March Madness: Ranking the Best Defensive Teams in Sweet 16

Jason Radowitz is here to rank the best defensive teams in the Sweet 16. Do you know what they say about defense? Defense win championships.
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March Madness: Ranking the Best Defensive Teams in Sweet 16

Before the Tournament began, we ranked the top five defenses at the start of the NCAA Tournament. It looks like only two of those five lastest the first weekend of March Madness. So now it's time for a new list of the best defenses in the Sweet 16. Let's get right to it!

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Best Defensive Teams in the Sweet 16

1. (3) Texas Tech

The Texas Tech Red Raiders are currently first in the NCAA in adjusted efficiency on the defensive end. Teams are shooting just a 45.4% effective field goal percentage while Texas Tech earns 23.5% turnovers per game. In the NCAA Tournament, Texas Tech held Montana State to 62 points in a 97-62 game and kept Notre Dame to just 53 points in a 59-53 finish. Texas Tech's next opponent is going to be harder. But it's another ACC team that was truly weak this year. Texas Tech should be up for the challenge.

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2. (11) Iowa State

I guess defense really does matter if you want to win the championship. Iowa State is holding opponents to a 47.8% effective field goal percentage while earning 24.7% turnovers per game. Opponents are also shooting just 28.7% from deep and 50.6% from inside the arc. Iowa State has now held LSU to 54 points and Wisconsin to 49 points in its two games in the NCAA Tournament. It's hard to lose games when the opponents can't even reach 55 points in a single game.

3. (1) Gonzaga

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are holding teams to a 43% effective field goal percentage while limiting opponents to 23.4% offensive rebounds. Gonzaga rarely fouls and holds teams to 30.6% from deep and 41.6% from inside the arc. However, Gonzaga has allowed 72 to Georgia State and 78 to Memphis in its two games. The offense has done enough but eventually, that offense will get shut down and the defense will need to step up.

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4. (5) Houston

The Houston Cougars are holding opponents to a 43.6% effective field goal percentage while also earning 21.8% turnovers. Opponents are shooting 28.8% from deep and 44% from inside the arc on the year. Houston isn't going to dominate the defensive glass but the Cougars will make every shot attempt really difficult for their opponents. Houston held UAB to 68 points and then really looked good against Illinois, winning 68-53. The Fighting Illini were held to just 53 points. The next task is slowing down of the best offenses in the nation in Arizona.

5. (4) UCLA, (4) Arkansas, (1) Arizona

The other solid defenses that shouldn't be overlooked include UCLA, Arkansas, and Arizona. UCLA has held Akron and St. Mary's to 56 points or fewer in its first two Tournament games and continues to be above average in most categories defensively. Arkansas, on the other hand, has also been above average in most categories and just held New Mexico State to 48 points in a 53-48 thriller in the Round of 32. Lastly, Arizona is holding teams to an effective field goal percentage of 44.1% while teams shoot just 32.5% from deep and 41.7% from inside the arc. However, Wright State scored 70 and TCU had no problems scoring either against Arizona in the Round of 32, reaching 80 in overtime.

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Jason grew up an avid sports fan. His passion for sports writing grew in high school and he developed a blog that was strictly for New York Sports. From his work, you will quickly realize that he loves looking at games from an analytical and numbers perspective and hopes to provide you with that same perspective in his articles.

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