March Madness: Reseeding the 2022 NCAA men's basketball Sweet 16

ByMyron Medcalf ESPN logo
Monday, March 21, 2022

Well, now it gets interesting.

It's at this point in the NCAA tournament that things generally stop making sense. The original seeds still carry weight for the teams that have survived -- they give us the full picture about a team's season thus far. But what do you do with the surprises in the field?

That's what makes reseeding the Sweet 16 far more difficult than reseeding the second round. In the 2022 edition, Baylor, Kentucky and Auburn have all been eliminated. But Michigan, North Carolina, Miami and Saint Peter's have survived.

At this point, the reseed centers more on how far a team can go than where it started. The top of the list will look familiar, but the rest is admittedly chaotic, and the rankings reflect as much. We like UCLA, but is Jaime Jaquez Jr. going to be healthy enough to play in the Sweet 16? How much should we care about North Carolina squandering a 25-point lead against Baylor? And what if Brady Manek can't play? Miami beat Auburn, but was that more about Miami's recent surge or an Auburn squad that had looked flat for weeks?

That's what we're trying to figure out.

If this list is anything like our original bracket, we'll rip it up and try again with the Elite Eight.

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Original seed: No. 1 overall

Sweet 16 seed: No. 1

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 16 Georgia State 93-72; defeated No. 9 Memphis 82-78

Since 1990, only three freshmen have won Most Outstanding Player honors in the Final Four (Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis and Tyus Jones). Veteran players have always been the leaders in the NCAA tournament. With projected top-10 NBA draft picks Jalen Duren and Chet Holmgren-- both freshmen -- on the floor, junior Drew Timme was still the best player Saturday.

Timme's team was down 10 at the start of the second half when he decided that the Bulldogs would not be going home. He scored 21 of his 25 points over the next 20 minutes in the win over a Memphis team that had previously lost just two games over the past two months. Timme hit shots in traffic, shots off the backboard and turnaround jump shots. He was in a groove.

The Bulldogs' Rasir Bolton (17 points) and Andrew Nembhard (23 points) combined to go 8-for-16 from 3, and Holmgren (four blocks) made his greatest impact on defense. Yes, Gonzaga had to launch a comeback against a good Memphis team. But this is still the team to beat in the Sweet 16.

Up next: vs. Arkansas (Thursday, 7:09 p.m. ET, CBS)

2. Kansas Jayhawks

Original seed: No. 1

Sweet 16 seed: No. 1

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 16 Texas Southern 83-56; defeated No. 9 Creighton 79-72

Give Greg McDermott's squad credit for delivering Kansas stiff competition even without a pair of injured starters (Ryan Kalkbrenner and Ryan Nembhard). But the story of the Jayhawks' run to the Sweet 16 this season is the emergence of Remy Martin.

The Arizona State transfer struggled to duplicate his past production (19.1 points per game in his two years with the Sun Devils) on his new team. Injuries played a role, but he also never seemed comfortable. That has changed in the postseason.

A healthy, confident Martin has elevated a program that Bill Self admitted "would not have won [Saturday's] game two months ago." In these two NCAA tournament games, Martin is averaging 17.5 PPG, (10-for-16 inside the arc, 3-for-6 from beyond) and 4.0 assists per game, all with just one turnover. This is the team we expected to see when Self added the first-team All-Pac-12 guard to his roster last year. It has taken some time, but KU is a different, better team when Martin is excelling.

Up next: vs. Providence (Friday, 7:29 p.m. ET, TBS)

3. Arizona Wildcats

Original seed: No. 1

Sweet 16 seed: No. 1

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 16 Wright State 87-70; defeated No. 9 TCU 85-80 (OT)

Nothing about that last game was pretty or simple. The TCU Horned Frogs could taste their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1968 on Sunday. Instead, Tommy Lloyd led Arizona to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2017, in his first season as a Division I head coach.

The Wildcats were outplayed in stretches, but in overtime, their stars dominated. Christian Koloko's dunk with 9.5 seconds to play -- two of his 28 points -- sealed the win for the Wildcats. Projected draft lottery pick Bennedict Mathurin (30 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals) made a multitude of clutch plays down the stretch. The two players were too good, and TCU made too many mistakes in overtime.

Yes, Arizona looked vulnerable (5-for-27 from 3) against a TCU squad that finished with an 8-10 record in Big 12 action. But some of the best teams in the nation failed to reach the second weekend of this year's NCAA tournament. Facing similar adversity, Lloyd's squad advanced against a tough TCU team.

Up next: vs. Houston (Thursday, 9:59 p.m. ET, TBS)

4. Houston Cougars

Original seed: No. 5

Sweet 16 seed: No. 1

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 12 UAB 82-68; defeated No. 4 Illinois 68-53

After his team's win over Illinois on Sunday, Kelvin Sampson ran into the locker room and ripped his shirt off in celebration with his squad. At 66 years old, he is still enjoying the journey. Clearly.

Since Jan. 1 -- days after losing top players Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark to season-ending injuries -- Houston has been ranked in the top 10 nationally in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, per Fabian White Jr.and Josh Carlton have shot 56% and 62%, respectively, from inside the arc during that stretch.

White, a fifth-year standout, recently told ESPN he stayed for another season because he did not want basketball to become a "business" for him yet. Now, he is in his third consecutive Sweet 16 with a Cougars squad that shouldn't have been a 5-seed. They're better than that.

Kyler Edwards, Jamal Shead and Taze Moore outscored the entire Illinois roster 54-53. And Houston is 11-1 in its past 12 games. Of those 11 victories, Houston has won 10 by double digits. The Cougars are dangerous.

Up next: vs. Arizona (Thursday, 9:59 p.m. ET, TBS)

5. Villanova Wildcats

Original seed: No. 2

Sweet 16 seed: No. 2

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 15 Delaware 80-60; defeated No. 7 Ohio State 71-61

Jay Wright's best teams have had similar profiles: They're efficient offensively with a high success rate at the free throw line, and they have the ability to play great defense. This current team isn't as strong defensively as Wright's 2016 and 2018 national championship squads. But the 2022 Wildcats seem to be improving in the NCAA tournament.

During its current 7-0 winning streak, Villanova's opponents have connected on just 26.6% of their 3-point attempts. Success from beyond the arc usually has more to do with the shooter than the defender. Delaware and Ohio State, however, were both in the top five in 3-point shooting in their respective leagues, and they finished a combined 10-for-42 in that metric against Villanova. The Wildcats, meanwhile, have made 36% of their contested 3s in the NCAA tournament, which is their top mark since the 2018 national title run, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Collin Gillespie, a freshman on that team, is averaging 17.0 PPG and 4.0 APG. Things could tighten up for Villanova in its next game, but the No. 1 free throw shooting team in the country (82.6%) can thrive in those situations, too.

Up next: vs. Michigan (Thursday, 7:29 p.m. ET, TBS)

6. Duke Blue Devils

Original seed: No. 2

Sweet 16 seed: No. 2

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 15 CSU Fullerton 78-61; defeated No. 7 Michigan State 85-76

Early in Sunday's game, Paolo Banchero made a shot then looked to his bench and appeared to yell, "We here!" His presence was the difference in Duke's win over Michigan State. With 2:06 to go, Banchero made a jumper to give Duke a 75-74 lead before he blocked Joey Hauser on the other end, which set up Jeremy Roach to hit a 3 to extend the advantage to a crucial four-point gap the Spartans could not close.

The sequence also was a reminder of Duke's balance of both youth and talent. There were times late in the contest when it seemed as if the young Blue Devils might stumble. But Banchero (19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one block) would not let that happen. Down the stretch, he played like the projected top-five draft pick that he is. We saw that at his best, he can do whatever Duke needs him to do to get a win.

Five Duke players, including Banchero, recorded double figures in scoring. This kind of adversity has given the Blue Devils an opportunity to grow, and it could help them in their next game.

Up next: vs. Texas Tech (Thursday, 9:39 p.m. ET, CBS)

7. Texas Tech Red Raiders

59-53 Original seed: No. 3

Sweet 16 seed: No. 2

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 14 Montana State 97-62; defeated No. 11 Notre Dame 59-53

This is Mark Adams' team now. Sure, it was Adams' team as soon as he agreed to take over for Chris Beard after he left for Texas last year. But the Beard storyline had lingered, and the Red Raiders and the Longhorns, 382 miles apart, were compared to one another all season.

This Sweet 16 run belongs to Adams, whose team outscored Notre Dame 10-1 in the final 2:09 on Sunday. It was in that stretch that Texas Tech showed the same resilience that has carried it throughout this season. In those challenging moments, the Red Raiders will always be dangerous.

Many assumed Beard was the key to the Red Raiders' success and expected their ambitions and achievements to change without him. They were wrong. The Red Raiders are ranked first in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom, and Bryson Williams is averaging 17.0 PPG through two NCAA tournament games. Three years ago, Texas Tech also was in the West Region (in Anaheim, California) and reached the Final Four. In San Francisco this year, Texas Tech hopes Adams can duplicate that result.

Up next: vs. Duke (Thursday, 9:39 p.m. ET, CBS)

8. Purdue Boilermakers

Original seed: No. 3

Sweet 16 seed: No. 2

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 14 Yale 78-56; defeated No. 6 Texas 81-71

The greatest concern about Purdue, which will make its fourth trip to the Sweet 16 since 2017, was justified at points on Sunday. A team with an adjusted defensive efficiency in the 90s is rarely a candidate for a Final Four run. As Texas bounced back from a 14-point deficit, it seemed as if that defensive weakness would cost Matt Painter, who lost to Beard's Little Rock squad in the second round of the 2016 NCAA tournament.

But Purdue's elite offense -- ranked second in adjusted efficiency -- overwhelmed Texas in the final minutes of the game. A team that was in the bonus for most of the second half turned to projected lottery pick Jaden Ivey (18 points) and its big men to stay in front of a determined Longhorns squad.

Purdue's offensive capabilities are unique. Trevion Williams led all scorers with 22 points, and he came off the bench. Ethan Morton, a reserve who has gone scoreless in 13 games this season, recorded eight points and hit two big 3s. Zach Edey (11 points, 10 rebounds) finished with a double-double on a team that went 33-for-46 at the free throw line.

Yeah, the defensive challenges could cost Purdue in the next round. But opposing teams are still left with the obstacle of defending Ivey, and one of America's most potent offensive teams.

Up next: vs. Saint Peter's (Friday, 7:09 p.m. ET, CBS)

9. Providence Friars

Original seed: No. 4

Sweet 16 seed: No. 3

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 13 South Dakota State 66-57; defeated No. 12 Richmond 79-51

After leading his team to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1997, Ed Cooley reminded Providence's doubters that the Big East regular-season champions are "in the damn building." His enthusiasm was warranted. The Friars were a trendy pick to lose to South Dakota State in the first round and then had to tussle with a Richmond squad -- which had stopped Iowa, the Big Ten tournament champion with one of the nation's most powerful offensive attacks -- in the second round.

Providence held South Dakota State, the nation's top 3-point shooting team, to a 7-for-23 mark (30%) from beyond the arc. The Friars then shot 54% from 3 -- with five players scoring in double figures, asNoah Horchler led the way with 16 points -- in Saturday's win over Richmond. The chip on Providence's shoulder has helped the team beat a couple of dangerous underdogs, as the Friars have reminded us all that they deserve more credit for topping a tough Big East.

Up next: vs. Kansas (Friday, 7:29 p.m. ET, TBS)

10. North Carolina Tar Heels

Original seed: No. 8

Sweet 16 seed: No. 3

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 9 Marquette 95-63; defeated No. 1 Baylor 93-86 (OT)

You can look at Saturday's outcome a couple of ways: either a North Carolina team with a 25-point lead in the second half had to outplay Baylor in overtime to earn a trip to the Sweet 16 (and that should be concerning); or fending off the defending national champions with a miraculous comeback and one of your best players in the locker room demanded a lot of determination and validated this team's 8-1 rally in its past nine games.

Hubert Davis will choose the latter. With 10:08 left to play on Saturday, UNC had a 67-42 lead when Brady Manek (26 points, 4-for-6 from 3) was ejected for a flagrant foul 2 on Jeremy Sochan -- and still found a way to beat a top seed. Since Feb. 16, North Carolina has defeated both Duke and Baylor. The Tar Heels are also in a region (East) that has lost its top two seeds (Kentucky, Baylor) and features a 15-seed (Saint Peter's). A run to New Orleans for UNC would not be shocking anymore.

Up next: vs. UCLA (Friday, 9:39 p.m. ET, CBS)

11. Michigan Wolverines

Original seed: No. 11

Sweet 16 seed: No. 3

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 6 Colorado State 75-63; defeated No. 3 Tennessee 76-68

The viral clip of Juwan Howard's postgame incident with Wisconsin's Joe Krabbenhoft seemed to sum up the Michigan season. The Wolverines were a top-five team entering 2021-22 but never lived up to those expectations, and then they lost Howard to a five-game suspension just as they were pushing to get into the NCAA tournament. When their name was called on Selection Sunday, many thought theWolverines should have been sent to the First Four.

Michigan has proved it belongs, however. And it reached this stage with limited time from starting point guard DeVante' Jones, who missed the first-round game against Colorado State and the entire second half against Tennessee due to concussion protocols. But Hunter Dickinson (24.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.5 blocks per game, 3-for-6 from 3 through the first two NCAA tournament games) is playing like a superstar for a Michigan squad that clearly has some staying power.

And Howard now has to deal with another viral clip: the one that shows him consoling Tennessee's Kennedy Chandler after Saturday's game.

Up next: vs. Villanova (Thursday, 7:29 p.m. ET, TBS)

12. UCLA Bruins

Original seed: No. 4

Sweet 16 seed: No. 3

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 13 Akron 57-53; defeated No. 5 Saint Mary's 72-56

If the 2020 NCAA tournament had been held, Mick Cronin would potentially be making his third tourney appearance in his three years as the Bruins' coach. Against a Saint Mary's team ranked in the top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom, the Bruins shot 56% from the field and finished 4-for-9 from the 3-point line to reach a second consecutive Sweet 16.

The good news for UCLA? Johnny Juzang (14 points on 6-for-11 shooting, eight rebounds) played his best game since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for multiple games last month. The bad news for UCLA? Jaime Jaquez Jr. (15 points) suffered a nasty ankle injury that could force him to miss the Sweet 16.

Cronin said after the game that if Jaquez can walk, he will try to play, but there are no guarantees. If Jaquez is healthy, the Bruins -- who have committed just 14 total turnovers through two NCAA tournament games -- have a real chance to make a run to New Orleans in a region (East) that no longer has Kentucky or Baylor.

Up next: vs. North Carolina (Friday, 9:39 p.m. ET, CBS)

13. Arkansas Razorbacks

Original seed: No. 4

Sweet 16 seed: No. 4

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 13 Vermont 75-71; defeated No. 12 New Mexico State 53-48

Arkansas and New Mexico State played Saturday's ugliest game. JD Notae (18 points) led a Razorbacks team that made just 28% of its field goal attempts. Its two advantages? A 12-0 edge in transition and a 22-for-25 mark from the free throw line. Per ESPN Stats & Info data, Arkansas' 53 points were the lowest tally ever for an SEC team that won an NCAA tournament game. Arkansas is now 17-3 in its past 20 games, though.

Eric Musselman's team orchestrated that turnaround after losing its first three SEC games via the league's best defense. It is no small feat to hold the WAC's top offensive team -- or any Division I team, really -- to 48 points. It is difficult, however, to go on a run in the NCAA tournament with limited 3-point shooting (30.5% this season). But most of Arkansas' opponents have failed to play to their potential during the Razorbacks' current rally. Maybe that's their ticket: counting on being the superior team in a grind-it-out Sweet 16 matchup.

Up next: vs. Gonzaga (Thursday, 7:09 p.m. ET, CBS)

14. Miami Hurricanes

Original seed: No. 10

Sweet 16 seed: No. 4

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 7 USC 68-66; defeated No. 2 Auburn 79-61

After his team's win over Auburn -- which had been viewed as a potential top seed for the bulk of the season -- Jim Larranaga stood next to point guard Charlie Moore and smiled. "He's our Chris Paul," Larranaga said. Early in the win over the Tigers on Sunday, Moore dribbled past Walker Kessler, who anticipated a drive to the rim. Instead, Moore just stopped. Kessler bumped into him and committed his first foul of the night. A second foul soon sidelined Kessler for a chunk of the first half.

It's those veteran plays and moments, coupled with Moore's overall production -- he finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals against Auburn -- that will send Miami to the Sweet 16 for the first time in six years. Moore, who is competing at his fourth school, will return to Chicago, his hometown, for the second weekend of the tournament after Miami thumped the SEC's regular-season champion, which is anchored by projected lottery pick Jabari Smith (3-for-16 on Sunday).

The Hurricanes will enter the Sweet 16 assuming they can beat anyone. And why shouldn't they?

Up next: vs. Iowa State (Friday, 9:59 p.m. ET, TBS)

15. Iowa State Cyclones

Original seed: No. 11

Sweet 16 seed: No. 4

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 6 LSU 59-54; defeated No. 3 Wisconsin 54-49

T.J. Otzelberger grew up in Milwaukee, where he defeated Wisconsin, the premier Division I program in his home state, on Sunday. In doing so, he led his team to the Sweet 16 for the sixth time in school history -- and for the second time since 2016. He had always viewed Iowa State as his dream job, and now the Cyclones, in his first season, have gone from a two-win team a year ago to a second-weekend team. Izaiah Brockington (17.3 PPG, 7.0 rebounds per game) has been his top player, but Tyrese Hunter (23 points in the first-round win over LSU), Gabe Kalscheur (a game-high 22 points on Sunday) and other players have been tapped to lead, too.

Once you get past the romantic storyline of this team's rise, remember that the Cyclones have forced turnovers on 25.5% of their opponents' possessions since March 1. Wisconsin, No. 1 nationally in turnover rate entering the game, coughed up the ball 17 times.

The Cyclones don't have any sexy metrics to call them a Final Four sleeper. Then again, a team picked to finish last in the Big 12 was not supposed to make it this far, either.

Up next: vs. Miami (Friday, 9:59 p.m. ET, TBS)

16. Saint Peter's Peacocks

Original seed: No. 15

Sweet 16 seed: No. 4

2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 2 Kentucky 85-79 (OT); defeated No. 7 Murray State 70-60

On Feb. 20, Siena (255th on KenPom) hosted Saint Peter's and won 84-70. In that game, the Saints connected on 58% of their shots inside the arc. How did that same Saint Peter's team reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history? Shaheen Holloway has spent the past few days highlighting his team's New York and New Jersey swagger and toughness. Sure, some of that is just coaching clichés. But the numbers tell a different story.

This is not the same team that lost to Siena a month ago. Until that point in the season, the Peacocks' opponents had connected on 48% of their 2-point attempts (85th in the country, per During their current 10-game winning streak -- extended by Saturday's victory against a Murray State squad that hadn't lost a game in more than three months -- the Peacocks have boasted America's top defense inside the 3-point line, with a 35.8% clip allowed. Kentucky (47.8% inside the arc) and Murray State (35.7%) both struggled to get shots that had otherwise fallen all season against an undersized Saint Peter's squad, which is on its way to the second weekend with a tangibly improved defense.

Up next: vs. Purdue (Friday, 7:09 p.m. ET, CBS)

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