By Marc Lawrence
With the 2011 NCAA Tournament entering the SWEET 16 round, let's take a different perspective in analyzing the teams that have arrived. It pertains specifically to teams that are returning to the SWEET 16 for the second straight year. Do they perform like a team with experience and panache, or do they execute like CEO's looking for golden parachutes and cushy bonuses while steering a sinking ship? Let's take a peek.
How Do You Do
According to our database, since 1991, teams making a right-back appearance in the SWEET 16 from the previous year are 56-39 SU and 42-51-1 ATS in Round Three 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 31-2 SU and 21-12 ATS in these games. Priced at anything less (dog or favorite of 6 or fewer points), they dip drastically to 25-37 SU and 21-39-1 ATS in competitive contests.
Last year witnessed five SWEET 16 returnees, all of whom collectively managed to go 2-2-1 ATS during this round.
Taking a look at this year's list of returnees, we find no less than four teams that were here last year. They include - Butler, Duke, Kentucky and Ohio State.
Looking at it from a different perspective, one major exception to the rule is that SWEET 16 returnees seem to struggle when arriving off a win of less than 10 points, going just 13-27-2 ATS.
Worse, when SWEET 16 returnees arrive off a single digit win after having won their opening round tournament game by fewer than 15 points they drop to 7-15 SU and 4-16-1 ATS, including 2-14-1 when facing a foe off an ATS win. FYI: The life rafts ready and standing by for Butler and Kentucky.
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...