March Madness: 16 Stats to Know for the Sweet 16
A lot has happened during the NCAA Tournament as the field of 68 has been whittled down to 16.
Each of the teams remaining has their strengths and weaknesses. Some teams win with offense and depth while other teams lock down on defense and lean on star power.
Let's span across the 16 teams who are still alive and pick one telling statistic each for squad.
1. Villanova Is Making 45.6% From Three-Point Land
It's no surprise that the Villanova Wildcats are taking and making deep shots. They lead the nation in three-point shots made entering the dance, and their 40.2% field goal percentage on those shots ranks 12th-best in the NCAA this season. They've stepped up their game in the tournament, putting up an incredible 68 shots from deep in the first two rounds and making a superb 45.6% of them. If they continue that kind of shooting, West Virginia is going to have a very difficult time on Friday. The Mountaineers are just 2-5 this season when their opponents shoot better than 44% from deep.
2. Kansas Is Averaging 7.5 Steals Through Two Rounds
For a team that coach Bill Self called the softest he's ever had since he's been in Lawrence, the Kansas Jayhawks have still found ways to be opportunistic. Through two tourney games, they are averaging 7.5 steals. Though three other Sweet 16 teams are averaging more pilfers per game in the tournament, those numbers bode well for KU. The Jayhawks are 15-2 this season when they are able to get 7 or more steals in a game. Clemson is just 5-7 this year when their opponents are able to swipe the ball that many times.
3. Duke Has an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 64.8%
The Duke Blue Devils have been one of the best shooting teams in the nation this season, ranking 19th in effective field goal percentage. They've upped that in a big way to 64.8% in the tournament, due largely in part to making 23 three-point shots across the first two rounds. One of the most effective ways to beat Syracuse's zone is to be able to shoot from deep. If Duke can keep up this level of shooting, then Boeheim and company could soon be heading home.
4. Purdue Is Allowing 5 Offensive Boards Per Game In the Dance
The Purdue Boilermakers have been giving opposing teams a lot of second chances this season, allowing opponents to grab more than 10 offensive rebounds per game this year, which ranks 291st in the NCAA. But they've allowed only 5.0 offensive boards per game through the first two rounds of the tournament and only 4.7 per game over their past three (dating back to the Big 10 Tourney). The Boilermakers are 21-3 this season when their opponents grab fewer than 10 offensive boards.
5. Texas Tech Gives Up 86.6 Points Per 100 Possessions
Out of all remaining Sweet 16 teams, the Texas Tech Red Raiders are first in defensive rating. For the season, they have allowed just 86.6 points per 100 possessions. Only Virginia and Cincinnati have allowed fewer. They've held opponents to an average of only 63.0 points through the first two rounds. The Red Raiders are 15-1 this season when holding opponents to 66 points or fewer.
6. Michigan Is Surrendering 7.5 Assists Per Game in the Tournament
The Michigan Wolverines have allowed just 7.5 assists per game in the tournament, half of the 15.0 they allowed during the regular season. If they can continue to force opponents to create their own shots off the dribble, then they'll likely keep having success on D. The Wolverines are 17-0 this season when opponents aren't able to muster at least 10 assists. In those games, they have won by an average of 18.2 points.
7. Gonzaga Has Won 10 of 11 Tourney Games When Favored by At Least 5 Points
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are favored by 6.0 points heading into their Sweet 16 matchup against the Florida State Seminoles. If history is any guide, their opponents are in for a let down. In the past 10 tournaments, the Bulldogs have played in 11 games in which they've been favored by five points or more. Their only loss in such situations came against Wichita State during the Shockers' 2013 Final Four run. In the other 10 games, they've beaten their opponents by an average of 11.6 points.
8. Clemson Senior Gabe DeVoe Is Averaging 22 Points
Clemson Tigers senior Gabe DeVoe has scored 22 points in each of the first two rounds of the tournament. If he can keep up the hot shooting, then Clemson has a chance to make it deeper into the tournament. In a whopping 34.2 minutes per game this season, DeVoe has averaged 13.7 points, a number which grew heavily because of a strong second half of the season. Seven of DeVoe's eight 20-plus-point games this season have come in Clemson's past 14 games. The Tigers are 8-0 when DeVoe tops 20 points, beating their opponents by an average of 12.4 points per game.
9. Kentucky Is Making 21 Free Throws Per Game
Thanks to a number of upsets, the Kentucky Wildcats are amazingly the top seed left in the South Region. They've done much of their damage by making it to the free throw line. Their 21 free throws made per game is tops among all remaining teams. If they can continue to get to the stripe, they are going to be tough to beat. The Wildcats are 15-1 this season when they've made 20 or more free throws in a game.
10. West Virginia Is Averaging 89.5 Points Per Game
Coach Bob Huggins' teams aren't usually known for their offense. In 33 years of coaching, only five of Huggins' teams have averaged 80.0 points for a season. This year's West Virginia Mountaineers team is over that mark because of a blistering start in the tournament. The top-scoring team in the tournament is averaging 89.5 points per game through the first two rounds, 9.9 points more than they did during the regular season. They'll need their track shoes on again on Friday as they take on a Villanova team that led the nation in scoring during the regular season. Not surprisingly, the over/under for the game is the highest on the slate at 152.5.
11. Texas A&M Is Holding Opponents to 23.5% Shooting From Three
The Texas A&M Aggies have been an elite team this season in terms of limiting damage from the outside. They have allowed opponents to make just 31.9% of their three-point shots for the season, the 24th-lowest percentage in the nation. They've upped their game in the tournament. Providence and North Carolina combined to make just 12 of 51 shots from behind the arc in the first two rounds -- "good" for a shooting percentage of just 23.5%.
12. Nevada Is Turning the Ball Over Only 4.5 Times Per Game
The Nevada Wolf Pack have been careful with the basketball all season. They've turned the ball over just 347 times this campaign, 15th-best in the NCAA. They've taken that trait into the tournament. Through the first two games, they've turned the ball over just 4.5 times per game, fewest of any team remaining. In their historic comeback against the Cincinnati Bearcats, the Wolf Pack turned the ball over just twice. If they are that careful with the ball again, it will be difficult for Loyola to stay close enough to attempt another last-second shot for the win.
13. Kansas State Is 11-3 in Games With a Total Under 140
The Kansas State Wildcats have no problem playing in low-scoring games. In fact, they prefer it. They are 11-3 this season in games with a total set at or below 140. Unfortunately for them, Kentucky is undefeated in similar situations this season. Not only that, Kansas State does not do well as big underdogs. Kentucky are 5.0-point favorites tonight. Kansas State is only 2-6 this season in such situations, and they are only 3-20 as that big of an underdog over the past three years.
14. Florida State Has Forced 16.5 Turnovers Per Game
The Florida State Seminoles ranked just 173rd in the NCAA this season with 13 turnovers forced per game. Through the first two games of the tournament, they've been much more aggressive on the defensive end, increasing that turnover output by 3.5 per night, forcing at least 15 in each game. If they can continue that level of play, then Gonzaga may be in trouble. The Seminoles are 15-2 this season when they force at least 15 turnovers and only 7-9 when they force fewer.
15. Syracuse Is 1-6 in Their Past 7 games as Underdogs of at Least 10 Points
The Syracuse Orange are in a rare situation as 11.5-point underdogs against Duke in the Sweet 16. Since 2008, the Orange have been 10-point underdogs or worse only seven times. They've lost six of those games. Their only win during that span, however, came in 2016 against Duke. The Blue Devils have lost three games this season when favored by 10 or more points. As they say, you still have to play the game.
16. Loyola Has Given Up 62 Points Per Game in the Dance
While that number on its face may not seem significant, it is when you consider that both Tennessee and Miami averaged 74.2 points per game this season before meeting the Loyola (IL) Ramblers. Loyola has been good on D all season. Opponents have scored an average of just 62.2 points against them for the campaign, the fifth-lowest mark in the NCAA. Loyola will have their work cut out for them against a Nevada team that is averaging 83.0 points per game, but it's bound to be an intriguing matchup.