavaliers
The reason why Virginia is so high in the power rankings is that I just have that feeling that they are going to choke, I feel like they always do. They did not really play their best basketball in either of the first two rounds, so I believe number 11 is a good spot for them.
10. 5 Auburn Tigers
Auburn played very well against Kansas in the second round and proved that they can shoot the lights out while also causing havoc on the defensive end with a lot of steals and blocks. The problem with Auburn is consistency and they also have trouble maintaining a lead. If they shoot as they did against Kansas, they could make it further in this tournament.
If you need me I’ll be watching this on repeat pic.twitter.com/eYBUfX1kZZ
— Barstool Auburn (@WarDamnStool) March 24, 2019
9. 2 Tennessee Volunteers
Admiral Schofield seems unstoppable this March Madness. Tennessee had a tough game against Iowa, but they came out with the win and did not show any signs of low confidence. They will be challenged against Purdue, though, and they will definitely need to play better than they did in the second round.
8. 2 Kentucky Wildcats
Right after Fletcher Magee set the record for most threes in an NCAA career, Kentucky found a way to shut him down to 0/12 from three in round two. Kentucky is a team that is very good at defense and they have shown that in their first two games, while also showing how well they can do on offense.
7. 2 Michigan Wolverines
Michigan is looking to make a second straight appearance in the final four, and this time they want to come out champions. They have a lot of experience on their team and also have a great true freshman in Ignas Brazdeikis, and if he does well it will be tough to stop the Wolverines.
6. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders
This is hands down the best defensive team in the country, so far they have held that title to their name by shutting down both of their opponents to under 60 points. And at the same time, they are being extremely productive on the offensive end, and they could compete with any team in this tournament.
5. 2 Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State is playing the best team ball of the tournament so far, on both the defensive and offensive end. Cassius Winston is a great leader and they have just been playing great basketball. They are playing a struggling LSU next round.
4. 3 Purdue Boilermakers
I really like Purdue in the remainder of this tournament. They have proved that they are a contender, especially with Carsen Edwards on the tear that he is on. He had 26 points in round one and then had an amazing 42 point performance against number 6 Villanova.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 24, 2019
3. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs
After an upsetting loss to Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Tournament, Gonzaga looked hungry entering March Madness. They blew their first opponent out of the water in the first round, then won comfortably against Baylor in the second round. One of the best two-way players in the game in Brandon Clarke played incredible in the second round with 36 points and 8 rebounds, and I am sure he will look to provide the same force as he did in that game.
2. 1 Duke Blue Devils
The only reason I do not have Duke at number one is because of how close they had the game with UCF, and how it was close the whole time. If Zion, RJ, Cam, and Tre cannot maintain and pull away with a lead against a 9 seed then they should be a little worried. But they are still the most talented team in the country and still the favorite to win the National Championship.
1. 1 UNC Tar Heels
UNC is a very talented team and continues to show that during this year’s tournament. Coby White is showing how good he can be and all the while they still have Nassir Little on the squad who is a potential top 5 pick.
Coby White is the coolest. pic.twitter.com/BVwr171NNl
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 24, 2019