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Jay Bilas and Mike Decourcy re-rank the Sweet 16

A look at what two of the top experts had to say about the Sweet 16 with some predictions.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After a crazy first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, it is becoming popular to re-rank the remaining teams in the Sweet 16.

The latest to do so is ESPN’s Jay Bilas. He thinks the Kentucky Wildcats are the sixth-best team left in the field, trailing the likes of Duke, Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga and Michigan.

UK is the highest ranked team in the South Region, and Kansas State comes in at No. 16 in this ranking. Loyola-Chicago comes in at No. 15, while Nevada is up at No. 12.

Here’s what Bilas had to say about UK:

6. Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats have been to the Sweet 16 in seven of nine seasons under John Calipari. They have reached the Elite Eight in six of those seven seasons, most in Division I since 2010. Kentucky has become a vastly different offensive team over its past 10 games. In that span, Kentucky is averaging more than 81 points per game and shooting almost 50 percent from the floor and better than 43 percent from deep. After averaging 13 points per game this season, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 23 points per game in the NCAA tournament, second only to West Virginia’s Jevon Carter.

In Mike DeCourcy’s new rankings at the Sporting News, Kentucky comes in third behind Villanova and Duke.

Why it’s headed to the Final Four: John Calipari hasn’t gotten many bracket breaks since becoming Wildcats coach, something he is not shy about reminding people. This time, he has gotten more breaks than could reasonably be expected. (And one that no one could have expected!) With Hamidou Diallo returning to form, this team has enough to win it.

Why it’ll go home: In a sport increasingly reliant on long-range shooting, the Wildcats often go cold — and that’s starting from a default position of lukewarm.

Kentucky is followed by Michigan at No. 4 and Gonzaga at No. 5 in the new rankings.

The remaining teams in the South Region come in at (12) Nevada, (13) Loyola, and (16) Kansas State.

Going back to the SEC Tournament, Kentucky is playing just about as well as anybody in the country. As DeCourcy notes, Kentucky is still flawed, so they aren’t a guarantee for anything but it’s clear that this team is playing very well.

As far as predictions go, Decourcy says that UK will beat Kansas State and then Nevada to advance to the Final Four.