Ranking the Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament Games

What an incredible set of college basketball games! In fact, I have ranked this year’s Sweet 16 as the eighth best in the 71 years that this round of the tournament has existed, and as the best Sweet 16 since 2017. See my round by round ranking of the greatest NCAA tournaments of all-time in a few weeks for more details. Let’s now rank the games from best to worst and compare how my pre-round intrigue rankings compare to how the games actually played out.

Ranking the NCAA Sweet 16 Games (Postgame)Pregame RankDifference
1(3) Purdue vs. (15) St. Peter’s (Fri 7:09)- CBS (5)– the greatest upset in Sweet 16 history has to take the top spot!10
2(2) Duke vs. (3) Texas Tech (Thurs 9:39)- CBS (5)- great battle between two of the best remaining teams in the tournament20
3(4) UCLA vs. (8) North Carolina (Fri 9:39)- CBS (5)– see note above about Duke/Texas Tech game41
4(1) Gonzaga vs. (4) Arkansas (Thurs 7:09)- CBS (5)- would have been the upset of the weekend if not for St. Peter’s shocker. Interesting, that the top 4 games of the round were on CBS and not TBS.3-1
5(1) Arizona vs. (5) Houston (Thurs 9:59)- TBS (247)– another example of a soft and overrated west coast # 1 seed getting upset by a scrappy and defensive-minded team of athletes61
6(1) Kansas vs. (4) Providence (Fri 7:29)- TBS (247)- the Friars came back late to make this one entertaining82
7(2) Villanova vs. (11) Michigan (Thurs 7:29)- TBS (247)– was never a blow out but Nova seemed to have this game under control the entire time.70
8(10) Miami-FL vs. (11) Iowa State (Fri 9:59)- TBS (247)– really good game until the the Cyclones began to fade late in the 2nd half5-3

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