NCAA Tournament 2011: Power Ranking Championship Chances of Sweet 16 Teams

Brett Appley@@BrettAppleyCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2011

NCAA Tournament 2011: Power Ranking Championship Chances of Sweet 16 Teams

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts in the first half while taking on the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlot
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    March Madness is in full-swing right now, with the field of 68 being narrowed to only 16.

    This year's tournament has brought on a lot of surprises, as well as the typical powerhouse beat-downs.

    Here's a look at who's still left:

    East Region: (1) Ohio State, (2) UNC, (4) Kentucky, (11) Marquette

    West Region: (1) Duke, (2) SDSU, (3) UConn, (5) Arizona

    Southwest Region: (1) Kansas, (10) Florida State, (11) VCU, (12) Richmond

    Southeast Region: (2) Florida, (3) BYU, (4) Wisconsin, (8) Butler

    All 16 teams have the same goal of winning a championship, but only one team will be cutting down the nets at the end of the tournament.

No. 16. Marquette Golden Eagles

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    CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 20: Joseph Fulce #21 and Darius Johnson-Odom #1 of the Marquette Golden Eagles celebrate with teammates after defeating the Syracuse Orange during the third of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Marquette has almost no chance to win the championship, plain and simple.

    I'm not saying this because they are the worst team left in the field, because they are clearly not. They've already beaten two quality teams in Xavier and Syracuse.

    Still, they would have to potentially beat UNC, Ohio State, Duke, and Kansas to cut down the nets and that just isn't going to happen.

No. 15. Richmond Spiders

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 19:  Darien Brothers #3 and Conor Smith #31 of the Richmond Spiders celebrate after defeating the Morehead State Eagles during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 19, 2011 in Denver, Col
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Richmond has played fantastic in their first two games in the tournament.

    Kansas will be their next opponent, which is a team that will most likely crush them. Even if they can get past the Jayhawks, I don't see them winning three more games.

    It would be a great Cinderella story, but 2011 isn't going to be the year when a 12 seed wins it all.

No. 14. Florida State Seminoles

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 20:  Derwin Kitchen #22 and Terrance Shannon #15 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrate in the second half of the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the U
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    A very surprising team out of the Southwest region, Florida State looked great in their win over second seeded Notre Dame.

    They have a good chance to beat VCU in the Sweet 16, but don't have much tournament experience on their roster, and will likely stumble before they can get to the Final Four.

No. 13. VCU

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    PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 19:  Joey Rodriguez #12 of the VCU Rams looks on during the game against the UCLA Bruins during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Wachovia Center on March 19, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Another team whom nobody expected to win even one game, VCU has made it all the way to the Sweet 16 and has looked very impressive all the way.

    They haven't even had a close game yet. I think they'll be able to get past Florida State, but the road ahead after that doesn't look promising.

    It's obvious that this team runs on the doubt of others, so maybe they'll continue to surprise us all as long as we pick them to lose.

No. 12. Arizona Wildcats

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    TULSA, OK - MARCH 20:  Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates with teammates Kevin Parrom #3 and Lamont Jones #12 after defeating the Texas Longhorns 70-69 in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on M
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Derrick Williams has been a monster throughout the tournament for Arizona.

    He has come up with huge blocks in high pressure situations, and has improved his draft stock tremendously. Arizona will face Duke next, who is 10 times better than anyone they've played so far.

    They don't have enough experience to get past the Blue Devils, let alone a team like UConn or Ohio State.

No. 11. Wisconsin Badgers

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    TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 19:  Jordan Taylor #11 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives against Jacob Pullen #0 of the Kansas State Wildcats during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 19, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Pho
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Believe it or not, I think Wisconsin will have a lot of trouble with Butler in the Sweet 16.

    Wisconsin is probably the better team, but they are so inconsistent at times, and lack the depth to win a game if their leaders are struggling.

    They still may win this game, but I don't seem them getting past Florida, BYU, or Kansas to even make it to the championship game, let alone winning it.

No. 10. Butler Bulldogs

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    WASHINGTON - MARCH 19:  Matt Howard #54 of the Butler Bulldogs takes the final foul shot against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Butler is proving to everyone that last year was not a fluke, and they actually have a decent chance to get to the Final Four this year.

    At some point though, their luck and magic will run out. I'd love to see Matt Howard make another run at a title, but it just won't happen.

No. 9. SDSU Aztecs

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    TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 19:  Billy White #32 of the San Diego State Aztecs shoots against the Temple Owls during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 19, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/G
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    San Diego State has more talent than a lot of other teams left in the tournament, but they just don't have the experience to keep up with powerhouses like Duke or Kansas.

    They do have a small chance of winning, but beating UConn, Duke, Ohio State, and Kansas consecutively is nearly impossible to do, even for an elite team.

No. 8. Kentucky Wildcats

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    TAMPA, FL - MARCH 19:  Darius Miller #1 and Brandon Knight #12 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrate a play against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 i
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    I think Kentucky is extremely talented, but they barely escaped in their games against Princeton and West Virginia in the first two rounds.

    I don't doubt they have the capability to play at an elite level, but they are led almost entirely by freshman, which never bodes well for championship teams.

    Ohio State is their next opponent and it will be interesting to see if the freshman can keep up with the senior depth of Ohio State.

No. 7. BYU Cougars

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 19:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars shoot against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 19, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmond
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    While Jimmer Fredette may be the most talented player in the country, he is all that the Cougars have.

    Just wait for the one game where he doesn't score 30 points or more, and BYU will almost definitely lose. Florida will be a huge challenge for them, and I may reconsider the rankings if Florida struggles, but BYU has only so much magic left in them.

No. 6. UNC Tarheels

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Tyler Zeller #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels shoots over a Washington Huskies defender during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Caro
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    North Carolina barely escaped against Washington, and in all honesty, probably should have lost.

    They have talent, just like everyone else, but their lack of experience has shown already, and will be a challenge in their remaining games.

    I think they have a good chance to get past Marquette, but their showing in the ACC Tournament and so far in the NCAA Tournament make me think that they won't be in contention for too much longer.

No. 5. UConn Huskies

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    WASHINGTON - MARCH 19:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies goes in for a layup against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by N
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    I think UConn is a better team than Florida and North Carolina, but they have a really tough road ahead of them.

    Beating SDSU should be a challenge, but beating Duke, Ohio State, and Kansas is more than I think Kemba Walker is capable of.

    I did doubt them in the Big East Tournament though, and they proved they can compete with anyone in the country. They will need to play as well as they possibly can if the Huskies have a realistic hope of cutting down the nets.

No. 4. Florida Gators

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    TAMPA, FL - MARCH 19:  Chandler Parsons #25 of the Florida Gators looks on against the UCLA Bruins during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Florida won 73-65.  (Photo
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Florida doesn't have a tough road to the Final Four, and I expect them to get there without too many problems.

    Winning a championship, however, is a whole different story. Chandler Parsons and the Gators are a pretty good team, but I have my doubts that they can compete against any of the number one seeds.

No. 3. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 20: Jared Sullinger #0 and Jon Diebler #33 of the Ohio State Buckeyes look on from the bench late in the second half against the George Mason Patriots during the third of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Are
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It may surprise a lot of people that Ohio State isn't given the best chance to win a championship.

    They have blown out the competition in their first two games, which is good and bad at the same time.

    John Diebler and company have proven that a No. 1 overall seed was a good choice from the committee, but they haven't played in the atmosphere of a close game yet, which may come back to hurt them in the end.

No. 2. Duke Blue Devils

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts while taking on the Michigan Wolverines in the second half during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charl
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    With Kyrie Irving coming back from injury, Duke has to be the most talented team in the field.

    They had a close game against Michigan, but Arizona shouldn't give them problems and UConn or SDSU will have to play amazing to beat them.

    It's not out of the question that Duke could lose before even getting to the Final Four, but if they play to their potential, they will be nearly impossible to beat.

No. 1. Kansas Jayhawks

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    TULSA, OK - MARCH 20:  Marcus Morris #22 and Markieff Morris #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks walk off the court after defeating the Illinois Fighting Illini 59-73 in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 20, 2011 i
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    The Morris twins have played outstanding for the Jayhawks throughout the tournament.

    Kansas has by far the easiest road to get to the championship game, which is why I'm giving them the best chance of cutting down the nets.

    Richmond, Florida State, and Florida have the best chances of beating Kansas before they can get to that title game. I strongly believe that Kansas has the talent and the experience to get there and win the entire tournament.