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College Basketball 2018: ESPN ranks every team in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

We’re down to 16 teams to decide a national champion.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Purdue Boilermakers vs Butler Bulldogs Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a wild NCAA Tournament thus far, which has led to a major shift in the college hoops landscape heading into the Sweet 16.

No team has benefited more from this than UK, who is now the favorite to win the South Region, despite being a No. 5 seed. That’s because 1 seed Virginia, 2 seed Cincinnati, 3 seed Tennessee and 4 seed Arizona all lost before UK could face them.

Now, the Cats are effectively a 1 seed in the South Region. However, ESPN took a more interesting approach in how to rank the remaining teams in the field.

Instead, ESPN decided to reseed all 16 teams, effectively rebuilding the bracket. They actually have UK coming in as a No. 2 seed and No. 5 overall:

5. Kentucky (Reseed: No. 2; previous seed: 5)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander never earned the acclaim that Collin Sexton and Trae Young enjoyed this season as freshman point guard prospects destined for the next level. But his performance in the NCAA tournament will only elevate the stock of the 6-foot-6 point guard who is the key to Kentucky’s immediate future. He averaged 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists in a pair of wins over Davidson and Buffalo. Kentucky outscored both teams 80-50 in the paint.

Gilgeous-Alexander is elevating his play at the right time, as is Kevin Knox, who is contributing to the Wildcats’ dominance in the paint. With higher seeds Virginia and Tennessee already eliminated in the region, Kentucky could reach the Final Four. But it did not have a flawless weekend. Davidson and Buffalo, a pair of double-digit seeds, made 50 percent of their shots inside the arc against the Wildcats.

ESPN actually had West Virginia and Clemson ahead of UK. The Mountaineers crushed Marshall in the Round of 32, while Clemson did the same to Auburn.

ESPN also has Kansas State coming in at No. 16 in this ranking, though I can tell you those Wildcats are definitely not the worst team left in the field, especially if leading scorer Dean Wade returns this week. While UK will be favored on Thursday, Kansas State has enough firepower to keep UK from reaching the Elite Eight.

Here’s how ESPN ranked and reseeded all of the remaining 16 teams:

1. Villanova Wildcats (Reseed: No. 1 overall; previous seed: 1)

2. Duke Blue Devils (Reseed: No. 1; previous seed: 2)

3. Clemson Tigers (Reseed: 1; previous seed: 5)

4. West Virginia Mountaineers (Reseed: 1; previous seed: 5)

5. Kentucky Wildcats (Reseed: No. 2; previous seed: 5)

6. Nevada Wolf Pack (Reseed: 2; previous seed: 7)

7. Texas A&M Aggies (Reseed: No. 2; previous seed: 7)

8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Reseed: No. 2; previous seed: 3)

9. Purdue Boilermakers (Reseed: No. 3; previous seed: 2)

10. Kansas Jayhawks (Reseed: No. 3; previous seed: 1)

11. Syracuse Orange (Reseed: No. 3; previous seed: 11)

12. Gonzaga Bulldogs (Reseed: No. 3; previous seed: 4)

13. Florida State Seminoles (Reseed: 4; previous seed: 9)

14. Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (Reseed: No. 4; previous seed: 11)

15. Michigan Wolverines (Reseed: No. 4; previous seed: 3)

16. Kansas State Wildcats (Reseed 4; previous seed: 9)