Sports | March 19, 2018 9:19 am

NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Contains Many Surprises

Gone are trendy picks like Virginia, Xavier, North Carolina Michigan State, Arizona and Tennessee.

Loyola-Chicago Ramblers players celebrate winning the NCAA Div I Men's Championship Second Round basketball game between Loyola-Chicago and Tennessee on March 17. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Loyola-Chicago Ramblers players celebrate winning the NCAA Div I Men's Championship Second Round basketball game between Loyola-Chicago and Tennessee on March 17. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

March, as they say, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

The same could be said of many of the top seeds in this year’s NCAA tournament as a good number of the schools that were considered to be championship contenders heading into March Madness have already exited in weak fashion.

Following two rounds of play, there are only two No. 1 seeds (Kansas and Villanova), two No. 2 seeds (Purdue and Duke) and two No. 3 seeds (Michigan and Texas Tech) that are still active.

Gone are top-seeded Virginia and Xavier, defending national champs North Carolina and trendy champion picks like Michigan State, Arizona, Tennessee and Cincinnati. The UMBC Retrievers, who became the first No. 16 seed in the history of the men’s tournament to beat a No. 1 seed, are also gone from the tournament after losing to Kansas State University on Sunday.

“It’s what makes March Madness special and it kills the coaches because it’s so hard and you think you have a great team,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber told The Associated Press. “It’s March Madness and you never know what’s going to happen.”

The Sweet 16 kicks off on Thursday night. Here’s a look at the remaining teams and their matchups by region:

South: No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Kansas State; No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago
West: No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Florida State; No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 7 Texas A&M
Midwest: No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 5 Clemson; No. 2 Duke vs. No. 11 Syracuse
East: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 5 West Virginia; No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 3 Texas Tech