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Each team's path to the Sweet 16

The Sweet 16 is set. All four No. 1 seeds have advanced. ...

Here's a look at each region and how each team advanced to the second weekend of the 2016 NCAA tournament.

South Region

1. Kansas Jayhawks
First round: Defeated Austin Peay, 105-79
Second round: Defeated UConn, 73-61

The Jayhawks are a complete team. Even with All-American forward Perry Ellis, Kansas' most indispensible weapon and leading scorer, KU relies on no player for too much. Each starter possesses the skill to inflict damage at the most important moments, and the Jayhawks bring three to four players off the bench with equally diverse talents.

Kansas ranks among the nation's best shooting teams. And when it's hitting from outside, as occurred early in the second-round win over UConn, KU is perhaps as close to unbeatable as any team in the field. There's much more to the Jayhawks, though, from Ellis' silky smooth play to the explosiveness of Wayne Selden, court leadership of Frank Mason and athletic outside-inside duo of Devonte' Graham and Landen Lucas.

Quotable: "A lot of teams take on the personality of the head coach. I think sometimes the coach can take on the personality of the team. And in our particular situation, these guys, over an extended period of, time have played a certain way, and they have given us all confidence in how they played." -- Coach Bill Self

-- Mitch Sherman


2. Villanova Wildcats
First round: Defeated UNC Asheville, 86-56
Second round: Defeated Iowa, 79-58

Villanova finally exorcised its March demons this season, dominating Iowa in the second round after handling UNC Asheville in the opener. But the main thing that separates this version of the Wildcats from the past few iterations is not the style -- Nova is still relatively undersized and guard-oriented -- but the personnel. The Wildcats lost three starters from last season's team, and while plenty of talent departed the program, the pieces might fit a little better in 2015-16. Freshman Jalen Brunson was added to the fold, and he gives the Wildcats another pure point guard alongside Ryan Arcidiacono in the backcourt. Josh Hart had a breakout year replacing Darrun Hilliard, and Kris Jenkins can stretch the defense while also scoring inside. Mikal Bridges brings length and size on the wing that Villanova simply hasn't had in the past.

Villanova is still predicated on what has made Jay Wright so successful since moving to Philadelphia: guards, experience, toughness. The Wildcats have two seniors and two juniors in the starting lineup; guys that have been in big games before, and guys that have won 93 games the past three seasons. They finally got over the hump of not getting out of the first weekend since 2009, and Sunday's win over Iowa showed that Villanova might be hitting its stride again at the right time. If the Wildcats are running and the 3-pointers are falling, they're as good as anyone in the country.

Quotable: "We're like a Cinderella in here! We're a No. 2 seed, but we were the underdog. We came in, everyone doubted us, wondered if we were gonna get past the second round. We might as well have been a 16-seed. No one gave us credit, but that's why we don't worry about the outside world. We focus on the guys that we have in this locker room, and we just came with that approach: that we're the underdogs." -- Villanova junior wing Josh Hart

-- Jeff Borzello


3. Miami Hurricanes
First round: Defeated Buffalo, 79-72
Second round: Defeated Wichita State, 65-57

This season has been dubbed the year of the senior, experience giving way to what had become a young man's game. Only when the lists of top seniors are often made, somehow the University of Miami doesn't make an experience. Yet with Angel Rodriguez, Sheldon McClellan and Tonye Jekiri, the Hurricanes have a trio that should be considered among the best.

Those three, plus two juniors in Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy, give Miami an edge that can't be undervalued. The Hurricanes know how to win big games and know how to survive close games. They make mistakes -- Rodriguez can be illuminating and frustrating in the span of three minutes -- but they never lose their cool. That's how they survived a furious rally at the hands of Wichita State; that's why they've been so consistent in a maddeningly inconsistent season of basketball. As the Hurricanes move on to the South Regional, still flying under the radar, still looking for respect, it's worth considering the statistic that can't be quantified or measured in a box score.

Quotable: "They didn't panic. You asked what we said at the timeouts, and Sheldon just kept -- I will say it in a very loud, demonstrative voice -- 'We're not losing this game. We're not losing this game. Pick it up, let's play. Come on. Go after these guys. We're not losing this game.'" -- Coach Jim Larranaga

-- Dana O'Neil


5. Maryland Terrapins
First round: Defeated South Dakota State, 79-74
Second round: Defeated Hawaii, 73-60

Maryland, for as wildly inconsistent as its play has been, has been remarkably consistent from the free throw line through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. The Terrapins shot a combined 90 percent (hitting 52 of 58 attempts) from the charity stripe and knocked down their final 17 attempts against Hawaii.

That penetration, getting opponents into foul trouble and then converting at the free throw line has helped the Terrapins make up for lackluster defensive stretches and cold-spell shooting stretches. So, even if Maryland gets outrebounded (which it did against Hawaii and nearly did against South Dakota State), gets sloppy with the ball (24 turnovers in its two opening-round games) or struggle from range (it shot 24 percent combined against SDSU and Hawaii), one thing can be counted on: The Terrapins will attack and convert from the line.

Quotable: "No, I don't think so," Jared Nickens said when asked whether any other team is stronger mentally. "I'm pretty sure every team that's in this thing is mentally tough. It's not easy. ... We're confident in ourselves."

-- Chantel Jennings

East Region

1. North Carolina Tar Heels
First round: Defeated FGCU, 83-67
Second round: Defeated Providence, 85-66

Few teams have as deep a roster as the Tar Heels. It has allowed them to absorb foul trouble and conform, when the matchup calls for it, to a bigger or smaller lineup. The Heels are efficient and can score in bunches and from every position on the floor so it's difficult for teams to key on stopping one player. Perimeter shooting has been inconsistent this season, but the Heels rank fourth nationally in offensive rebounding percentage so they are able to nullify their weakness.

Seniors Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson have asserted themselves in their final NCAA tournament. When the Heels were pushed in wins over Florida Gulf Coast and Providence, Paige or Johnson delivered key plays at critical junctures to power the team through. Johnson is a combined 14-of-20 from the field with 17 rebounds in the tournament. Paige, who went through a well-publicized shooting slump last month, is 5-of-12 from 3-point range in the tournament.

Quotable: "It's the most criticized, least appreciated really good team I've ever had. I do think they are a really good team and we've gotten better and better as this team has gone along... this is a special group and a group I've really enjoyed all of the time. And when they played really well, I enjoyed it even more." -- Coach Roy Williams

-- C.L. Brown


5. Indiana Hoosiers
First round: Defeated Chattanooga, 99-74
Second round: Defeated Kentucky, 73-67

The Hoosiers' best quality, their resiliency, carried them to Philadelphia. IU overcame the loss, after 13 games, of play-making guard James Blackmon, and handled the loss of guard Robert Johnson late in the season -- he reinjured an ankle in the first half against Kentucky after missing three weeks in February and March.

Yogi Ferrell is a true floor general, and he turned up his aggressiveness offensively in the first and second rounds, scoring 38 points on 12-of-26 shooting. IU relies on veterans Troy Williams and Nick Zeisloft as versatile pieces. Zeisloft's defense has improved dramatically -- as has the play of freshmen Thomas Bryant, who provides a physical presence inside, and OG Anunoby, an explosive forward whose dunks delivered the Indiana highlights of the opening rounds.

Quotable: "What drives me right now is that I want to just keep coaching them. And I want to keep game planning and preparing and going to meetings with them and going to practice with them and getting on the bus with them. And I just want to be around them, because they inspire me so much with their resiliency." -- Coach Tom Crean

-- Mitch Sherman

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
First round: Defeated Michigan, 70-63
Second round: Defeated Stephen F. Austin, 76-75

It seemed like Thomas Walkup and Stephen F. Austin were destined to be the face of the 2016 NCAA tournament and reach the Sweet 16, but Notre Dame had other ideas. After coming from behind to beat Michigan in the first round, the Fighting Irish scored the final six points to beat the Lumberjacks in the second round on a Rex Pflueger tip-in with 1.5 seconds left. Notre Dame is known for its scoring, but its defense has been the catalyst the past two games. Against Michigan, the Fighting Irish locked down in the second half en route to the victory. The win over Stephen F. Austin followed the same pattern. SFA missed its final four shots, including two Walkup jumpers, that allowed Notre Dame to close the game in the final minutes.

With that said, there's still plenty of offense on Mike Brey's roster. The Fighting Irish shot 58.1 percent from the field against Michigan and 56.9 percent from the field against Stephen F. Austin. They spread the floor with multiple shooters, and allow aggressive point guard Demetrius Jackson to attack the rim. Jackson and Zach Auguste are one of the better inside-outside tandems in the country, and run the pick-and-roll to perfection. But it has been the other parts of the roster that have stepped up in the NCAA tournament. V.J. Beachem hit big shots in the first round; Steve Vasturia guarded Walkup for most of the game; Matt Farrell has allowed Jackson to focus on scoring; and Bonzie Colson is still an undersized bruiser. Oh, and now there's Pflueger. Without him and his last-second shot, Notre Dame would be headed back to South Bend. Instead, it's on to the Sweet 16.

Quotable: "We lost two pretty good players and two great leaders. I always thought we were a team that would evolve throughout the season. Then I kind of reminded our guys that so we didn't jump off any buildings after tough losses or celebrate too much after wins." -- Coach Mike Brey

-- Jeff Borzello

7. Wisconsin Badgers
First round: Defeated Pittsburgh, 47-43
Second round: Defeated Xavier, 66-63

Wisconsin could have easily been bounced in each of the first two rounds. Pitt missed a potential go-ahead shot with 5 seconds left. Bronson Koenig hit two 3-pointers in the final 14 seconds, including the dramatic buzzer-beater, to lead the Badgers past No. 2 seed Xavier. Wisconsin hasn't shot the ball that well, and its leading scorer, Nigel Hayes, has been buried in a nasty postseason shooting slump.

So how to explain this team making the Sweet 16? Defense has been a big key, as the Badgers held Pitt to 43 points and kept high-scoring Xavier to just 63. And a team that fought through a midseason coaching change and a 9-9 start built up toughness.

Quotable: "When you have a group that's this tight and growing tighter by the day, I think you're going to have some special things happen." -- Coach Greg Gard

-- Brian Bennett

West Region

1. Oregon Ducks
First round: Defeated Holy Cross, 91-52
Second round: Defeated Saint Joseph's, 69-64

Oregon is a difficult matchup. The Ducks' starting five is about as versatile as they come. When teams choose to key in on one Oregon player, there are four others on the floor (and two others on the bench) that will gladly step up and make clutch plays for the Ducks. It's a maddening matchup that's only equalized by a group that plays fantastic team defense.

Most impressively, Dana Altman has managed to get this group to click and peak at the right time. The Ducks' 39- and 31-point wins over Holy Cross and Utah showed what this group could do and their comeback win over Saint Joe's showed how no team should feel safe leaving a door open when facing off against this team. The Ducks are riding a 10-game win streak and feeling more confident every day.

Quotable: "The thing that worries a lot of people is our lack of experience. ... They showed that they grew up today. They were able to come back from a deficit and still get the victory. That means a lot. Experience is big in this tournament and not just from years, but from performing in those clutch situations like this. The more we grow, the better we'll be." -- Oregon guard Dylan Ennis, who injured himself in January and has watched this run from the bench

2. Oklahoma Sooners
First round: Defeated CSU Bakersfield, 82-68
Second round: Defeated VCU, 85-81

Oklahoma's supporting cast has been solid all season, but Buddy Hield is the reason the Sooners are in the Sweet 16. Hield already has scored 63 points this tournament, which is an Oklahoma record. But he was especially sensational in the second half against VCU. Hield poured in 29 points after halftime, catapulting Oklahoma to the thrilling 85-81 win.

Quotable: "Last year, when we got beat by Michigan State, they just out-toughed us on the boards and we took plays off that we shouldn't have. I took plays off that I shouldn't have. So I'm just ready and glad we get the opportunity to redeem ourselves to compete to go to the Elite Eight and potentially the Final Four." -- Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield

-- Jake Trotter


3. Texas A&M Aggies
First round: Defeated Green Bay, 92-65
Second round: Defeated Northern Iowa, 92-88

Texas A&M got to the Sweet 16 by producing one of the greatest comebacks in NCAA tournament history, outscoring Northern Iowa 14-2 in the final 33 seconds of regulation to improbably push the game into overtime. The Aggies pulled off the miracle by forcing four turnovers with a full-court press and making six field goals, including Admon Gilder's game-tying layup off a steal with 2 seconds to go. Texas A&M went on to win in double overtime in a game that won't be forgotten any time soon.

Quotable: "That's what we've done all year, whether we've been up 10, up 20, down 10, we just make a play. It's a testament to this team and the heart that we have and the fight that we show." -- Texas A&M guard Alex Caruso

-- Jake Trotter


4. Duke Blue Devils
First round: Defeated UNC Wilmington, 93-85
Second round: Defeated Yale, 71-64

There has been and will continue to be much discussion on Duke's margin for error and weakness as the Blue Devils move on to the Sweet 16 of the West Region. It's understandable since the Blue Devils have a limited rotation of seven guys, something of a true point guard deficit and a serious need for more big men.

The flip side to what Duke is not is who Duke is. The Blue Devils play hard, they've learned how to play smart and they know what their strengths are -- their names are Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram. It's one thing to have just seven players, but the scales tend to tip in your favor when two of them are future lottery picks. Allen has been reliable all year, leading the Blue Devils from the get-go but Ingram's ability to grow into his talent, to play with confidence and yet creativity, is what has really changed the program for Duke. In two games in Providence, he scored 45 points, all but taking over the game against Yale when the Blue Devils needed him to most.

Quotable: "He's not a plant you can keep in a jar. He needs to be allowed to grow and he's really grown for us." -- Coach Mike Krzyzewski

-- Dana O'Neil


Midwest Region

1. Virginia Cavaliers
First round: Defeated Hampton, 81-75
Second round: Defeated Butler, 77-69

The Cavaliers have a style, and the play to it. Chances are, they're more disciplined in executing their style than their opponent. Defensively, they make opponents work hard to find a weak spot in their pack-line scheme. Offensively, they make opponents work for a full shot clock. That tends to frustrate their opponents over the course of 40 minutes, if not downright fatigue them. A 10-point lead for Virginia can seem more like 20 because it's not going to allow a lot of possessions.

Virginia has Malcolm Brogdon and its opponents do not. Brogdon is not only the Cavs leading scorer, but he's a lock-down defender who was the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year. When Butler forward Andrew Chrabascz had ripped the Cavs for 24 points to start their second-round game, Brogdon was given the defensive assignment. Chrabascz scored only one point the remaining 16 minutes of the game. Virginia has smarted off losing in the tournament the past two seasons and is determined to make its stay longer this season.

Quotable: "If we work hard defensively and not give up easy stuff and work to get good looks and have a tough mindset ... that can have a wearing effect on the opponent. That's how we've chosen to play and that's been our best way to succeed. It's not an easy way. It's a hard way. But it's the best way for us and that's my job is to figure out what is the best way for us to be successful." -- Coach Tony Bennett

-- Dana O'Neil


4. Iowa State Cyclones
First round: Defeated Iona, 94-81
Second round: Defeated Arkansas Little Rock, 78-61

Iowa State advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014 after the Cyclones benefited from a favorable draw, silenced opposing stars and finished 21-for-42 from beyond the arc in two games. That's the combination of elements that helped the Cyclones reach the next stage of the NCAA tournament with wins over Iona and Little Rock by 30 points combined.

Both Little Rock (12) and Iona (13) were double-digit seeds in the NCAA tournament. So the Cyclones also owe Purdue a thank you for surrendering a 14-point lead with 5:01 to play in its loss to Little Rock in the first round. But the Cyclones' offense overwhelmed both opponents, recording 1.21 points per possession and 1.24 PPP against Iona and Little Rock, respectively. Georges Niang scored 28 points in both games. And defense helped, too. Josh Hagins, Little Rock's star who scored 31 points in a win over Purdue on Thursday, was held to eight points against the Cyclones on Saturday. Iona's A.J. English finished just 2-for-8 from the 3-point line, too. Iowa State entered the NCAA tournament outside the top-100 in KenPom.com's adjusted defensive efficiency rankings, but the Cyclones managed to corral two of the best guards in the field in Denver.

Quotable: "Monte, that kid is a warrior, man. Battling through injuries, playing a lot of minutes. He's just up for the challenge every night. You don't find that from many kids, but that kid's just a warrior." -- Iowa State forward Georges Niang on teammate Monte Morris

-- Myron Medcalf


10. Syracuse Orange
First round: Defeated Dayton, 70-51
Second round: Defeated Middle Tennessee, 75-50

Timing really is everything. Syracuse limped into the tournament after losing five of its previous six games to finish 19-13. Gifted an improbable No. 10 seed, the Orange suddenly put everything together. They hammered Dayton by 19 and Middle Tennessee by 25, playing stifling defense and getting varied offensive contributions. They also benefited from missing No. 2 seed Michigan State and instead drawing a Blue Raiders team that couldn't duplicate its David vs. Goliath performance.

Quotable: "We're not playing North Carolina and Louisville and Florida State. That's the difference." -- Coach Jim Boeheim

-- Brian Bennett


11. Gonzaga Bulldogs
First round: Defeated Seton Hall, 68-52
Second round: Defeated Utah, 82-59

Domantas Sabonis is an unorthodox big man who plays to his left hand and powers to the basket with balance and rhythm. Entering the NCAA tournament, most figured Sabonis -- the son of former Portland Trailblazers standout Arvydas Sabonis -- could lead Gonzaga to a first-round win. Few knew the young big would carry the Zags to the Sweet 16 and leave Denver as one of the best NBA prospects in the country.

You can't dismiss the contributions of Eric McClellan, who led the Zags with 22 points in Saturday's 82-59 win over Utah and checked Seton Hall star Isaiah Whitehead (4-for-24) in Thursday's win over the Pirates. Gonzaga's overall defense and excellent shooting (43-for-81 inside the arc combined in both games) were also important. But Sabonis was the catalyst. He was unstoppable against Seton Hall (21 points, 16 rebounds and four assists). And he followed that effort with 19 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in a dominant performance against NBA prospect Jakob Poeltl on both sides of the floor. Poeltl finished with just five points. When Sabonis plays like that and Gonzaga gets stops, the Zags are hard to beat.

Quotable: "These guys are legends. They've been in this position so many times. We just wanted to, you know, come out here, you know, and just leave it all on the line." -- Gonzaga guard Eric McClellan

-- Myron Medcalf