The NCAA Men’s basketball tournament has been whittled down to 16 teams and, over the next two days, that number will shrink to eight. With four games on Thursday night and another four on Friday, here are BetPrep’s key trends for every Sweet 16 matchup.
No. 4 Arkansas (+9.5) vs. No. 1 Gonzaga
Thursday, 7:09 p.m. ET, CBS (O/U: 154.5)
Gonzaga, the top-overall seed entering this year’s NCAA Tournament, is one of three No. 1 seeds to advance. Baylor is the lone top seed not to reach the Sweet 16, making this year the fifth straight tournament in which the reigning national champion was defeated before the round of 16. At least one No. 1 seed has reached the Final Four in nine straight tournaments and multiple top seeds have reached the Elite Eight in seven straight tournaments.
Under head coach Mark Few, the Bulldogs are the only team that has reached the Sweet 16 in each of the last seven tournaments. Gonzaga has also played in two of the last four NCAA Tournament championship games.
As for Arkansas, the Razorbacks narrowly defeated their first two opponents, New Mexico State and Vermont, in the opening rounds of the tournament. Arkansas struggled offensively in both games, but the team’s defense has come to play thus far. The Hogs will certainly be tested tonight by a ‘Zags squad that ranks as KenPom.com’s No. 1 team in offensive efficiency.
Arkansas Key Trends
- The Razorbacks are winless against the spread in their last four NCAA Tournament games.
- Arkansas is 14-5-1 ATS in its last 20 games overall.
- The Over is 7-1 in the Hogs’ last eight games overall.
Gonzaga Key Trends
- The Bulldogs are winless ATS in their last four NCAA Tournament games.
- Gonzaga is 0-4-1 ATS in its last five games overall.
- The Over is 5-2 in the Bulldogs’ last seven neutral site games.
No. 11 Michigan (+5) vs. No. 2 Villanova
Thursday, 7:29 p.m. ET, TBS (O/U: 135)
Michigan largely underperformed in the regular season and coach Juwan Howard was even suspended for five games following a loss and postgame shouting match with Wisconsin. Things looked bleak for the Wolverines when they collapsed in the second half against Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament; but UM made the tournament anyway and has won its first two games, including an upset of Tennessee in the second round.
This will be a rematch of the 2018 NCAA National Championship Game, won by the Wildcats. Villanova also won the 2016 NCAA National Championship and has been highly profitable in the tournament, cashing in 19 of its last 26 NCAA Tournament matchups.
Michigan Key Trends
- The Wolverines are 4-1 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
- Michigan is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games as an underdog.
- The Over is 19-7 in the Wolverines’ last 26 games overall.
Villanova Key Trends
- The Wildcats are 17-4 ATS in their last 21 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
- Villanova is 37-18-1 ATS in its last 56 neutral site games as a favorite.
- The Under is 4-1 in the Wildcats’ last five games overall.
No. 3 Texas Tech (-1) vs. No. 2 Duke
Thursday, 9:39 p.m. ET, CBS (O/U: 137)
The Blue Devils survived against Michigan State on Sunday, as the Spartans appeared to have Duke’s number until a late run propelled coach Mike Krzyzewski into a record 26th Sweet 16 appearance. Coach K’s squad features five potential NBA draft picks, led by freshman forward Paolo Banchero, who averages 17 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
That said, the talented Blue Devils figure to be challenged by a Texas Tech team that ranks as KenPom’s No. 1 team in defensive efficiency. The Red Raiders are allowing just 13 points in the paint per game this NCAA tournament, which is the fewest in the field.
Texas Tech Key Trends
- The Red Raiders are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 NCAA Tournament games.
- Texas Tech is 5-2 ATS in its last seven NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
- The Under is 8-3 in the Red Raiders’ last 11 NCAA Tournament games.
Duke Key Trends
- The Blue Devils are 1-5 ATS in their last six games.
- Duke is 1-7 ATS in its last eight NCAA Tournament games.
- The Over is 7-1 in the Blue Devils’ last eight games.
No. 5 Houston (+1.5) vs. No. 1 Arizona
Thursday, 9:59 p.m. ET, TBS (O/U: 145)
Houston has been bitten hard by the injury bug this season but Kelvin Sampson’s team just continues to display immense grit. This will be the Cougars’ 14th Sweet 16 appearance and their third since 2019. They rank in the top-10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.
Arizona, meanwhile, faces the dreaded “West Coast curse” despite being a No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament. A West Coast school hasn’t won the title since Arizona accomplished the feat in 1997.
The good news for the ‘Cats? Sophomore point guard Kerr Krissa played 27 minutes against TCU after missing the previous three games because of an ankle sprain. He should be ready for a larger role tonight.
Houston Key Trends
- The Cougars are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.
- Houston is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 games as an underdog.
- The Under is 6-2-1 in the Cougars’ last nine games overall.
Arizona Key Trends
- The Wildcats are 0-4 ATS in their last four NCAA Tournament games.
- Arizona is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 neutral site games.
- The Over is 7-1 in the Wildcats’ last eight games overall.
No. 15 Saint Peter’s (+12.5) vs. No. 3 Purdue
Friday, 7:09 p.m. ET, CBS (O/U: 135)
After shocking Kentucky in the opening round and then doubling down with an upset win over Murray State in the second, Saint Peter’s has emerged as this year’s Cinderella. The Peacocks don’t have a single player that made the All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference first team and yet, they’ll attempt to accomplish something that last year’s Cinderella Oral Roberts couldn’t: Reach the Elite Eight.
Standing in the Peacocks’ way is a Purdue team that finished as the runner-up in the Big Ten Tournament to Iowa. The Boilermakers are aiming for their second Elite Eight appearance in the last three NCAA Tournaments. This is Purdue’s fourth Sweet 16 appearance in the last five tournaments, which is the third-most in the country behind Gonzaga and Michigan (5). The team owns a 14-7 record against the NCAA Tournament field, which are the most victories of any team in the field.
Saint Peter’s Key Trends
- The Peacocks are 7-0 ATS in their last seven neutral site games as an underdog.
- Saint Peter’s is 20-6-1 ATS in its last 27 games overall.
- The Over is 6-1 in the Peacocks’ last seven games as an underdog.
Purdue Key Trends
- The Boilermakers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven NCAA Tournament games.
- Purdue is 2-8-2 ATS in its last 12 games overall.
- The Over is 9-3 in the Boilermakers’ last 12 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
No. 4 Providence (+7.5) vs. No. 1 Kansas
Friday, 7:29 p.m. ET, TBS (O/U: 141.5)
While Providence rolled in its first two games of the NCAA Tournament against South Dakota State and Richmond, respectively, Kansas received a stiff test from Creighton in the second round after blowing out Texas Southern in its opening matchup. While it seems unfathomable, the Jayhawks actually reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2018.
Ochai Agbaji averages 19.3 points per game and 5.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks, while Christian Braun is averaging 8.6 points and 5.0 rebounds over the last 10 games for KU. Agbaji and David McCormack figure to be tested by Justin Minaya, who was a legitimate candidate to win the 2021-22 Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
Providence Key Trends
- The Friars are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games as an underdog.
- Providence is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games overall.
- The Under is 5-2 in the Friars’ last seven NCAA Tournament games.
Kansas Key Trends
- The Jayhawks’ are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
- Kansas is just 1-4 ATS in its last five NCAA Tournament games.
- The Over is 7-2-1 in KU’s last 10 NCAA Tournament games.
No. 8 North Carolina (+2.5) vs. No. 4 UCLA
Friday, 9:39 p.m. ET, CBS (O/U: 141.5)
Winners of eight of their last nine games, the Tar Heels are one of the hottest teams in the tournament. Along with Duke and Miami, North Carolina is one of three ACC teams still standing in the NCAA Tournament.
Reaching the Sweet 16 wasn’t easy, as the Tar Heels blew a 25-point lead over 1 seed Baylor in the second round before eventually beating the Bears in overtime. Ranked as KenPom’s No. 20 team in offensive efficiency, UNC’s offense will be a problem for every opponent the rest of the way.
UCLA is in a similar boat as fellow Pac-12 program Arizona: A West Coast school hasn’t won the title since the ‘Cats cut down the nets in 1997. That said, the Bruins were considered one of the more underrated teams entering this year’s field, ranking eighth overall at KenPom and 12th in both offensive and defensive efficiency, respectively.
North Carolina Key Trends
- The Tar Heels are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.
- North Carolina is just 1-6 ATS in its last seven NCAA Tournament games as an underdog.
- The Over is 4-0 in UNC’s last four NCAA Tournament games.
UCLA Key Trends
- The Bruins are 7-1 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament games.
- UCLA is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 neutral site games.
- The Under is 5-1 in the Bruins’ last six NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
No. 11 Iowa State (+2.5) vs. No. 10 Miami
Friday, 9:59 p.m. ET, TBS (O/U: 133)
Outside of Saint Peter’s and perhaps Michigan, Iowa State has been one of the more surprising teams to reach the Sweet 16. The Cyclones only won two games last season and struggled mightily offensively entering the tournament.
Under first-year coach T.J. Otzelberger, ISU reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2016. The Cyclones have allowed only 103 points in their first two games, including 49 in their upset of Wisconsin, which was the Badgers’ lowest point total since 2018, according to the Detroit News.
Standing in Iowa State’s way of reaching the Elite Eight is Miami, which pulled off an upset of Auburn in the second round. Coach Jim Larranaga had some fun with Auburn alum Charles Barkley immediately following the Hurricanes’ win saying, “I listened to Charles Barkley tell the CBS crew that if Auburn won, he would take off his shirt and I thought to myself, ‘Man, no one wants to see that, Chuck.” As you can see in the trends below, the Hurricanes have been profitable at the window of late.
Iowa State Key Trends
- Iowa State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven neutral site games as an underdog.
- The Cyclones are 4-1 ATS in their last five games when facing an opponent with a winning record.
- The Over is 7-2 in ISU’s last nine NCAA Tournament games as an underdog.
Miami Key Trends
- The Hurricanes are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games overall.
- Miami is just 5-15-1 ATS in its last 21 neutral site games as a favorite.
- The Over is 11-5 in the Hurricanes’ last 16 NCAA Tournament games.