After a record number of upsets in the first weekend of March Madness, the 2016 NCAA Tournament got a lot more predictable on Thursday, as the first set of Sweet 16 games featured seeds holding and upsets not happening.
No. 1 seeds Kansas and Oregon and No. 2 seeds Oklahoma and Villanova all won in relatively easy fashion, with all four of their victories coming by at least 14 points. The average margin of victory over the four games? A healthy 19.3 points, boosted significantly by Villanova's 23-point obliteration of No. 3 Miami.
The chalk prevailing was just the latest bit of remarkable sanity from the so-called "left" side of the bracket, where the South and West regions yielded just one team lower than a No. 4 seed in the Sweet Sixteen. And even that team was just No. 5 Maryland, considered a national title contender before the 2015-16 season began.
With just 11 games left in the season's flagship tournament, virtually every Cinderella has already been turned back from the inner sanctum of the ballroom. Only No. 10 Syracuse and No. 11 Gonzaga remain as potential double-digit seeds-turned-Final Four participants, and while one of the two teams will get an Elite Eight shot by virtue of their Friday matchup in the Sweet Sixteen, it feels like time is running out on underdogs.
If you picked chalk in your office pool, you probably don't need another printable NCAA Tournament bracket. But if you didn't, you could grab our PDF and pretend you did!
Sweet Sixteen results and schedule (all times Eastern)
Thursday, March 24
No. 2 Villanova 92, No. 3 Miami 69
No. 2 Oklahoma 77, No. 3 Texas A&M 63
No. 1 Kansas 79, No. 5 Maryland 63
No. 1 Oregon 82, No. 4 Duke 68
Friday, March 25
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Iowa State (Midwest), 7:10 p.m.
No. 6 Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Wisconsin (East), 7:27 p.m.
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Indiana (East), 9:40 p.m.
No. 10 Syracuse vs. No. 11 Gonzaga (Midwest), 9:57 p.m.
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March Madness: Does 6-seed Notre Dame qualify as a Cinderella story?
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