Sweet 16 Tidbits
Record amount of turnover in this year's regional semis
By Ryan Hunt, CNNSI.com
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.
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.
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