The Top Teams, Ballers Remaining In The Sweet 16

Duke, Gonzaga and UNC have stars that put them a cut above the rest of the Sweet Sixteen power teams.

The NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 is set and Oregon might be the only team that fits the bill as a Cinderella squad. The field is loaded with high profile power schools, elite national players and legendary coaches.  These teams and players put the masterful Madness in March.


The Top 3 Teams And Their Money Ballers  


The Tournament’s  No. 1 overall seed nearly lost to UCF on Sunday night, but Zion Williamson didn’t let them. It would have been one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tourney history. 

As usual, he was a man against boys, beasting UCF for 32 point and 11 rebounds. Duke survived the disruptive 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall and a breakout performance by Aubrey Dawkins. With the help of two missed layups, Coach K pulled out a 77-76 win over Johnny Dawkins’ inspired Knights.


Most prognosticators have determined that the near-loss exposes the vulnerability of this young Duke team, led by a dynamic freshman trio. Basketball heads have started throwing their support behind squads with more upperclassmen who have been through the tournament wars.

There’s always one game along the way that tests the mettle of an evantual NCAA champion. Sometimes, near-losses are good. This is one of those times, as Duke will turn up the volume throughout the rest of the tourney and play its best hoops of the year down the stretch.


Gonzaga has made 10 Sweet 16’s since Mark Few took over in 1999. Gonzaga was once considered the prototypical Cinderella program as everyone’s favorite mid-major with a shot to pull off a couple of upsets in the NCAA Tournament.

They shed that tag in 2017 when they lost in the NCAA Title game to UNC. Now everyone is waiting for the formidable Zags to actually win the entire ball of wax.

Led by Beninese-Japanese baller Rui Hachimura, this might be Gonzaga’s best shot at a title.

The 6-foot-8 Hachimura is expected to be a Top 10 selection in the NBA Draft. He’s a mature player, who has participated in FIBA competition with Japan and has been with the Bulldogs since 2016.  


North Carolina is always loaded and freshman Coby White led them throughout the season, but heralded Nassar Little has been living up to his preseason hype at the right time. In the Round of 32 win over Washington, White and Little gave us one of the best collabs since 21 Savage and J Cole.


They finished the game with a combined 37 points, which were the most points scored by two UNC freshmen in a NCAA Tournament game since Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green combined for 39 in 2006 against Murray State.

UNC has a freshman Dream Team to rival Duke’s.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.