March Madness 2017: One reason to root for each Sweet 16 team to make Final Four

The Gamecocks destroyed the Bears.

The Sweet 16 in the 2017 NCAA men's basketball tournament is set, and the race to the Final Four in Glendale, Ariz., on April 1-3 is wide-open.

The field is a mix of chalk and sleepers. For those who have a busted bracket or lost their favorite team in the first weekend, that begs the question: Who should you root for to make the Final Four?

MORE: SN's interactive NCAA Tournament bracket

Here's one good reason to root for each team remaining in the tournament:

East Region

No. 8 Wisconsin

Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig are experienced players worth pulling for; they've already played in two Final Fours and could propel longtime Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard to his first as a head coach.

FAGAN: Shame on us forgetting about NCAA Tournament Wisconsin

No. 4 Florida

The Gators dumped their first two opponents by an average of 20.5 points per game. Third-year coach Mike White is making the most out of that first NCAA tournament appearance.

No. 3 Baylor

This is a good story for a school that has been torn apart in the past year by a scandal involving the football program. After back-to-back first-round exits, Scott Drew has taken the Bears back to the Sweet 16, the fourth appearance during his tenure. The highlighteruniforms are back.

No. 7 South Carolina

Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks to the Sweet 16 for the first time in the expanded bracket era, and they did it by knocking Duke out of the tournament. That has to count for something, right?

West Region

No. 1 Gonzaga

The Bulldogs have made 19 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including 18 in a row under Mark Few. It's time for that first Final Four appearance.

No. 4 West Virginia

“Press Virginia” is an amazing blur to watch, and Bob Huggins has another shot to take the Mountaineers to the top in his fourth Sweet 16 appearance with the school.

BENDER: Huggins' 'Eers look 'different' roaring into Sweet 16

No. 11 Xavier

The Musketeers have all the tradition and have made eight Sweet 16 appearances since 1990. Can Chris Mack lead the school to its first Final Four appearance in school history?

No. 2 Arizona

Sean Miller hasdone everything but lead the Wildcats to a Final Four appearance. Allonzo Trier and Lauri Markkanen give Arizona more than enough to get the job done this time.

Midwest Region

No. 1 Kansas

Sporting News Player of the Year Frank Mason III averaged 18.0 points in the first two rounds and has the Jayhawks in position to get back to the Final Four for the first time since 2012. They'll be right at home in Kansas City, too.

No. 4 Purdue

Do you like rooting for big men? Purdue's Caleb Swanigan is the best all-around big man left in the tournament and could lead the Boilermakers back to the Final Four for the first time since 1980.

No. 7 Michigan

The Wolverines turned a scary incident on the team plane into a run through the Big Ten Tournament and into the Sweet 16 under John Beilein. Derrick Walton Jr. and Moe Wagner have this team playing as well as anybody in the tournament.

DeCOURCY: Wagner's masterpiece carries Wolverines into Sweet 16

No. 3 Oregon

Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks combined for 88 points in the first two rounds, and Dana Altman has this team in position to build on last year's Elite Eight appearance.

South Region

No. 1 North Carolina

Justin Jackson is awesome. You'll probably win your bracket pool if the Tar Heels keep winning, and it would be cool to see a regional final between the Tar Heels and either UCLA or Kentucky.

FAGAN: UNC last ACC team standing after disastrous first weekend

No. 4 Butler

The Bulldogs are the least-heralded left in the South Region, but the Bulldogs have two Final Four appearances and won't be intimidated. They also have the best mascot left in the tournament.

No. 3 UCLA

LaVar Ball might say something outlandish, and we don't care. We get another chance to watch Lonzo Ball make a few more beautiful passes for the high-flying Bruins.

No. 2 Kentucky

Who doesn't love one-and-done players? You might not love John Calipari's recruiting strategy, but just sit back and enjoy Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo a little bit longer.

DeCOURCY: Kentucky's defense(!) locks down Sweet 16 berth

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