Immediate Results: Northwestern Joined List of Newcomers Winning Debut

First-time entrants into the NCAA playoffs such as Northwestern and UC Davis usually get no sympathy. The average seeding was #14 for the more than 40 schools making their tournament debuts since the bracket included at least 64 teams.

Newbies such as Northwestern assert themselves when they receive a decent draw. A majority of first-timers with seedings of 10th or better in the late 1980s and early 1990s won their first-round games, including all three times when they had better seeds (sixth-seeded Florida in 1987, seventh-seeded New Orleans in 1987 and eighth-seeded Seton Hall in 1988).

Of the schools making their tournament debuts since the field expanded to at least 52 teams, almost one-fourth of them survived the first round. Three opening-round winners in the mid-1980s also won their next game - Georgia '83, Cleveland State '86 and Florida '87. Georgia '83 was the ultimate underdog. The Bulldogs, the only first-time entrant seeded better than fifth (No. 4 seed in the East Regional) since the field expanded to at least 48 teams in 1980, reached the Final Four.

Georgetown and Missouri each lost twice to NCAA playoff virgins in the seeding era. UC Davis and Northwestern joined the following chronological list of newcomers winning their debuts since seeding was introduced in 1979:

Year NCAA Playoff Newcomer Coach Debut-Game Victim Score Regional
1980 #8 Alcorn State Davey Whitney South Alabama 70-62 Midwest
1980 #6 Clemson Bill C. Foster Utah State 76-73 West
1981 #10 James Madison Lou Campanelli Georgetown 61-55 East
1981 #11 Northeastern Jim Calhoun Fresno State 55-53 West
1981 #7 UAB Gene Bartow Western Kentucky 93-68 Mideast
1983 #4 Georgia Hugh Durham Virginia Commonwealth 56-54 East
1984 #10 Louisiana Tech Andy Russo Fresno State 66-56 Midwest
1984 #12 Richmond Dick Tarrant Auburn 72-71 East
1986 #14 Cleveland State Kevin Mackey Indiana 83-79 East
1986 #14 UALR Mike Newell Notre Dame 90-83 Midwest
1987 #6 Florida Norm Sloan North Carolina State 82-70 East
1987 #7 New Orleans Benny Dees Brigham Young 83-79 Southeast
1987 #13 Southwest Missouri State Charlie Spoonhour Clemson 65-60 Southeast
1988 #8 Seton Hall P.J. Carlesimo Texas-El Paso 80-64 West
1989 #14 Siena Mike Deane Stanford 80-78 East
1990 #14 Northern Iowa Eldon Miller Missouri 74-71 Southeast
1992 #10 Tulane Perry Clark St. John's 61-57 Southeast
2001 Northwestern State* Mike McConathy Winthrop 71-67 Midwest
2001 #15 Hampton Steve Merfeld Iowa State 58-57 West
2003 UNC Asheville* Eddie Biedenbach Texas Southern 92-84 (OT) South
2005 Oakland* Greg Kampe Alabama A&M 79-69 East
2010 Arkansas-Pine Bluff* George Ivory Winthrop 61-44 South
2012 #15 Norfolk State Anthony Evans Missouri 86-84 West
2013 #15 Florida Gulf Coast Andy Enfield Georgetown 78-68 South
2014 #16 Cal Poly* Joe Callero Texas Southern 81-69 Midwest
2017 #16 UC Davis* Jim Les North Carolina Central 67-63 Midwest
2017 #8 Northwestern Chris Collins Vanderbilt 68-66 West

*Preliminary-round game.