Sweet 16 Picks: March Madness Regression Candidates Include Arizona & Tennessee Odds

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
Sweet 16 Odds

A chalky second round has created fantastic matchups in Sweet 16 odds. With March Madness odds resuming on Thursday, let’s assess teams and individual players due to rebound. Remember that North Carolina residents can also register for NC sportsbook promos before making Sweet 16 picks. These exclusive offers will net you up to $2,700 in bonus bets!

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west region: no. 2 Arizona vs. No. 6 Clemson

Creighton took the cake as the luckiest team to cover the point spread in the round of 32, but the Wildcats were a close second. Arizona’s offense is elite, but Caleb Love &. Co. ran absurdly hot from behind the arc via a 44.4% clip. To boot, Dayton shot 29.3% from the perimeter despite finishing with a top-five 3-point efficiency across Division I. Hence, Flyers bettors certainly deserved a better outcome.

Even though Clemson’s perimeter defense (19.1%) is due for negative regression in the Big Dance, so are the Wildcats (24.4%).

Clemson’s Matchup Advantages

The Tigers boast a five-out offense that should exploit Arizona’s leaky defense — whether PJ Hall matches up with the slow-footed Oumar Ballo or otherwise. It doesn’t hurt that Tommy Lloyd’s allows an above-average open 3-point rate, either.

Hall was prone to foul trouble while notching 12.5 points per game in the Tigers’ two tournament contests. But like DaRon Holmes did on Saturday, Hall is well-suited to break down their defense, even when the Wildcats utilize a smaller lineup with Keshad Johnson as the five-man.

Additionally, Clemson coach Brad Brownell has weaved in zone defense of late to protect his backcourt, especially Joe Girard. That comes in handy versus the Wildcats, which rank in the 42nd percentile in efficiency against zone (0.93 PPP via Synergy). As noted above, Arizona can shoot the 3-ball well, yet they only rank No. 286 in perimeter attempt rate.

That is a weighty factor when inspecting a team’s prospects versus zone. Assuming the Tigers deploy it, my Final Four futures can surely move on. Their chances will increase if they can slow the pace and limit the Wildcats’ transition attack.

Remember that Arizona ranks No. 348 in Haslametrics’ away-from-home metric. Hence, these variables are likelier to rear their ugly head on a neutral court. Conversely, Clemson is 5-1 in neutral-site games, winning at North Carolina and nearly beating Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

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midwest region: no. 2 Tennessee vs. no. 3 Creighton

In each of the last two seasons, the Volunteers have been a poor selection among Sweet 16 picks. They went ice-cold from the perimeter on both trips to the regional semifinals.

Although a similar situation arose in their second-round matchup versus Texas, going 2-of-16 (11.1%) from distance, they found a way to sneak by. Most teams are defined by their resilience (or lack thereof) during a poor shooting night in the NCAA tournament.

Take 2017-18 Villanova, which knocked off Texas Tech in the Elite Eight while manufacturing a 16.7% 3-point clip. The perimeter-oriented Wildcats essentially couldn’t miss after that — en route to winning the national title.

Not only are the Vols due for positive shooting regression, but they’re also gifted an ideal remedy. The Bluejays employ drop coverage at one of the highest rates in college basketball. Vols wing Dalton Knecht, who accrued a 5-of-18 (27.8%) shooting display in Saturday’s win, averaged 30.3 points per game against opponents who run this very defensive scheme (South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida).

Below is where Knecht ranks in specific offensive categories:

  • Shooting 69.0% in pick-and-roll (86th percentile)
  • 0.94 PPP as primary ball-handler in pick-and-roll (82nd percentile)
  • Shooting 38.2% on above-the-break 3-pointers (80th percentile)

The Bluejays’ 3-point defense is primed for negative variance, too, letting up a 26.5% clip in their tournament tilts. Therefore, Knecht is an intriguing candidate to go over points.

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