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Sweet 16 power rankings: Kansas on top


© The Associated Press Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) moves the ball down court after stealing it from South Dakota State forward Mike Daum, right, during the first half of a first-round men's college basketball in the NCAA…
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The East Region is officially crazy. After a largely uneventful first round of the NCAA Tournament, the East produced two huge upsets on the weekend. No. 8 Wisconsin seed toppled defending champion and top-seeded Villanova on Saturday, and No. 7 South Carolina shocked No. 2 Duke on Sunday night.

Just like that, what appeared to be a top-heavy region is now filled with various shades of underdogs, including third-seeded Baylor, which lost four of its last seven games before the NCAA Tournament.

The top two seeds are alive in the West and South, while the Midwest lost second-seeded Louisville.

Here is our power ranking of the Sweet 16:

1. Kansas (Midwest, No. 1)

The Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16 in nearby Kansas City by overpowering UC Davis 100-62 and Michigan State 90-70. All-America point guard Frank Mason leads an explosive attack and one of the nation’s best backcourts. Freshman standout wing Josh Jackson is hot, scoring 40 points on 17-of-28 shooting in the NCAAs, hitting from the outside and at the rim. Landen Lucas, a 6-foot-10 senior, has posted three consecutive double-doubles. He will be critical to stopping Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan in the Sweet 16.

2. North Carolina (South, No. 1)

The Tar Heels are in the Sweet 16 as expected, but their scare against No. 8 seed Arkansas in the second round, before winning 72-65, even had coach Roy Williams saying, “We were really lucky.” Junior forward Justin Jackson, the seventh Tar Heel to score at least 600 points in a season under Williams, will look to get North Carolina rolling again. The Heels had a bad shooting game (38.1 percent) against the Razorbacks, but they rebounded themselves into more chances. They lead the nation in rebounding margin (plus-13.1).

3. Kentucky (South, No. 2)

John Calipari’s young team is gathering steam, with a 13-game winning streak, its longest of the season. Freshman Bam Adebayo had his eighth double-double — 13 points, 10 rebounds — in a hard-fought, second-round win over Wichita State. Freshman guard Malik Monk passed Jamal Murray for the school’s freshman scoring record; he has 721 points. How about Monk, Adebayo and freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox against UCLA freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf in the Sweet 16?

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