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Sweet 16 Returnees Fare Better Than Newcomers

The Sweet 16 starts Thursday in the NCAA tournament and some of the participants are returning for a second year.

Unlike the past two years when six teams each returned to the Sweet 16, this year just five return – Gonzaga, North Carolina, Kansas, Wisconsin and Oregon.

Dating back 25 years, teams that make consecutive appearances in the Sweet 16 are 80-51 straight up and just 58-70-3 against the spread when they play the second Sweet 16 of consecutive appearances.

Returnees of the Sweet 16 seem to have a hard time when coming off a win of 10 or fewer points, as they are 33-27 SU while just 23-35-2 ATS.

When teams repeating their appearance in the Sweet 16 come in with a .790 winning percentage or higher for the regular season there are just 11-22-1 ATS. That does not bode well for the likes of Gonzaga, North Carolina or Oregon.

When a returnee to the Sweet 16 is labeled as the underdog, then watch out. Teams labeled as dogs of 8 points or less and returning for their second straight visit to the Sweet 16 are 16-11-2 ATS. This season that includes both Wisconsin and Oregon.

If the team is a dog in that same situation and facing an opponent with a winning percentage of less than .825 they have a straight up winning percentage of .620 at 8-5 while going 9-3-1 ATS.

To no one’s surprise, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds fare better than others when they are returning for a second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. Those teams are an impressive 58-17 the past 25 seasons and this season Oregon fits the bill.

However, those same teams are only 37-37-1 ATS when labeled as 6-point or less chalk they are only 12-16-1. Fitting into that category this year are both Kansas and Gonzaga.

Those same returnees to the Sweet 16 as No. 1 and 2 seeds favored by 6 points or less are only 2-8-1 ATS when playing against an opponent with a regular season winning percentage of .800 or higher. This season that bad news would pertain to both Gonzaga and Kansas.

When trying to handicap teams playing in the Sweet 16, remember that the winners are usually the teams that are the best qualified and are used to being in a situation of such pressure such as returning for a second straight appearance.

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