Sweet 16 Angles

With the 2018 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, or do they bomb? It all depends on the situation. Let’s take a peek.

For the third time in the last four years a total of six teams return to the Sweet 16 after having been there the previous season. They include Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Purdue, and West Virginia.

According to our database, since 1992, teams making a right-back appearance in the SWEET 16 are 85-52 SU but only 61-70-5 ATS in this round of the tourney – including 4-1 SU and 3-0-2 ATS last season.

The key is finding edges that turn these familiar teams in moneymaking roles. The cut-line is often times the situation surrounding the game. Check some of them out below.

Looking at it from a varied perspective, SWEET 16 returnees seem to struggle arriving off a win of less than 10 points when facing a foe off a win of 10 or more points, going just 13-17 SU and 8-19-3 ATS.

This year finds two of the six returnees in this spotty role – Kansas and Michigan. Making matters worse, if any of these sweet tomatoes is a No. 3 or lower seed they fall to 3-13 SU and 3-12-1 ATS. Not particularly good news for the Wolverines.

Another major role Sweet 16 Returnees have a difficult time responding to be whenever they are placed in an underdog position. Simply put, these teams coming back to the Sweet 16 are 4-17 SU and 6-14-1 ATS as underdogs when facing .840 or greater opponents, including 2-13 SU and 3-12 ATS when the foe is off a SUATS win. Read: West Virginia.

Worse, these same teams are just 1-8 SUATS when arriving off a spread win of 5 or more points. It was nice, West-by-God.

As expected, #1 seeds fare the best in Sweet 16 games as returnees, going 29-2 SU and 19-12 ATS when facing fattened foes foes arriving off consecutive ATS wins. They are at their best, however, when facing sub .800 foes in this role, going 20-0 SU and 14-6 ATS, including 5-0 SUATS when not favored by 6 or more points.

Suddenly it’s good news for Kansas, especially when you realize they are not deeply affected in the ‘Not Quite A 10’ concept outlined above.

There you have it. When swimming in Sweet 16 waters, 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...