The Full Guide to March Madness Sweet 16 – What It Is, Seeding Odds, and Bracketing

As one of the hottest and biggest sporting events on the US calendar, things are already heating up for this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship tournament, also known as March Madness. 

It’s probably one of the single biggest disruptions on the corporate calendar. It’s not uncommon for people to watch and discuss the games at work, or even call in sick out of the blue during these intense three weeks. WalletHub estimates hourly corporate losses amount to roughly $16.3 billion per year due to productivity loss in March. Given the massive highs and lows these games usually produce, this isn’t too surprising. 

The Sweet 16 is one of the few events that can make grown adults gush. If you’ve been hearing people talking about first-round upsets and Cinderella teams and felt utterly confused, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. You’ll be filling out your March Madness Sweet 16 bracketing predictions and biting your nails at overtime shot attempts with the best of them in no time. 

TBS, TNT, truTV, and CBS have broadcasting rights for the Men’s Division I Basketball Championship tournament, but only CBS has rights for the semifinals and championship game. Watch it safely and without interruption using CyberGhost VPN.

What is the Sweet 16 in March Madness?

For something as straightforward as a game where two teams try to score by pitching a ball through a hoop, the March Madness selection process gets pretty complicated.

To understand what the Sweet 16 March Madness selection round is, you need to know how the whole process works. It starts off on Selection Sunday where the NCAA Selection Committee, made up of athletic directors and conference commissioners, meets to select the 68 teams participating in the tournament. The committee selects participants based on their performance during the regular season, as well as during conference tournaments.

When the selection part of the tournament is complete, the committee then divides the 68 teams into 4 regions. This means each region ends up with a total of 16 teams (although this isn’t what the “sweet 16” term refers to). The NCAA Selection Committee then re-seeds every team from 1 to 16 within each region, based on their performance during the regular season.

After the selection process is finished, the rounds start up, and this is where the term “Sweet 16” comes in — when you get to the March Madness brackets. The tournament is divided into 6 rounds, each with a different number of games, and the Sweet 16 is the third round

The Men’s Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament. Once a team wins, they move on to the next round, and the losing team is eliminated entirely from the championship. The rounds system is structured like this:

    • ⚔️ First Four: The four lowest-ranked teams play against each other in two games to determine which two teams will advance to the official first round of the tournament.
    • ⚔️ First Round: With 64 teams left, everyone compete against their designated opponents. 32 games to determine who will advance to the Second Round.
    • ⚔️ Second Round: The 32 remaining teams from the previous round play again (16 games) to determine the winners who will advance to the Sweet 16.
    • ⚔️ Sweet 16: The 16 remaining teams play in 8 games and the winners advance to the Elite Eight. This moment is what people refer to when they talk about their March Madness Sweet 16 predictions. It’s a pivotal round in the tournament because it marks the halfway point and teams only have to win two more games to make it to the National Championship Game.
    • ⚔️ Elite Eight: Also known as the regional championships, the eight remaining teams play in four games to determine who will advance to the Final Four.
    • ⚔️ Final Four: Also known as the semifinals, the four teams left in the tournament play in two games to determine which two will advance to the final. It’s a massive achievement to make it to this stage, even if they don’t manage to move on to the next round.
    • 👑 The National Championship Game: The Championship Game is played between the two remaining teams, with the winner being crowned the national college basketball champion for that year.

Now you have an idea of how the tournament is structured, let’s take a deeper dive into how teams are seeded and bracketed every year. This is all decided by the NCAA Selection Committee and is one of the biggest sources of debate among March Madness fans and experts every season.

What Is March Madness Seeding?

At the start of each tournament season, when the NCAA Selection Committee meets on Selection Sunday, they consider each team’s starting position in the bracket. The committee creates a “seed list” of the 68 teams and each squad is given a seed rank from 1 to 68, also known as “true seeds.” 

The higher a team is ranked on the list, the lower (i.e. more favorable) their draw during bracketing. This means teams ranked 1-4 are considered the best teams in the tournament.

Essentially, each committee member submits a list of what they think are the best teams, starting with the eight best teams and then whittling everything down from there. This whole process is quite complex and the NCAA describes it in detail on its website if you’re curious. The seeding process is important because this sets up the bracketing phase where teams are divided into their starting brackets. 

Seeding also heavily favors the highest-ranked teams as these are pitted against opponents with lower rankings at the start of the tournament. This means high-ranked teams have a clear advantage and are more likely to advance deeper into the tournament. 

Seeding is a highly debated March Madness topic, because many feel these rankings are unfairly advantageous for stronger teams. Many have also questioned the committee’s biases in the past, as they tend to favor more well-known squads.

Don’t knock the underdogs just yet, though. Like its namesake, March Madness can be chaotic and the games are very unpredictable. It’s not uncommon for lower-seeded teams to beat out high-ranking teams in the early stages, earning them an unexpected spot in the higher brackets. This is also known as an “upset” in the early rounds.

The high and low rankings in March Madness can be difficult to follow at first, because you’d normally expect 1 to be low and 68 to be high. In the tournament, this is inverted as the “highest-ranked” teams are lower on the list.

What Is Bracketing in March Madness?

The brackets represent the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship tournament. They show the matchups and potential path for each of the 68 teams qualifying for the championship. The Selection Committee also creates the bracket, and the aim is to create a fair (but exciting) lineup pitting teams of relatively equal skill against each other. Although, as I mentioned above, this process isn’t always seen as fair.

March Madness brackets
This is what the official bracket system looks like, starting with the first rounds on the edges and moving inward.

The committee divides the brackets into 4 regions, East, Northeast, West, and Midwest, with 16 teams in each region. Each team is then seeded (again) from 1 to 16 and placed in specific brackets in their assigned region. They factor in elements like team strength, geography, and conference affiliation to determine where they place each team. These brackets get updated as teams win or lose.

This process is called “bracketing”, and the committee tries to assign each team to ensure competitive balance and avoid potential conflicts. 

What Teams Are Most Likely to Make It to the Sweet 16?

It’s extremely hard to predict any outcomes in these games. Though it hasn’t stopped people from listing off their March Madness Sweet 16 predictions to anyone willing to listen. Picking your Sweet 16 lineup has become almost as much of a tradition as watching the games, even among people who normally aren’t big sports fans.

It’s true certain seeds are statistically more likely to make it through the first couple of rounds, so you could make some educated guesses based on past games. Historically, highly seeded teams (ranked 1-4) have had a strong regular season record and tend to have the best chance of making it to the Sweet 16. Especially because they’re set to compete against the lowest-seeded teams (ranked 61-64) in the beginning.

List of dates and locations for 2023 March Madness games
Dates for the 2023 Sweet 16 games and where they’re scheduled to play.

Several things factor into a team’s success throughout the season, including their overall strength of schedule, their performance in conference play, team chemistry, and player injuries. Using these variables to figure out which teams might make it to Sweet 16 and beyond is all part of the fun of March Madness.

Perfect March Madness Bracket Stats

While betting is also a big part of watching other sports games, it’s almost impossible to talk about March Madness without mentioning it. For the most part, people take part in good-natured friendly bets involving their favorite teams, but many also bet using (a lot of) real money. 

Betting in March Madness involves dividing the competing teams into the brackets you think they’ll progress through. This is where perfect bracket stats comes in — the ultimate goal is to sort teams into brackets perfectly matching their exact journey through the championship. This means you successfully predicted the outcome of every game in the tournament.

While it’s become almost an obsession for some, no one has successfully predicted a championship with perfect bracket stats so far. The odds of doing this are 1 in 120.2 billion. It’s worth mentioning that someone from Ohio came close with 49 correct predictions in 2019, essentially predicting the entire 2019 NCAA tournament into the Sweet 16.

2019 March Madness bracket predictions correct up to Sweet 16
Gregg Nigl’s perfect first two rounds bracket predictions in 2019

Sweat It Out for the Sweet 16 This March

Even though picking the perfect Sweet 16 bracket is extremely unlikely, it shouldn’t stop you from partaking and having fun anyway. Part of the charm of March Madness is arguing with friends and coworkers about which teams will make it far and why, thanks to your almost otherworldly powers of prediction.

If you’re not concerned about bracket predictions and just want to enjoy the tournament, you can use CyberGhost VPN to make sure you don’t miss a game. You can safely stream March Madness on any network using CyberGhost VPN to encrypt your connection and change your IP address. 

Watch any game you like without worrying about your boss catching you or cybercriminals spying on you via airport Wi-Fi. CyberGhost VPN has servers in 11 US locations, so you can safely tune in whether you’re at work, home, or traveling abroad. Keep the game going anywhere you go.


What is the Sweet 16 in March Madness?

The Sweet 16 in March Madness refers to the third bracket round in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. 

The tournament starts off with 68 competing teams who take part in single-elimination rounds to make it to the final Championship Game. The Sweet 16 round represents the halfway point with 16 teams and only 2 rounds left until the final, making it a pivotal stage in the tournament.

Want to see the upsets and winning goals as teams progress to the Sweet 16 and beyond? Stream March Madness safely from anywhere, even while traveling abroad, with one of CyberGhost VPN’s US servers.

What seeds made it to the Sweet 16 NCAA 2022?

Looking to place your bets for the upcoming March Madness game? Using past statistics can help you figure out which seeds are more likely to make it further. These seeds made it to the Sweet 16 round in 2022:

          • Auburn (No. 1, Midwest)
          • Arizona (No. 1, South)
          • Gonzaga (No. 1, West)
          • Kansas (No. 1, East)
          • Baylor (No. 2, South)
          • Duke (No. 2, West)
          • Kentucky (No. 2, East)
          • Purdue (No. 2, Midwest)
          • Illinois (No. 3, West)
          • Tennessee (No. 3, South)
          • Texas Tech (No. 3, Midwest)
          • Villanova (No. 3, East)
          • Providence (No. 4, South)
          • Wisconsin (No. 4, East)
          • UCLA (No. 4, Midwest)
          • Texas (No. 4, West)

If you’re not going to be around any of these venues when the teams are playing, you could still stream the games from wherever you are. Use CyberGhost VPN to safely stream March Madness Sweet 16 games on any network without content-based throttling.

Where will Sweet 16 games be played 2023?

Want to book your seats for a Sweet 16 game this year? Here’s where the 16 teams will be battling it out to make it to the Elite Eight in 2023: 

          • West Regional: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV
          • East Regional: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
          • Midwest Regional: T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, MO
          • South Regional: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY

If you’re watching from home or somewhere else, you can use CyberGhost VPN to overcome ISP throttling and network blocks to catch the Sweet 16 games live buffer-free without trouble. Just connect to the best VPN for sports in one click and start watching right away.

Can you watch March Madness with CyberGhost VPN?

Yes, absolutely. Whether you’re sitting at home or in a hotel abroad, you can use CyberGhost VPN to overcome issues like ISP throttling and network blocks to see your favorite March Madness teams live. CyberGhost VPN has 10 Gbps servers in the US, and encrypts your connection at the same time.

This means you can change your IP address to the location of your choice, and your ISP can’t see what you’re doing so it won’t apply content-based throttling. As a bonus, you also protect your devices from other snoopers and cyber attacks. 

Try our streaming-optimized servers with a 45-day money-back guarantee and see for yourself how easy it is to watch live NCAA basketball games using CyberGhost VPN.

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