<italics> At this time of year, fans of teams in the Sweet 16 are giddy with excitement, and rightfully so. But what they might not see through those rose-colored glasses are some of the flaws in their team that might prove troublesome. Here's a contrarian's view of why your team might not win the national title, starting with Florida.</italics> The Gators are the favorite to cut down the nets in Dallas, and looked unstoppable in their dismantling of Pittsburgh in the Round of 32. UCLA, however, presents a unique challenge. The Bruins get up and down the floor with the best of them in the country, and if they can dictate pace, they can upend a Gators squad that ranked 320th in adjusted tempo, according to KenPom.
2 of 16John W. McDonough/SI
While the Bruins coasted to the Sweet 16, they only had to beat 13th-seeded Tulsa and 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin to do so. Now they have to face the No. 1 overall seed in Florida, which stands as their toughest test of the season. The Gators have been able to slow down nearly all comers who like to run. If they do the same to the Bruins, the latter's season will end this week.
3 of 16David E. Klutho/SI
The Cardinal may have knocked of Kansas in the Round of 32, but that was without a key Jayhawks piece in center Joel Embiid. The freshman likely could have turned a three-point loss into a win for Kansas. Can the Cardinal beat Dayton? Of course. Can they move on to the Final Four with a win over Florida or UCLA? Don't hold your breath.
4 of 16Damian Strohmeyer/SI
The Flyers pulled off back-to-back upsets of Ohio State and Syracuse to reach the Sweet 16, but they're already on borrowed time. Even if they manage to get past Stanford, a tall task thanks to the presence of Chasson Randle, Dwight Powell and Stefan Nastic, it's too much of a stretch to see them beating the Florida-UCLA winner.
5 of 16Simon Bruty/SI
The Cavaliers defense has looked impregnable during the tournament, but it likely is going to have to get by two top-10 offenses, in terms of adjusted efficiency, just to make it to the Final Four. With Duke and Syracuse flaming out early in the tournament, the Cavs' domination of the ACC may not be as impressive as we thought it was just a few weeks ago.
6 of 16Robert Beck/SI
The Spartans were one of two trendy championship picks entering the tourney, and they've done nothing to dissuade the masses in their first two games. For a team with a top-10 offense, though, they really struggle from the free throw line. Rarely do you see a team that ranks outside the top 150 in free throw percentage skirt that deficiency all the way to the national championship.
7 of 16David J. Phillip/AP
The Cyclones looked like a real dark-horse threat to go all the way after winning the Big 12 championship, but they will likely be undone by Georges Niang's foot injury. The strength of this team has been the Niang-DeAndre Kane-Melvin Ejim trio all season long. Take one of those guys out of the equation, and you have a team that just doesn't have enough to cut down the nets.
8 of 16Damian Strohmeyer/SI
It's certainly impressive that the Huskies made it to the Sweet 16 as a No. 7 seed, but Villanova wasn't your typical No. 2 seed, either. Connecticut's defense is strong, but it still has the same problem offensively that it had at the beginning of the tournament. What does it do if and when Shabazz Napier has a bad game? Against any team with the chops to still be alive in the tourney, the Huskies probably lose.
9 of 16John W. McDonough/SI
The West's top seed let No. 16 Weber State hang around before pulling away, then rolled right over Gonzaga. The Wildcats have arguably the toughest road to the Final Four remaining for any top seed. San Diego State lost just four times all year, and Wisconsin and Baylor were two of the hottest teams in the country entering the tournament. This is a team that lost four times since Brandon Ashley's injury. Chances are they will experience a fifth before the season ends.
10 of 16Robert Beck/SI
San Diego State
The Aztecs squeaked past 13th-seeded New Mexico State in their first game of the tournament, then crushed 12th-seeded North Dakota State. Arizona will likely provide a stiffer challenge. The Wildcats already beat the Aztecs once this year (69-60), and the latter beat exactly zero teams that advanced to the Sweet 16 during the regular season.
11 of 16Al Tielemans/SI
The Badgers won one of the most thrilling games of the tournament over Oregon in the Round of 32, but their defense was once again exposed in that contest. Can they really win four more games in a row while being a sieve on the defensive end of the floor?
12 of 16Greg Nelson/SI
The Bears were already one of the hottest teams in the country before the tournament, and they absolutely destroyed Nebraska and Creighton to get to the Sweet 16. However, Wisconsin will be their toughest game to date. The Badgers won games over Florida, Virginia and Michigan this year. With Baylor's inability to force turnovers and relative weakness on the defensive glass, it will have trouble winning four more games.
13 of 16Bill Frakes/SI
There weren't any seats remaining on the Louisville bandwagon after the Cardinals won the American Athletic Conference tournament, and it's likely that no one has abandoned even after they narrowly escaped Manhattan. If the Cardinals are to just make it to Dallas, they'll have to beat a Kentucky squad that already defeated them this year, and then likely a Michigan team that would be the best they've faced by both RPI and KenPom rating this season.
14 of 16David E. Klutho/SI
The Wildcats likely played their best game all year in knocking off Wichita State, but no team can wave away all its struggles with one win. Even if you count their two wins that got them to the Sweet 16, the Wildcats have four wins all season over teams that made the tournament. They'll have to double that number to win their second championship in three years. That is highly unlikely.
15 of 16Al Tielemans/SI
The Wolverines looked great in taking care of Texas in the Round of 32, and with Duke and Wichita State out of the way, two potentially high hurdles have already been knocked down for them. Unfortunately, their defensive woes make them a prime candidate for an upset any night their shots aren't falling. Tennessee is a particularly bad matchup for the Wolverines, and both Louisville and Kentucky have the defensive profiles to give them fits, as well.
16 of 16Simon Bruty/SI
The Volunteers have been one of the strongest-looking teams in the tournament, but before placing a crown on their head, remember how they got to where they are. They beat Iowa in a First Four matchup, then took down Massachusetts and Mercer, which had likely spent itself getting by Duke. The Vols won exactly one game over a top-50 RPI team all year. Now they're going to run through four over the next two weeks? Highly unlikely.
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