Morning Madness: Wednesday, March 22
With just one more day until the NCAA tournament revs up again with the Sweet 16, let's look at how this field compares to Sweet 16s of the past. (Very nicely, thank you.)
How the 2017 Sweet 16 stacks up
This year's Sweet 16 has three 1 seeds and an 11 seed, an average seed of 4.06. Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, only six years have had lower average seeds. The lowest ever was 2009, when every 1, 2, and 3 seed made it, along with two 4 seeds, a 5 seed and a 12 seed, averaging 3.06.
Having three No. 1 seeds still kicking into the Sweet 16 is about average, when you break it down. Since '85, we've had an average of 3.4 1s per tournament.
The seed with the highest number ever to make the Sweet 16? Florida Gulf Coast, a 15-seed, in 2013. This year, it's 11-seed Xavier. An 11-seed has reached the Sweet 16 just 19 times.
Seven schools are in the Sweet 16 for the 10th time or more: UNC is in its 22nd Sweet 16, Kansas its 21st, Kentucky its 20th, Arizona its 17th, UCLA its 14th, Florida its 11th and Wisconsin its 10th. On the flip side, South Carolina is in its first.
Finally, over the past 32 years, the average margin of a Sweet 16 game has been 9.9 points. Some 49 games have been decided by three points or fewer. But the Sweet 16 has had its blowouts, too. Kentucky and Louisville hold the record for the biggest wipeouts, when the 1-seed Wildcats beat 5-seed West Virginia 78-39 in 2015, and the 1-seed Cardinals took down 12-seed Arizona 103-64 in 2009.
Looking back at "The Shot," 25 years later
Twenty-five years after Duke's Christian Laettner hit a turnaround that would be immortalized forever -- it's now known simply as “The Shot” -- NCAA.com’s Mike Lopresti revisits the game and how it has touched the lives of those on the losing side. Rick Pitino, Sean Woods, John Pelphrey and Deron Feldhaus, among others, reflect on how it has been to live on the wrong end of history.
March Madness, March classes
Just watching 63 basketball games in under a month is exhausting. Something we often forget in the chaos of March is that these are student-athletes competing. And even though we only get to see the “athlete” part of that, there’s plenty that goes on behind the scenes.
NCAA.com’s Anthony Chiusano talked to a handful of athletes and administrators about balancing March Madness with schoolwork and preparing for finals in the classroom and on the court.
The unlikeliest Sweet 16 team of them all
Xavier making the Sweet 16? That makes perfect sense. In 2016. The Musketeers were a 2 seed last year after a 28-6 regular season. This year? Xavier came into the tournament 23-13, earning an 11 seed.
But the Musketeers are in the Sweet 16, one year after getting knocked out of the Round of 32 by a Wisconsin buzzer-beater and after fighting through a season marked by at least one key injury. NCAA.com’s Joe Boozell breaks down how unlikely Xavier's sweet run has been.
Mark your calendar
Sweet 16 begins: Thursday
Elite Eight begins: Saturday
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3