When the NCAA selection committee ranked each of the 68 teams in the 2018 men's basketball tournament, they took into consideration a number of different factors. Once games tipped off, however, teams proved those seedings were not necessarily indicative of their fate - just ask Virginia, Xavier, North Carolina, or Cincinnati.
With 16 squads remaining in the Big Dance, here is a re-seeding of each team based on their respective seasons and how they have performed during the opening two rounds of the tournament.
Only two of the four No. 1 seeds have survived even this far. Villanova has dominated their competition, thrashing Radford and Alabama behind excellent guard play from Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and (especially) Mikal Bridges. Duke has also looked impressive. The Blue Devils, carried by their NBA-ready big men, defeated Iona and Rhode Island. All five starters scored double figures against the Rams.
The other remaining No. 1 seed, Kansas had a little more difficulty holding off Pennsylvania and Seton Hall, but the Jayhawks are shooting well heading into the second weekend. However, they may face the stiffest test of the top four this round against a streaking Clemson squad.
And how about Texas A&M? The Aggies look a legitimate Final Four threat despite being a 7-seed. Billy Kennedy's team demolished the defending-champion Tar Heels on Sunday, displaying excellent shooting and dominating interior play. Robert Williams and Tyler Davis have dazzled at both ends of the floor.
Despite Isaac Haas' elbow injury, Purdue defeated a tough Butler squad behind hot perimeter shooting from Vincent Edwards, P.J. Thompson, and Dakota Mathias. The Boilermakers are one of two remaining No. 2 seeds.
Clemson, led by its vaunting defense and deep roster, dominated Auburn in every regard Sunday. The Tigers have been a pleasant surprise out of the ACC this March, and are headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997. They have a difficult matchup against Kansas forthcoming but are playing confident basketball at the moment.
Texas Tech and Kentucky round out the second tier. The Red Raiders have passed tests against Stephen F. Austin and Florida, while the SEC-champion Wildcats will be thanking their lucky stars after an interesting opening week. When the bracket was released, they faced a dreadful road to the Elite 8, with potential battles against Virginia and Arizona, but we all know how those two teams fared. Now, Kentucky has the easiest path to the Final Four, but this shouldn't attenuate the abilities of a team playing very good basketball this month.
The Wolverines took care of Montana and Houston in their opening two contests but faced more adversity than other remaining high-ranked squads. While Michigan could easily have lost its second-round matchup, Jordan Poole's buzzer-beater was one of the tournament's best moments. John Beilein's team has won 11 straight.
Gonzaga was tested by both UNC Greensboro and Ohio State, but the Bulldogs enter the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive season and have one of the lighter matchups this week, against Florida State. West Virginia has also looked strong, but games against Marshall and Murray State won't stand its resume up against the best of the rest ahead of a Sunday clash with Villanova.
FSU was the second team to knock off a No. 1 seed, stunning Xavier behind a furious closing stretch. The Seminoles feature a deep and talented backcourt with the potential to steal an additional upset or two going forward.
Its offensive game may give you a headache, but Syracuse's stifling zone defense has been one of the stories of the tournament thus far. The Orange held Michigan State to under 26 percent shooting in their second-round matchup. They aren't particularly deep, but Jim Boeheim's squad is on a roll, winning three tournament games in the process. Not bad for a team many claimed should not have made the field.
Who would have thought we'd see Nevada against Loyola Chicago in the Sweet 16? The Wolf Pack defeated Texas in round one and overcame a 22-point deficit to stun Cincinnati. On the other side of this matchup, the Ramblers gave fans enough drama in their first two games to last an entire tournament. Wins over Tennessee and Miami both featured last-second shots, but Loyola has been shooting and defending well this March. Don't sleep on Porter Moser's squad: they're a 30-win team with 12 consecutive victories.
Finally, after an impressive win over Creighton, Kansas State ended UMBC's Cinderella run in an ugly offensive showing. The 9-seed faces off against the surging Kentucky Wildcats on Thursday.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)