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Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 18 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only major-college coach to finish his career with more than 500 victories and never participate in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: The coach spent his entire four-year school coaching career at one institution and had nine consecutive winning seasons at Division I level from 1972-73 through 1980-81.
2. Who is the only player to average more than 26 points per game for an undefeated NCAA champion before averaging less than five points per game in his NBA career? Hint: He averaged the same number of points in NCAA Tournament as he did for entire season.
3. Who is the only coach to win three national third-place games? Hint: No coach accumulated as many different All-Americans as he did (16) in his first 20 campaigns at a single school.
4. Who is the only former major-college player to score more than 23,000 points in the NBA after never participating in the NCAA Tournament or NIT? Hint: His alma mater returned to small-college status after being at the Division I level for more than 50 years but never appearing in NCAA playoffs or NIT.
5. Of the 10 different players to compile season scoring averages of more than 23 points per game for a national champion, who is the only individual in this group to tally fewer than 40 points in two games at the Final Four? Hint: His team won both Final Four games that year by a minimum of 20 points.
6. Who is the only individual to coach a team to the Final Four after becoming an NCAA consensus first-team All-American and NBA first-round draft choice? Hint: He joined Chet Walker and Bob Love as 20-points-per-game scorers for the Chicago Bulls in 1969-70 after becoming the first African-American to earn a league MVP while attending Southern school.
7. Who is the only national player of the year to score less than 10 points when his school was eliminated in a Final Four contest the same season? Hint: He averaged more than 25 points per game in his four previous playoff contests that year.
8. Name the only Final Four team to have as many as six players still on its roster with double-digit season scoring averages. Hint: All six individuals played in the NBA as did another player on squad who averaged eight points per game.
9. Who is the only All-Tournament selection to finish his college playing career at another major university? Hint: His brother was a wide receiver for a Super Bowl champion.
10. Who is the only leading scorer for a Final Four team to also play for the school's football squad in a New Year's Day bowl game and win a silver medal in the Olympics as a high jumper? Hint: The Olympics climaxed a superb academic school year for the versatile athlete who won NCAA high jump crown and led his school's football and basketball teams in scoring. He also appeared in the first two NBA All-Star Games.
Keith Smart, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player for 1987 national kingpin Indiana, returned to his NBA assistant coaching job last year after battling a rare form of skin cancer spreading along the left side of his jaw. Smart's ailment surfaced as a question lingered following center Andrew Smith, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Butler's 2011 NCAA playoff runner-up, losing his fight against lymphoma: Is there a Final Four curse?
This topic reared its ugly head early last season when Michael Wright, leading rebounder and second-leading scorer for Arizona's 2001 national runner-up team including Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson and Luke Walton, was found dead with a skull fracture in New York City in the back seat of his Lexus SUV. Covered with garbage bags, the Chicago high school teammate of Kevin Garnett was 35. More than a year later, his roommate and an alleged accomplice were arrested for drugging and murdering him plus desecrating human remains.
Ranging from famous military battles to freak circumstances to mysterious disappearances to nuclear bombs to CIA activity to suicides, the existence of a Final Four curse is debatable although there is no denying a striking number of prominent national semifinal players and coaches died prematurely. For instance, Sid Tanenbaum, the second-leading scorer for NYU's 1945 national runner-up, was murdered on September 4, 1986, at the age of 60 when stabbed to death by a local woman in his Queens machine shop. According to police reports, Tanenbaum was assaulted because he chose to stop lending money to his attacker after previously assisting her numerous times.
Life expectancy in the U.S. for people born in 2012 is 79 years. Any tribute isn't enough when a man such as Smith is buried long before his time. Unspeakable tragedy also struck Butler a year ago when the six-month-old son of Emerson Kampen, a backup to Smith, died of a genetic disorder affecting the central nervous system. The following lengthy list of additional Final Four players (cited chronologically) passed away early (60 and younger), but the deceased left lasting memories:
Three of Oregon's starting five on the first NCAA championship team in 1939 - guards Bobby Anet and Wally Johansen and center Slim Wintermute - all died in their 40s. Wintermute disappeared in Lake Washington in 1977, a case that never has been solved.
Center Bill Menke, the third-leading scorer for Indiana's 1940 NCAA champion who supplied a team-high 10 points in the Hoosiers' national semifinal victory over Duquesne, later became a Navy pilot and served in World War II. In January 1945, he was declared missing in action (and presumed dead) when he didn't return from a flight in the Caribbean.
Thomas P. Hunter, a three-year letterman who was a sophomore member of Kansas' 1940 runner-up, was killed in action against the Japanese on Guam, July 21, 1944, while fighting with the Ninth Marines as a first lieutenant. Hunter was elected posthumously as captain of the Jayhawks' 1945-46 squad that compiled a 19-2 record.
Dale Gentry, the fifth-leading scorer for Washington State's 1941 national runner-up, collapsed and died of a heart attack in 1963 at the age of 50 after completing arrangements for his 16-year-old son's funeral following injuries incurred in an auto accident.
All 11 regulars on Pitt's 1941 Final Four team participated in World War II and one of them, guard Bob Artman, was killed in action.
Center Ed Voss, the second-leading scorer for 1942 champion Stanford, died of polio in 1953 at the age of 31, a month after his 7-year-old son also succumbed to the disease. Cardinal teammate Jack Dana's wife, California socialite Renee Cohu, died of a sleeping pill overdose in the winter of 1970 at the age of 42 when the missing daughter of a former TWA president was found in a Miami Beach motel.
Charles "Stubbie" Pearson, captain of Dartmouth's 1942 national runner-up and valedictorian of his class the same year, was killed in action on March 30, 1945, while dive-bombing a Japanese ship off the Palau Islands. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Teammate George Galbraith Jr., a backup forward, died in a training flight over Mississippi.
Three of the top seven scorers for Kentucky's first NCAA Tournament and Final Four team in 1942 died during World War II - Mel Brewer (Army second lieutenant/25 years old in France), Ken England (Army captain of ski troop/23 in Italy) and Jim King (Army second lieutenant and co-pilot/24 in Germany).
Georgetown's Lloyd Potolicchio, who matched DePaul legend George Mikan's 11-point output in the 1943 national semifinals when the Hoyas eliminated the Blue Demons before bowing to Wyoming in title tilt, joined the Air Force. Potolicchio was boom operator Master Sergeant when killed in a refueling mission on January 17, 1966, in a B-52 crash off the coast of southern Spain. His KC-135 tanker was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, resulting in the B-52G breaking apart with B28RI hydrogen weapons falling to earth and plutonium contamination occurring near the fishing village of Palomares. In March 2009, Time magazine identified the Palomares accident as one of the world's "worst nuclear disasters." Teammate Bob Duffey, a backup swingman, was killed on November 13, 1944, in European theater combat.
Frontcourter Frank Oftring, a key contributor for Holy Cross' 1947 champion and 1948 national third-place team, died on October 4, 1982, at the age of 58. Teammate Bob Curran, a regular for both squads, was 56 when he passed away on October 18, 1977.
Forward Tom Hamilton, a regular as a freshman forward with Texas' 1947 national third-place club, died at the age of 48 on November 29, 1973, after suffering a brain hemorrhage prior to officiating a high school football game in Tyler, Tex. Hamilton, a first baseman briefly with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1952 and 1953, served as baseball coach and athletic director for St. Edward's (Tex.) at the time of his death.
Center Bob Harris, the leading scorer for Oklahoma A&M's 1949 national runner-up, died on April 10, 1977 at the age of 50. Teammate Joe Bradley, A&M's second-leading scorer, passed away on June 5, 1987, at the age of 58.
Bill Erickson, a starting guard for Illinois' 1949 national third-place team, died on September 21, 1987, at the age of 59. Teammate Don Sunderlage, the Illini's sixth-leading scorer in 1949 and top point producer for another third-place squad in 1951, died in mid-July 1961 at the age of 31 following an automobile accident in Lake Geneva, Wis.
Don Schlundt, the leading scorer and rebounder for Indiana's 1953 NCAA champion, died of pancreatic cancer in October 1985 at the age of 52. Teammate Dick Farley, the Hoosiers' third-leading scorer, passed away from cancer in early October 1969 at the age of 37.
Forward Bob Ames, who scored a total of eight points in three playoff games in 1955 for La Salle's national runner-up after being a member of the Explorers' 1954 NCAA titlist, was killed in Beirut in 1983 at the age of 49. A truck loaded with TNT on a suicide mission rammed into the facility where Ames, a father of six children, was staying while serving as a liaison trying to allay contacts among the Lebanese, Syrians and Israelis in hopes of calming the escalating discord. He joined the CIA and worked his way up the chain of command to become the Director of the CIA's Office of Analysis of the Near East and South Asia. "The Spy Who Loved Basketball" worked closely with both the Carter and Reagan administrations.
Bucky O'Connor, coach for Iowa's 1955 Final Four club and 1956 runner-up, died in 1958 at the age of 44 in a highway accident near Waterloo. "The boy who has faith in God can look to the future without worry or strain," O'Connor told his players. "I firmly believe that the boys on our team who attend church are more likely to be successful because they can face their problems with hope and encouragement."
Jim Krebs, the leading scorer and rebounder for Southern Methodist's 1956 Final Four squad, was killed in 1965 at the age of 29 in a freak accident. While helping a neighbor clear storm damage, a tree limb fell the wrong way and crushed his skull.
Forward Al Filardi, the third-leading rebounder for NYU's 1960 national fourth-place squad, just turned 60 when he died in early August 1999.
Gary Bradds, a backup to national player of the year Jerry Lucas for Ohio State's 1962 NCAA runner-up before earning the same award himself two years later, died of cancer in July 1983 when he was 40. Bradds was principal of an elementary school in Bowersville, Ohio, at the time of his demise.
Bill Buntin, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer (behind Cazzie Russell) for Michigan's Final Four teams in 1964 and 1965, collapsed and died during an informal workout one day after his 26th birthday in May 1968.
Forward Jamie Thompson, the third-leading scorer for Wichita's 1965 fourth-place team who tallied 36 points when the Shockers were eliminated in the national semifinals by eventual champion UCLA, died in January 2006 at the age of 60.
Guard Rudy Waterman, Dayton's third-leading scorer for 1967 national runner-up, died at 34 in mid-June 1979 after shooting himself and developing bacterial meningitis while hospitalized in New York. He had been fired from his job as a sales representative for a Midwest aluminum company. Flyers coach Don Donoher's son, Gary, died in New York at age 27 in August 1988 from AIDS-related complications.
Ken Spain and Theodis Lee, starting frontcourters with All-American Elvin Hayes for Houston's team that entered the 1968 Final Four with an undefeated record, each died of cancer. Spain, who overcame cancer after he was first diagnosed with it in 1977, died of the disease 13 years later in October 1990 when he was 44. Lee, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters, was 33 when he passed away in March 1979, one week after the illness was diagnosed. Teammate Don Kruse, a center for the Cougars' national third-place team in 1967, died in the spring of 2004 at the age of 59.
Steve Patterson, one of UCLA's top three rebounders for NCAA kingpins in 1970 and 1971 after serving as Lew Alcindor's understudy for another titlist in 1969, died in 2004 at the age of 56 because of lung cancer.
Howard Porter, Villanova's leading scorer and rebounder for 1971 runner-up, was trying to trade money and crack cocaine for sex with a prostitute in St. Paul in May 2007 when the probation officer was beaten to death at the age of 58, according to murder charges filed several months later.
Forward Mike Lawhon, Louisville's third-leading scorer for the Cardinals' 1972 national fourth-place team, died in early April 2004 at the age of 53. Lawhon was an orthopedic surgeon who passed away while attending a medical conference.
Larry Finch, Memphis State's leading scorer for 1973 runner-up, died in early April 2011 at the age of 60. Finch suffered the first of multiple strokes 10 years earlier. In early September 2014, his daughter (Shanae), suffering from Crohn's disease, collapsed and died at the age of 39. Teammate Ronnie Robinson, the Tigers' second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, died in early May 2004 at the age of 53 from congestive heart failure.
Maurice Lucas, leading scorer and rebounder for Marquette's 1974 national runner-up, died in 2010 at the age of 58 from bladder cancer. Teammate Jerry Homan, a backup frontcourter, had a son, Luke, pass away in the fall of 2006 when the UW-LaCrosse student's body was recovered in the Mississippi River after last seen celebrating Oktoberfest (UW-L teammate Austin Scott was charged with two counts of obstructing officers for lying to authorities during the death investigation).
Danny Knight, the leading scorer and rebounder for Kansas' 1974 Final Four team, was 24 when he died in June 1977, three weeks after sustaining injuries in a fall down the steps at his home. Knight had been suffering headaches for some time and doctors attributed his death to an aneurysm in the brain. Teammate Norm Cook, the Jayhawks' second-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer as a freshman, was 53 in 2008 when he died after suffering from paranoid schizophrenia most of his adult life.
Dan Hall, a frontcourt backup from Kentucky's historic recruiting class as a freshman for UK's 1975 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of an apparent suicide at age 58 the first full week in January 2013. Hall subsequently transferred to Marshall, where he averaged 10.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg in 1976-77 and 1977-78. UK teammate G.J. Smith, a reserve forward, died in late summer 2012 at the age of 59 because of a heart attack.
The remains of former UCLA forward Gavin Smith, who scored 14 points for the third-place Bruins at the 1976 Final Four, were found in a rural desert area of Southern California in early November 2014. Police had been probing Smith's mysterious disappearance 2 1/2 years earlier. Smith, a 57-year-old movie executive for Fox, was driving a black 2000 four-door Mercedes E Class when he vanished at night. Most media outlets focus on Smith's connection to UCLA but he actually made a hoop name for himself playing with Hawaii, where he finished 16th in the nation in scoring in 1976-77 by setting a Rainbows' single-season record (23.4 points per game).
Center Jerome Whitehead, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Marquette's 1977 NCAA titlist, was 56 in mid-December 2012 when he was found dead because of chronic alcohol abuse. Teammate Gary Rosenberger, a guard who was the fourth-leading scorer in coach Al McGuire's swan song, passed away in the fall of 2013 at the age of 57 due to complications from a heart attack and stroke.
Forward Glen Gondrezick, the leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for UNLV's 1977 third-place club, died in late April 2009 at the age of 53 due to complications stemming from a heart transplant he received the previous September. Teammate Lewis Brown, the third-leading rebounder and sixth-leading scorer for UNLV, spent more than 10 years homeless on the streets of Santa Monica, Calif., before passing away in mid-September 2011 at the age of 56. According to the New York Times, family members said the 6-11 center used cocaine with the Rebels. "Drugs were his downfall," said his sister. Murray State transfer Larry Moffett, UNLV's second-leading rebounder, passed away in early May 2011 in Shreveport, La., at the age of 56. He previously was a cab driver in Las Vegas.
Guard Chad Kinch, the third-leading scorer for UNC Charlotte's 1977 national fourth-place team as a freshman, died at his parents' home in Cartaret, N.J., from complications caused by AIDS. He passed away on April 3, 1994, the day between the Final Four semifinals and final in Charlotte. The host school happened to be UNC Charlotte. It was the second time Kinch's parents lost a son. Sixteen years earlier, Ray Kinch, a Rutgers football player, was killed in a house fire. UNCC teammate Lew Massey, the 49ers' runner-up in scoring and rebounding, died in mid-January 2014 at the age of 57.
Orlando Woolridge, a backup freshman in 1978 when Notre Dame made its lone Final Four appearance before he became a scoring specialist in 13 NBA seasons, died at the end of May 2012 at the age of 52 because of a chronic heart condition.
Matt White, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Penn's 1979 Final Four squad as a senior, was fatally stabbed in mid-February 2013 by his wife, who told police she had caught him looking at child pornography. White, the Quakers' all-time leader in field-goal shooting (59.1%), was 55.
Derek Smith, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer as a sophomore forward for Louisville's 1980 NCAA champion, died of a heart ailment at age 34 on August 9, 1996, while on a cruise with his family. He was the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder for the Cardinals' 1982 Final Four team before averaging 12.8 ppg and 3.2 rpg in the NBA with five different franchises. His son, Nolan, became a starting guard for Duke's 2010 NCAA titlist.
Rob Williams, leading scorer for Houston's 1982 Final Four team, died of congestive heart failure at the age of 52 in March 2014 after suffering a stroke 15 years earlier that left him blind in his left eye and partially paralyzed on his left side. Williams denied rumors he was too high on cocaine to play up to par against North Carolina in the national semifinals (0-for-8 field-goal shooting). But Williams admitted he used drugs. "Cocaine came later but I started out smoking weed (in junior high)," Williams said. "I was always a curious type of fellow, so I wanted to see what cocaine was about. So I tried it. And to tell you the truth, I liked it."
Lorenzo Charles, the second-leading rebounder for N.C. State's 1983 champion, provided one of the tourney's most memorable moments with a game-winning dunk against heavily-favored Houston in the final. Working for a limousine and bus company based in Apex, N.C., he was killed in June 2011 when the charter bus the 47-year-old was driving with no passengers aboard crashed along Interstate 40 in Raleigh. Wolfpack coach Jim Valvano also was 47 in the spring of 1993 when he passed away because of cancer. Backup forward Quinton Leonard died of a heart attack in the spring of 2006 at the age of 44.
Melvin Turpin, the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder as a senior for Kentucky's 1984 Final Four team (29-5 record), was 49 and battling diabetes in July 2010 when he committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest.
Baskerville Holmes, a starting forward who averaged 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for Memphis State's 1985 Final Four team, and his girlfriend were found shot to death on March 18, 1997 in an apparent murder-suicide in Memphis. He was 32.
Mike Masucci, a freshman backup center for Kansas' eventual 1988 champion dismissed from the Jayhawks before the tourney commenced and his subsequent transfer, died in January 2005 at the age of 36 from a heart attack.
Guard Phil Henderson, the leading scorer and senior captain of Duke's 1990 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of cardiac arrest in mid-February 2013 at his home in the Philippines at the age of 44. He was the Blue Devils' second-leading scorer as a junior and sixth-leading scorer as a sophomore for two more Final Four squads.
Larry Marks, a backup forward for Arkansas' 1990 Final Four squad after being a starter the previous season, died of an apparent heart attack in mid-June 2000 after playing some recreational basketball. He was 33.
Sean Tunstall, a reserve guard for Kansas' 1991 NCAA Tournament runner-up was shot and killed at age 28 in the parking lot of a recreation center in his native St. Louis on October 16, 1997, in a drug deal gone bad. Tunstall, recruited to KU when Larry Brown was the Jayhawks' coach, had received a prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of selling cocaine in 1993. "He was one of the few kids I never thought I completely reached," then KU coach Roy Williams said. Power forward Chris Lindley, who signed with Kansas and would have been a freshman for the 1991 squad before having his right foot amputated in January 1990 after a train accident, died at 34 in mid-February 2007.
Peter Sauer, a captain and third-leading rebounder for Stanford's 1998 Final Four squad, was 35 when he collapsed during a recreation game in White Plains, N.Y., hit his head and never was revived. His father, Mark Sauer, is a former president of two pro franchises - the NHL's St. Louis Blues and MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates.
A 32-year-old brother of defensive stopper Byron Mouton, Maryland's fourth-leading scorer and rebounder for a 2001 Final Four team, was shot and killed in an apparent carjacking incident in Houston about one month into the next season. The Terrapins went on to capture the 2002 NCAA championship as the Tulane transfer finished as their third-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer.
Earl Badu, a walk-on member of 2002 NCAA titlist Maryland was in legal and financial trouble ($300,000 debt involving major Terps booster) in the years preceding his suicide at 33 in late September 2012 jumping from an eastern Baltimore overpass.
Although there is a disenchantment stigma attached to transfers, it shouldn't be considered a crime. Gonzaga, with transfers comprising three of the Zags' top four scorers, rivals Oklahoma State '04 as Final Four team benefiting most from players commencing their college career at another four-year NCAA Division I institution. Including injured Kentucky star Derek Anderson in 1997, 30 of the last 34 Final Fours featured teams with at least one starter or key reserve beginning his college career attending another four-year DI school.
Vanderbilt guard Billy McCaffrey, a transfer from Duke, is the only All-Tournament selection to finish his college playing career attending another major university. There was no All-Tournament team in 1942 when Stanford guard Howie Dallmar was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player before completing his undergraduate work at Penn toward the end of World War II. McCaffrey earned a spot on the 1991 All-Tournament team by scoring 16 points to help Duke defeat Kansas (72-65) in the championship game.
"What I really wanted was consistency; not playing a key factor in some games, very minimal in others," McCaffrey said. "My role probably would have been the same if I had stayed. I felt I could do more. I needed to enjoy the game more. I think a player likes to know that he can be counted on for certain things every night. That's how I get pleasure from the games. Your college career is too short to spend somewhere you're not happy.
"I don't regret leaving. I cherish those memories. I was happy for them (when the Blue Devils repeated in 1992). I knew when I left that they had a good chance to win (again). I took that into consideration when I made my decision to leave. I'd already been a part of a national championship. Maybe that made it easier."
Following is a chronological look at how transfers have impacted the Final Four in the last 34 years (in reverse order):
2017 - Oregon G Dylan Ennis (transfer from Rice/Villanova), Gonzaga G Jordan Mathews (California), Oregon C Paul White (Georgetown), Gonzaga F Johnathan Williams (Missouri) and Gonzaga G Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington).
2012 - Ohio State F Evan Ravenel (Boston College), Louisville G Chris Smith (Manhattan), Kentucky C Eloy Vargas* (Florida), Kansas F Justin Wesley (Lamar), Kansas C Jeff Withey (Arizona) and Kansas F Kevin Young (Loyola Marymount)
2010 - None
2009 - None
2006 - None
2004 - Oklahoma State G Daniel Bobik (Brigham Young), Georgia Tech G Will Bynum (Arizona), Oklahoma State G-F Joey Graham (Central Florida), Oklahoma State F Stephen Graham (Central Florida), Oklahoma State G John Lucas III (Baylor) and Oklahoma State F Jason Miller (North Texas)
1994 - None
*Played for a junior college between four-year schools.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 17 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Which school had the only trio to each score at least 20 points in two Final Four games? Hint: All three players finished their college careers with more than 2,000 points and were on roster the next year when school lost its playoff opener. The school is only national runner-up to score more than 85 points in an NCAA final.
2. Name the only school to have three players score more than 20 points in a Final Four game. Hint: The school lost championship game that year by more than 20 points although score was tied at halftime.
3. Who is the only player to score 40 or more points in a Final Four game and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: He was held under 10 points in his other Final Four game that year.
4. Who is the only coach to go more than 40 years from his first to his last appearance in the playoffs? Hint: He and his son, who succeeded him, both compiled a losing tourney record.
5. Who is the only player to compile an NBA playoff scoring average more than 15 points per game higher than his NCAA Tournament average? Hint: He scored just six points in his NCAA playoff debut against a school participating in the tourney for just second time.
6. Who is the only player to lead an NCAA tournament in scoring with more than 120 points and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: He averaged 32.3 points per game in his three-year college career.
7. Who is the only player from 1957 through 1996 to lead a tournament in rebounding and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: His school was making just its second tourney appearance the year he led in rebounding.
8. Who is the only non-guard to be the undisputed leading scorer of an NCAA Tournament and not participate in the Final Four? Hint: He never played in the NBA.
9. Who is the first coach to make more than a dozen NCAA playoff appearances before reaching the Final Four? Hint: He was coach of the first team to win national championship in its first Final Four appearance since Texas Western in 1966.
10. Who is the only player to take more than 40 field-goal attempts in a playoff game his team lost? Hint: The guard was the nation's leading scorer with more than 36 points per game for only school to reach national semifinals of a small-college tournament one year and participate in NCAA Tournament the next season.
Did You Know?: Three of this year's Final Four coaches didn't play college basketball. Naturally, there is a tendency to overindulge at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Anyone digesting the following assortment of did-you-know facts on 2017 Final Four coaches should find that variety is the spice of this smorgasbord:
Dana Altman (Oregon): First coach in Creighton history to participate in at least five consecutive national postseason tournaments. The Bluejays appeared in either the NCAA playoffs or NIT in 12 successive years from 1998 through 2009.
Mark Few (Gonzaga): Never was a head coach at any level before inheriting that position after Dan Monson departed for Minnesota. Few was an assistant for two different Oregon high schools before becoming an aide with the Zags under Dan Fitzgerald and Monson. Few's wedding vows in 1994 were exchanged with Rev. Norm Few, the father of the groom.
Drawing upon all resources including degrees of success to motivate their teams, following are the educational backgrounds of the Final Four coaches:
|Final Four Coach||School||Bachelor's||Master's|
|Dana Altman||Oregon||Business||Business Administration|
|Mark Few||Gonzaga||Physical Education||Athletic Administration|
|Frank Martin||South Carolina||Physical Education|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||Education||Education|
Close likely will determine who gets to smoke the victory cigar. Few boasts the best mark among active coaches in at least 120 tight tilts decided by fewer than six points. Ask Arizona fans if close doesn't count after the Wildcats lost five regional finals from 2003 through 2015 by a total of 14 points. Following is how the Final Four mentors have fared at the major-college level in games decided by fewer than six points:
|Final Four Coach||School||DI Seasons||1||2||3||4||5||Total||Pct.|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||1989-2017||19-14||24-17||25-18||22-22||23-17||113-88||.562|
|Frank Martin||South Carolina||2008-17||5-2||8-11||2-10||13-9||10-8||38-40||.487|
Pat Kelsey's tale when shunning Massachusetts to remain at Winthrop was tame compared to other coaches who reneged on new coaching offers. Recent SMU bench boss Larry Brown began his nomadic head coaching career by resigning following only a couple of months at Davidson's helm in 1969. Brown reportedly departed primarily because the Wildcats didn't increase their recruiting budget and lower high academic requirements for prospective recruits. He was also annoyed about the school's summer basketball camp and receiving bills for his temporary residence and carpeting he ordered for his office.
But Brown Out has competition for the most unusual tale for walking away from a new coaching position. In a sidebar to an account several years ago regarding prize West Virginia recruit Jonathan Hargett closing in on finishing a five-year prison sentence, the New York Times reported that Dan Dakich bolted in 2002 about a week after accepting a seven-year, $3.5 million contract upon discerning the "culture of dishonesty" in the Mountaineers' program, including Hargett telling him he had not been paid the full amount of money promised ($20,000 annually).
Dakich, now one of ESPN's most credible commentators, said he told David Hardesty, then the university's president, about Western Union receipts showing Hargett had received money. According to the NYT, Dakich recalls Hardesty threatening him, "If you go any further with this, we'll destroy you."
Hardesty, now a law professor at the school, told the NYT: "I would never condone a corrupt program." Wonder what his classroom stance is on truth serum or the admission of a lie detector test if he and Dakich could be hooked up to help weigh the honesty of Hardesty's assertion that Dakich's story is a "gross exaggeration" and "revisionist history."
A tragic tale unfolded in Evansville's initial season at the NCAA Division I level in 1977-78 when coach Bobby Watson and 13 members of his Purple Aces squad perished in a plane crash moments after taking off en route to their fifth game of the season. Watson, a Vietnam veteran with five Purple Hearts, was hired after former UE All-American Jerry Sloan, who went on to a distinguished coaching career with the NBA's Utah Jazz, had been named coach of the Purple Aces before abruptly changing his mind.
|Coach||Shunned School/Team (Year)||Subsequent Hire|
|Creighton's Dana Altman||Arkansas (2007)||John Pelphrey|
|Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Ken Anderson||Wisconsin (1982)||Steve Yoder|
|Oakland Oaks (ABA) guard Larry Brown||Davidson (1969)||Terry Holland|
|Capital's Vince Chickerella||Cincinnati (1972)||Gale Catlett|
|Capital's Vince Chickerella||Kent State (1978)||Ed Douma|
|Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins||South Carolina (1993)||Eddie Fogler|
|Bowling Green's Dan Dakich||West Virginia (2002)||John Beilein|
|Florida's Billy Donovan||NBA's Orlando Magic (2007)||Stan Van Gundy|
|North Carolina assistant Bill Guthridge||Penn State (1978)||Dick Harter|
|Texas-El Paso's Don Haskins||Detroit (1969)||Jim Harding|
|Kansas State's Jack Hartman||Oklahoma State (1977)||Jim Killingsworth|
|Winthrop's Pat Kelsey||Massachusetts (2017)||TBD|
|ESPN analyst Rick Majerus||Southern California (2005)||Tim Floyd|
|Winthrop's Gregg Marshall||College of Charleston (2006)||Bobby Cremins|
|Appalachian State's Buzz Peterson||Southwest Missouri State (1999)||Barry Hinson|
|Chicago Bulls scout Jerry Sloan||Evansville (1977)||Bobby Watson|
|Dartmouth's Gary Walters||Davidson (1976)||Dave Pritchett|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 16 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only school to have four players score more than 14,000 points in the pros after never participating in national postseason competition (NCAA playoffs and NIT). Hint: One member of the foursome left college early after just one season of eligibility when he averaged 30 points per game and another is the highest scorer in NBA history to never participate in NBA playoffs.
2. Name the only father-son combination to be on the rosters of two teams from the same school to win NCAA Tournament championships. Hint: Both of them were underclassmen when their teams captured NCAA titles.
3. Who is the only player never to appear in the NBA or ABA after averaging more than 20 points per game for a team reaching an NCAA Tournament final? Hint: A college teammate was member of the NBA championship team drafting him.
4. Who is the only undergraduate non-center to average more than 23 points per game for a national champion? Hint: He is the last player to score the most points in a single game of an NCAA Tournament and play for championship team.
6. Who is the only coach to win an NBA championship after directing a college to the Final Four? Hint: His college squad was implicated in a game-fixing scandal.
7. Who is the only player to grab more than 41 rebounds at a single Final Four? Hint: He is the only player to retrieve more than 21 missed shots in a championship game and only player to score more than 20 points and grab more than 20 rebounds in back-to-back NCAA finals.
8. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to later coach a school other than his alma mater to the playoffs? Hint: He coached for more than 20 years in the same conference against UCLA legend John Wooden. He is also the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to complete his college playing career attending another university.
9. Who is the only junior college player to later be selected Final Four Most Outstanding Player? Hint: He won the award when Final Four was held in his home state and eventually became an NBA head coach.
10. Name the only school with a losing league record to defeat a conference rival by more than 20 points in a season the opponent wound up winning the national championship. Hint: The school with a losing league mark participated in NCAA playoffs the next season for first time since reaching Final Four more than 20 years earlier when a consensus first-team All-American became only player in school history to average more than 25 points in a season.
In 2016, Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, the nation's runner-up in scoring with 25.4 points per game, came close to duplicating one of the most overlooked achievements in NCAA Tournament history. In 1951-52, Clyde Lovellette of champion Kansas became the only player to lead the nation in scoring average (28.4 ppg) while competing for a squad reaching the NCAA tourney title game. Final Four luminaries averaging more than 30 ppg include Elvin Hayes (36.8/Houston '68), Oscar Robertson (33.7/Cincinnati '60 and 32.6/Cincinnati '59), Rick Mount (33.3/Purdue '69), Elgin Baylor (32.5/Seattle '58), Bill Bradley (30.5/Princeton '65) and Len Chappell (30.1/Wake Forest '62).
Lovellette, an 11-year NBA center who passed away last year, served as sheriff of Vigo County in his native Indiana (noted for raid on Terre Haute brothels). South Carolina fans would be ecstatic if the leading scorer among this campaign's national semifinalists - SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell - raided the Final Four by joining Lovellette as the only other player cracking the 30-point plateau in the national semifinals and championship contest in the same season (33 against both Santa Clara and St. John's).
Hield was the first Final Four player since Georgia Tech's Dennis Scott to average in excess of 25 ppg. Only two other Final Four players notched higher scoring averages than Hield since the playoff field expanded to at least 32 teams in 1975 - Larry Bird (28.6 ppg for Indiana State '79 and Glen Rice (25.6 for Michigan '89). Thornwell, posting the fourth-highest scoring average by a Final Four player in the last 14 seasons, joined the following list of individuals in the last 27 years amassing the highest scoring average from a Final Four club since Scott's mark of 27.7 ppg in 1989-90:
For the eighth straight season, at least one team reached the Final Four after losing a vital player who defected following the previous season to make themselves available for the NBA draft, where they were selected in the first round. Gonzaga was able to reload this year following sophomore Domantas Sabonis becoming the 11th pick overall in 2016 NBA draft choice.
Among schools losing a prominent undergraduate early, Kentucky was the only school to capture a crown (1998 without Ron Mercer) until Duke achieved the feat (2010 without Gerald Henderson) and UK secured another title two years later sans Brandon Knight. In a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, UK returned to the national semifinals in 2011 after losing five undergraduates who became NBA first-round draft choices.
The Final Four has had at least one team arrive after losing a prominent undergraduate to the NBA draft 14 times in the last 16 years. Following is a list of the 32 squads unfazed by the early loss of key player(s) who left college with eligibility still remaining:
Final Four Team Prominent Undergraduate Defection Previous Year Marquette '74 Larry McNeill, F (25th pick overall in 1973 NBA draft) Louisiana State '81 DeWayne Scales, F (36th pick in 1980 draft) Georgia '83 Dominique Wilkins, F (3rd pick in 1982 draft) Houston '83 Rob Williams, G (19th pick in 1982 draft) Houston '84 Clyde Drexler, G-F (14th pick in 1983 draft) Louisiana State '86 Jerry "Ice" Reynolds, G-F (22nd pick in 1985 draft) Syracuse '87 Pearl Washington, G (13th pick in 1986 draft) Kentucky '97 Antoine Walker, F-G (6th pick in 1996 draft) North Carolina '97 Jeff McInnis, G (37th pick in 1996 draft) Kentucky '98 Ron Mercer, G-F (6th pick in 1997 draft) Indiana '02 Kirk Haston, F (16th pick in 2001 draft) Kansas '03 Drew Gooden, F (4th pick in 2002 draft) Georgia Tech '04 Chris Bosh, F (4th pick in 2003 draft) Louisiana State '06 Brandon Bass, F (33rd pick in 2005 draft) UCLA '07 Jordan Farmar, G (26th pick in 2006 draft) North Carolina '08 Brandan Wright, F (8th pick in 2007 draft) Kansas '08 Julian Wright, F (13th pick in 2007 draft) UCLA '08 Arron Afflalo, G (27th pick in 2007 draft) Duke '10 Gerald Henderson, G (12th pick in 2009 draft) Kentucky '11 John Wall, G (1st pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 DeMarcus Cousins, F (5th pick in 2010 draft) Butler '11 Gordon Hayward, F (9th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Patrick Patterson, F (14th pick in 2010 draft) Virginia Commonwealth '11 Larry Sanders, F (15th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Eric Bledsoe, G (18th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Daniel Orton, C-F (29th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '12 Brandon Knight, G (8th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Markieff Morris, F (13th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Marcus Morris, F (14th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Josh Selby, G (49th pick in 2011 draft) Syracuse '13 Dion Waiters, G (4th pick in 2012 draft) Syracuse '13 Fab Melo, C (22nd pick in 2012 draft) Kentucky '14 Nerlens Noel, C (6th pick in 2013 draft) Kentucky '14 Archie Goodwin, G-F (29th pick in 2013 draft) Michigan State '15 Gary Harris, G (19th pick in 2014 draft) Duke '15 Rodney Hood, G-F (23rd pick in 2014 draft) Duke '15 Jabari Parker, F (2nd pick in 2014 draft) Kentucky '15 Julius Randle, F (7th pick in 2014 draft) Kentucky '15 James Young, G (17th pick in 2014 draft) North Carolina '16 J.P. Tokoto, F-G (58th pick in 2015 draft) Syracuse '16 Chris McCullough, G (29th pick in 2015 draft) Gonzaga '17 Domantas Sabonis, F-C (11th pick in 2016 draft)
Unsure how many of his championship team players in 2005 and 2009 circumvented normal final exams while taking bogus no-show classes. But while North Carolina's Roy Williams probably isn't too keen on discussing scholastic standards ("I'm to the point that I don't really care what anybody else thinks of what I say"), he ranks #4 among celebrated coaches showing up for the most Final Four appearances, registering a 7-6 record following a 2016 title tilt defeat. His mentor, Dean Smith, compiled a losing F4 record (8-11).
|Coach||School(s)||F4 Record (Pct.)||Final Four Appearances (Years/Finishes)|
|Mike Krzyzewski||Duke||14-7 (.667)||12 (1986/2nd, 1988/T3rd, 1989/T3rd, 1990/2nd, 1991/1st, 1992/1st, 1994/2nd, 1999/2nd, 2001/1st, 2004/T3rd, 2010/1st and 2015/1st)|
|John Wooden||UCLA||21-3 (.875)||12 (1962/4th, 1964/1st, 1965/1st, 1967/1st, 1968/1st, 1969/1st, 1970/1st, 1971/1st, 1972/1st, 1973/1st, 1974/3rd and 1975/1st)|
|Dean Smith||North Carolina||8-11 (.421)||11 (1967/4th, 1968/2nd, 1969/4th, 1972/3rd, 1977/2nd, 1981/2nd, 1982/1st, 1991/T3rd, 1993/1st, 1995/T3rd and 1997/T3rd)|
|Roy Williams||Kansas/North Carolina||7-6 (.538)||9 (1991/2nd, 1993/T3rd, 2002/T3rd, 2003/2nd, 2005/1st, 2008/T3rd, 2009/1st, 2016/2nd and 2017/TBD)|
Try, try again! Oregon, which captured the inaugural NCAA Tournament title in 1939, has the longest drought between Final Four appearances. Of the schools reaching the national semifinals at least twice, following are the 10 institutions going more than 35 years before returning to the Promised Land:
|Final Four School||Famine Years||Coaches Between Final Fours||NCAA Tournament Appearances During Lapse|
|Oregon||78||Howard Hobson (1939) to Dana Altman (2017)||13: 1945-60-61-95-00-02-03-07-08-13-14-15-16|
|Wisconsin||59||Bud Foster (1941) to Dick Bennett (2000)||four: 1947-94-97-99|
|Stanford||56||Everett Dean (1942) to Mike Montgomery (1998)||five: 1989-92-95-96-97|
|Texas||56||Jack Gray (1947) to Rick Barnes (2003)||17: 1960-63-72-74-79-89-90-91-92-94-95-96-97-99-00-01-02|
|Wichita State||48||Gary Thompson (1965) to Gregg Marshall (2013)||seven: 1976-81-85-87-88-06-12|
|Oklahoma State||44||Hank Iba (1951) to Eddie Sutton (1995)||nine: 1953-54-58-65-83-91-92-93-94|
|Oklahoma||41||Bruce Drake (1947) to Billy Tubbs (1988)||six: 1979-83-84-85-86-87|
|Georgetown||39||Elmer Ripley (1943) to John Thompson Jr. (1982)||five: 1975-76-79-80-81|
|Illinois||37||Harry Combes (1952) to Lou Henson (1989)||eight: 1963-81-83-84-85-86-87-88|
|DePaul||36||Ray Meyer (1943) to Ray Meyer (1979)||seven: 1953-56-59-60-65-76-78|
Final Four debuts were a long time coming the past five seasons for Dana Altman (Oregon), Mark Few (Gonzaga) and Big Ten Conference coaches John Beilein (Michigan) and Bo Ryan (Wisconsin). Since the start of the NCAA Tournament in 1939, no coach ever took longer in his four-year college career to reach the DI Final Four than Beilein (31 seasons). Ryan (30) and Altman (28) joined five other coaches to take more than 20 years to achieve the milestone - Jim Calhoun (27), Dick Bennett (24), Gary Williams (23), Jim Larranaga (22) and Norm Sloan (22).
There was at least one fresh face among bench bosses at the national semifinals all but once (1993) in a 27-year span from 1985 through 2011. Connecticut's Kevin Ollie joined Indiana's Mike Davis and VCU's Shaka Smart as coaches only in their second campaign to steer squads to the Final Four in the 21st Century. Following is a look at the coaches who advanced to the Final Four for the first time since the field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985 (in reverse order):
- 2017 - Dana Altman (Oregon/28th season as head coach at four-year college level), Mark Few (Gonzaga/18th) and Frank Martin (South Carolina/10th).
- 2016 - All returnees.
- 2015 - All returnees.
- 2014 - Kevin Ollie (Connecticut/2nd) and Bo Ryan* (Wisconsin/30th).
- 2013 - John Beilein (Michigan/31st) and Gregg Marshall (Wichita State/15th).
- 2012 - All returnees.
- 2011 - Shaka Smart (Virginia Commonwealth/2nd).
- 2010 - Brad Stevens* (Butler/3rd).
- 2009 - Jay Wright* (Villanova/15th).
- 2008 - Bill Self* (Kansas/15th).
- 2007 - Thad Matta* (Ohio State/7th) and John Thompson III (Georgetown/7th).
- 2006 - John Brady (Louisiana State/15th), Ben Howland* (UCLA/12th) and Jim Larranaga (George Mason/22nd).
- 2005 - Bruce Weber (Illinois/6th).
- 2004 - Paul Hewitt (Georgia Tech/7th).
- 2003 - Rick Barnes (Texas/16th) and Tom Crean (Marquette/4th).
- 2002 - Mike Davis (Indiana/2nd) and Kelvin Sampson (Oklahoma/20th).
- 2001 - Gary Williams* (Maryland/23rd).
- 2000 - Dick Bennett (Wisconsin/24th) and Billy Donovan* (Florida/6th).
- 1999 - Jim Calhoun* (Connecticut/27th), Tom Izzo* (Michigan State/4th) and Jim O'Brien (Ohio State/17th).
- 1998 - Bill Guthridge* (North Carolina/1st), Rick Majerus (Utah/14th) and Tubby Smith (Kentucky/7th).
- 1997 - Clem Haskins (Minnesota/17th).
- 1996 - John Calipari* (Massachusetts/8th) and Richard Williams (Mississippi State/10th).
- 1995 - Jim Harrick (UCLA/16th).
- 1994 - Lon Kruger (Florida/12th).
- 1993 - All returnees.
- 1992 - Bob Huggins* (Cincinnati/12th).
- 1991 - Roy Williams* (Kansas/3rd).
- 1990 - Bobby Cremins (Georgia Tech/15th) and Nolan Richardson* (Arkansas/10th).
- 1989 - P.J. Carlesimo (Seton Hall/14th) and Steve Fisher* (Michigan/1st).
- 1988 - Billy Tubbs (Oklahoma/14th).
- 1987 - Jim Boeheim* (Syracuse/11th) and Rick Pitino* (Providence/7th).
- 1986 - Mike Krzyzewski* (Duke/11th).
- 1985 - Lou Carnesecca (St. John's/17th), Dana Kirk (Memphis State/14th) and Rollie Massimino (Villanova/14th).
*Subsequently returned to the Final Four.
Despite both of them reaching the 2016 Elite Eight, the odds were against Villanova and Notre Dame advancing to the NCAA Tournament championship game to oppose each other in the playoffs for the first time. They were on the same side of the bracket this year but both bowed in their second assignment. What other powerhouses never have battled each other in the NCAA tourney?
Although the event is in its eighth decade, there are attractive power school match-ups never to have occurred. The potentially entertaining intra-sectional playoff contests between storied programs never to take place in the NCAAs include:
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 15 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only individual to play for two NCAA champions, play for more than two NBA champions and coach two NBA champions. Hint: He was the first of four players to be a member of an NCAA championship team one year and an NBA titlist the next season as a rookie. He won the high jump in the West Coast Relays his senior year.
2. Who is the only individual to average fewer than four points per game as a freshman and then be selected Final Four Most Outstanding Player the next season as a sophomore. Hint: He had more three-point baskets in two Final Four games than contributing his entire freshman season.
3. Who is the only player named to an All-NCAA Tournament team not to score a total of more than 10 points in two Final Four games? Hint: He had the same point total in each Final Four game for a team whose star had same last name.
4. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to later coach his alma mater in the NCAA Tournament? Hint: The guard was named Most Outstanding Player although he was his team's fourth-leading scorer at Final Four that year.
5. Name the only school to have two of the six eligible teams ranked among the top five in the AP and/or UPI final polls to not participate in either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT in the days before teams other than the conference champion could be chosen to the NCAA playoffs as at-large entrants. Hint: The school lost three regional finals in one four-year span and hasn't reached Final Four in last 50-plus years.
6. Who is the only coach to lose more than five regional final games? Hint: His regional final defeats were by an average margin of 10 points and his biggest nemesis was the Big Ten Conference.
7. Who is the only individual to become NBA Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player to participate in the NCAA Tournament but never win an NCAA playoff game? Hint: He shared the NBA Rookie of the Year award with another player who was on the losing end in his only NCAA Tournament appearance. Two years later, he was NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player the same season named league MVP.
8. Of the more than 40 different players to be named NBA Most Valuable Player, score more than 20,000 points in the pros or be selected to an All-NBA team at least five times after participating in the NCAA Tournament, who is the only one to average fewer than 10 points per game in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: He is believed to be the youngest Hall of Famer to appear in an NCAA championship game at the tender age of 16 and subsequently was named to 12 consecutive All-NBA teams.
9. Who is the only guard to score more than 35 points in an NCAA final? Hint: He led his team in scoring in back-to-back Final Fours but wasn't named Final Four Most Outstanding Player either year. He is the only championship team player to have a two-game total of at least 70 points at the Final Four and is the shortest undergraduate to average more than 20 points per game for an NCAA titlist.
10. Who is the only player to have as many as 20 field goals in an NCAA championship game? Hint: He scored fewer than seven points in both his tourney debut and final playoff appearance.
After Gonzaga's Mark Few (in 18th tourney appearance) and Oregon's Dana Altman (13th) reached the Final Four for the first time in their careers, the microscope will focus on Notre Dame's Mike Brey as the best active power-league coach participating in more than 10 tourneys never to reach the national semifinals. Brey is among all-time greats such as John Chaney, Lefty Driesell, Gene Keady and Norm Stewart - four retired luminaries failing to advance to the national semifinals in a total of 64 NCAA Tournaments. "It's so difficult not being able to make that final step," said Chaney, who lost five regional finals with Temple.
Driesell made 11 NCAA playoff appearances with Davidson and Maryland from 1966 through 1986. "I always wanted to get to the Final Four, but not as much as some people think," said Driesell, who lost four regional finals. "I'm not obsessed with it."
Only four schools - North Carolina, Duke, Georgetown and Syracuse - supplied more NCAA consensus first- and second-team All-Americans from 1982 through 1992 than Stewart-coached Missouri (seven). It must have been particularly frustrating for Mizzou fans when the Tigers compiled a 4-8 NCAA tourney worksheet in that span.
But some mentors never will receive the accolades they deserve because of failing to reach the Promised Land, including maligned Dave Bliss, who resurfaced as coach of an NAIA school in Texas. Steve Alford and Sean Miller are the most likely candidates to join this dubious list. Let's hope they didn't seek a safe space on campus to curl up in a fetal position, but the following "Generation Hex" list includes prominent coaches without a Final Four berth on their resume despite more than 10 NCAA Tournament appearances:
|Coach||NCAA Tourneys||Playoff Record (Pct.)||Closest to Reaching Final Four|
|Gene Keady||18||19-18 (.514)||regional runner-up with Purdue in 1994 and 2000|
|John Chaney||17||23-17 (.575)||regional runner-up with Temple five times (1988-91-93-99-01)|
|Fran Dunphy||16||3-16 (.158)||won three opening-round games with Penn and Temple (1994, 2011 and 2013)|
|Norm Stewart||16||12-16 (.429)||regional runner-up with Missouri in 1976 and 1994|
|Mike Brey||14||13-14 (.481)||regional runner-up with Notre Dame in 2015 and 2016|
|Lefty Driesell||13||16-14 (.533)||regional runner-up four times with Davidson and Maryland (1968-69-73-75)|
|Dave Bliss||11||8-11 (.421)||regional semifinals with Oklahoma in 1979|
|Pete Carril||11||4-11 (.267)||won two games with Princeton in 1983|
|Gale Catlett||11||7-11 (.389)||regional semifinals with West Virginia in 1998|
|Tom Davis||11||18-11 (.621)||regional runner-up with Boston College in 1982 and Iowa in 1987|
|Mark Gottfried||11||10-11 (.476)||regional final with Alabama in 2004|
|Tom Penders||11||12-11 (.522)||regional final with Texas in 1990|
It doesn't take a genius to deduce All-American players are all-important to teams. Since the national tourney expanded to at least 32 teams in 1975, only two consensus first-team All-Americans never appeared in the NCAA playoffs - Houston guard Otis Birdsong (1977) and Minnesota center Mychal Thompson (1978).
Terry Dischinger averaged 28.3 points per game in his three-year varsity career with Purdue in the early 1960s, but he is the only two-time consensus first-team All-American since World War II never to compete in the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Dischinger also endured a star-scorned nine-year NBA career without playing on a squad winning a playoff series. He was named NBA Rookie of the Year as a member of the Chicago Zephyrs in 1962-63 despite playing in only 57 games as he skipped many of the road contests to continue his education. His dedication to the classroom paid off as he became an orthodontist.
Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham averaged 24.8 points per game in his three-year varsity career with North Carolina in the mid-1960s, but he also never appeared in the NCAA tourney or NIT. How good were the players in that era if Cunningham never was a consensus first-team All-American? Auburn's Charles Barkley was an All-American but lost his only NCAA playoff game in 1984. Following is a look at Dischinger and three other multiple-year NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans since the mid-1950s never to participate in the NCAA Tournament:
|Two- or Three-Time NCAA Consensus First-Team A-A||School||Years 1st-Team A-A||NIT Mark|
|Terry Dischinger||Purdue||1961 and 1962||DNP|
|Sihugo Green||Duquesne||1955 and 1956||6-2|
|Pete Maravich||Louisiana State||1968 through 1970||2-2|
|Chet Walker||Bradley||1961 and 1962||3-1|
NCAA Tournament match-ups between members from the same league are relatively rare despite ACC members comprising the entire East and Midwest Regional finals last year. This season, SEC rivals Florida and South Carolina met in the East Regional final. It was the 27th such power-league confrontation but the first for the SEC in a 31-year span.
The Big Ten Conference accounted for seven of the first 18 NCAA Tournament games pitting league members against each other but hasn't been involved in such a contest since 2000. Last season marked the first time a league (ACC) generated three intra-conference playoff confrontations in a single tourney.
|Year||Conference||Playoff Round||NCAA Tourney Result Between Members of Same League|
|1976||Big Ten||national championship||Indiana 86 (May scored team-high 26 points), Michigan 68 (Green 18)|
|1980||Big Ten||regional semifinals||Purdue 76 (Edmonson/Morris 20), Indiana 69 (I. Thomas 30)|
|1980||Big Ten||national third-place||Purdue 75 (Carroll 35), Iowa 58 (Arnold 19)|
|1981||ACC||national semifinals||North Carolina 78 (Wood 39), Virginia 65 (Lamp 18)|
|1983||ACC||regional final||North Carolina State 63 (Whittenburg 24), Virginia 62 (Sampson 23)|
|1985||Big East||national semifinals||Georgetown 77 (Williams 20), St. John's 59 (Glass 13)|
|1985||Big East||national championship||Villanova 66 (McClain 17), Georgetown 64 (Wingate 16)|
|1986||SEC||regional semifinals||Kentucky 68 (Walker 22), Alabama 63 (Coner 20)|
|1986||SEC||regional final||Louisiana State 59 (Williams 16), Kentucky 57 (Walker 20)|
|1987||Big East||regional final||Providence 88 (Donovan/D. Wright 20), Georgetown 73 (Williams 25)|
|1987||Big East||national semifinals||Syracuse 77 (Monroe 17), Providence 63 (Screen 18)|
|1988||Big Eight||regional final||Kansas 71 (Manning 20), Kansas State 58 (Scott 18)|
|1988||Big Eight||national championship||Kansas 83 (Manning 31), Oklahoma 79 (Sieger 22)|
|1989||Big Ten||national semifinals||Michigan 83 (Rice 28), Illinois 81 (Battle 29)|
|1992||Big Ten||regional final||Michigan 75 (Webber 23), Ohio State 71 (Jackson 20)|
|1992||Great Midwest||regional final||Cincinnati 88 (Jones 23), Memphis State 57 (Hardaway 12)|
|2000||Big Ten||regional final||Wisconsin 64 (Bryant 18), Purdue 60 (Cardinal/Cunningham 13)|
|2000||Big Ten||national semifinals||Michigan State 53 (Peterson 20), Wisconsin 41 (Boone 18)|
|2001||ACC||national semifinals||Duke 95 (Battier 25), Maryland 84 (Dixon 19)|
|2002||Big 12||regional final||Oklahoma 81 (Price 18), Missouri 75 (Paulding 22)|
|2009||Big East||regional final||Villanova 78 (Anderson 17), Pittsburgh 76 (Young 28)|
|2013||Big East||regional final||Syracuse 55 (Southerland 16), Marquette 39 (Blue 14)|
|2015||ACC||regional semifinals||Louisville 75 (Harrell 24), North Carolina State 65 (Lacey 18)|
|2016||ACC||regional final||North Carolina 88 (Johnson 25), Notre Dame 74 (Jackson 26)|
|2016||ACC||regional final||Syracuse 68 (Richardson 23), Virginia 62 (Perrantes 18)|
|2016||ACC||national semifinals||North Carolina 83 (Jackson/Johnson 16), Syracuse 66 (Cooney 22)|
|2017||SEC||regional final||South Carolina 77 (Thornwell 26), Florida 70 (Leon 18)|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 14 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only school to compile a losing record in a season it won on the road against a conference rival later capturing the NCAA championship. Hint: The school is a former national titlist itself, but had just one winning league mark in 12 years from 1977-78 through 1988-89.
2. Name the only school to compile a conference record of more than 10 games below .500 in a season it defeated a league rival becoming NCAA champion. Hint: The school, which finished in first or second place in league competition four consecutive seasons in early 1930s, had 44 consecutive non-winning records in conference play before securing its first tourney appearance.
3. Name the only school to trail by at least 10 points at halftime of a tournament game and end up winning the contest by more than 20. Hint: A prominent network broadcaster played for the team. The next year, the school became the only one in tourney history to win back-to-back overtime games by double-digit margins.
4. Who is the only coach to lose in back-to-back seasons to teams seeded 14th or worse? Hint: He captured an NCAA championship later that decade.
5. Name the only double-digit seeded team to reach the Final Four until Virginia Commonwealth achieved the feat last year. Hint: It's the worst-seeded school to defeat a #1 seed, a conference rival that defeated the team a total of three times that year during the regular season and postseason league tournament. The next year, the university became only school to reach back-to-back regional finals as a double-digit seed.
6. Name the only school to win a regional final game it trailed by more than 15 points at halftime. Hint: The school lost its next game at the Final Four to a team that dropped a conference game against the regional final opponent by a double-figure margin. Three years later, it became the only school to score more than 100 points in a championship game and win national final by more than 21 points.
7. Who is the only team-leading scorer to be held more than 25 points under his season average in a Final Four game? Hint: He scored 39 points against the same opponent earlier in the season to help end the third-longest winning streak in major-college history. He is the only player to lead the playoffs in scoring and rebounding in back-to-back seasons although he wasn't named to the All-Tournament team one of those years despite becoming the only player to lead a tourney in scoring by more than 60 points. In addition, he is the only player in tournament history to collect more than 40 points and 25 rebounds in same game.
8. Name the only school to lead the nation in scoring offense and win the NCAA title in the same season. Hint: The top four scorers were undergraduates for the only titlist to win all of its NCAA Tournament games by more than 15 points.
9. Name the only school to play in as many as three overtime games in a single tournament. Hint: One of the three overtime affairs was a national third-place game.
10. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to go scoreless in two NCAA Tournament games in a previous year? Hint: His NBA scoring average decreased each of last nine seasons in the league after becoming Rookie of the Year.
A game-winning, running three-pointer at the buzzer after coast-to-coast drive in overtime by Florida's Chris Chiozza against Wisconsin and Luke Maye's decisive basket for North Carolina from just inside the three-point arc with 0.3 seconds remaining against Kentucky enabled them to join the striking list of storybook moments in NCAA playoff lore, making it time to shine light on many of those who previously made history. More than one-fourth of the NCAA Tournament's games were determined in overtime or in regulation by fewer than four points since the field expanded to at least 32 teams in 1975. Four riveting national finals in an eight-year span from 1982 through 1989 furnished memories etched indelibly in our minds because clutch players appeared impervious to pressure by producing in last-second situations.
Videos help us remember the buzzer beaters far beyond the actual moment. Butler's Gordon Hayward almost joined this group but his heave from near half-court rimmed out in 2010 national final against Duke. Hayward learned close only counts in hand grenades, horseshoes and drive-in movies. The following alphabetical list details numerous individuals who supplied a memorable field goal as time expired in an NCAA tourney tilt:
|Player||School||Description of Decisive Last-Second Basket|
|Danny Ainge||Brigham Young||Coast-to-coast drive and scoop shot edged #2 seed Notre Dame, 51-50, in 1981 East Regional semifinals.|
|Rolando Blackman||Kansas State||Jumper from 17 feet from right baseline was the difference in 50-48 verdict against #1 seed Oregon State in second round of 1981 West Regional.|
|Nathaniel Burton||Georgetown||Driving layup was final margin in 63-61 nod over Arkansas in first round of 2001 West Regional.|
|Lorenzo Charles||North Carolina State||Sophomore forward, averaging a modest 8 ppg, converted guard Dereck Whittenburg's off-line desperation shot from well beyond the three-point arc into decisive dunk in 54-52 triumph against Houston in 1983 championship game.|
|Chris Chiozza||Florida||The Gators, trailing by two points with fewer than four seconds remaining in OT in East Regional semifinals, got the ball in hands of Chiozza, who went coast-to-coast and sank a running three-pointer at the buzzer for 84-83 triumph.|
|Cameron Dollar||UCLA||Short jumper with less than two seconds remaining after length-of-the-court drive in overtime upended Iowa State, 74-73, in 1997 Midwest Regional semifinals.|
|Bryce Drew||Valparaiso||Signature three-pointer after three-quarter court pass to teammate gave #13 seed a 70-69 victory against Ole Miss in first round of 1998 Midwest Regional.|
|Tyus Edney||UCLA||Length-of-the-court drive and layup gave #1 seed a 75-74 triumph against Missouri in second round of 1995 West Regional.|
|James Forrest||Georgia Tech||Freshman forward, who didn't attempt a three-pointer all year, nailed a desperation shot from beyond the arc for a 79-78 win against Southern California in second round of 1992 Midwest Regional.|
|Rick Fox||North Carolina||Drive along right baseline for leaning bank shot in 79-77 upset of top-ranked Oklahoma in second round of 1990 Midwest Regional.|
|Kevin Gamble||Iowa||Straight-away three-pointer with one second remaining in overtime against Oklahoma provided 93-91 triumph in 1987 West Regional semifinals.|
|Tate George||Connecticut||Turnaround jumper from right baseline after length-of-the-court pass from eventual MLB first-round draft choice Scott Burrell clipped Clemson, 71-70, in 1990 East Regional semifinals.|
|Clarence Gilbert||Missouri||Jumper from 15 feet helped withstand furious Georgia rally, 70-68, in first round of 2001 East Regional.|
|Demetri Goodson||Gonzaga||Short running bank shot lifted Zags to 83-81 triumph against Western Kentucky in second round of 2009 South Regional.|
|Richard Hamilton||Connecticut||Off-balance fall-away in lane gave Huskies a 75-74 win against Washington in 1998 East Regional semifinals.|
|Jeff Hodge||South Alabama||Desperation three-pointer off broken play in waning moments gave USA an 86-84 victory against Alabama in opening round of 1989 Southeast Regional.|
|Shaheen Holloway||Seton Hall||Mercurial point guard drove length of the court through and around a double team to score on an underhanded layup high off the glass with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime to frustrate Oregon, 72-71, in first round of 2000 East Regional.|
|Jeff Hornacek||Iowa State||Fall-away 25-footer off an out-of-bounds play commencing with two seconds remaining in overtime gave the Cyclones their first NCAA playoff victory in 42 years - 81-79 against Miami (Ohio) in opening round of 1986 Midwest Regional.|
|De'Jon Jackson||San Diego||Fade-away 18-footer from right side with 1.2 seconds remaining in overtime for 13 seed accounted for 70-69 decision over UConn in 2008 West Regional.|
|Kris Jenkins||Villanova||Responding to miracle off-balance three-pointer by North Carolina's Marcus Paige tying the score at 74-74 with fewer than five seconds remaining, Jenkins responding by drilling a game-winning trey from the right side.|
|Paul Jesperson||Northern Iowa||Half-court bank shot after several dribbles crossing from right sideline to middle of hardwood propelled #11 seed to a 75-72 nod over Texas in opening round of 2016 West Regional.|
|Bronson Koenig||Wisconsin||Swished three-pointer from right corner off sideline out-of-bounds play in 66-63 triumph against #2 seed Xavier in second round of 2016 East Regional. His decisive basket left him 16-of-31 from beyond the arc in the last five minutes of games during the season.|
|Christian Laettner (1)||Duke||After in-bounding ball with 2.6 seconds remaining in overtime, he received it back and converted a contorted leaner from left side for 79-78 win against UConn in 1990 East Regional final.|
|Christian Laettner (2)||Duke||In perhaps most memorable shot in NCAA playoff history, he received pass from opposite baseline from Grant Hill and sank turnaround jumper near top of the key for 104-103 overtime victory against Kentucky in 1992 East Regional final.|
|Gabe Lewullis||Princeton||Layup off a back-door cut in closing seconds proved decisive for #13 seed in 43-41 triumph against UCLA in first round of 1996 Southeast Regional.|
|Chris Lofton||Tennessee||Jumper from 19 feet for #2 seed in 63-61 win against upstart Winthrop in first round of 2006 Washington/East Regional.|
|Brook Lopez||Stanford||Dropped in right-baseline leaner with 1.3 seconds remaining to outlast Marquette in overtime, 82-81, in second round of 2008 South Regional.|
|Korie Lucious||Michigan State||Three-pointer from top of key in 85-83 decision over Maryland in second round of 2010 Midwest Regional.|
|Luke Maye||North Carolina||Jumper from left side just inside the three-point arc with 0.3 seconds remaining was the difference in 75-73 win against Kentucky in 2017 South Regional final.|
|Mike Miller||Florida||Driving layup in overtime gave eventual national runner-up a 69-68 nod over Butler in first round of 2000 East Regional.|
|Maurice Newby||Northern Iowa||Three-point basket with four seconds remaining in 74-71 triumph against #3 seed Missouri in first round of 1990 Southeast Regional.|
|Drew Nicholas||Maryland||Drove much of length of court before firing three-pointer from right side to nip UNC Wilmington, 75-73, in first round of 2003 South Regional.|
|Freddie Owens||Wisconsin||Three-pointer from left corner capped comeback from 13-point deficit in 61-60 success against Tulsa in second round of 2003 Midwest Regional.|
|Kenton Paulino||Texas||Three-pointer propelled #2 seed to 74-71 victory against West Virginia in Sweet 16 of 2006 Atlanta/South Regional.|
|Quincy Pondexter||Washington||Driving short bank shot from left side with 1.7 seconds remaining in 80-78 win against Marquette in opening round of 2010 East Regional.|
|Ken Pryor||Oklahoma||Backup's only basket in 1947 tourney, a long jumper in closing seconds, gave OU a 55-54 success against Texas in national semifinals.|
|U.S. Reed||Arkansas||In aftermath of clutch field goal by Louisville's Derek Smith, a criss-crossing drive to right side of mid-court resulted in heave giving Hogs a 74-73 win in second round of 1981 Midwest Regional.|
|Don Reid||Georgetown||Grabbed Allen Iverson's three-pointer falling short and flipped it back over his head for basket in 53-51 victory against Weber State in second round of 1995 Southeast Regional.|
|Scottie Reynolds||Villanova||Length-of-the-court drive and short jumper against #1 seed Pittsburgh for 78-76 triumph in 2009 East Regional final.|
|Ty Rogers||Western Kentucky||Desperation 30-foot three-pointer in overtime against Drake lifted WKU to 101-99 first-round victory in 2008 West Regional.|
|Vic Rouse||Loyola of Chicago||Junior forward jumped high to redirect center Les Hunter's shot from free-throw line into the basket to climax Ramblers' first year in playoffs with 60-58 overtime success against Cincinnati in 1963 championship game.|
|Keith Smart||Indiana||Junior college recruit, IU's fifth-leading scorer, tallied 12 of the Hoosiers' final 15 points, including 15-foot jumper from left baseline to give them a 74-73 victory against Syracuse in 1987 championship game.|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||Jumper from right side with less than two seconds remaining capped comeback from eight-point deficit in overtime in 81-80 win against Texas in opening round of 2010 East Regional.|
|John Smith||Saint Joseph's||Converted layup with three seconds remaining in 49-48 decision over top-ranked DePaul in second round of 1981 Mideast Regional.|
|Steve Smith||Michigan State||Three-pointer with one tick remaining beat Wisconsin-Green Bay, 61-58, in 1991 West Regional opener.|
|Dave Sorenson||Ohio State||Banked in shot with three seconds remaining to give OSU an 82-81 victory against Kentucky in 1968 Mideast Regional final at Lexington, Ky., where fifth-ranked UK failed to lose all season.|
|Terence Stansbury||Temple||Swished 25-footer for 65-63 win against St. John's in first round of 1984 East Regional.|
|Terrell Taylor||Creighton||His eighth three-pointer of game gave Bluejays an 83-82 double-overtime win against Florida in first round of 2002 Midwest Regional.|
|Danero Thomas||Murray State||Fall-away jumper from right side just inside three-point arc for #13 seed secured 66-65 verdict over Vanderbilt in 2010 West Regional.|
|Andre Turner||Memphis State||"Little General" contributed back-to-back game-winning shots in Midwest Regional (67-66 vs. UAB in overtime and 59-57 vs. Boston College) to carry Tigers to 1985 Final Four.|
|Jermaine Wallace||Northwestern State||Step-back three-pointer from left corner upset #3 seed Iowa, 64-63, in first round of 2006 Atlanta/South Regional.|
|John Wallace||Syracuse||Lean-in three-pointer with less than three seconds remaining in overtime for 83-81 win against Georgia in 1996 West Regional semifinals.|
|Jarrod West||West Virginia||Banked in three-pointer with less than one second remaining for 75-74 victory against #2 seed Cincinnati in second round of 1998 West Regional.|
|Herb Wilkinson||Utah||Freshman swingman connected from beyond head of the key with three seconds remaining to give Utes a 42-40 overtime win against Dartmouth in 1944 championship game.|
|Danny Young||Wake Forest||Drove to hoop for basket and 73-71 triumph in overtime against #1 seed DePaul in 1984 Midwest Regional semifinals, spoiling legendary coach Ray Meyer's swan song.|
Never underestimate the occasional astonishing absence of perspective among TV pundits. Amid the boob tube personality-driven showmanship, PT Barnum continues to chortle, "I was right all along!" about "there's a sucker born every minute."
ESPN-turned-CBS-turned-FoxSports commentator Doug Gottlieb, ranked among the Top 20 analysts by CollegeHoopedia.com, never has coached a game of college basketball - even as an assistant. Yet the legend in his own mind proclaimed five years ago he was fit to serve at Kansas State as Frank Martin's successor. The Wildcats weren't suckered, ignoring such ego chicanery and hired former SIU and Illinois mentor Bruce Weber. Although the interviews probably should have been conducted on April Fool's Day the past two years, Gottlieb was considered as a candidate at another Big 12 Conference member after his alma mater's head coaching position became available in back-to-back seasons?
Who does Gottlieb think he is? The collegiate version of Pat Riley? Saying he is "self aware" (a/k/a "full of himself"), Gottlieb must have thought the coaching acumen of his father and brother would rub off on him. Before becoming head coach at Jacksonville and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Gottlieb's father (Bob) was an assistant at K-State in the early 1970s at a time when the program was in the midst of capturing 11 Big Eight Conference championships in an 18-year span. In a battle of Wildcats, mighty Kentucky was the only school at that point boasting more final Top 20 rankings than KSU.
Gottlieb, a Notre Dame credit-card castoff before transferring to Oklahoma State and leading the nation in assists in 1998-99 and finishing runner-up the next season, thought he could assist a Big 12 Conference member as bench boss basically because of the visibility of his mug being on TV (especially celebrity contest of NBA All-Star Weekend). Well, criminals have their head shots at the post office. Would that help them recruit suspect student-athletes? How about throwing his hat in the ring and learning the trade first at Oklahoma Baptist before working your way up the ladder?
The sports TV culture frequently fosters hero worshiped such as creepy ESPN original Keith Olbermann who think the world revolves around them and they develop a sordid sense of "out-of-bounds" entitlement. Gottlieb was no different than Larry "Grandmama" Johnson, who was upset and probably lost "her" wig and outfit when he didn't inherit the UNLV coaching job. Ditto Johnson teammate Stacey Augmon.
"When you are among the high-flying adored, your view of the world becomes blurred," wrote psychologist Stanley Teitelbaum of the flouting-of-the-law behavior in the book Sports Heroes, Fallen Idols: How Star Athletes Pursue Self-Destructive Paths and Jeopardize Their Careers.
"Off the field, some act as if they are above the rules of society; hubris and an attitude of entitlement become central to the psyche of many athletes. They may deny that they are vulnerable to reprisals and feel omnipotent and grandiose as well as entitled."
Eventually, OSU favored authentic coaches over a wannabee. But if Gottlieb's resume boasting significant holes eventually enables him to go straight to a DI head coaching assignment, he'll need to also break ground by hiring an assistant devoted exclusively to free-throw shooting. After all, he is a lifetime member on the All-Gang That Can't Shoot Straight Team (abysmal 45.3% mark from the "foul" line with OSU).
Moreover, if Gottlieb is qualified to go straight to accepting the reins in a power conference where he previously competed, it seems his TV colleagues past and present should be treated in a similar fashion. Andy Katz should be next in line for the Fresno State position in his old stomping grounds; Alabama grad Rece Davis should be able to anchor any SEC opening; Doris Burke should become the first full-time female coach of a men's program at her alma mater (Providence) or some other Big East member; Skip Baseless should be coaching national POY Buddy Hield at Oklahoma; Screamin' A. Stiff should be guiding any school he wants to in MEAC; Mike Greenberg or Britt "Just Another Petty Face" McHenry should have directed Northwestern to the Wildcats' first NCAA playoff appearance; Stephen Bardo should have been hired by Illinois (not John Groce); Adrian Branch or Scott Van Pelt should be Maryland's coach (not Mark Turgeon); Miles Simon should be at Arizona's helm (not Sean Miller); Sean Farnham should have been groomed as Ben Howland's replacement at UCLA (not passed on to Steve Alford); LaPhonso Ellis should be designated as Mike Brey's successor-in-waiting at Notre Dame, and Pat Summitt protege Kara Lawson should be the odds-on favorite to return to Tennessee and right the Volunteers' ship.
Politically, stand-up comedian reject Seth Davis (CBS commentator) should have been Shrillary Rotten's running mate; especially if his "barking" father, Clinton keg leg-humper Lanny Davis, would send another "no-class(ified)" syrupy email to private server of the Deleter of the Free World. After all, the creepy conflicts of interest go both ways. After the Clintons had "the talk," TV execs deemed their one-percenter daughter full of sufficient journalistic credentials to "earn" a $600,000-a-year position from NBC. Thus, we deride the unhinged mess media because that is precisely what the trumped know-it-alls deserve these days; not head coaching jobs with zero experience for power conference members.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 13 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only team-leading scorer of a Final Four team to go scoreless when the school was eliminated from championship contention at the national semifinals? Hint: He was a center who along with four teammates averaged between 11 and 12.5 points per game.
2. Who is the only player to twice lead the nation in scoring average while playing for teams advancing to the Final Four? Hint: He is the only team-leading scorer to twice be more than 10 points below his season scoring mark when his school was eliminated at the Final Four.
3. Name the only school to lose two national championship games by at least 18 points after leading the finals at halftime. Hint: The two opponents, 17 years apart, combined to win 66 of 68 games those seasons.
4. Name the only school to make as many as eight consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from the year it participated in the event for the first time. Hint: The school's last playoff victory wasn't during this streak, but it later handed UCLA its first West Regional defeat in 14 years.
5. Name the only school to lose as many as 15 opening-round games in the NCAA Tournament. Hint: The university also lost a first-round game in 1984 after winning a qualifying round contest when playoff field was 53 teams.
6. Who is the only athlete to collect more than 3,000 major league hits, including 465 homers, after playing the entire basketball game for a school when it appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Hint: The outfielder appeared in 12 All-Star Games and two World Series after never playing in minors.
7. Who is the only player to have a single-digit point total in a national semifinal game and then increase his output by more than 20 points in the championship game? Hint: The center for two years between two three-time consensus first-team All-Americans shot just over 40% from the floor for the season entering title game where he had a game-high and career-high point total.
8. Who is the only player to have a decrease of more than 25 points from his national semifinal game scoring total to his championship game output? Hint: He was a member of the first undefeated NCAA champion and subsequently became an NBA first-round draft choice.
9. Name the only school to defeat two eventual Final Four teams by double-digit margins in their conference tournament. Hint: The school was handily eliminated in the NCAA playoffs by one of the two Final Four teams it decisively defeated in their league tourney.
10. Name the only school to reach the NCAA championship game in back-to-back seasons it was defeated by double-digit margins in its conference tournament. Hint: The school swept its home-and-home series in regular-season conference competition against the teams defeating it in league tourney.
Weep On It/Think On It/Sleep On It/Drink On It. That could be the motto for Xavier after the Musketeers remained a "Susan Lucci" school in Division I by losing to Gonzaga in NCAA Tournament West Regional final, preventing them from reaching the Promised Land. Brigham Young, Missouri and Xavier are the only three schools participating in more than 25 NCAA Tournaments but never advancing to a Final Four.
Missouri has reached a regional final on four occasions but fell short in advancing to the Final Four. Boston College is another bridesmaid multiple times comparable to Xavier, losing three regional finals (1967, 1982 and 1994) in 18 tourney appearances (22-19 record) since the field expanded beyond eight teams in 1950.
The following list of five frustrated institutions are in a quagmire because they've made a minimum of 20 appearances without reaching the Final Four:
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 12 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only championship team player to have a season scoring average of less than six points per game entering a Final Four but tally more than 30 points in the national semifinals and final? Hint: He is the only player with a single-digit season scoring average to score more than 25 points in an NCAA championship game.
2. Who is the only player to score at least 25 points in eight consecutive NCAA playoff games? Hint: He is the only player to rank among top five in scoring average in both NCAA Tournament and NBA playoffs. He was denied a championship ring in his only Final Four appearance when a player who would become an NBA teammate tipped in decisive basket in the closing seconds.
3. Name the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player who wasn't among the top five scorers on his team. Hint: The only other player to earn the award who wasn't among top four scorers on his team attended same university.
5. Who is the only U.S. Congressman to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee after playing in the NCAA Tournament championship game? Hint: Starting out as a Democrat, he became a 12-term Republican Congressman from Illinois.
6. Who is the only individual to be named Final Four Most Outstanding Player and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in back-to-back seasons? Hint: He holds the NBA Finals single-game record for most points by a rookie.
7. Name the freshman who had the highest season scoring average for a team to reach the NCAA Tournament championship game until Carmelo Anthony achieved the feat for 2003 champion Syracuse. Hint: The word "Boss" is tattooed to his chest for a good reason because he also led his team in assists as freshman.
8. Who is the only freshman to score more than 30 points in a national semifinal or championship game before failing to score more than half that total in his next four playoff outings? Hint: He didn't score more than 15 points in any of his next four NCAA playoff games, all defeats, and averaged a modest 8.2 points per game in an eight-year NBA career with an all-time pro season high of 11.4 ppg and game high of 28.
9. Who is the only freshman on a Final Four team to score more than 20 points in as many as four tournament games? Hint: He did not play in the national championship game and his school lost in the NCAA playoffs to opponents with double-digit seeds each of four seasons before he arrived.
10. Name the only season-leading scorer of a titlist to be held more than 14 points below his average in the NCAA championship game. Hint: He was named national player of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. He is one of four Final Four Most Outstanding Players held scoreless in their NCAA Tournament debuts in a previous season. He is also the only individual to become a member of three NCAA titlists after playing one season in junior college.
One of the biggest questions popping up from time to time deals with who is most likely to eventually succeed Mike Krzyzewski as coach at Duke. Let's face it! We won't get the answer from halftime fielding of blah lack-of-info babe how-do-you-feel questions. Krzyzewski almost always dispatches one of his minions to endure such aimless interrogation torture apparently in order to reduce risk of re-injuring his back wincing at their incurable futility.
Coaching community shills frequently proclaim automatic success for Duke assistants when they become bench bosses. But the overall impact of Coach K's 12 disciples in the aftermath of serving under the all-time winningest major-college mentor has been anything but special. They've combined for a losing mark in the NCAA playoffs (60 fewer tourney triumphs than Coach K's all-time high of 91) and only three regional final appearances (Quin Snyder with Missouri in 2002 before Mike Brey with Notre Dame in 2015 and 2016). Following is an alphabetical list summarizing the impact of Krzyzewski's assistants after they left his incubator and became a DI bench boss on their own:
|Coach K Assistant||NCAA Tourney Mark||Biggest Flaw of DI Head Coaching Career|
|Tommy Amaker||4-5||14 games below .500 in power conference competition in 10 years with Seton Hall and Michigan|
|Bob Bender||2-3||36 games below .500 in power conference competition in nine seasons with Washington|
|Mike Brey||13-14||no NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances in first 11 seasons with Notre Dame|
|Jeff Capel III||4-3||losing power conference record in five seasons with Oklahoma|
|Chris Collins||1-1||losing record in Big Ten Conference play in first four seasons with Northwestern|
|Johnny Dawkins||2-1||only one NCAA playoff appearance and 10 games below .500 in Pac-10/12 Conference play in eight seasons with Stanford before dismissal led him to UCF|
|Mike Dement||0-1||losing conference mark in SWC and WAC in nine seasons with Southern Methodist|
|David Henderson||DNP||losing overall record in six seasons with Delaware|
|Tim O'Toole||DNP||losing overall record in eight seasons with Fairfield|
|Quin Snyder||5-4||never finished among undisputed top five in Big 12 Conference and compiled cumulative losing mark in last three of seven seasons with Missouri|
|Chuck Swenson||DNP||lost more than 2/3 of his games in seven seasons with William & Mary|
|Steve Wojciechowski||0-1||losing Big East Conference record in first three seasons with Marquette|