With the 2013 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 second straight year.
Do these experienced teams perform with aplomb and panache, or do they bomb? Let’s take a peek.
All Hands on Deck
Taking a look at this year’s list of returnees, we find half of last year’s field returning. They include: Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Marquette, Michigan State, Ohio State and Syracuse.
According to our database at Playbook.com, since 1992, teams making a back-to-back appearances in the Sweet 16 are 63-43 SU and 48-56-2 ATS in this round of the tourney.
The cut-line, however, is often times the point spread.
That’s confirmed by the fact that favorites of more than six points are 35-3 SU and 23-15 ATS in these games.
Priced at anything less (dog or favorite of six or fewer points), they dip drastically to 28-40 SU and 25-41-2 ATS in competitive contests.
This year’s teams making the cut (favored by six or more points) are Florida and Louisville.
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 25-24 SU and 17-30-2 ATS.
This year, that would include Marquette and Ohio State.
Note: Indiana and Syracuse face one another.
As expected, the top two seeds fare the best in Sweet 16 games as returnees, going 48-15 SU combined. To the spread, however, they are lukewarm—at best—going 32-31 ATS.
No. 3 seeds have fared the worst, going 5-7 SU and 3-9 ATS as returnees in this round. That is not good news for Marquette or Michigan State.
Ironically, the Golden Eagles failed in this same role as small favorites, losing 68-58 to Florida.
Worse, when Sweet 16 returnees arrive and are forced to take on top quality foe with a win percentage of .850 or greater they spring a major leak, going 7-16 SU and 8-14-1 ATS, including 4-14 SU and 4-13-1 ATS in they won fewer than 30 games last season.
If these same guys are facing a foe off a win of 15 or more points they capsize, going 0-7 SU and 1-6 ATS.
The life rafts are ready and standing by for Michigan State this 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.