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Sweet 16 bracket reset: FSU marches on into elite company

What madness?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional-Florida State vs Gonzaga Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Sweet Sixteen is set, with a top-flight group of teams moving on to compete for the national championship. Let’s take a look at the field heading into the second weekend, and how the road ahead has shaped up for 4-seed Florida State after smoking 12-seed Murray State.

Is It Dusty In Here?

Nah. That’s just a preponderance of chalk. Every team seeded 1-3 has advanced to the regional semifinals for just the second time since the field expanded in 1985. The Seminoles in particular haven’t been done any favors, as their West region features 1-seed Gonzaga, FSU’s opponent on Thursday, with 2-seed Michigan and 3-seed Texas Tech alive in the bottom half of the bracket.

The West champs will play the survivor of the East, and that region also features its top four seeds: 1-seed Duke, 2-seed Michigan State, 3-seed LSU, and 4-seed Virginia Tech.

There was slightly more carnage on the other side of the bracket, as 5-seed Auburn authored the only upset of round two, bettering a 4-seed Kansas squad that was overrated all season in the Midwest. But that was only an upset by seeding lines, as the Tigers were actually favored over the Jayhawks.

In the South, 12-seed Oregon dispatched of 13-seed UC-Irvine; the Ducks are the lone double-digit seed remaining.

Translation: this won’t be an easy road for any team. But it’s for the national title, so it’s not supposed to be.

Familiar Foes

That feeling of dèjá vu? No, it’s not a glitch in the matrix. For the second straight year, the ’Noles will face Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen out West. Last year, when FSU stomped the Bulldogs, the game was in Los Angeles; this time, it’s about the distance of a marathon away, in Anaheim.

If the Seminoles win, they could once again meet Michigan in the Elite Eight. That matchup brought last season to an end for Florida State. It’s just like Bon Jovi said: “It’s all the same— only the seeds have changed.” Or something like that.

That’s ACCeptible

The ’Noles are one of five Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the Sweet Sixteen; no other conference boasts as many entries. ACC teams playing in the second weekend: 1-seeds Duke, Virginia, and North Carolina, and 4-seeds FSU and Virginia Tech. And speaking of the Blue Devils and Hokies, they’ll play on Friday, making that game the only intra-conference matchup in the regional semifinals.

Other conference representation? The SEC boasts four teams still dancing: 2-seeds Tennessee and Kentucky, 3-seed LSU, and 5-seed Auburn. The Big Ten has a trio of squads alive: 2-seeds Michigan and Michigan State, as well as 3-seed Purdue. And the Pac-12, Big 12, AAC, and WCC each have one team left: 12-seed Oregon, 3-seed Texas Tech, 3-seed Houston, and 1-seed Gonzaga, respectively.

The ACC’s performance is certainly a good thing for the Seminoles. Dollar bills, y'all.

The Bracket

Here’s how things look now. Four wins left for a national championship.