March Madness – Reseeding the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball Elite Eight


Our 2022 NCAA tournament brackets are broken. All of them. And the uncle who claims he had Saint Peter’s in the Elite Eight? He’s lying for the ninth year in a row. We’ve never seen his actual bracket.

Your sibling who said they picked Miami to make the Elite Eight for the first time? Sure. And yeah, every Duke fan knew Coach K would reach the Elite Eight in his final season. OK.

At this point in the season, however, nothing makes sense in a field that features just one top seed (Kansas) among the final eight.

That brings us to our reseeding of the Elite Eight. At this point, what does that even mean? Well, we hope it means that we’re taking a hard look at the remaining teams and telling you where we think they all stand right now.

But everyone on this list is a good team that should pat itself on the back for reaching the stage. And every team on this list has done something to make you think that a run to New Orleans is possible.

Here’s where we think they all stand.


1. Kansas Jayhawks
Original seed: No. 1
Elite Eight seed: No. 1
2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 16 Texas Southern 83-56; defeated No. 9 Creighton 79-72; defeated No. 4 Providence 66-61

In 2020-21, Remy Martin recorded four games with 30 points or more for Arizona State. With Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack returning from the previous season, Kansas didn’t need any additional pieces. Still, Martin’s arrival through the transfer portal over the summer expanded the talent pool for a squad that was already considered a national championship contender.

Then his season stalled, thanks to a lingering knee injury. Even when he was available for long stretches at the start of the season, Martin never looked like the first team all-Pac-12 player who had averaged 19.1 PPG in back-to-back seasons before coming to Lawrence. As Kansas continued to excel, he had challenges finding a role on a team that had established players at every spot on the floor and reliable reserves.

But this, right now, is the Remy Martin we thought we would see back in November. This is the Remy Martin who has given Bill Self a significant opportunity to win his second national title. Since the start of the Big 12 tournament, KU’s opponents have made just 39.8% of their shots inside the arc. That defense is guiding this team. And Martin has been consistent, averaging 19.3 PPG and connecting on 64% of his shots inside the arc and 40% of his 3-point attempts in the NCAA tournament.

Five months ago, we wondered what Kansas’ ceiling was: “How good can Kansas be if Martin becomes the same star he was in the Pac-12?” Now we have the answer.

Up next: vs. Miami (Sunday, 2:20 p.m. ET, CBS)

2. Houston Cougars
Original seed: No. 5
Elite Eight seed: No. 1
2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 12 UAB 82-68; defeated No. 4 Illinois 68-53; defeated No. 1 Arizona 72-60

Kelvin Sampson is still taking his shirt off and celebrating with his guys after leading Houston to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season. But 2022’s run is even more impressive. After the Cougars bowed out of last year’s Final Four, they lost their No. 1 and 3 scorers, Quentin Grimes and DeJon Jarreau. Then, an injury in December ended the 2021-22 season for Marcus Sasser, who had taken over from Grimes as the No. 1 scorer for Houston. Tramon Mark, who averaged 7.8 PPG last season, also suffered a year-ending injury in December. And just like that, Sampson had a team that, it seemed, might struggle to win the American Athletic Conference title.

But this group has been tenacious. It is 12-1 in its last 13 games, 11 of which were won by 12 points or more. Since Feb. 17, the Cougars have made 55% of their shots inside the arc and grabbed 38% of their missed shots, per Barttorvik.com. They have won their three NCAA tournament games by 41 points combined. Fabian White Jr. and Josh Carlton have provided the toughness around the rim. And Kyler Edwards, who transferred from Texas Tech, has averaged 17.4 PPG and connected on 46% of his 3-point attempts in his last five games. Houston is not just a great story. Houston is a serious contender to win the national championship.

Up next: vs. Villanova (Saturday, 6:09 p.m. ET, TBS)

3. Duke Blue Devils
Original seed: No. 2
Elite Eight seed: No. 1
2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 15 CSU Fullerton 78-61; defeated No. 7 Michigan State 85-76; defeated No. 3 Texas Tech 78-73

Youth can be a challenge at this stage in the season, even if those young players might soon become millionaires with NBA contracts. When Duke lost to North Carolina in Mike Krzyzewski’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, it seemed as if the pressure was getting to a Duke team that’s anchored by young talent. Maybe this spotlight was all too much for them. The defeat tempered expectations of Duke in the postseason. It was also a reminder that most young teams have struggled to match the hype. The only programs in the one-and-done era (after 2005) that have national championships either had Anthony Davis (Kentucky in 2012) or three first-round NBA draft picks (Duke in 2015).

On Thursday, however, we all witnessed the promise of a team stacked with young stars. Duke had been locked in a wild game with Texas Tech, which boasted the top defense in America. The game featured 11 ties and 13 lead changes. The team that turned the corner in the last 10 minutes would win. That team was Duke. Paolo Banchero (24 points) hit a pair of crucial 3s late in the game. Mark Williams (16 points, eight rebounds, three blocks) kept playing over the top of an undersized Red Raiders squad. Jeremy Roach rumbled into the paint for clutch plays down the stretch. AJ Griffin (3-for-7 from 3) had been fearless. It was a reminder that, yes, this Duke team is young. But when the game comes down to the final plays in this tournament, the Blue Devils will have the superior talent. That reality is why they’re still fighting and playing for a shot at the Final Four on Saturday. That reality is why Coach K could win his sixth and final national championship.

Up next: vs. Arkansas (Saturday, 8:49 p.m. ET, TBS)

4. Villanova Wildcats
Original seed: No. 2
Elite Eight seed: No. 1
2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 15 Delaware 80-60; defeated No. 7 Ohio State 71-61; defeated No. 11 Michigan 63-55

One of the most painful images of 2020-21 unfolded when Collin Gillespie limped off the floor against Creighton on March 3, after suffering a season-ending knee injury. He had not been diagnosed yet with a torn MCL, but the silence in the building was palpable. Villanova fans knew it was bad. Gillespie would eventually decide to rehab and return for a fifth season, taking advantage of the NCAA’s COVID rules that granted every player another year of college eligibility. Now, the point guard has committed turnovers on just 13.5% of his possessions and made 42% of his 3-point attempts through the Wildcats’ three tournament wins, per Barttorvik.com.

Steady point guards (see: Ryan Arcidiacono and Jalen Brunson) were critical pieces for Villanova’s 2015-16 and 2017-18 squads that won national titles. But there’s another similarity between the three teams: their late-season dominance. The 2015-16 Wildcats finished 11-1 in their last 12 games; only three of those wins were decided by single digits. The 2017-18 squad won 13 of its final 14 games, with only one of those decided by single digits. This year? Villanova is 13-1 in its last 14. It has played more close contests than the previous title teams, but the Wildcats are trending in the same direction.

Up next: vs. Houston (Saturday, 6:09 p.m. ET, TBS)

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Arkansas stuns Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 as the 4-seed Razorbacks advance to the Elite Eight.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks
Original seed: No. 4
Elite Eight seed: No. 2
2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 13 Vermont 75-71; defeated No. 12 New Mexico State 53-48; defeated No. 1 Gonzaga 74-68

Twenty years ago, Eric Musselman was named head coach of the Golden State Warriors. He was in his late 30s, and he had secured his dream job. Two years later, he was fired after missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Musselman mentioned the arc of his storyline on Thursday after he led his Arkansas team to a win over Gonzaga, the No. 1 overall seed. He told ESPN it felt more special to achieve the win in the Bay Area. But Arkansas is not just the team that cost fans a chance to see a heavyweight matchup between Gonzaga and Duke on Saturday. It’s a program that continues to find an edge in tight games. All of its NCAA tournament games have been decided by an average of five points.

Although the postgame narrative has centered on what Gonzaga failed to do, it has also minimized what the Razorbacks achieved: This will be their second consecutive Elite Eight appearance, and second Elite Eight trip since 1995. Against a team with projected top-three NBA draft pick Chet Holmgren and likely All-American Drew Timme on the court, 6-foot-10 NBA prospect Jaylin Williams held his own. JD Notae was too quick for Gonzaga’s guards. Au’Diese Toney, Trey Wade and Stanley Umude were too athletic. If the Razorbacks can beat the most dominant team in college basketball this season, then nothing is impossible for this group, which has committed turnovers on just 11.7% of its possessions since the start of the NCAA tournament.

Up next: vs. Duke (Saturday, 8:49 p.m. ET, TBS)

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North Carolina has a pair of back-to-back 3s from Caleb Love and a clutch tip from Armando Bacot down the stretch to advance to the Elite Eight.

6. North Carolina Tar Heels
Original seed: No. 8
Elite Eight seed: No. 2
2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 9 Marquette 95-63; defeated No. 1 Baylor 93-86 (OT); defeated No. 4 UCLA 73-66

There were a lot of moving parts on this North Carolina roster at the start of the 2021-22 season. Head coach Hubert Davis had been an assistant for nearly nine years under Roy Williams in Chapel Hill, but the role still takes some time to get used to. There were new faces, such as Oklahoma transfer Brady Manek, trying to fit in with the returning players. Everything had to come together for this team to hit its stride.

“Something that I like about our team is that we can change, we can adjust, we can pivot, in order for us to be better out there on the floor,” Davis said earlier this season. “But I’m also hopeful that there’s a game where we don’t have to and we play great the entire game.”

Entering Friday’s 73-66 win over UCLA in the Sweet 16, the Tar Heels had been the best team in America since March 5 — 21st in adjusted offensive efficiency, seventh in adjusted defensive efficiency — the night they beat Duke in Coach K’s final home game, per Barttorvik.com. The program had embraced the continuity Davis had craved.

This is also a group of players, however, that have bonded and settled into their respective roles. Caleb Love scored 27 of his 30 points in the second half against the Bruins. It was no secret that North Carolina would continue to go to him down the stretch. But Love’s teammates made room for him to shine. Armando Bacot ‘s hard screens. The Tar Heels’ rebounding to get second-chance opportunities. The spacing. The goal was clear: let the teammate with the hot hands go to work. That’s the sign of a squad that’s come together at the right time.

Up next: vs. Saint Peter’s (Sunday, 5:05 p.m. ET, CBS)

7. Saint Peter’s Peacocks
Original seed: No. 15
Elite Eight seed: No. 2
2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 2 Kentucky 85-79 (OT); defeated No. 7 Murray State 70-60; defeated No. 3 Purdue 67-64

If you go back and read the old press clippings about Shaheen Holloway when he was at Seton Hall, you’ll learn that his team frequently relied on him. With his squad set to face Oklahoma State in the Sweet 16 in 2000, all eyes were on the health of Holloway, who had suffered an ankle injury in the round of 32.

“We’ve tried everything we can,” a team trainer told the Washington Post at the time. “He’s gone from two crutches to one yesterday to none today. It’ll be up to the doctor and him.”

This idea that Holloway changes programs is worth addressing, after his Saint Peter’s squad became the first 15-seed in NCAA tournament history to reach the Elite Eight with a 67-64 win over 3-seed Purdue on Friday.

This Peacocks team has embodied the strength and tenacity that made Holloway an essential player for those Seton Hall squads. It’s one thing to hit a bunch of 3s and beat a top team because you were just hot that day. But that’s not what happened against Purdue. That’s not what has happened throughout this tournament. The Peacocks were better than Kentucky in the final minutes of a close first-round game. They outlasted a Murray State team that hadn’t lost in a month. And then they beat a Purdue squad Friday led by projected lottery pick Jaden Ivey and two of the top big men in the league, Zach Edey and Trevion Williams.

Their roster is full of players who weren’t ranked out of high school. But they were aggressive and won at the free throw line (19-for-21) and via defensive pressure that refused to give the Boilermakers anything easy in the final minutes. KC Ndefo had fouled out. Didn’t matter. Down the stretch, point guard Matthew Lee (11 assists, two turnovers through three NCAA tournament games) refused to let the Boilermakers change his team’s identity. And now Saint Peter’s has made history.

Up next: vs. North Carolina (Sunday, 5:05 p.m. ET, CBS)

8. Miami Hurricanes
Original seed: No. 10
Elite Eight seed: No. 2
2022 tournament record:
Defeated No. 7 USC 68-66; defeated No. 2 Auburn 79-61; defeated No. 11 Iowa State 70-56

Miami had multiple opportunities during the regular season to earn a higher seed on Selection Sunday. The Hurricanes had been involved in a handful of close games: They were swept by Florida State in two one-point games. There was a three-point loss to Virginia and a one-point loss to Virginia Tech. All games that the Hurricanes — who beat Duke and North Carolina — could have won, to add additional wins to a résumé that doesn’t tell the full story about their season. And that can be the difference in the NCAA tournament. A team, on paper, can look better or worse than it really is.

Miami clearly has the talent to compete against the best teams in America. Kameron McGusty (27 points on Friday) has been a leader for this group. Sixth-year standout Charlie Moore is a trusted veteran presence. Miami’s 6-foot-10 center Sam Waardenburg has made 42% of his 3-point attempts this season. And Miami has now defeated a good Pac-12 team (USC), the SEC champion (Auburn) and an Iowa State team that had orchestrated one of the nation’s greatest turnarounds after winning just two games last season. Jim Larrañaga has put it all together to lead Miami to its first Elite Eight appearance in school history.

Up next: vs. Kansas (Sunday, 2:20 p.m. ET, CBS)

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