Dirty Laundry: UL and SMU Were All Dressed Up But Have No Place To Go

Will Trump University earn a "huge" at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament since a couple of quality teams are on the sideline? What might have been for Louisville and SMU if they didn't double dribble their way into the NCAA's detention hall and become ineligible to participate in postseason play? There is little doubt the tourney trespassers would have been consensus choices to reach the Sweet 16 and boasted potential to advance to the Final Four. But this isn't the first time multiple competent clubs were stymied in the same year. Two Top 20 quality teams were also denied a chance to appear in the tourney in 1959 (North Carolina State and Seattle), 1974 (Centenary and Long Beach State), 1977 (Clemson and Minnesota) and 1982 (UCLA and Wichita State).

NCAA Tournament history probably would be substantially different if assorted celebrated squads in the last 60 years weren't ineligible to participate because of penalties stemming from investigations by NCAA enforcement. Among the repeat offenders denied opportunities at least twice to generate postseason headlines were Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina State and Wichita State. North Carolina could join this two-timer penalized list when the NCAA finally finishes its review of academic anemia.

NCAA "cops" appear to have been on strike the previous 20 years until the depth of deceit involving Louisville and SMU left officials no choice. Numerous touted teams were banished decades ago from competing in the NCAA playoffs while serving a sentence for wrongdoing. Is there tangible evidence regarding many of the "renegades" boasting the ability to rewrite history if they had avoided a rap sheet? If so, prominent players such as Rick Barry, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish probably wouldn't have a blemish on their resumes from failing to participate in the NCAA tourney due to sanctions. Dirty laundry prohibited the following outstanding squads with fewer than 10 defeats from receiving invitations to the NCAA's preeminent party:

School Year Record Coach Vital Player(s) Season Summary
Kentucky 1953 DNP Adolph Rupp Cliff Hagan and Frank Ramsey After one-year schedule boycott, the Wildcats' undefeated squad in 1954 declined bid to NCAA playoffs because their three fifth-year (postgraduate) stars - Hagan, Ramsey and Lou Tsioropoulos - were ineligible.
North Carolina State 1955 28-4 Everett Case Vic Molodet and Ronnie Shavlik ACC regular-season and tournament champion Wolfpack defeated eventual national runner-up La Salle.
North Carolina State 1959 22-4 Everett Case Lou Pucillo and John Richter ACC regular-season co-champion and tournament kingpin Wolfpack defeated Final Four teams Cincinnati and Louisville.
Seattle 1959 23-6 Vince Cazzetta Charley Brown Despite losing All-American Elgin Baylor to NBA, this independent twice defeated NCAA playoff first-round winner Idaho State.
North Carolina 1961 19-4 Frank McGuire York Larese and Doug Moe ACC regular-season champion Tar Heels defeated NCAA representative Wake Forest twice by total of 24 points.
Utah 1962 23-3 Jack Gardner Billy McGill The Utes won by nine points at UCLA, a Final Four team after winning Athletic Association of Western Universities title.
Miami (Fla.) 1965 22-4 Bruce Hale Rick Barry The Hurricanes defeated NCAA playoff first-round winners Houston and Oklahoma City by total of 35 points.
La Salle 1969 23-1 Tom Gola Larry Cannon and Ken Durrett The Explorers defeated NCAA tourney entrants Duquesne, St. Joseph's and Villanova by total of 38 points.
Florida State 1970 23-3 Hugh Durham Dave Cowens and Skip Young The Seminoles split two games with national runner-up Jacksonville, losing on road to Artis Gilmore-led JU by only four points.
North Carolina State 1973 27-0 Norm Sloan Tom Burleson and David Thompson ACC regular-season and tourney champion Wolfpack defeated NCAA delegate Maryland a total of three times.
Centenary 1974 21-4 Larry Little Robert Parish The independent Gents won at Texas (SWC champion).
Long Beach State 1974 24-2 Lute Olson Rick Aberegg, Leonard Gray, Cliff Pondexter and Roscoe Pondexter The 49ers' two defeats were by two points at Colorado and Marquette (eventual national runner-up).
Clemson 1977 22-6 Bill C. Foster Tree Rollins and Stan Rome ACC regular-season runner-up Tigers defeated league champion and national tourney runner-up North Carolina by 20 points.
Minnesota 1977 24-3 Bill Musselman Kevin McHale, Mychal Thompson and Ray Williams Big Ten runner-up Golden Gophers (finished behind top-ranked Michigan) defeated national kingpin Marquette on Warriors' homecourt. McHale, Thompson and Williams enabled Gophers to become only college ever to have three teammates later average more than 20 ppg in any NBA season.
San Francisco 1980 22-7 Dan Belluomini Quintin Dailey WCC co-champion Dons compiled 4-1 record against three different NCAA playoff entrants.
UCLA 1982 21-6 Larry Farmer Kenny Fields, Rod Foster and Mike Sanders Pac-10 runner-up Bruins (finished behind #4-ranked Oregon State) defeated Midwest Regional No. 1 seed DePaul by 12 points for Blue Demons' lone regular-season setback.
Wichita State 1982 23-6 Gene Smithson Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston MVC runner-up Shockers (finished behind eventual NIT champion Bradley) defeated Mideast Regional runner-up UAB by 15 points.
Wichita State 1983 25-3 Gene Smithson Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston MVC titlist Shockers won at UAB (Sun Belt Conference Tournament champion).
Memphis State 1987 26-8 Larry Finch Vincent Askew and Sylvester Gray Metro Conference runner-up Tigers (finished behind defending NCAA kingpin Louisville) lost by only three points against UNLV, a national semifinalist ending season with glittering 37-2 mark.
Kentucky 1991 22-6 Rick Pitino Reggie Hanson and Jamal Mashburn SEC regular-season champion Wildcats defeated Big Eight co-champion Kansas, the national runner-up, by 16 points. NBA standout Shawn Kemp would have also been on their roster as junior if he hadn't dropped out of school two years earlier.
UNLV 1992 26-2 Jerry Tarkanian J.R. Rider The Rebels, winner of total of 20 NCAA playoff games in previous six years, were on sideline after capturing their 10th Big West Conference crown in as many seasons and leveling SEC at-large entrant LSU by 21 points.