Let’s look at how every remaining Sweet-16 has fared against other Sweet-16 teams, and compare those remaining in some other numbers. Some of these numbers may surprise you:
Record vs. Sweet-16
Beat Syracuse and Florida State at home and Clemson on the road.
Beat Clemson at home, lost to to Florida State and Duke on the road, lost to Kansas at a neutral site.
Beat Kentucky, Syracuse on neutral floor, Texas A&M at home, West Virginia and Kansas State 3 times home/away/neutral, and split with Texas Tech.
Split with Florida State, lost to Duke at home, Syracuse away.
Beat Gonzaga neutral court.
West Virginia 4-6
Beat Kansas State twice, Texas Tech home and neutral, lost to Texas A&M neutral, Kentucky at home, Kansas 3 times,Texas Tech on road.
Texas Tech 5-3
Beat Nevada neutral, swept Kansas State, split w/Kansas, beat W. Virginia home but lost W. VA away and neutral.
Beat Michigan home/away and lost neutral.
Beat West Virginia away, lost Kansas neutral, split Texas A&M.
Kansas State 0-7
Lost three ways to Kansas, swept by West Virginia and Texas Tech.
Lost to Texas Tech away.
No games vs. Sweet-16
Florida State 2-2
Beat Syracuse at home, Split clemson home/away, lost to Duke away.
Lost neutral to Villanova
Lost Purdue home/away, won neutral.
Texas A&M 2-2
Beat West Virginia neutral, split Kentucky, lost Kansas away.
The Big-12 has the most experience this season by far against the remaining Sweet-16 teams. Kansas (10-1) sports not only the most extensive and diverse experience, but arguably the best record against other Sweet 16 teams. West Virginia is next in experience but with far less success, Texas Tech has been strong in 8 games, and Kansas State has yet to win a game against the Sweet-16.
While I understand that 3-0 Duke is better percentage-wise, considering the lack of depth of opponents, I think Kansas has a much better record. Interestingly enough, Duke played each of the ACC teams left in the Sweet 16 only once. The question that arises is how playing a limited in conference home/away schedule might affect a team’s original seeding? While it doesn’t matter much, has it affected the public’s perception of Duke, who may not consider that they’ve dodged playing several very good teams home and away this season?
It seems to me that in stronger conferences, by playing several teams only once provides an advantage in terms of season W-L record. ACC pundits always complain about their teams beating each other up before the NCAA tourney arrives, but these facts do not back the notion up. In fact, it appears here that the SEC and Big12 have much more to complain about.
3 pt. shooting
In order: Purdue, Kansas, Villanova, Loyola-Chicago, Nevada
3 pt. shooting defense
Kentucky, Nevada, Texas A&M, Duke, Syracuse
2 pt. shooting
Villanova, Gonzaga, Loyola-Chicago, Kansas, Duke
2 pt. shooting defense
Clemson, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Duke
Free throw shooting
Villanova, West Virginia, Clemson, Purdue, Nevada
Offensive rebounding %
Duke, W. Virginia, Kentucky, Syracuse,Texas A&M
Defensive rebounding %
Gonzaga, Michigan, Loyola-Chicago, Clemson, Villanova
Duke seems to be a clear favorite if one were to just consider these numbers and Loyola-Chicago or Nevada could be sleepers.