Games that fit the trends in Week 2 of the Big Dance

March 22, 2022 07:43 PM
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With one week down and two to go in the NCAA Tournament, here is an updated version of the games that fit the trends in the Sweet 16 and potentially in the Elite Eight. I’ll be back next week to finish the series by looking at Final Four and potential title-game matchups. 

Let’s start with some key conference trends from the NCAA Tournament. Trend numbers are all from NCAA Tournament games and have not been updated to include last week’s results.

Conference trends in NCAA Tournament

ACC

— ACC-Pac 12 matchups are 12-3-1 (80%) to the Under since 2003.

Qualifying game: North Carolina-UCLA.

— ACC favorites of 5 points or fewer are 25-45-1 ATS (35.7%) since 1998.

Qualifying game: Miami-Iowa State.

— ACC teams playing as double-digit seeds are 14-6-1 ATS (70%) since 2012.

Qualifying game: Miami-Iowa State.

— ACC No. 2 seeds are on an 8-26-1 ATS (23.5%) slide since 2001.

Qualifying game: Duke-Texas Tech.

American Athletic

— American Athletic underdogs are 11-3 (78.6%) to the Under in their last 14 games.

Qualifying game: Houston-Arizona.

Big 12

— Big 12 underdogs of 2.5 points or more are 15-59 SU and 31-42-1 ATS (42.5%) since 1998.

Qualifying game: Iowa State-Miami.

— Big 12 favorites of 7 points or more are on a 17-1 SU and 12-6 ATS (66.7%) run.

Qualifying game: Kansas-Providence.

Big East

— Big East teams are on a 12-6 SU and 13-5 ATS (72.2%) run versus Big 12 teams.

Qualifying game: Providence-Kansas.

— Favorites are 21-8 ATS (72.4%) in the last 29 games with a Big East team.

Qualifying teams: Kansas (vs. Providence), Villanova (vs. Michigan).

Big Ten

— Big Ten double-digit favorites are 48-3 SU and 28-19-4 ATS (59.6%) since 1998.

Qualifying game: Purdue-Saint Peter’s.

— Big Ten underdogs of 5.5 points or more are 5-47 SU and 19-33 ATS (36.6%) since 1998.

Qualifying game: Michigan-Villanova.

Pac-12

— Pac-12 teams are 13-22-1 ATS (37.1%) in the Sweet 16 since 2001, although they were 3-1 SU and ATS in 2021.

Qualifying games: Arizona-Houston, UCLA-North Carolina.

SEC

— SEC teams are 20-11-2 ATS (64.5%) in the Sweet 16 since 2003.

Qualifying game: Arkansas-Gonzaga.

— SEC No. 4 seeds are 12-18 ATS (40%) since 2000, and those games are 22-7-1 (75.9%) to the Under.

Qualifying games: Arkansas-Gonzaga.

— Underdogs are 24-12 ATS (66.7%) in the last 36 games with an SEC team.

Qualifying game: Arkansas-Gonzaga.

West Coast

— Games with a West Coast team are on a 19-8 (70.3%) run to the Under, including 5-1 last year.

Qualifying game: Gonzaga-Arkansas.

Round-by-round trends

Sweet 16

— In Sweet 16 games with a favorite of 8 points or more, the Under is on a 24-7-3 (77.4%) run.

Qualifying games: Gonzaga-Arkansas, Purdue-Saint Peter’s.

— Nos. 1 and 2 seeds are on a 31-7 SU and 25-12-1 ATS (67.6%) run, including 4-1 SU and ATS in 2021.

Qualifying teams: Gonzaga, Duke, Villanova, Arizona, Kansas.

— Double-digit seeds are 14-4-1 ATS (77.8%) since 2011, including 3-0 ATS last year (with upset wins by UCLA and Oregon State).

Relevant qualifying teams: Michigan, Saint Peter’s.

— No. 1 seeds are on an 11-1 SU and 9-2-1 ATS (81.8%) run versus No. 4 seeds.

Qualifying teams: Kansas, Gonzaga.

— In games where both teams are seeded 5 or lower, the lower-seeded team is 11-5 SU and ATS (68.8%) since 2001.

Qualifying team: Iowa State.

— Higher-seeded teams playing as underdogs or pick’ems are on a 5-1 SU and ATS (83.3%) run, with the last five games all going Under.

Qualifying team: Duke.

Elite Eight

— Underdogs of 3.5 points or fewer are 25-16 SU and 27-13-1 ATS (67.5%) over the last 22 years. 

— Teams not from power conferences are 12-9 SU and 13-7-1 ATS (65%) since 2003, including 9-1-1 ATS as underdogs of 3 points or more.

Potential qualifying teams: Houston, Gonzaga, Saint Peter’s.

— No. 1 seeds are just 31-25 SU and 22-30-4 ATS (42.3%) since 2001.

Potential qualifying teams: Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas.

— Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seeds are just 14-14 SU and 5-21-2 ATS (19.2%) against teams seeded 4 or lower since 2001.

— The Over is 85-57-2 (59.9%) since 2001. In games with totals of 143 points or fewer, the Over is 59-26 (69.4%).

— In games where both teams are seeded 3 or lower, the lower-seeded team is 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS since 2013.

Head-to-head angles

Only two of the eight Sweet 16 matchups have any relevant head-to-head results to consider, and even those are a stretch.

Michigan vs. Villanova (Thursday)

This game is a rematch of the 2018 NCAA Tournament championship game won by Villanova 79-62. The teams met seven months later, and Michigan repaid the favor in a 73-46 rout. Those two games, as well as the prior matchup in 2014, all went Under the total. This week’s posted number was sitting at 135 as of Tuesday.

North Carolina vs. UCLA (Friday)

North Carolina and UCLA have met four times over the last eight years in early-season, neutral-court action. The Tar Heels won all of them, both SU and ATS, as favorites each time. All four games were decided by double-digit margins, with an average margin of 15.3 points. Of course, UNC has a new coach and UCLA’s Mick Cronin was only around for the most recent matchup in 2019.

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