March Madness Betting Trends: Sweet 16 Cheat Sheet

Last Updated: March 23rd, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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The NCAA Tournament continues into its second weekend starting on Thursday, and before you make your Sweet 16 picks, be sure to check out this March Madness trends and picks sheet to help you out through the big weekend on the collegiate hardwood.

Thursday, March 24th, 7:15 ET: #3 Connecticut Huskies vs. #2 San Diego State Aztecs
March Madness Odds: Connecticut -1
March Madness Trends of Note
The Huskies have covered four straight games as favorites
Connecticut is 6-0 ATS in its last six against teams with a winning percentage above .600
The Aztecs are 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 games against teams with a winning percentage above .600

NCAA Tournament Notes
The Huskies are putting on one of the more remarkable runs that we have ever seen a team go on in the postseason, as they won seven games and covered seven spreads in a span of just 12 days against some of the best teams in the land. Kemba Walker just seems to be unconscious right now, and the argument could be made that he is the most important player left in this tournament. The Aztecs have only won two NCAA Tournament games in their history, both of which happened to be here in this tournament. SDSU will have the decided home court advantage playing in Anaheim. These two teams have never met before on the hardwood.

Thursday, March 24th, 7:27 ET: #3 BYU Cougars vs. #2 Florida Gators
March Madness Odds: Florida -3
March Madness Trends of Note
BYU is just 30-62-2 ATS in its last 94 games as an underdog
The Gators are 6-0 ATS in their last six NCAA Tournament games as favorites
Florida is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games following an SU victory

NCAA Tournament Notes
Could it be sweet revenge in the Sweet 16 for the Gators? Head Coach Billy Donovan hopes so, as these Cougars knocked the Gators out of the dance last season the first round in a 99-92 game that was decided in overtime. Both of these teams look remarkably similar to their forms from last season, as the only real absence from last year is Brandon Davies, who was kicked off of the BYU roster a few weeks ago. Still, the Gators have a great history here in the Sweet 16, and they are trying to make it back to their fourth Final Four in the Donovan era. BYU is just trying to prove that it belongs and that it should have been the No. 2 seed of these two teams in this region.

Thursday, March 24th, 9:45 ET: #5 Arizona Wildcats vs. #1 Duke Blue Devils
March Madness Odds: Duke -8.5
March Madness Trends of Note
The Wildcats are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games against the ACC
Duke has covered five in a row against the Pac-10
The Blue Devils are 6-2 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament games

NCAA Tournament Notes
The Blue Devils have all to play for right now, as they are just four steps away from retaining their National Championship, something that many didn’t give them that great of a chance to do just last week. The trick is going to be coping with the long trip out to Anaheim, as Arizona will have a decided home court edge, just as SDSU will against UConn earlier in the night. The Wildcats have now won two games thanks to the prowess of Derrick Williams in the post, and he is going to be the key, while the Dookies are going to hope that the good health of Kyrie Irving can set them apart in this one. These two last met in 2001 in the National Championship Game, and Duke knocked off the Wildcats 82-72 as short four point underdogs.

Thursday, March 24th, 9:57 ET: #8 Butler Bulldogs vs. #4 Wisconsin Badgers
March Madness Odds: Wisconsin -4.5
March Madness Trends of Note
Butler has covered six straight March Madness betting battles
Wisconsin is 5-1 ATS in its last six games played outside of the Big Ten
The Bulldogs are 21-5-2 ATS in their last 28 games against teams with a winning percentage above .600

NCAA Tournament Notes
Butler really has a great chance of pulling off the upset in this one if it can shoot the ball as well as it has in its first two games in this tournament against the Old Dominion Monarchs and Pittsburgh Panthers, especially late in games from long range. This is largely the same team that was in the finale last season that lost by a whisker, save for the fact that sharpshooter Gordon Hayward is now in the NBA. The Badgers haven’t had a great history once they reach this point in the dance, but they do have a tremendous defensive team and one that can really shoot free throws in clutch spots. If it’s a close game, Wisconsin will have the huge upper hand. Back in January 2001, Butler went into the Kohl Center and knocked off the Badgers 58-44 in the most recent meeting of these two Midwest schools.

Friday, March 25th, 7:15 ET: #11 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. #2 North Carolina Tar Heels
March Madness Odds: North Carolina -4.5
March Madness Trends of Note
The Golden Eagles are 23-11 ATS in their last 34 games against teams with a winning percentage greater than .600.
North Carolina is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 games in the NCAA Tournament
The Tar Heels are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games overall

NCAA Tournament Notes
UNC really has had the look of an incredibly dominating team of late, as it really hasn’t played a truly remarkable game since the regular season finale against the Duke Blue Devils. Still, the Heels have a great set of bigs to work with that can get the job done on the inside (John Henson and Tyler Zeller) and on the outside (Harrison Barnes). Marquette is quickly developing into the sweetheart of this tournament, especially knowing that it has 14 losses to its credit already this season. Still, of all of the Big East teams that were in this field, this is clearly the least likely one to do any further damage and would be the most surprising team to reach the Final Four.

Friday, March 25th, 7:27 ET: #12 Richmond Spiders vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks
March Madness Odds: Kansas -10.5
March Madness Trends of Note
The Spiders are 10-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall
Kansas is 4-0 ATS in its last four games against the Atlantic 10
The Jayhawks are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 NCAA Tournament tussles as favorites of 7.0-12.5 points

NCAA Tournament Notes
These two teams do have a history with one another, and you can bet that the Spiders will not be intimidated by going against the No. 1 seed in the Southwest Bracket. Richmond won at Allen Fieldhouse back in 2004, scoring a 69-68 triumph. Little did we know that Kansas was going to eventually roll off 69 straight wins there through this season. Still, these two teams are built totally differently, as the Spiders really need to play this game in the 60s to have success, while the Jayhawks are content to run and gun into the 70s or even into the 80s. Kansas, of course, is still working to try to erase the memory of that brutal loss in the second round last year to the Northern Iowa Panthers, and you can bet that Head Coach Bill Self will have this team ready even though Richmond is another “mid major” team.

Friday, March 25th, 9:45 ET: #4 Kentucky Wildcats vs. #1 Ohio State Buckeyes
March Madness Odds: Ohio State -5.5
March Madness Trends of Note
The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the Big Ten
Ohio State is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games following an SU win of 20 or more points
The Buckeyes are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 March Madness matches as favorites

NCAA Tournament Notes
This is one of the most intriguing games of the entire tournament to date, as this one pits one of the No. 1 seeds from last year’s tournament in Kentucky, against the No. 1 overall seed in the dance in Ohio State. The talent is there for these two to really put on a tremendous show, as both teams definitely have the full complement of big guys and sharpshooters. Either one could win a game in the 50s just as easily as it could win one in the 90s. One thing is for sure, and that’s that there certainly will be no lack of talent on display. Both of these teams have played some absolutely fantastic basketball to reach this point, and you can bet that both will want to put their best foot forward to get into the Elite 8.

Friday, March 25th, 9:57 ET: #11 VCU Rams vs. #10 Florida State Seminoles
March Madness Odds: Florida State -3.5
March Madness Trends of Note
The Rams are a perfect 7-0 ATS in their last seven games in the NCAA Tournament
VCU is 5-1 ATS in its last six games against ACC opponents
Florida State is 2-6 ATS in its last eight neutral site games as a favorite

NCAA Tournament Notes
This is certainly the most unlikely of the eight matchups in the Sweet 16, as it isn’t all that often that we see a pair of double digit seeds pitted against each other, especially this late on. The Rams are the Cinderella stories for sure, as they had to come out of the First Four to reach this point. They’ve done so with great shooting from the outside and a tenacious full court defense, and the Georgetown Hoyas and Purdue Boilermakers haven’t even stayed remotely close to them. As a result, Head Coach Shaka Smart, who is suddenly the hottest young coaching commodity out there, has his team in the Sweet 16 for the first time Florida State had never won an NCAA Tournament game under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton before this year. This is its first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1998 when it was ironically also a double digit seed. Chris Singleton is hoping to be able to make full contributions for the Seminoles this week after playing limited minutes in the first two rounds of the dance. FSU’s defense has been second to none in this tournament, as the Texas A&M Aggies and Notre Dame Fighting Irish just had no chance of getting around this very athletic team.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 @ 5:38 pm (EST)
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