The NCAA tournament is now officially a beauty pageant. Just 16 teams remain (Sweet 16) out of the 68 teams that began less than a week ago.
No. 13 Ohio University and No. 11 North Carolina State are the only two real Cinderellas remaining in the field. No. 10 Xavier might be considered a Cinderella but recent tournament success disqualifies them in my estimation.
Xavier and Florida greatly benefited from earlier upsets. Lehigh shocked Duke in the opening round giving Xavier a better path to the Sweet 16. Florida’s thank-you card should go to Norfolk State who disposed of No. 2 Missouri. Both Xavier and Florida had tournament history on their side. No 15th-seeded teams have ever advanced to the Sweet 16.
There are plenty of traditional powers remaining. For example all the No. 1 seeds are still playing—Kentucky, Michigan State, Noth Carolina and Syracuse. Then you have teams such as Florida and Kansas. So besides a few bumps on the Final Four highway, the selection committee did another good job.
The window for upsets is becoming smaller. But wouldn’t it be great if Ohio and NC State could keep advancing? I cannot give Xavier any love because the Musketeers play Baylor Friday night.