The first weekend was good, but not great. For the first time since the field expanded, we did not have an overtime game Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Now we've got an interesting set of 16 left.
• A fourth of the field is the Big Ten.
• A fourth is from the Big East.
• A fourth is from Ohio alone -- the most of any one state ever to reach the second weekend of the same tournament. Each year, after 16 teams dodge all the mines, bullets and shrapnel, we stand and look at what's left.
It happens so fast, that 68-to-16 shrinkage. No time to look back. We gotta arrange those still standing from best to worst!
We do not reseed based upon the two most recent games -- that kind of evaluation is too shallow -- rather as a combination of recent events and misfires made the first time by the selection committee, when it released the field into the wild, wow, only a week ago. Time flies when your bracket burns. Think of this as a new master seed list molded with an expectation of performance
The CBSSports.com Sweet 16 power list:
|2. Michigan State|
|3. Ohio State|
The Buckeyes were not particularly sharp against Loyola (Md.) and then held off a game Gonzaga club. Can't explain it, but I think this team is going to reach the Final Four. I had it before the Melo suspension and now I feel even better about the prospect of it happening. Deshaun Thomas has been playing like we though Jared Sullinger would. And now Sullinger looks like he could find the flint for his match against Cincinnati. Sullinger vs. Yancy Gates will be must-see TV.
I have bailed a little bit but not that much. I had Syracuse in the Elite Eight before the Melo news and didn't remove the Orange even after the sophomore center was deemed ineligible. Let us not forget how this is Jim Boeheim's deepest team. And that Kris Joseph is now pretty incredibly underrated.
|5. North Carolina|
Can't put UNC in the top four if I don't know if Kendall Marshall is playing. Marshall is motor oil for that offense. Stillman White is about to become the most well-known backup since Curtis Painter. Carolina has all that talent, but its offense is completely different without Marshall's NBA-level court vision and passing ability. I don't think the Tar Heels can win the tournament if he's out for the rest of it. Fortunately, UNC gets a break with Ohio in its regional semi.
|14. North Carolina State|
Man do I hate putting the only real mid-major program on this list last. But it's the sensible choice. You want to know how I chose to put Ohio here? I looked at UNC and put myself in the Tar Heels' position. With Kendall Marshall's immediate future unknown, who do you think the Tar Heels would pick to face? With any team left to choose, they're taking Ohio, right? For that reason alone, the Bobcats are last. But to Peter King, who is no doubt taking the time to read this, know this and feel better: I put VCU No. 16 last year when compiling this list. Ohio needs to be proud, above anything, for being the fifth 13 seed (out of 11) since the field expanded to make the second weekend.