NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Trends for Returnees

The NCAA Tournament has reached the Sweet 16 and there are teams returning for their second consecutive season to this round.

The question for bettors is do the teams perform better on this stage due to experience from last season, or will they once again fall apart under the pressures of March Madness.

Last season 8 of the 16 teams in this round had played in the Sweet 16 the previous year. However, this season just five teams have returned from last season’s round of 16. The returnees include Florida, Arizona, Michigan State, Louisville and Michigan.

Since 1992, according Bovada, teams that return to the Sweet 16 after reaching that round the previous season have a record of 68-46 straight up and 50-62-2 against the spread.

What separates these teams usually is the line. Topbet says that in those same games, teams that were favored by 7 points or more are an impressive 37-3 SU but just 23-17 ATS.

If the teams are priced at something less, a favorite by 6 points or fewer or even a dog, the teams fall off dramatically at 31-43 straight up and 27-45-2 against the spread, according to betonline data.

Looking in depth, even more you find that returnees to the Sweet 16 struggle even more when they arrive off a victory that was 9 points or less. Those teams in Sweet 16 games are 28-25 SU, while a paltry 19-32-2 ATS.

As would be expected, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have fared better than the rest as returnees in the Sweet 16. Data on sportsbook.com shows that the two top seeds are 50-17 SU combined. However, they fall off when covering the number, as they are just 32-35 against the number.

Faring the worst have been the No. 3 returning seeds, with a record of just 7-8 straight up and an even worse 4-11 against the spread.

At the same time, teams that are No. 4 seeds or lower and are returnees have finished 11-21 SU, while just  14-16-2. When the same teams are coming off a win of 10 points or more they fall to 3-15 SU and only 5-12-1 ATS for their Sweet 16 games.

The numbers get even lower when a returnee in the Sweet 16 plays an opponent of top quality that has a .830 or better winning percentage, they drop to 12-21 straight up and 13-19-1 against the spread.

Even worse, if the returnee won fewer than 30 games and played the same top quality opponents their record in the Sweet 16 was 6-18 straight up and 6-17-1 against the spread.

Teams returning to the Sweet 16 should hope their win in the previous round was not a blowout. Returnees to the last 16 who won their previous tournament game by 15 points or more are a disastrous 0-9 straight up and 1-8 against the spread in their Sweet 16 games.

Teams that fall into that latest category are Michigan State and Arizona. Hopefully for them and their supporters, they will become the exception and not the rule.

Experience helps in the Sweet 16 as seen in the past and that should be the same this season as well.

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