The teams riding momentum, a winning streak or that “get hot” late in the regular season win championships. At least that is the assumption or cliché.
Seven of the 12 teams remaining in the NCAA tournament would argue otherwise.
Gary Parrish, CBS sports college basketball columnist and TV analyst, provided evidence in support of this argument Friday morning. He tweeted “Next time somebody tries to tell you about the importance of ‘momentum’ heading into the NCAA Tournament, show them this.”
The screen grab documented a combined 18-31 record that seven of the remaining teams in the tournament produced leading up to March Madness.
Xavier advanced to the Elite Eight Thursday night by upsetting Arizona. The Musketeers were 3-7 in 10 games before the NCAA tournament.
Wisconsin is appearing in its fourth consecutive Sweet 16 despite going 4-6 before the tournament. The Badgers play Florida, who was 1-3 in its four games before the tournament, Friday night.
Baylor was 5-5 in 10 games before the tournament. South Carolina was 3-6, North Carolina 2-2 and Butler 0-2.
Based on Sweet 16 pairings, four of these 12 teams will survive to the Elite Eight and at least one will play in the Final Four.
The Gophers’ early exit supports Parrish’s argument that momentum is a non-factor in the NCAA tournament. The Gophers were 9-2 in 11 games before the NCAA tournament, yet were upset in the first round. If you look at the Gophers' record at a different angle, though, they were 1-2 in the final three games leading up to the tournament. One could argue the momentum had already been wiped out by the time they faced Middle Tennessee in the Round of 64.
Consider this: Wisconsin was 3-1 in its final four games with a run to the Big Ten tournament title game. That looks like a little bit of momentum.
Oregon, UCLA, Gonzaga, Kansas and Kentucky are the five other remaining 12 teams that have been riding momentum all season. The four teams have only a combined 11 losses.
Kansas and Oregon entered the tournament on a 9-1 stretch. Gonzaga and UCLA were 8-2. Kentucky was a perfect 10-0 and hasn’t lost since Feb. 4. It is tough to argue against momentum like that.
Next time somebody tries to tell you about the importance of ‘momentum’ heading into the NCAA Tournament, show them this: pic.twitter.com/8Gwa72xBwz— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) March 24, 2017
@GaryParrishCBS show 10 yrs of that data and maybe get on board. 1 yr of data does not support an arguement— Nick Pass (@nickyp1423) March 24, 2017