How Have Teams Fared After Winning an NCAA Tournament Game in OT?

by Team Del Genio

Are NCAA-B tournament teams that come off a victory in overtime in their previous NCAA tournament game at a disadvantage in their next game, or does that dynamic gets priced into the line by the oddsmakers?

It remains an ongoing question. There were six overtime games in the NCAA tournament in March. Perhaps analyzing those results can offer insight?

Notre Dame outlasted Rutgers in two overtimes, 89-87, as a 1-point underdog in one of the first four games. The ten additional minutes did not appear to take a toll on a Fighting Irish team that did not rely on a deep bench as they made it to the weekend before losing to Texas Tech. They upset Alabama in the first round of the tournament, 78-64, as a 4-point underdog. 

St. Peter’s upset Kentucky, 85-79, in overtime as an 18.5-point underdog in the first round. That experience seems to energize the team as they proceeded to continue on a magical run that saw them become the first 15 seed to reach the Elite 8 where they lost to North Carolina. St. Peter’s pulled off three upsets along the way, including beating Murray State in the second round. 

Murray State’s loss as an 8.5-point favorite was the first team to not cover the point spread after winning their prior tournament game in overtime. The Racers needed overtime to cover the 2 points the oddsmakers had them laying in their opening round game against San Francisco which they pulled out, 92-87. 

Creighton defeated San Diego State, 72-69, in the first round of the tournament as a 2.5-point underdog. They played valiantly against Kansas in the second round despite the injury suffered to Ryan Kalkbrenner in the overtime of the game with the Aztecs. Yet the Bluejays lost the game ultimately, 79-72, as a 13-point underdog. 

North Carolina blew a 25-point lead against Baylor in the second round but used overtime to upset the defending national champions, 93-86, as a 5.5-point underdog. The Tar Heels followed that up by upsetting UCLA, 73-66, as a 2.5-point underdog in the Sweet 16. 

Arizona needed overtime to get past TCU, 85-80, as a 9.5-point favorite in the final game of the second round. The Wildcats were then upset by Houston, 72-60, as a 1.5-point favorite in the Sweet 16.

In all, NCAA tournament overtime survivors went 4-2 against the spread in their next tournament game. Three of those four winners pulled off upset victories in their next game with Creighton the only team not to parlay their momentum into an upset win. Both overtime losers, Arizona and Murray State got upset as a favorite after not covering the point spread as a favorite in their overtime victory in their previous game. 

These are interesting trends to continue to scrutinize next year. 

Good luck - TDG.

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