NCAA Tournament: Onto the Sweet Sixteen

The first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is in the books, and half of the teams are back home hitting them, their basketball days finished until next season. First, a look at which teams made it to the Sweet Sixteen, then a check on the standings in ALDLAND’s bracket challenge.    

While sixteen teams advanced to the round of sixteen this year, only twelve states are represented. Michigan has two teams (the Spartans and Wolverines), Kansas has two teams (the Jayhawks and Shockers), and Florida has three teams (the Gators, Hurricanes, and Eagles). Even so, there is only one intra-state pairing, with Florida and Florida Gulf Coast traveling all the way to Fort Worth to play each other on Friday night. Other than that game, though, the other matchups set up fairly evenly, either as meetings of traditional powers or mid-majors. The former set includes Michigan State-Duke; Indiana-Syracuse; Kansas-Michigan; Arizona-Ohio State; and, to perhaps slightly lesser (though still internally parallel) extents, Marquette-Miami and Louisville-Oregon. The latter set includes Wichita State-La Salle and parts of the last two matchups in the other set. Hyper classification motif aside, these all should be good games.

On the injury front, the Spartans are downplaying Keith Appling’s shoulder dislocation/re-aggravation, and Indiana’s keeping mum on Jordan Hulls’ shoulder issues.

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As for the ALDLAND bracket challenge standings, losses by Gonzaga and Georgetown, and the ascendancy of Wichita State, La Salle, and Florida Gulf Coast (nee Florida Golf Coast), have shaken things up. Here are the current standings (click to expand):

aldland bracket challenge standingsGiven the early round turbulence, there’s not much availing in deep statistical analysis right now. sefyfe 1 and Leo’s dream are sitting at the bottom, having lost their national champs. Unlike last year, ALDLAND contributors aren’t (yet) embarrassing the site: Marcus and Brendan are in first and second place, respectively. Coming out of the Sweet Sixteen, at least one entry is going to lose its national champion. We’ll have more on this next week, and you can check the standings anytime on ESPN.com.

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