My bracket is completely shot (thanks a lot, Kansas), so to occupy my time, I thought it would be fun to rank the teams remaining in the tournament. You're likely to see a lot of these over the next few days -- ESPN's national ranking being one of them -- but know that I am very knowledgeable and everyone else is full of crap. So, with that in mind, here we go...
Most people have Kentucky in this spot, but I think Syracuse was the better team during the season, and their response in the first two rounds to losing games at the end of the season has been impressive. Right now, they're my favorites to win the national championship (if I am voting with my head, not my heart).
They have looked beyond dominant in the first two games, but the matchups (any #16 seed, a lifeless Wake Forest team) have been very favorable. The key is watching the Cats respond to anything looking like adversity. They're young and extremely talented, but they're also very pouty, and a well-disciplined team like Cornell may give them fits. Cornell might not win, but I bet UK doesn't look nearly as good to people once this game is over.
3. West Virginia
WVU isn't going to win pretty, but they've shown a long track record this season of simply winning, which is good enough at this point. Missouri brought a very difficult style of play to the Mountaineers, but it was handled with relative ease. Washington will bring a similar up-tempo look, and I am expecting the same result, minus the FG droughts of the second half.
4. Ohio State
Evan Turner is a monster, that much we know. Beyond that, though, I think Ohio State is better top-to-bottom than is Duke, but it's pretty close. At this point, Ohio State has to be the biggest favorite to make the Final Four, simply out of their draw for the next two games (Tennessee, then either a depleted Michigan State or an overachieving Nothern Iowa).
Originally, I liked Baylor to make it out of this region, and I still haven't 100% changed my mind, but Duke has cruised through the first two rounds, looking better than Baylor along the way. They're still too top heavy (Smith, Single, and Scheyer), but so far, those three have been plenty enough. Something tells me, long before the championship game, they'll need production from someone else. The only problem is, who?
6. Kansas State
8. Northern Iowa
11. St. Mary's
16. Michigan State
*** Also: Please, everyone, add your own top 16 ranking in the comments.