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Sweet 16 Tidbits

Record amount of turnover in this year's regional semis

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Posted: Monday March 19, 2001 3:52 AM

  Gonzaga's Casey Calvary has been a part of three consecutive Sweet 16 teams. Allsport

By Ryan Hunt,

This says it all about the level of parity in the NCAA tournament: Of last year's Sweet 16, only four are in this year's regional semifinals, while five did not even make the field of 64.

Duke, Michigan State, UCLA and Gonzaga are the only teams from last year's Sweet 16 to make a return trip. It is the lowest number of back-to-back performances since the tournament expanded to its current format in 1985, breaking the record of five (set seven times, most recently last year).

The highest number of repeat teams is eight in 1996 (Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi State and Wake Forest).

For Duke, it is the Blue Devils' fourth consecutive Sweet 16 appearance -- all as a No. 1 seed. Gonzaga, on the other hand, is in the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row -- all as a double-digit seed. Michigan State is also in the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive year.

North Carolina, which made the regional semifinals every year from 1981-93, was knocked out in the second round for the second time in three years.

 Duke has been to four consecutive Sweet 16s.
Ezra Shaw/Allsport
Repeat Offenders
Fewest repeat Sweet 16 teams
Year  No.  Teams 
2001  Duke, Michigan St., Gonzaga, UCLA 
2000  Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Mich. St., Purdue 
1998  Kentucky, Arizona, Utah, Stanford, UCLA 
1997  Kentucky, Arizona, Utah, Louisville, Kansas 
1995  Kansas, Arkansas, Tulsa, Maryland, UConn 
1994  Kansas, Arkansas, Michigan, Indiana, L'ville 
1990  Minnesota, Syracuse, UNLV, Duke, UNC 
1988  Kansas, Duke, Iowa, UNC, Oklahoma 

Spreading the wealth

With the runs of Penn State and Illinois, the Big Ten has had eight of its 11 teams advance to the Sweet 16 at least once in the past five tournaments. Only Michigan (last appearance, 1994), Indiana ('94) and Northwestern (never) have failed to go since 1997.

The SEC, meanwhile, has had nine different teams in the Sweet 16 since '96. Only Vanderbilt (1993), Alabama (1991) and South Carolina (never) have been left out. The Gamecocks were upset in the first round as a No. 2 seed in '97 and as a No. 3 in '98.

The Pac-10, which has four teams in the Sweet 16 this year, has had seven of 10 advance since 1995. The ACC has had seven of its nine teams in since '95. The Big 12 has only had six different schools since '96.

Holding to form

The top four seeds in the Midwest Region -- Illinois, Arizona, Mississippi and Kansas -- accomplished a feat surprisingly rare: all advanced to the Sweet 16.

Form Fitting
Regions with top four seeds since '85
Year  Region  Winner (Seed) 
2001  Midwest  ???? 
1999  South  Ohio St. (4) 
1994  West  Arizona (2) 
1992  East  Duke (1)* 
1991  West  UNLV (1) 
1991  Southeast  Kansas (3) 
1989  Midwest  Illinois (1) 
1989  West  Seton Hall (3) 
1985  East  Georgetown (1) 
* National champion

It is only the second time since 1995 and the ninth time since the field expanded to 64 teams (out of 68 regionals since '85) that it has happened.

After that, though, form hasn't always held in those regions. The top two seeds advanced to the regional finals only four of eight times, with the No. 1 seed winning three of those. The No. 3 and No. 4 seeds have played twice.

Overall, the No. 1 seed has advanced to the Final Four four times, followed by the No. 3 twice.

However, the overall strength of the regionals could prove to be a drawback, considering only once (Duke, 1991) has the eventual national champion played in a regional with the four top seeds.

Odds and ends

  • The East Region has three of the four winningest programs in NCAA tournament history. Kentucky (87 all-time wins), UCLA (76), Duke (67) and Southern California combine for 238 tournament victories. The South Region teams -- Michigan State, Gonzaga, Temple and Penn State -- have a combined 77 wins.

  • Michigan State avoided becoming the 10th defending champion to miss the Sweet 16 since 1985. Connecuticut was the last reigning champ to be ousted early in 2000 (second-round loss to Tennessee).

  • Keystone State representatives Penn State and Temple will meet in the South Region semifinals. The last time two teams from the same state met in the Round of 16 was 1984 when Kentucky played Louisville.

  • Georgetown is two wins away from becoming the first No. 10 seed to advance to the Final Four. Seven 10th seeds have made it as far as the regional finals, most recently Gonzaga in 1999. Those same Bulldogs will try to become the first No. 12 seed to go to the Final Four.

  • Cincinnati is the lone No. 5 seed in the Sweet 16. Historically, fifth seeds have had problems in the regional semifinals, going only 3-18. Last year, Florida became the first No. 5 seed to make it to the championship game. Mississippi State (1996) is the only other 5 to make it to the Final Four.

  • Mississippi had only one all-time tournament victory entering this season.

    Related information
    Statitudes: NIT to NCAA
    Statitudes: Cinderellas collide
    Statitudes: Sweet 16 -- By the Numbers
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