Sweet 16 Notes
March 24, 2014
By Marc Lawrence
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With the 2014 NCAA Tournament entering the SWEET 16 round, let’s take a different perspective in analyzing the teams that have arrived. This one pertains specifically to teams that are returning to the SWEET 16 for the 2nd straight year.
Do these experienced teams perform with aplomb and panache, or do they bomb like Ted Kaczynski on a blind date? Let’s take a peek.
ALL HANDS ON DECK
Unlike last year when half of the Sweet 16 field was made up of returnees, we find only five teams returning this season. They include – Arizona, Florida, Louisville, Michigan and Michigan State.
According to our database, since 1992, teams making a right-back appearance in the SWEET 16 are 68-46 SU and 50-62-2 ATS in this round of the tourney.
The cut-line, however, is often times the pointspread.
That’s confirmed by the fact that favorites of more than 6 points are 37-3 SU and 23-17 ATS in these games.
Priced at anything less (dog or favorite of 6 or fewer points), they dip drastically to 31-43 SU and 27-45-2 ATS in competitive contests.
Only Arizona finds itself making the cut (favored by 6 or more points) this year.
NOT QUITE A 10
Looking at it from a varied perspective, SWEET 16 returnees seem to struggle when arriving off a win of less than 10 points, going just 28-25 SU and 19-32-2 ATS.
This year finds Michigan State coming up short in the gene pool.
As expected, #1 and #2 seeds fare the best in Sweet 16 games as returnees, going 50-17 SU combined. To the spread, however, they are money burners going 32-35 ATS.
No. 3 seeds have fared the worst, going 7-8 SU and 4-11 ATS as returnees in this round. Not good news for Iowa State.
Meanwhile, #4 or lower seed returnees are just 11-21 SU and 14-16-2 ATS. When facing a foe off a double-digit win they dip to 3-15 SU and 5-12-1 ATS in Sweet 16 games.
Certainly a not-so-Spartan role for Michigan State.
Worse, when SWEET 16 returnees arrive and are forced to take on top quality foe with a win percentage of .830 or greater they spring a major leak, going 12-21 SU and 13-19-1 ATS, including 6-18 SU and 6-17-1 ATS in they won fewer than 30 games last season.
If these same teams are facing a foe off a win of 15 or more points they capsize, going 0-9 SU and 1-8 ATS.
The life rafts are ready and standing by for Arizona and Michigan State this Thursday and Friday.
The bottom line is you can draw your own conclusions, if you like. But make no mistake, when it comes to handicapping teams in the SWEET 16, the winners will likely be the better-qualified teams that have ‘been there-and-done that’.
Or those who know how to keep a ship afloat, if you know what I mean.
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