The Starting Five Sweet Sixteen Rankings

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Before Jerold Wells Jr. posts his picks later on this week, I wanted to have a little fun and rank the Sweet 16. It’s crazy that despite all the criticism the NCAA has had to deal with, two brackets have the top four seeds intact and the other two have the top three still bangin’. I guess they got it right huh? Could this be the second year in a row the top 4 seeds get to Final Four?


All times EST

East and West games played on March 26. Games start at 7:27 and 9:57 pm in East and staggered twenty minutes later in West.

Midwest and South games played on March 27. Games start at 7:07 and 9:37 pm in Midwest and staggered twenty minutes later in South.

East Region in Boston, Massachusetts

#1 seed Pittsburgh Panthers vs. #4 seed Xavier Musketeers, followed by # 2 seed Duke Blue Devils vs. #3 seed Villanova Wildcats.

West Region in Glendale, Arizona

#1 seed Connecticut Huskies vs. #5 seed Purdue Boilermakers followed by #2 seed Memphis Tigers vs. #3 seed Missouri Tigers.

Midwest Region in Indianapolis, Indiana

#1 seed (overall) Louisville Cardinals vs. # 12 seed Arizona Wildcats, followed by the #2 seed Michigan State Spartans vs # 3 seed Kansas Jayhawks (defending champs).

South Region in Memphis, Tennessee

#1 seed North Carolina Tarheels vs. #4 Gonzaga Bulldogs, followed by #2 seed Oklahoma Sooners vs. #3 seed Syracuse Orangemen.

Here’s how I rank ’em.

1. Louisville Cardinals–Terrence Williams is top flight security of the world Craig…not just the city, but the world Craig. He will shoot your eye out kid, bang on you, dish you a nice shiny that he’ll also steal on the defensive end and grab every Mo Malone in sight. Defense, defense, defense plus threes for your ass. Louisville is scary and if their press is effective, game over.

2. Connecticut Huskies–Front line defense plus Price shooting equals almost unstoppable. The two previous times Coach Calhoun missed tournament games, they won it all. Hasheem Thabeet is like seven twelve and wipes everything, Stanley Robinson will bang it on you in reverse from the foul line and Jerome Dyson is the best assistant a head coach could have. What worries me is they haven’t had a decent opponent yet.

3. Pittsburgh Panthers–Levance Fields has been at Pitt for like 15 years. Dude has grey hairs and shit. His squad is battle Big East tested like their remaining conference look-a-likes. Dejuan Blair is a monster who sleeps under your bed at night…chasing you down before you run and turn off the light. Sam Young eats up everyone who is in front of him trying to play D. Pitt has never beaten a team seeded higher than six in the tournament. Hmmm.

4. Memphis Tigers–This team deserved a number one seed and they will prove it to you. Get ’em Reke! I want to see if this team can finish. Coach Cal keeps ’em going and going with his team self demoralizing style but who can argue with 27 straight? UNLV of the new millennium. Memphis will get after it with crazy athleticism.

5. North Carolina Tarheels–Tywon is a beast and Wayne Ellington is my mans but they ain’t winning it all folks so stop…just stop. Too light in the ass down low. The ACC Conference is way overrated.

6. Villanova Wildcats–Playing at the Wachovia Center put some Broad Street Bully in them or like AG likes to say…made them “Supa Tough!”. Scottie Reynolds, Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson go hard every trip up and down. Pretty boy Jay Wright plugs ’em in and out and please don’t sleep on Corey Fisher.

7. Syracuse Orangemen–Everything you need to win a title–plus a sick zone. Paul Harris is a strong safety playing behind two bigs, shooters everywhere with no conscious and the indescribable Jonny Flynn–who has biggest heart left to go along with his Hall of Fame coach’s mind.

8. Michigan State Spartans–Every senior who has played under Izzo has made it to the Final Four. Sorry Jemele, I just can’t speak on them Flint boys like that. Damn.

9. Oklahoma Sooners–Blake Griffin and uh….Blake Griffin. What else? To their credit, it looks like they made the right decision in giving Jeff Capel the job huh? I just don’t think they shoot well enough as a team.

10. Missouri Tigers–Mike Anderson learned from the best and 40 minutes is still hell. Great passing team. Memphis and Missouri will be the most entertaining contest this weekend. Don’t get up, ya might miss something.

11. Duke Blue Devils–See #4…without Lawson and Ellington. Henderson is nice but NC and Duke are nothing more than ambassadors for the sport…and that ain’t a good thing.

12. Kansas Jayhawks–You think this is low? So what. Dude, Cole Aldrich is getting trip dubs. ‘Nuff said. Sherron Collins is a leader among men and Bill Self is one of the best coaches left, but the Jayhawks are too damn young.

13. Xavier Musketeers–Sean Miller played for Pitt and threw the pass that Jerome Lane made glass. Why do cats take charges? I know his grand kids will look at him funny. The ball bounced off his dome and everything. Anyway, Sean Miller is one of the best player coaches in the land and will have his squad ready for his alma mater but I just don’t see it happening. He’s building something nice there though.

14. Arizona Wildcats–Coach Pennell is looking to pull a Steve Fisher and still won’t get the job. NBA talent all over the floor. St. Mary’s who?

15. Gonzaga Bulldogs–Jeremy Pargo is another one of those cats who has been around since LeBron was playing with marbles and scribbling on his Momma’s walls with fat crayons. Josh Heytvelt is do everything and the rest of the Zags come at you in patient and disciplined waves. They are not just glad to be here. Will not be surprised if they rise to the occasion and upset the Heels.

16. Purdue Boilermakers–Every team in the Big Ten was suspect besides Michigan State. Nothing to see here. They will be terribly out rebounded against UConn.

Unrelated, but check this out…

Black Mustard?

6 Responses to “The Starting Five Sweet Sixteen Rankings”

  1. […] The fellas at The Starting Five rank the 16 teams left in the Big Dance. Can’t say I agree with Purdue being 16th, but we’ll let their rankings do the talking – [The Starting Five] […]

  2. Temple3 says:


    Those are really nice write ups. I think it’s really tough to differentiate between most of these teams. I could see any combination of wins and losses this weekend and wouldn’t be all that surprised. With a bit of luck and quiet officials, these could be best Sweet 16 games ever. These teams really match up well against one another.

    On Louisville, I agree that Williams is the guy. My concern with them is that after Williams and Earl Clark, I don’t see much. I think they’re susceptible to losing the 2nd weekend game if either of them have to exert too much energy in the first game.

    I think Purdue is better than you think they are. From the little bit that I’ve seen (and I’m no fan of Big 10 basketball), they’ll be able to hold their own on the boards. And, that team lives in the weight room. They’re not athletic enough to matchup with UConn, but if the coaches can keep the game in the 60’s and it boils (no pun intended) down to execution, Purdue could shock the world.

    The game that you just cannot miss is Memphis-Missouri. That game should make you sweat before the tip. (I’ve gotta say, though, that a healthy Dion James would have had Marquette in this game — and I’d take Marquette over MSU any day.)

    I think Villanova-Duke will come down to how closely the game is officiated. If its Whistle City, Duke wins by 3. If guys are allowed to bang, I like Villanova by about 10 or 12.

    Michigan State doesn’t move me. I think the confidence from the holdovers from last year’s team will be enough to nudge Kansas over the top.

    I feel you on Syracuse. They really have to be the team that no one wants to play — including the big three from the Big East. They force you to play their style and they look like a well-oiled machine.

    I’m kind of surprised you’re not giving Carolina more love. Then again — like you said, they’re a little LITA.

    However it plays out, I’m hoping for close games, a little overtime (not for Syracuse — they don’t know when to go home), and a few buzzzzzzzzer beaters.

  3. Mizzo says:

    Yeah bruh. I’m just not sold on ACC basketball anymore. It’s becoming a sideshow. I remember speaking with Tywon, Ellington and Brandan Wright at the Jordan Classic when they were incoming freshman (That was a great game with Thad Young, LeMarcus Aldridge, Sherron Collins, Demond Carter and Kevin Durant) and I think they would have been better off playing elsewhere. They…with the exception of Lawson…don’t have the same look in their eyes. I’ve learned you can tell a lot just from that look. Iverson has it, Rose has it, Paul has it, Kobe, LeBron, Kidd…etc.

    I will not miss that Mizzou/Memphis game. I feel you on Marquette. I’ll never forget seeing James chew on that towel in the closing minutes. Priceless image.

    You are right about Willilams, but when Pitino has a do everything anchor…he’s problems for the rest of the country. Think back to the cat that shimmmmmied.

    The Purdue number had a lot to do with their opponent. JaJuan Johnson wipes it clean down low. He’s got his hands full in this game though. Good luck young fella.

  4. emmanuel rodiguez says:

    arizona is gonna shock the world tomorrow!!!!

    wooohooo wildcats!!!

  5. […] can admit I was wrong. My foot is still in  mouth, so I’ll write what I have to […]

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