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5 biggest winners from the Sweet 16

And then there were 8...

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Villanova at Baylor IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon, BBN! The Sweet 16 continued to show how much the Pac-12 is embarrassing the other big dog conferences by putting 3 teams in the Elite 8. The craziest part is that the three teams are 6, 11, and 12 seeds—one of which only got into the field by winning the Pac-12 tournament. What everyone will remember, of course, is who wins the next four games, which decide who gets into the Final Four.

Let’s recap the 5 biggest winners of the Sweet 16 (in case you’re wondering, we’ll look at just one winner for the last three rounds):

5. Baylor

The Bears looked vulnerable for awhile against Villanova, but recovered to secure the win and get a step closer to the title game. Anything short of the title game will be a disappointment for one of the most dominant teams we’ve seen in a long time.

4. USC

The Trojans are living the dream, defeating Drake, Kansas, and Oregon to get the program to a whole new level. It’s so amazing—all you need to do to reach the Elite 8 is a three game winning streak. What makes it so hard is who, what, and where you play. USC has taken their draw, risen to the challenge, and will play Gonzaga for a trip to the Final Four. That’s how it’s done.

3. Gonzaga

The perfect season continues: 29-0. If they beat USC they’ll give us the only 30 win team we’ll get, as nobody else still alive is anywhere close to 30. The Zags and Baylor seem to be on a collision course to play in the title game, and being stopped short of that would be a major disappointment for their fans after such a dominant season.

2. UCLA

The Bruins just won’t go away. It’s almost annoying, but it’s also showing how great a coach Mick Cronin is. Survive and advance. Survive and advance, then repeat. This team is clutch and Michigan better watch out, because believe it or not they are three wins away from a 12th national title. What?! I know. It scares me to think about it.

1. Oregon State

The Beavers are the biggest surprise still standing in the tournament, winning elimination game after elimination game to go from lost season to cusp of Final Four. They’ve been pretty dominant in their play as well, and are looking to make history against Houston as no 12 seed has ever made the Final Four.

Is this the Beavers’ year? We’ll find out, but regardless they are the biggest winners of the Sweet 16.