Southern Living: #1 Seed Virginia Among Late Arrivals to NCAA Tourney Party

Ten power league members always classified as major colleges - with majority of them from the South - finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll at least twice although they didn't make their initial NCAA appearance until after 1970. Virginia, a #1 seed this year and tying for second place in the ACC, was among the late arrivals to the NCAA party. Among the late-bloomer group, Nebraska is winless in the NCAA playoffs while Florida is a two-time NCAA champion.

Major School (Power League) 1st NCAA Tourney Star Player(s) in Playoff Debut
Alabama (SEC) 1975 (0-1) Leon Douglas and T.R. Dunn
Auburn (SEC) 1984 (0-1) Charles Barkley and Chuck Person
Clemson (ACC) 1980 (3-1) Larry Nance
Florida (SEC) 1987 (2-1) Vernon Maxwell and Dwayne Schintzius
Georgia (SEC) 1983 (3-1) James Banks, Terry Fair and Vern Fleming
Minnesota (Big Ten) 1972 (1-1) Jim Brewer, Clyde Turner and Dave Winfield
Nebraska (Big Eight) 1986 (0-1) Brian Carr and Bernard Day
Seton Hall (Big East) 1988 (1-1) Mark Bryant and John Morton
South Carolina (ACC) 1971 (0-2) Kevin Joyce, Tom Owens, Tom Riker and John Roche
Virginia (ACC) 1976 (0-1) Wally Walker

**NOTE: Nebraska (Big Ten) and South Carolina (SEC) currently are members of other power conferences.

Seeding Capacity: #1 Seeds Kansas and UNC Have Been There/Done That

Former national champions Marquette (41 victories) and Utah (37) have won a significant number of NCAA playoff games yet never received a No. 1 seed since seeding was introduced in 1979. It's virgin territory for Oregon, but the top spots are old hat for Kansas and North Carolina as they're revisiting the pedestal. KU, after capturing its 12th consecutive Big 12 Conference crown, is the overall top seed.

Oregon is among seven former NCAA Tournament champions never to rank atop the AP national poll during the regular season. Duke, accorded a No. 1 seed eight times in a nine-year span from 1998 through 2006, and Kentucky are connected with North Carolina and Kansas among the following four universities seeded #1 at least a dozen times:

15 - North Carolina (1979-82-84-87-91-93-94-97-98-05-07-08-09-12-16)
13 - Duke (1986-92-98-99-00-01-02-04-05-06-10-11-15)
12 - Kansas (1986-92-95-97-98-02-07-08-10-11-13-16)
12 - Kentucky (1980-84-86-93-95-96-97-03-04-10-12-15)

Tiny Dancers: Plenty of Examples Why Mid-Majors Deserve More At-Large Bids

When given an opportunity via an at-large invitation to the Big Dance, members from 10 different mid-major conferences have more than held their own against opponents from elite leagues. The greatest example was Virginia Commonwealth, which defeated members from five different power leagues en route to the 2011 Final Four. It was preposterous there were any questions at all about Wichita State as an at-large team as the Shockers beat multiple power-league members for the fourth time in the NCAA tourney positioned from "invite" category in the last 11 seasons.

In the last 25 years (all but 2009), the following total of 38 different mid-major at-large entrants went on to win in the NCAA playoffs against a total of 53 different power-conference members (listed in reverse chronological order):

Year At-Large Entrant Mid-Major Conference Power-League Victim(s) in NCAA Tourney
2016 Virginia Commonwealth Atlantic 10 Oregon State (Pac-12)
2016 Wichita State Missouri Valley Vanderbilt (SEC) and Arizona (Pac-12)
2015 Dayton Atlantic 10 Providence (Big East)
2015 San Diego State Mountain West St. John's (Big East)
2015 UAB C-USA Iowa State (Big 12)
2015 Wichita State Missouri Valley Indiana (Big Ten) and Kansas (Big 12)
2014 Dayton Atlantic 10 Ohio State (Big Ten), Syracuse (ACC) and Stanford (Pac-12)
2013 Colorado State Mountain West Missouri (SEC)
2013 La Salle Atlantic 10 Kansas State (Big 12) and Ole Miss (SEC)
2013 San Diego State Mountain West Oklahoma (Big 12)
2013 Temple Atlantic 10 North Carolina State (ACC)
2013 Wichita State Missouri Valley Pittsburgh (Big East) and Ohio State (Big Ten)
2012 Gonzaga West Coast West Virginia (Big East)
2012 Xavier Atlantic 10 Notre Dame (Big East)
2011 George Mason Colonial Villanova (Big East)
2011 Temple Atlantic 10 Penn State (Big Ten)
2011 Virginia Commonwealth Colonial USC (Pac-10), Georgetown (Big East), Purdue (Big Ten), Florida State (ACC) and Kansas (Big 12)
2010 Brigham Young Mountain West Florida (SEC)
2010 Gonzaga West Coast Florida State (ACC)
2010 Xavier Atlantic 10 Minnesota (Big Ten) and Pittsburgh (Big East)
2008 Xavier Atlantic 10 Georgia (SEC), Purdue (Big Ten) and West Virginia (Big East)
2007 Butler Horizon League Maryland (ACC)
2007 Southern Illinois Missouri Valley Virginia Tech (ACC)
2006 Bradley Missouri Valley Kansas (Big 12) and Pittsburgh (Big East)
2006 George Mason Colonial Michigan State (Big Ten), North Carolina (ACC) and Connecticut (Big East)
2006 Wichita State Missouri Valley Seton Hall (Big East) and Tennessee (SEC)
2005 Cincinnati C-USA Iowa (Big Ten)
2005 Nevada WAC Texas (Big 12)
2005 Pacific Big West Pittsburgh (Big East)
2005 UAB C-USA Louisiana State (SEC)
2005 Utah Mountain West Oklahoma (Big 12)
2004 Memphis C-USA South Carolina (SEC)
2004 Saint Joseph's Atlantic 10 Texas Tech (Big 12) and Wake Forest (ACC)
2004 UAB C-USA Washington (Pac-10) and Kentucky (SEC)
2003 Butler Horizon League Mississippi State (SEC)
2003 Utah Mountain West Oregon (Pac-10)
2002 Southern Illinois Missouri Valley Texas Tech (Big 12) and Georgia (SEC)
2001 Fresno State WAC California (Pac-10)
2001 Saint Joseph's Atlantic 10 Georgia Tech (ACC)
2000 Pepperdine West Coast Indiana (Big Ten)
1999 Miami (Ohio) Mid-American Washington (Pac-10)
1999 Missouri State Missouri Valley Wisconsin (Big Ten) and Tennessee (SEC)
1999 New Mexico WAC Missouri (Big 12)
1998 Detroit Midwestern Collegiate St. John's (Big East)
1998 Rhode Island Atlantic 10 Kansas (Big 12)
1998 Utah WAC Arkansas (SEC), West Virginia (Big East), Arizona (Pac-10) and North Carolina (ACC)
1998 Western Michigan Mid-American Clemson (ACC)
1997 Charlotte C-USA Georgetown (Big East)
1997 Louisville C-USA Texas (Big 12)
1997 Temple Atlantic 10 Ole Miss (SEC)
1996 Louisville C-USA Villanova (Big East)
1996 Santa Clara West Coast Maryland (ACC)
1996 Temple Atlantic 10 Oklahoma (Big 12)
1996 Utah WAC Iowa State (Big 12)
1995 Manhattan Metro Atlantic Oklahoma (Big Eight)
1995 Miami (Ohio) Mid-American Arizona (Pac-10)
1995 Saint Louis Great Midwest Minnesota (Big Ten)
1995 Tulsa Missouri Valley Illinois (Big Ten)
1994 Tulsa Missouri Valley UCLA (Pac-10) and Oklahoma State (Big Eight)
1993 New Mexico State Big West Nebraska (Big Eight)
1993 Rhode Island Atlantic 10 Purdue (Big Ten)
1993 Temple Atlantic 10 Missouri (Big Eight) and Vanderbilt (SEC)
1993 Tulane Metro Kansas State (Big Eight)
1993 Utah WAC Pittsburgh (Big East)
1992 Louisville Metro Wake Forest (ACC)
1992 Texas-El Paso WAC Kansas (Big Eight)
1992 Tulane Metro St. John's (Big East)

NOTE: Butler (Big East), Cincinnati (Big East), Louisville (Big East and ACC), Utah (Pac-12) and Xavier (Big East) subsequently joined a power conference.

Quantum Leap: FGCU and SDSU Joined Striking List of Successful Newcomers

Tourney returnees Florida Gulf Coast, a Sweet 16 participant in its playoff debut in 2013, and South Dakota State, making its third tourney appearance in last five years, will generate national headlines stemming from their relative newcomer status to the NCAA playoffs. But there has been a striking number of smaller schools over the decades make even more impressive transitions to big-time basketball than FGCU (moved up to DI in 2007-08) and SDSU (2005-06).

An overwhelming majority of dreamy schools moving up in classification from the small-college ranks to the major-college level are little more than fodder for prominent universities seeking non-conference cupcakes to devour. Amid the moving-on-up carnage, four institutions made a quantum leap by earning the right to participate in the NCAA Tournament in their inaugural season in Division I - Seattle (29-4 record in 1952-53), Morehead State (19-10 in 1955-56), Long Beach State (24-5 in 1969-70) and Southwestern Louisiana (25-4 in 1971-72). Incredibly, all four of these schools won their DI tourney debut and returned to the NCAA playoffs the next season, too.

Long Beach and USL each compiled a 25-4 mark in the 1971-72 campaign. USL's 90-83 victory over visiting LBSU early that season might have been one of the best inter-sectional matchups few people ever heard about or remember. Long Beach swingman Ed Ratleff and USL guard Bo Lamar became the only set of former high school teammates (Columbus, Ohio) named NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans in the same season. They achieved the feat again the next year.

USL (now known as Louisiana-Lafayette), powered by Lamar and two other future pros (Roy Ebron and Fred Saunders), became the only one of this rare quartet to qualify for the national semifinals in its final season sporting small-school status. The Ragin' Cajuns were upended by national champion-to-be Evansville in the 1971 College Division Tournament. Evansville, sparked by guard Don Buse, was the host school for the Division II tourney from 1957 through 1976. Lamar collected 35 points and 11 assists while Ebron amassed 33 points and 20 rebounds in USL's 112-101 victory against Marshall in the first round of 1972 Midwest Regional when the Cajuns scored the most points in tourney history for a school in its first DI playoff game.

USL, which also won its 1973 NCAA DI tourney opener, was prohibited from fielding a team for two seasons (1973-74 and 1974-75) as part of sanctions stemming from an NCAA probation. UNLV failed to appear in the NCAA playoffs in the Rebels' first five years at the DI level. Following is a summary of where LBSU and USL rank amid the quickest successful transitions by DI neophytes (appeared in DI tourney at least once in first five campaigns):

Rank School 1st DI Season Summary of Prompt DI Tournament Success
1. Seattle 1952-53 Appeared in NCAA Division I Tournament first four seasons through 1955-56 before finishing national runner-up in 1958.
2. Long Beach State 1969-70 Participated in tourney each of first four seasons at DI level.
3. Jacksonville 1966-67 National runner-up in 1970 en route to three tourney appearances in four-year span after missing event first three seasons.
4. UAB 1978-79 Seven consecutive tourney appearances from 1981 through 1987 after missing first two seasons.
5. Louisiana-Lafayette 1971-72 Won tourney games each of first two seasons at DI level before facing two seasons of exile as a penalized program.
6. Morehead State 1955-56 Competed first two major-college years in national tourney and three of first six seasons.
7. UNC Charlotte 1972-73 Reached Final Four in 1977 after missing tourney first four seasons.
8. Alcorn State 1977-78 Appeared in DI tourney four times in five years first half of 1980s after missing first two seasons at that level.
9. Old Dominion 1976-77 Four tourney appearances in seven-year span from 1980 through 1986 after missing first three seasons.
10. Missouri State 1982-83 Four consecutive tourney appearances from 1987 through 1990 after missing first four seasons.
11. College of Charleston 1989-90 Appeared in tourney four times in six-year span from 1994 through 1999 after missing first four seasons.
12. James Madison 1976-77 Three straight tourney appearances from 1981 through 1983 after missing first four seasons.
13. Marist 1981-82 Back-to-back playoff appearances in 1986 and 1987 after missing first four seasons.

Not Good But Good Enough: Holy Cross Enters Playoffs With Losing Record

Holy Cross (10th worst mark of 14-19) became the 18th school in the last 24 years, 25th overall and fifth in the last five seasons appearing in the NCAA Tournament despite entering the playoffs with a losing record. The only one of the sub-.500 schools to win two NCAA playoff games was Bradley. The Braves won twice in the 1955 tournament (69-65 over Oklahoma City and 81-79 over SMU) after losing 14 consecutive contests during one stretch in the regular season. Despite the pair of playoff victories, they finished with their worst overall record (9-20) in a 53-year span until going 8-20 in the 1990-91 campaign.

In 1950, Bradley won two games apiece in both the NCAA Tournament and NIT to reach the championship game of both events. The Braves lost against CCNY in each final to finish the season with a 32-5 record under coach Forddy Anderson. Bradley's coach in 1955 was Bob Vanatta. He was in his first of two seasons at the school after succeeding Anderson, who departed for Michigan State after guiding the Braves to a national second-place finish in 1954. Bradley is the only school to go from the Final Four one season to 20 defeats the next year.

Texas, winner of just one non-conference game in the 1973-74 campaign, is the only school with a losing overall record to secure an automatic bid by winning a regular-season league title. Following is a list of the 25 schools polluting the NCAA playoffs by entering the tourney sporting such an impoverished record:

School W-L Pct. Coach How Team Qualified
Bradley '55 7-19 .269 Bob Vanatta Independent
Oklahoma City '55 9-17 .346 Doyle Parrack Independent
George Washington '61 9-16 .360 Bill Reinhart Won Southern Conference Tournament
Central Florida '96 11-18 .379 Kirk Speraw Won TAAC Tournament
Fairfield '97 11-18 .379 Paul Cormier Won MAAC Tournament
Florida International '95 11-18 .379 Bob Weltlich Won TAAC Tournament
Florida A&M '99 12-18 .400 Mickey Clayton Won MEAC Tournament
Lehigh '85 12-18 .400 Tom Schneider Won East Coast Conference Tournament
Oakland '05 12-18 .400 Greg Kampe Won Mid-Continent Tournament
Cal Poly '14 13-19 .406 Joe Callero Won Big West Tournament
Holy Cross '16 14-19 .424 Bill Carmody Won Patriot League Tournament
Liberty '13 15-20 .429 Dale Layer Won Big South Tournament
Coppin State '08 16-20 .444 Fang Mitchell Won MEAC Tournament
East Carolina '93 13-16 .448 Eddie Payne Won Colonial Tournament
Prairie View A&M '98 13-16 .448 Elwood Plummer Won SWAC Tournament
San Jose State '96 13-16 .448 Stan Morrison Won Big West Tournament
UNC Asheville '03 14-17 .452 Eddie Biedenbach Won Big South Tournament
Western Kentucky '12 15-18 .455 Ray Harper Won Sun Belt Tournament
Texas '74 12-14 .461 Leon Black SWC regular-season title
Montana State '86 14-16 .466 Stu Starner Won Big Sky Tournament
Florida A&M '04 14-16 .466 Mike Gillespie Won MEAC Tournament
Siena '02 16-18 .471 Rob Lanier Won MAAC Tournament
Jackson State '97 14-15 .482 Andy Stoglin Won SWAC Tournament
Missouri '78 14-15 .482 Norm Stewart Won Big Eight Tournament
Hampton '15 16-17 .485 Edward Joyner Jr. Won MEAC Tournament

NOTE: District 5 committee restricted to District 5 independents (only two in the district) to fill out 1955 bracket; this rule was changed for the 1956 playoffs.

Fairfield '97 posted the worst league record among teams in this category. Following are regular-season league records of conference tournament champions:

Recipe For Success: 68 Tips to Help Fill Out Your NCAA Tournament Bracket

Participating in pools for major sporting events, whether for money or not, has become as American as apple pie. Everyone who has ever visited a water cooler or copy room knows that no office pool spawns emotional involvement more than the invigorating NCAA Tournament. The allure of the office anarchy can be attributed to the futility of the exercise. Still, a little sophisticated guidance is better than none at all as you strive to meet the deadline for submitting your final NCAA playoff bracket.

If you're among the ardent fans who adore the Final Four and are starving for a handicapping guide to answer vital questions, here is a sane approach for surviving March Madness. Sixty-eight is a magic number for the incisive tips because that is the number of teams in the original NCAA field. If you want to March on Atlanta when pool results are posted on the bulletin board, pay close attention to these time-honored 68 dos and don'ts on how to fill out your bracket. In deference to the number of entrants, they might not all be applicable this year but these handy-dandy points to ponder should help steer you away from potholes on the Road to the Final Four.

* Pick all No. 1 seeds to win their first-round games. This one's a gimme: Top-seeded teams have never lost an opening-round game since the field was expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985.
* Pick two teams seeded 13th or worse to defeat teams seeded one through four.
* Pick one No. 3 seed to lose in the first round.
* Pick at least one No. 2 seed to lose in the first two rounds.
* Don't pick a No. 1 seed to reach the Final Four, let alone win the national tournament, if the school wasn't in the NCAA playoffs the previous year.
* Don't automatically pick a perennial power to defeat an opponent with a double-digit seeding.
* Pick a team seeded No. 1 or No. 2 to win the national title.
* Don't pick more than two of the four regional No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four.
* Pick the better-seeded team to win any second-round game pitting two double-digit seeds against each other.
* Pick one team with a double-digit seed to reach a regional semifinal.
* Don't pick more than one regional to have its top four seeds reach the regional semifinals.
* If two members of the same conference earn No. 1 seeds, don't pick both teams to reach the Final Four. Only once has two #1 seeds from the same league advanced to the national semifinals (Georgetown and St. John's from the Big East in 1985).
* Don't pick all four No. 1 seeds to reach regional finals.

* Pick at least one Big East team to lose in the opening round.
* Pick at least two teams from the Big Ten and/or SEC to incur opening-round defeats.
* Don't pick a team from the Big South to win a first-round game.
* Don't pick an at-large team with a losing conference record to get beyond the second round.
* Pick at least two ACC teams to reach a regional semifinal and at least one to reach the Final Four.
* If an ACC school wins both the league's regular-season and tournament titles, pick the team to reach the Final Four.
* Don't be swayed by a postseason conference tournament title or a poor performance in an elite league tourney. Disregard the "hot team" factor because a defeat in a league tournament is often a better motivational tool than a complacency-inducing victory. * Double your pleasure by picking two teams from the same conference to reach the Final Four.
* Don't choose a different member from the same league as the previous year's champion (Duke in the ACC) to capture the crown. There has been just seven times in NCAA playoff history for two different schools from the same conference to win the title in back-to-back years - Big Ten (Indiana '40 and Wisconsin '41); ACC (North Carolina '82 and N.C. State '83); Big East (Georgetown '84 and Villanova '85), ACC (Duke '92 and North Carolina '93); ACC (Duke '01 and Maryland '02); Big East (Syracuse '03 and Connecticut '04) and ACC (North Carolina '09 and Duke '10). Three different members from the same alliance capturing the crown over a three-year span has never happened.
* Don't pick an undisputed Big Ten champion (Wisconsin this year) to reach the Final Four.
* The Big Ten occasionally is the nation's premier conference but don't get carried away with that credential when picking a national titlist. Only one Big Ten member (Michigan State in 2000) captured an NCAA crown in the previous 25 years.
* Two of your Final Four picks should be teams that didn't finish atop their regular-season conference standings.
* Burnout has a tendency to set in. Remember that the odds are against a conference tournament champion reaching the NCAA Tournament final.
* Don't pick a team to reach the Final Four if it lost in the first round of a postseason conference tournament.
* Don't be too concerned about a regular-season defeat against a conference rival with a losing league record.
* Don't get carried away with the Pac-12 Conference. A Pac-12 team regularly loses an opening-round game to an opponent seeded 12th or worse.
* Don't pick a conference tournament champion winning four games in four nights to reach a regional semifinal.
* Pick one league to have four members reach the regional semifinals. It happened a total of 13 times in a 15-year span from 1989 through 2003.
* Don't be overwhelmed by quantity because six or seven bids for a league is not a recipe for success. Less than half conferences in this category finished with cumulative playoff records better than two games above .500.
* Don't pick a MEAC or SWAC representative to reach the Sweet 16. It has never happened.

* Enjoy the "mid-major" Cinderella stories but know that the clock eventually strikes midnight. Gonzaga faces a challenge because no "mid-major" since San Francisco in 1956 won the NCAA title after entering the tourney ranked atop the national polls.
* If there are as many as four first-time entrants, pick one of the novices to win its opening-round game.
* Don't pick a team with 30 or more victories entering the tournament to win the national title.
* Don't develop an aversion for coaches with impoverished playoff records. Remember: Legendary John Wooden lost his first five playoff games as coach at UCLA by an average of 11.4 points and compiled an anemic 3-9 record from 1950 through 1963 before the Bruins won an unprecedented 10 national titles in 12 years from 1964 through 1975.
* Don't be obsessed with comparing regular-season scores. Two-thirds of the NCAA champions weren't exactly invincible as they combined to lose more than 50 games by double-digit margins.
* Pick a team with at least 25 victories entering the tournament to win the championship. Villanova, entering the 1985 playoffs with 19 triumphs, was the only national champion in more than 35 years to enter the tourney with fewer than 20 wins until Arizona won it all in 1997 after also entering with 19 victories.
* Don't pick the nation's top-ranked team entering the tournament to reach the national championship game, let alone capture the crown. Also, Gonzaga has never reached the Final Four.
* The best place to start selecting the Final Four is in the previous year's round of 16. More than half of the teams reaching the national semifinals since 1988 advanced to a regional semifinal the previous season.
* Don't tamper with a "curse" by picking a team with the nation's leading scorer on its roster to reach the Final Four. No national champion has had a player average as many as 30 points per game.
* Make certain your Final Four picks include at least one 30-game winner and one team with a minimum of six defeats.
* After choosing your Final Four schools, don't automatically select the winningest remaining team to go ahead and capture the title.
* Don't pick a team to win the championship if an underclassman guard is leading the squad in scoring.
* Don't pick a team to win the championship if its top two scorers are Caucasians.
* Don't pick a team with as many as 12 defeats entering the tourney to reach a regional semifinal.
* Don't pick a team entering the tournament undefeated to go ahead and win the title. Of the first 17 teams to enter the playoffs with unblemished records, just seven were on to capture the national championship. Excluding UCLA's dominance under coach John Wooden, the only other unbeaten NCAA champion since North Carolina in 1957 is Indiana in 1976.
* Don't overdose on senior leadership. A senior-laden lineup is not a prerequisite for capturing a national championship. An average of only two seniors were among the top seven scorers for NCAA Tournament titlists since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985. Half of the NCAA champions since the early 1990s had only one senior among their top seven scorers.

* Pick any team defeating North Carolina or Duke in the bracket to already be in or on its way to the Final Four.
* Pick Duke to advance in the bracket if they oppose members of the Big East and Big Ten. Despite Indiana's success against the Blue Devils in the 2002 South Regional and Connecticut's victory over them in the 2004 Final Four, the Dynasty in Durham rarely loses a playoff game against Big East and Big Ten competition.
* Don't pick a member of the MAC or former member of the SWC to reach the Final Four. No Mid-American member has ever reached the national semifinals and the SWC Final Four teams all failed to come home with the national championship trophy.
* Don't pick a Conference USA member to reach a regional final.
* Pick Kansas to win a regional final if the Jayhawks advance that far. KU went to the Final Four six straight times the Jayhawks reached a regional championship game (1971-74-86-88-91-93) until they were upset by Syracuse in the 1996 West Regional. Kansas has continued regional final success much of 21st Century.
* Don't pick a team to win the national title if its coach is in his first season at the school.
* Make certain the coach of your championship team has at least five years of head coaching experience.
* Don't pick a team to capture the title if it is coached by a graduate of the school.
* Pick at least one Final Four team with a coach who will be making his debut at the national semifinals. Just four Final Fours (1951, 1968, 1984 and 1993) had all four coaches arrive there with previous Final Four experience.
* Don't pick the defending champion to repeat as national titlist.
* Don't pick the defending national runner-up to win the championship the next season. The only teams ever to finish national runner-up one year and then capture the title the next season were North Carolina (1981 and 1982) and Duke (1990 and 1991).
* Don't put any stock into justifying a preseason No. 1 ranking. The runner-up won each of the four times the preseason No. 1 and No. 2 teams met on the hallowed ground of the NCAA final.
* Pick one team not ranked among the national top 10 entering the tournament to reach the championship game.
* Pick at least a couple of teams coached by African Americans to advance a minimum of two rounds in the tournament.
* Don't pick a school to reach the Final Four if you think a vital undergraduate defector from last season will become a pro star. Of the 10 individuals to score more than 20,000 points in the NBA or be named to at least five All-NBA teams after participating in the NCAA Division I playoffs and then leaving college with eligibility remaining, none of their schools reached the Final Four the year or years they could have still been in college - Auburn (Charles Barkley departed early), Houston (Hakeem Olajuwon), Indiana (Isiah Thomas), Kansas (Wilt Chamberlain), Louisiana Tech (Karl Malone), Michigan State (Magic Johnson), North Carolina (Bob McAdoo and Michael Jordan), Notre Dame (Adrian Dantley) and Seattle (Elgin Baylor).
* Don't be infatuated by a Final Four newbie. Before UConn in 1999, the last team to win a championship in its initial national semifinal appearance was Texas Western (now Texas-El Paso) in 1966.
* Pick at least one of your Final Four teams to have a transfer starter but don't choose a squad in that category to win the title.
* Don't be infatuated with first-team All-Americans when deciding Final Four teams because a majority of NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans failed to reach the national semifinals since seeding was introduced.
* Your star search should focus more on pro prospects. Select Final Four teams that each have a minimum of one player who'll eventually become a No. 1 NBA draft choice with one of the squads reaching the championship game to have at least three players who'll become a No. 1 NBA draft pick.

* The vast majority of NCAA Tournament office pools have a tiebreaker category or two. One of them might be designating a player for most points in a single game of the tournament. If so, avoid selecting a player from the championship team because the highest output normally is achieved by a member of a non-titlist.
* Another possible tiebreaker is projecting the total number of points in the championship game. To get your bearings, you should know the average point total is more than 150 since the inception nationwide of both the shot clock and three-point field goal.

Jumping in Office Pool: Sweet 16 Tips for Winning NCAA Tournament Bracket

Participating in office pools for major sports events, whether for money or not, has become as American in the national workplace as filling out your vacation schedule. Both forms can be perplexing because you frequently second guess yourself on where to go, when to go and exactly what to do. More often than not, you want to modify the submissions moments after turning them in. You feel as if you've flunked Office-Pool Economics 101.

No office pool heightens your frustration more than the NCAA Tournament. The allure of the office anarchy can be attributed to the futility of the exercise. Just ask Pete Rose when he was relaxing at spring training. Still, a little sophisticated guidance is better than none at all as you strive to meet the deadline for submitting your final NCAA playoff bracket.

If you're among the ardent fans who adore the Final Four and are starving for relevant handicapping tips, a sane approach to surviving March Madness has arrived. It is time to start chewing on historical nuggets to avoid making another April Fool appearance when results are posted on the bulletin board. Pay close attention to these sweet 16 dos and don'ts on how to fill out your bracket. As events unfold, you might want to rekindle old memories by assessing's most magical playoff moments and All-Time All-NCAA Tournament teams.

DO pick a top three seeded team to win the national title.
In the first 34 years since the NCAA Tournament embraced seeding, 30 of the champions were seeded No. 1 (19 titlists), 2 (six) or 3 (five). The only championship game without at least one No. 1 or No. 2 seed was 1989, when a pair of No. 3 seeds clashed (Michigan and Seton Hall), until last year when #3 Connecticut opposed #8 Butler.

DON'T pick more than two of the four regional No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four.
No. 1 seeds always look tempting (especially after all four advanced to national semifinals in 2008). But the Final Four did not have more than two of them any year from 1979 through 1992.

DO pick two teams seeded 13th or worse to defeat teams seeded two through four and one team seeded 12th to reach a regional semifinal.
Since the seeding process started in 1979, never have all of the top four seeds in each regional survived their opening round. A No. 12 seed advanced to the round of 16 five consecutive years from 1990 through 1994.

DON'T automatically pick a perennial power to defeat a team with a double-digit seed.
More than 100 different coaches have lost at least one tournament game to an opponent with a double-digit seed since the seeding process was introduced. Playoff newcomers shouldn't be shunned if they get any break at all in the seeding process. First-time entrants assert themselves when they receive a decent draw. 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.

DO shun a potential championship team if an underclassman guard is leading the squad in scoring.
The only freshmen to lead a national champion in scoring were Utah forward Arnie Ferrin in 1944 and Syracuse forward Carmelo Anthony in 2003. Of the sophomores to lead national titlists in scoring average, the only guards were Indiana's Isiah Thomas (16 ppg in 1981) and Duke's Jason Williams (21.6 ppg in 2001).

DON'T tamper with a "curse" by picking a team with the nation's leading scorer on its roster to reach the Final Four.
No national champion has had a player average as many as 30 points per game. The only player to lead the nation in scoring average while playing for a school to reach the NCAA Tournament championship game was Clyde Lovellette, who carried Kansas to the 1952 title. The only other player to lead the nation in scoring average while playing for a team advancing to the Final Four was Oscar Robertson, who powered Cincinnati to the national semifinals in 1959 and 1960 before the Bearcats were defeated both years by California. The Bears restricted the Big O to a total of 37 points in the two Final Four games as he was just nine of 32 from the floor.

Unless vital criteria is met to suffice otherwise, DO go with better-seeded teams to win games in the four regionals.
The better-seeded teams win a little over 2/3 of the games in regional competition. However, Final Four games have virtually broken even in regard to the original seedings.

DON'T pick a team to capture the NCAA title if the club lost its conference tournament opener.
No team ever has won an NCAA championship after losing a conference postseason tournament opener.

DO remember the cliche "East is Least."
No Eastern school won the East Regional and the national title in the same season since the tournament went to four regionals until Syracuse achieved the feat in 2003. The first seven national champions from the East Regional since 1956 were all ACC members (North Carolina '57, N.C. State '74, North Carolina '82, Duke '92, North Carolina '93, Duke '01 and Maryland '02) before Carolina won the East Regional again in 2005.

DON'T accept the axiom that the "West is Worst."
What does the Left Coast have to do to shed a misguided image? The Pacific-12 Conference supplied two NCAA champions in a three-year span (UCLA '95 and Arizona '97) before Stanford and Utah reached the 1998 Final Four. Arizona was runner-up in 2001 before UCLA participated in three straight Final Fours from 2006 through 2008. Although the Pac-12 struggled this season, the multiple-bid Mountain West and/or West Coast could take up the slack.

DO pick two of the ten recognizable schools with the all-time best playoff records to reach the Final Four.
There is a strong possibility some familiar faces will arrive in New Orleans since at least two of the ten winningest schools by percentage (minimum of 50 playoff games) usually appear at the Final Four. The top ten schools are Duke (.744 entering the '15 tourney), UCLA (.725), North Carolina (.719), Florida (.714), Kentucky (.707), Kansas (.699), Michigan State (.683), Michigan (.672), Indiana (.667) and Ohio State (.667).

DON'T be too wary of first-rate coaches with dime-store playoff results.
High-profile coaches are occasionally grilled because of their dismal tournament resumes. But they're due to eventually turn things around and shouldn't be written off altogether. Remember: Legendary John Wooden lost his first five playoff games as coach at UCLA by an average of more than 11 points and compiled an anemic 3-9 record from 1950 through 1963 before the Bruins won an unprecedented 10 national titles in 12 years from 1964 through 1975. It doesn't seem possible, but additional elite coaches who didn't win their first NCAA playoff game until their 10th DI season or longer include Dana Altman, Rick Barnes, P.J. Carlesimo, Pete Carril, Bobby Cremins, Tom Davis, Cliff Ellis, Bill E. Foster, Hugh Greer, Leonard Hamilton, Marv Harshman, Terry Holland, Maury John, Mike Krzyzewski, Ralph Miller, Mike Montgomery, Joe Mullaney, Pete Newell, Tom Penders, George Raveling, Kelvin Sampson, Norm Sloan, Butch van Breda Kolff and Ned Wulk.

DO remember the odds about a conference tournament champion reaching the NCAA Tournament final.
There is a theory that burnout has a tendency to set in. But more than half of the NCAA titlists since seeding started in 1979 also won their conference postseason tournament the same year.

DON'T be swayed by a postseason conference tournament title or a poor performance in an elite league tourney.
Disregard the "hot team" factor because a defeat in a league tournament is often a better motivational tool than a complacency-inducing victory.

DO look for a school other than the defending champion (Connecticut in 2014) to become national titlist.
Duke was fortunate to repeat in 1992 when they reached the Final Four on Christian Laettner's last-second basket in overtime in the East Regional final against Kentucky. Florida repeated in 2007 despite winning its last five contests by 10 or fewer points.

DON'T pick the top-ranked team entering the tournament to reach the national championship game, let alone capture the crown.
There is a clear and present danger for pole sitters. Only three of the 29 schools atop the national rankings entering the NCAA playoffs from 1983 through 2011 went on to capture the national championship and only six No. 1 squads in the last 25 seasons of that span reached the title game.

DO pick at least one Final Four team with a coach making his debut at the national semifinals.
Just four Final Fours (1951, 1968, 1984 and 1993) had all four coaches arrive there with previous Final Four experience. There has been at least one fresh face among the bench bosses at the national semifinals all but one of the last 27 years. In 1993, coaches Steve Fisher (Michigan), Rick Pitino (Kentucky), Dean Smith (North Carolina) and Roy Williams (Kansas) returned to familiar surroundings at the Final Four.

DON'T pick a team to win the national title if its coach is in his first season at the school.
Steve Fisher guided Michigan to the 1989 title after succeeding Bill Frieder just before the start of the playoffs. But the only individual to capture an NCAA crown in his first full campaign as head coach at a university was Ed Jucker (Cincinnati '61 after seven years at King's Point and Rensselaer). The average championship team head coach has been at the school almost 13 years and has almost 17 years of college head coaching experience overall. The only championship head coaches with less than five years of experience were Fisher and Fred Taylor (second season at Ohio State '60).

DO realize that senior experience needs to be complemented by the vigor from undergraduates.
A senior-laden lineup is not a prerequisite for capturing a national championship. An average of only two seniors were among the top seven scorers for NCAA Tournament titlists since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985. Eight of the 16 NCAA champions from 1991 through 2006 boasted no more than one senior among its top seven scorers. Only three NCAA champions since Indiana '87 - UCLA (1995), Michigan (2000) and Maryland (2002) - had seniors as their top two scorers.

DON'T pick a team to capture the title if it is coached by a graduate of the school.
A champion is almost never guided by a graduate of that university.

DO pick at least one of your Final Four teams to have a transfer starter.
Almost every Final Four features at least one starter who began his college career at another four-year Division I school.

DON'T pick schools that lost a vital undergraduate to reach the Final Four if you think the defectors will become pro stars.
Ten individuals scored more than 20,000 points in the NBA or were named to at least five All-NBA teams after participating in the NCAA Division I playoffs and then leaving college with eligibility remaining - Charles Barkley (departed Auburn early), Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston), Isiah Thomas (Indiana), Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas), Karl Malone (Louisiana Tech), Magic Johnson (Michigan State), Bob McAdoo and Michael Jordan (North Carolina), Adrian Dantley (Notre Dame) and Elgin Baylor (Seattle). None of their schools reached the Final Four the year or years they could have still been in college.

DO pick two teams from the same conference to reach the Final Four, with at least one of them advancing to the championship game.
Double your pleasure: A pair of members from the same conference frequently advance to the Final Four.

DON'T be condescending and overlook quality mid-major conference teams.
It's not a question of if but where will David defeat Goliath. There have been more than 100 Big Boy losses against members of lower-profile conferences seeded five or more places worse than the major university which is currently a member of one of the current consensus top six leagues. A total of 74 different lower-profile schools and current members of 23 different mid-major conferences (all but Great West, Northeast and Summit) have won such games since seeding started in 1979.

DO pick two of your Final Four teams from schools failing to finish atop their regular-season conference standings.
The best is yet to come for a team or two that might have been somewhat of an underachiever during the regular season. Almost half of the entrants since the field expanded to 48 in 1980 did not win outright or share a regular-season league title.

DON'T put much emphasis on comparing regular-season scores.
A striking number of NCAA champions lost at least one conference game to a team with a losing league mark. Many NCAA champions weren't exactly invincible as a majority of them lost a regular-season games by a double-digit margin.

DO avoid picking an at-large team with a losing conference record to go beyond the second round.
An at-large team with a sub-.500 league mark almost never wins more than one NCAA Tournament game.

DON'T pick an at-large team compiling a mediocre record to reach the regional semifinals.
Only a handful of at-large entrants winning fewer than 60 percent of their games manage to reach the second round.

DO pick at least a couple of teams coached by African Americans to advance a minimum of two rounds in the tournament.
More often than not, at least two teams coached by African Americans reach the regional semifinals (round of 16).

DON'T pick a team to win the championship if its top two scorers are white athletes.
Duke had the only two teams in recent memory to win the NCAA title with white players comprising its top two point producers that season. In 1991, the two two scorers were Christian Laettner and Billy McCaffrey, who subsequently transferred to Vanderbilt. In 2010, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler were Duke's top two scorers. Laettner also led the Blue Devils in scoring when they captured the 1993 crown. The only other white players ranked among the top three scorers for NCAA championship teams since the field expanded to at least 40 teams included: Randy Wittman (third for Indiana '81), Steve Alford (led Indiana '87), Kevin Pritchard (third for Kansas '88), Eric Montross (led North Carolina '93), Jeff Sheppard/Scott Padgett (first and third for Kentucky '98), Gerry McNamara (third for Syracuse '03) and Tyler Hansbrough (led North Carolina '09).

DO pick one "sleeper" team not ranked among the top ten in either of the final wire-service polls entering the tournament to reach the championship game.
There likely will be a Rip Van Winkle finally waking up to advance to the national final after not being ranked among the top ten in an AP final poll.

DON'T pick the national runner-up from one year to win the championship the next season.
The only three teams ever to finish national runner-up one year and then capture the title the next season were North Carolina (1981 and 1982), Duke (1990 and 1991) and Kentucky (1997 and 1998).

David vs. Goliath: Frequency of Power-League Members Losing to Mid-Majors

Incredibly, much of the follow-the-pack national media promptly tried to assemble cases why Monmouth (MAAC), Saint Mary's (West Coast), Valparaiso (Horizon League) and Wichita State (Missouri Valley) should be denied at-large berths after they failed to capture their conference tournament titles. How many times does the predictably pathetic press need to look foolish by mid-major playoff participants? Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, indirectly dissing successor Mike Hopkins, sought at-large slack from the Division I Committee. Didn't the NCAA already give a break of a lifetime to the Orangemen by not vacating their 2003 national title?

If upper-crust elite schools smugly look down their noses, they might find their opponents boast the upper hand by looking down the barrel of a gun. Just ask California, Michigan State and West Virginia as they lost 2016 tourney openers by an average of 11 points. In 2013, two mid-major at-large entrants reached a regional final (La Salle and Wichita State) after also failing to capture a regular-season league title. Generous doses of humility frequently occur. Two years ago, #3 seeds Duke and Syracuse were embarrassed by Mercer and Dayton, respectively. They are among 19 former national champions losing multiple times in the tourney against members of lower-profile conferences seeded five or more places worse than the major university currently a member of one of the consensus power-six leagues. Kansas, ranked #1 at the end of the regular season after the Jayhawks were dismantled by Wichita State in the NCAA playoffs last year, has a high of seven setbacks as a total of 12 former NCAA titlists have lost three or more such contests. This year, Baylor joined KU and four other power-league members (Florida, Georgetown, Indiana and Vanderbilt) in losing playoff games in back-to-back seasons thus far in the 21st Century against mid-major foes with double-digit seeds.

Who did they play (mid-majors in NCAA playoff competition) and who did they beat (power-league members seeded five or more slots better)? Well, a total of 82 different lower-profile schools and current members of 24 different mid-major conferences (all but Northeast) have won 148 such games since seeding was introduced in 1979. But heaven forbid if Wichita State (200 victories last seven campaigns) be embraced without question as an at-large this year rather than bowing down at the power-league altar worshiping mediocrity losing to Augustana ND (Iowa in exhibition game), Long Beach State (Seton Hall), Northeastern (Miami FL), Richmond (California) and Western Illinois (Wisconsin). The mid-major school with the most "David vs. Goliath" playoff victories cited in the following list was Richmond with six until Gonzaga tied the Spiders after two such triumphs in 2016:

ACC (30 defeats against mid-major opponents seeded five or more places worse) - Boston College (lost against #12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005); Clemson (#13 Southwest Missouri State in 1987 and #11 Western Michigan in 1998); Duke (#11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2007, #15 Lehigh in 2012 and #14 Mercer in 2014); Florida State (#13 Middle Tennessee State in 1989); Georgia Tech (#13 Richmond in 1988 and #13 Southern in 1993); Louisville (#12 Ball State in 1990, #12 Butler in 2003 and #13 Morehead State in 2011); North Carolina (#9 Penn in 1979, #14 Weber State in 1999 and #11 George Mason in 2006); North Carolina State (#14 Murray State in 1988); Notre Dame (#14 UALR in 1986, #11 Winthrop in 2007 and #11 Old Dominion in 2010); Pittsburgh (#10 Kent State in 2002, #13 Bradley in 2006 and #8 Butler in 2011); Syracuse (#7 Navy in 1986, #11 Rhode Island in 1988, #15 Richmond in 1991, #13 Vermont in 2005 and #11 Dayton in 2014); Virginia (#12 Wyoming in 1987 and #12 Gonzaga in 2001); Wake Forest (#13 Cleveland State in 2009)

BIG EAST/including AAC members UC and UConn from previous league configuration (17) - Cincinnati (lost to #12 Harvard in 2014); Connecticut (#11 George Mason in 2006 and #13 San Diego in 2008); DePaul (#12 New Mexico State in 1992); Georgetown (#10 Davidson in 2008, #14 Ohio University in 2010, #11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011 and #15 Florida Gulf Coast in 2013); Marquette (#12 Tulsa in 2002); Providence (#12 Pacific in 2004 and #11 Dayton in 2015); St. John's (#10 Gonzaga in 2000 and #11 Gonzaga in 2011); Seton Hall (#7 Western Kentucky in 1993 and #11 Gonzaga in 2016); Villanova (#14 Old Dominion in 1995 and #10 Saint Mary's in 2010)

BIG TEN (27) - Illinois (lost to #14 Austin Peay State in 1987, #12 Dayton in 1990, #14 Chattanooga in 1997 and #12 Western Kentucky in 2009); Indiana (#14 Cleveland State in 1986, #13 Richmond in 1988, #11 Pepperdine in 2000 and #13 Kent State in 2001); Iowa (#14 Northwestern State in 2006); Maryland (#12 College of Charleston in 1997); Michigan (#11 Loyola Marymount in 1990 and #13 Ohio University in 2012); Michigan State (#14 Weber State in 1995, #11 George Mason in 2006 and #15 Middle Tennessee State in 2016); Nebraska (#14 Xavier in 1991 and #11 Penn in 1994); Ohio State (#12 Utah State in 2001, #9 Wichita State in 2013 and #11 Dayton in 2014); Purdue (#11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011 and #12 UALR in 2016); Wisconsin (#12 Southwest Missouri State in 1999, #11 Georgia State in 2001, #7 UNLV in 2007, #10 Davidson in 2008 and #12 Cornell in 2010)

BIG 12 (24) - Baylor (lost to #14 Georgia State in 2015 and #12 Yale in 2016); Iowa State (#15 Hampton in 2001 and #14 UAB in 2015); Kansas (#9 Texas-El Paso in 1992, #8 Rhode Island in 1998, #14 Bucknell in 2005, #13 Bradley in 2006, #9 Northern Iowa in 2010, #11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011 and #7 Wichita State in 2015); Kansas State (#11 Tulane in 1993 and #13 La Salle in 2013); Oklahoma (#13 Southwestern Louisiana in 1992, #13 Manhattan in 1995, #13 Indiana State in 2001, #11 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2006 and #12 North Dakota State in 2014); Oklahoma State (#12 Princeton in 1983, #10 Temple in 1991 and #12 Tulsa in 1994); Texas (#11 Northern Iowa in 2016); Texas Tech (#11 Southern Illinois in 2002); West Virginia (#14 Stephen F. Austin in 2016)

PACIFIC-12 (20) - Arizona (lost to #14 East Tennessee State in 1992, #15 Santa Clara in 1993, #12 Miami of Ohio in 1995 and #11 Wichita State in 2016); California (#12 Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1994 and #13 Hawaii in 2016); Oregon State (#10 Lamar in 1980, #11 Evansville in 1989 and #12 Ball State in 1990); Southern California (#13 UNC Wilmington in 2002); Stanford (#14 Siena in 1989 and #10 Gonzaga in 1999); UCLA (#12 Wyoming in 1987, #13 Penn State in 1991, #12 Tulsa in 1994, #13 Princeton in 1996 and #12 Detroit in 1999); Utah (#10 Miami of Ohio in 1999 and #11 Gonzaga in 2016); Washington State (#12 Penn in 1980)

SEC (30) - Alabama (lost to #11 Lamar in 1983, #11 South Alabama in 1989, #10 Kent State in 2002 and #12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005); Auburn (#12 Richmond in 1984); Florida (#12 Creighton in 2002, #12 Manhattan in 2003 and #8 Butler in 2011); Georgia (#14 Chattanooga in 1997 and #11 Southern Illinois in 2002); Kentucky (#7 UAB in 1981, #11 Middle Tennessee State in 1982 and #9 UAB in 2004); Louisiana State (#13 Navy in 1985 and #11 UAB in 2005); Mississippi (#13 Valparaiso in 1998); Mississippi State (#12 Eastern Michigan in 1991, #12 Butler in 2003 and #7 Xavier in 2004); Missouri (#13 Xavier in 1987, #11 Rhode Island in 1988, #14 Northern Iowa in 1990 and #15 Norfolk State in 2012); South Carolina (#15 Coppin State in 1997 and #14 Richmond in 1998); Tennessee (#12 Southwest Missouri State in 1999 and #7 Wichita State in 2006); Vanderbilt (#13 Siena in 2008, #13 Murray State in 2010 and #12 Richmond in 2011)

NOTES: Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were members of the Big Eight until 1997. Mizzou left the Big 12 for SEC in 2013. . . . Notre Dame was an independent in 1986. . . . Florida State, Louisville and Tulane were members of the Metro Conference in 1989, 1990 and 1993, respectively. . . . Butler was a member of the Horizon League in 2003 and 2011. . . . Dayton was a member of the Midwestern Collegiate in 1990. . . . DePaul was a member of the Great Midwest in 1992. . . . Texas-El Paso and Utah were members of the WAC in 1992 and 1999, respectively. . . . Marquette and Louisville were members of Conference USA in 2002 and 2004, respectively. . . . Tulsa was a member of Missouri Valley in 1994 and 2002. . . . Xavier was a member of Midwestern Collegiate in 1987 and 1991 and Atlantic 10 in 2004. . . . Boston College was a member of the Big East in 2005. . . . Defeats for Maryland (ACC), Louisville (Big East), Pittsburgh (Big East) and Syracuse (Big East) came when they were members of another power league.

Worst of Times: BC, RU and SJU Endure All-Time Longest Losing Streaks

The most prominent universities occasionally endure periods of futility. Missouri, fielding perhaps its worst series of squads since Norm Stewart's coaching predecessor in the mid-1960s, ended a school-record 13-game losing streak last season. But the Tigers' tailspin en route to their most defeats in school history was less than half of the all-time longest losing streak by a current power-conference member - 27 by Syracuse in the early 1960s until the Orange prevailed at Boston College.

This year, Boston College (19 after losing ACC Tournament opener), Rutgers (17 after ending 32-game losing streak in Big Ten competition) and St. John's (16 in Chris Mullin's coaching debut) came closer to Cuse by becoming current power-league members incurring their longest losing streaks. BC and St. John's had been on a list with 11 other power-league members - Creighton, Duke, Georgetown, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Purdue, Utah, Washington and West Virginia - never reaching double figures in consecutive setbacks. Following is an alphabetical list of longest all-time losing streaks for elite basketball schools:

School (Longest Losing Streak) Coach Date Started Date Ended Opponent Ending Streak Score
Arizona (16) Fred Enke 12-19-58 2-14-59 Hardin-Simmons 66-64
Arizona State (15) Herb Sendek 12-22-2006 2-18-2007 Southern California 68-58
Arkansas (10) Lanny Van Eman 1-9-71 2-20-71 at Texas 88-87 in OT
Auburn (13) V.J. Edney 12-13-46 2-8-47 Florida 36-30
Baylor (17) Harry Miller 1-2-99 11-20-99 Eastern Washington 68-61
Boston College (19) Jim Christian 12-30-2015 TBD TBD TBD
Brigham Young (21) Roger Reid/Tony Ingle 12-13-96 11-14-97 at San Diego State 73-59
Butler (14) Joe Sexson 1-31-81 12-12-81 Valparaiso 85-76
California (10) Rene Herrerias 1-5-62 3-3-62 at Washington 68-65 in OT
Cincinnati (10) Mick Cronin 1-24-2007 2-28-2007 Seton Hall 70-67 in OT
Clemson (15) Banks McFadden 12-14-54 2-21-55 Georgia 105-94
Colorado (17) Tom Apke 1-8-86 11-28-86 Weber State 73-57
Connecticut (10) John Donahue 1918 1919 Boston College 46-27
Connecticut (10) Burr Carlson 11-30-68 1-8-69 Syracuse 103-84
Creighton (9) Dana Altman 1-23-95 2-23-95 at Wichita State 50-47
Creighton (9) Greg McDermott 12-21-2014 1-28-2015 St. John's 77-74
DePaul (18) Jerry Wainwright 12-31-2008 3-10-2009 Cincinnati 67-57 in Big East Tournament
Duke (8) James Baldwin 2-13-22 3-?-22 Durham YMCA 37-26
Florida (14) Don DeVoe 1-17-90 2-27-90 Louisiana State 76-63
Florida State (13) Don Loucks 1-10-48 2-21-48 Florida Southern 55-48
Georgetown (9) Jack Magee 12-13-71 1-27-72 William & Mary 85-79 in OT
Georgia (13) Harbin "Red" Lawson 12-28-51 2-6-52 Georgia Tech 72-64
Georgia Tech (26) John "Whack" Hyder 2-7-53 2-18-54 South Carolina 58-53
Gonzaga (10) Dan Fitzgerald 1-19-90 2-23-90 at San Francisco 76-75
Illinois (11) Harv Schmidt 1-12-74 2-23-74 Iowa 91-84
Indiana (11) Harry Good 1-8-44 2-19-44 at Minnesota 48-47
Indiana (11) Tom Crean 1-24-2010 3-6-2010 Northwestern 88-80 in OT
Iowa (8) Rollie Williams 2-15-30 12-23-30 at Creighton 28-22
Iowa (8) Dick Schultz 1-7-74 2-11-74 Purdue 112-111 in 3OT
Iowa State (14) Louis Menze 1-2-37 12-3-37 Simpson IA 41-37
Kansas (10) Phog Allen 1-21-48 3-12-48 Iowa State 61-54
Kansas State (15) E.C. Curtiss 2-28-22 2-17-23 at Nebraska 17-14
Kentucky (9) George Buchheit 1-25-23 2-23-23 Sewanee TN 30-14
Louisiana State (14) Frank Truitt 12-23-65 2-12-66 Mississippi 92-68
Louisiana State (14) Press Maravich 1-12-67 12-2-68 Tampa FL 97-81
Louisville (19) Laurie Apitz 2-18-39 2-22-40 Berea TN 56-55
Marquette (15) Eddie Hickey 1-8-64 3-7-64 at Xavier 98-95
Maryland (22) Howard Shipley 3-1-40 2-22-41 Washington College MD 26-18
Memphis (20) Zach Curlin 1-7-38 1-26-39 Arkansas State 53-45
Miami FL (17) Leonard Hamilton 1-8-94 11-25-94 Northeastern Illinois 66-48
Michigan (11) Bill Frieder 12-12-81 1-28-82 Ohio State 62-60 in OT
Michigan State (11) Forddy Anderson 1-9-65 3-1-65 Purdue 110-92
Minnesota (17) Clem Haskins 1-10-87 11-30-87 Western Illinois 84-52
Mississippi (16) Robert "Cob" Jarvis 12-30-75 3-1-76 Vanderbilt 81-72
Mississippi State (14) Paul Gregory 1-7-55 2-26-55 at Louisiana State 84-80
Missouri (13) Kim Anderson 1-10-2015 2-24-2015 Florida 64-52
Nebraska (13) Charles Black/William Browne 2-10-32 1-14-33 Kansas State 31-25
North Carolina (8) Tom Scott 12-20-50 1-11-51 Wake Forest 65-56
North Carolina State (9) Les Robinson 1-25-92 2-22-92 at North Carolina 99-94
North Carolina State (9) Sidney Lowe 2-9-2008 11-15-2008 at New Orleans 65-59
Northwestern (20) Maury Kent 3-3-23 12-22-24 Michigan State 26-17
Notre Dame (13) Johnny Dee 12-18-65 2-9-66 Butler 84-61
Ohio State (17) Jim O'Brien 12-28-97 2-25-98 at Wisconsin 61-56
Oklahoma (10) Bob Stevens 1-6-64 2-21-64 Missouri 86-84
Oklahoma State (13) James Pixlee 1-24-20 1-14-21 Oklahoma Baptist 34-19
Oklahoma State (13) John Maulbetsch/George Roddy 1-12-29 1-7-30 Oklahoma 28-22
Oklahoma State (13) George Roddy 1-10-30 1-5-31 Grinnell IA 23-16
Oregon (22) George Bohler 12-22-21 2-20-22 Nevada 33-29
Oregon State (25) Jay John/Kevin Mouton/Craig Robinson 12-22-2007 11-30-2008 at Fresno State 62-54
Penn State (17) Bruce Parkhill 1-21-84 12-5-84 Navy 66-63
Pittsburgh (10) Charles "Buzz" Ridl 12-7-68 1-28-69 West Virginia 90-87
Providence (12) Lawrence Drew 2-5-49 3-9-49 Clark MA 46-45
Purdue (8) Ray Eddy 1-12-52 2-11-52 Wisconsin 78-67
Purdue (8) Ray Eddy 1-5-63 2-4-63 Michigan State 103-81
Rutgers (17) Eddie Jordan 12-30-2015 3-5-2016 Minnesota 75-52
St. John's (16) Chris Mullin 12-18-15 2-17-2016 DePaul 80-65
Seton Hall (15) John Colrick/Honey Russell 2-5-36 1-22-37 St. Peter's 30-23
Seton Hall (15) P.J. Carlesimo 1-2-85 3-2-85 Connecticut 85-80
South Carolina (15) Absalon "Rock" Norman 1-12-31 1-8-32 Clemson 31-23
Southern California (16) Bob Boyd 1-8-76 12-1-76 Idaho 104-64
Stanford (11) John Bunn 1-15-32 12-23-32 at Utah 41-37
Syracuse (27) Marc Guley 2-22-61 3-3-62 at Boston College 73-72
Temple (11) Don Casey 12-10-75 1-26-76 Dickinson PA 89-55
Tennessee (14) W.H. Britton 2-21-27 12-28-28 South Carolina 29-20
Texas (15) Thurman "Slue" Hull 12-4-54 2-5-55 Arkansas 75-74
Texas A&M (17) Melvin Watkins/Billy Gillispie 1-10-2004 11-19-2004 North Carolina A&T 89-56
Texas Christian (24) Johnny Swaim/Tim Somerville 12-11-76 12-3-77 Wayland Baptist TX 67-53
Texas Tech (20) Gerald Myers 1-4-90 11-25-90 Nevada 81-69 at Anchorage
UCLA (14) Pierce "Caddy" Works 12-28-37 1938-39 opener L.A. City College 44-28
UNLV (9) Michael Drakulich 12-5-58 1-14-59 at Nellis AFB 52-47
Utah (9) Vadal Peterson 12-30-35 2-1-36 at Utah State 35-34
Vanderbilt (14) Josh Cody 2-15-35 1-9-36 Auburn 47-27
Villanova (10) John "Rube" Cashman 1927-28 season finale Alumni at Rosemont 33-18
Virginia (13) Billy McCann 1-9-60 2-27-60 Washington & Lee VA 86-59
Virginia Tech (18) Gerald "Red" Laird 12-29-54 ?-??-55 The Citadel 88-53
Wake Forest (22) Murray Greason 1-26-43 1944-45 Catawba NC 41-38
Washington (9) Clarence "Hec" Edmundson 1-31-41 2-25-41 at Idaho 45-44
Washington (9) William "Tippy" Dye 12-4-53 1-9-54 at Washington State 54-44
Washington (9) Bob Bender 2-27-93 12-23-94 at Idaho State 61-60
Washington (9) Bob Bender 1-2-94 2-5-94 Arizona 74-69
Washington State (18) Kelvin Sampson 12-30-89 11-28-90 BYU-Hawaii 112-81
West Virginia (9) Marshall Glenn 1-12-37 2-17-37 Penn State 36-31
West Virginia (9) Gale Catlett 12-28-2001 1-30-2002 Providence 89-81
West Virginia (9) Drew Catlett/John Beilein 2-2-2002 11-22-2002 Delaware State 59-46
Wichita State (14) Kenneth Gunning 1-10-50 12-5-50 Oklahoma Baptist 53-45
Wisconsin (14) John Powless 1-8-76 3-1-76 at Ohio State 91-79
Xavier (13) Dick Campbell 1-29-73 12-1-73 Aquinas MI 88-48

Famine Relief: Yale Bulldogs End 53-Year Exile From NCAA Tournament

If your RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) isn't satisfactory, then it's time to R.I.P. (Rest in Peace). That certainly has been the case for Ivy League members other than Penn and Princeton when it comes to NCAA Tournament participation. Harvard was the Rip Van Winkle of college basketball, shackled by a 65-year exile, until the Crimson woke up in 2012 and secured its first NCAA playoff berth since losing two games in 1946. This season, Yale finally ended a 53-year NCAA tourney dry spell (out since 1962) although the Bulldogs' euphoria could be short-lived as they need to explain why captain Jack Montague withdrew from school a month before the conclusion of the regular season. The MIA Ivy connection also includes Brown, which is tied for third with a 46-year playoff absence after the Bears competed in the first-ever NCAA tourney game in 1939 (against Villanova).

Stanford and Wisconsin, a pair of relatively recent Final Four schools, are tied with Brown for the longest dry spells in NCAA Tournament history. Following are the 18 schools - including Baylor, Butler, Iowa State, Miami FL and Wisconsin - to participate in the tourney at least once before enduring playoff appearance droughts of at least 34 years (length of dry spells denoted in parentheses):

School Years Failing to Appear Years Without a Tourney Victory
Harvard 1947 through 2011 (65) Won first game in 2013
Yale 1963 through 2015 (53) Won first game in 2016
Brown 1940 through 1985 (46) Never won a playoff game
Stanford 1943 through 1988 (46) 1943 through 1994 (52)
Wisconsin 1948 through 1993 (46) 1948 through 1993 (46)
Air Force 1963 through 2003 (41) Never won a playoff game
Lafayette 1958 through 1998 (41) Never won a playoff game
Iowa State 1945 through 1984 (40) 1945 through 1985 (41)
Washington State 1942 through 1979 (38) 1942 through 1982 (41)
Baylor 1951 through 1987 (37) 1951 through 2009 (59)
Canisius 1958 through 1994 (37) Hasn't won since 1957
Miami (FL) 1961 through 1997 (37) Won first game in 1999
Drake 1972 through 2007 (36) Hasn't won since 1971
Saint Louis 1958 through 1993 (36) 1953 through 1994 (42)
Butler 1963 through 1996 (34) 1963 through 2000 (38)
Manhattan 1959 through 1992 (34) 1959 through 1994 (36)
Montana State 1952 through 1985 (34) Never won a playoff game

NOTES: Tulsa didn't win an NCAA playoff game from 1956 through 1993 (38 years). . . . Holy Cross (last victory in 1953) and Rice (1954) haven't won an NCAA Tournament game for extended periods. . . . Miami (Fla.) did not field a formal team from 1971-72 through 1984-85.

MIA: Simmons Could Be Third First-Team A-A in Last 40 Years Out of NCAAs

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). Acclaimed LSU freshman Ben Simmons appears bound to join Birdsong and Thompson as the third missing first-team A-A despite much of the media treating him as if he is superior to Tigers titan Pete Maravich. Simmons, apparently forcing LSU's coaching staff to moonlight as truant officers, should have attended North Carolina, which knows how to "educate" players without them wasting their time attending class.

Actually, if the SEC wasn't so mediocre, the Bayou Bengals likely would have finished the campaign with an overall losing record although their non-league schedule was full of cupcakes. Suggest the CIA use film of LSU's embarrassing exit in the SEC Tournament if it needs more "enhanced interrogation" techniques. No preseason prognosticator saw this possibility looming but Simmons may end up with the dubious distinction of joining LaRue Martin (Loyola of Chicago '72), Doug Collins (Illinois State '73) and Thompson as the only #1 overall draft picks failing to appear in the NCAA tourney.

Terry Dischinger, another celebrated Big Ten Conference player, 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 while skipping many of the road contests to continue his education. Unlike Simmons, Dischinger's dedication to the classroom paid off as he became an orthodontist.

In the ACC, 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? In the SEC long before Simmons' pencil-thin team success, Auburn's Charles Barkley was an All-American but the "Round Mound of Rebound" lost his only NCAA playoff game in 1984. Following is a look at Dischinger, Maravich and two 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

Gargantuan Gall: Why Was Gottlieb Among Candidates For OSU Coaching Job?

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."

CBS commentator Doug Gottlieb, ranked among the Top 20 analysts by, never has coached a game of college basketball - even as an assistant. Yet the legend in his own mind proclaimed four 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 this possibility probably should only be offered on April Fool's Day, could Gottlieb be considered as a candidate at another Big 12 Conference member after his alma mater's head coaching position became available?

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. 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 a real coach over a wannabee (Brad Underwood was 59-1 in Southland Conference competition the past three years for Stephen F. Austin). 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 should be directing Northwestern to the Wildcats' first NCAA playoff appearance; Stephen Bardo should have been hired by Illinois (not John Groce); Adrian Branch 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, CBS' Seth Davis should be 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.

Shooting Stars: League Tournament Individual Single-Game Scoring Records

Do you know who boasts the highest-scoring game in history in a major-conference postseason tournament? Well, it's Marshall guard Skip Henderson, who erupted for 55 points in the 1988 Southern Conference quarterfinals against The Citadel. Marshall (also C-USA) and Texas Tech (Big 12 and SWC) are the only schools to have two players hold existing league tourney scoring marks in two different NCAA Division I alliances.

Three mid-major leagues - America East (twice after three-time MVP Jameel Warney's 18-of-22 field-goal shooting this year), Big Sky and Summit - provide the only players setting existing NCAA DI conference tournament scoring marks in a tourney final. All-Americans Lennie Rosenbluth (North Carolina) and Cliff Hagan (Kentucky) accounted for the two of following DI league tourney scoring standards (ACC and SEC) standing since the 1950s:

Conference Round Record Holder School HG Opponent Date
America East Final Taylor Coppenrath Vermont 43 Maine 3-13-04
America East Final Jameel Warney Stony Brook 43 Vermont 3-12-16
American Athletic Semifinal Russ Smith Louisville 42 Houston 3-14-14
Atlantic Coast Quarterfinal Lennie Rosenbluth North Carolina 45 Clemson 3-7-57
Atlantic Sun Quarterfinal Reggie Gibbs Houston Baptist 43 Georgia Southern 3-7-89
Atlantic 10 Quarterfinal Tom Garrick Rhode Island 50 Rutgers 3-7-88
Big East Quarterfinal Donyell Marshall Connecticut 42 St. John's 3-11-94
Big Eight Quarterfinal Eric Piatkowski Nebraska 42 Oklahoma 3-11-94
Big Sky Final Anthony Johnson Montana 42 Weber State 3-11-10
Big Sky Quarterfinal Tyler Harvey Eastern Washington 42 Idaho 3-12-15
Big South Quarterfinal Michael Kessens Liberty 36 Virginia Military 3-7-13
Big Ten First Michael Thompson Northwestern 35 Minnesota 3-10-11
Big 12 First Mike Singletary Texas Tech 43 Texas A&M 3-11-09
Big West First Josh Akognon Cal State Fullerton 37 UC Riverside 3-11-09
Colonial Semifinal Marcus Thornton William & Mary 37 Hofstra 3-8-15
C-USA Quarterfinal DeAndre Kane Marshall 40 Tulsa 3-8-12
Horizon League Semifinal Byron Larkin Xavier 45 Loyola of Chicago 2-28-86
Metro Atlantic Quarterfinal Kevin Houston Army 53 Fordham 2-28-87
Mid-American Semifinal Ron Harper Miami (Ohio) 45 Ball State 3-8-85
Mid-Eastern Athletic Quarterfinal Tee Trotter Maryland-Eastern Shore 40 Bethune-Cookman 3-5-02
Missouri Valley Quarterfinal Hersey Hawkins Bradley 41 Indiana State 3-5-88
Mountain West Semifinal Jimmer Fredette Brigham Young 52 New Mexico 3-11-11
Northeast Quarterfinal Rahsaan Johnson Monmouth 40 St. Francis (N.Y.) 3-3-00
Ohio Valley Quarterfinal Bubba Wells Austin Peay 43 Morehead State 2-25-97
Pac-12 Quarterfinal Klay Thompson Washington State 43 Washington 3-10-11
Patriot League Semifinal Rob Feaster Holy Cross 43 Navy 3-5-94
Patriot League Quarterfinal Mark Lueking Army 43 Bucknell 3-4-95
Southeastern Semifinal Cliff Hagan Kentucky 42 Tennessee 3-1-52
Southeastern Quarterfinal Melvin Turpin Kentucky 42 Georgia 3-8-84
Southern Quarterfinal James "Skip" Henderson Marshall 55 The Citadel 3-4-88
Southland Quarterfinal Kenneth Lyons North Texas 47 Louisiana Tech 3-10-83
Southwest Semifinal Rick Bullock Texas Tech 44 Arkansas 3-5-76
Southwestern Athletic TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
Summit League Final Bill Edwards Wright State 38 Illinois-Chicago 3-8-93
Sun Belt Quarterfinal Dee Brown Jacksonville 41 Old Dominion 3-3-90
West Coast Quarterfinal Tim Owens San Francisco 45 Loyola Marymount 3-2-91
Western Athletic Quarterfinal Mike Jones Texas Christian 44 Fresno State 3-6-97

NOTE: Scoring outbursts by Fredette (Mountain West), Garrick (Atlantic 10), Gibbs (Atlantic Sun), Harper (Mid-American), Henderson (Southern), Houston (Metro Atlantic Athletic), Johnson (Big Sky), Lyons (Southland) and Piatkowski (Big Eight) are also existing school single-game standards. Warney's output is highest for Stony Brook at DI level.

Cliff Clavin Factoids: Timeless Trivia Tidbits on NCAA DI Conference Tourneys

The amazing six-overtime thriller between Connecticut and Syracuse in the 2009 Big East Conference Tournament quarterfinals is relatively easy to remember. But one of the most titillating tourney tidbits among all leagues that gets overlooked because the Southwest Conference is defunct remains Texas Tech's Rick Bullock singlehandedly outscoring the "Triplets" from Arkansas (Ron Brewer, Marvin Delph and Sidney Moncrief) by seven points, 44-37, when he set the SWC's single-game tournament scoring record in the 1976 semifinals.

As league tourney action commences, don't hesitate to capitalize on the links for the current Division I conferences cited below to refresh your memory about past champions and events. Following are many of the names and numbers of note only Cliff Clavin knows about regarding previous conference tournament competition you can reflect upon as teams tune up for the main event by jockeying for position in the NCAA playoff bracket:

America East - The 1989 North Atlantic Tournament was dubbed the MIT (Measles Invitational Tourney) because all spectators were banned due to a measles outbreak. Delaware competed for 17 years in the East Coast Conference and never won an ECC Tournament championship. But the Blue Hens entered the AEC predecessor, the North Atlantic, in 1992 and won their first-ever title and went to the NCAA playoffs for the initial time. They successfully defended their crown the next year before closing out the decade with another set of back-to-back tourney titles.

American Athletic - In their lone season as members of the conference, Louisville (joined ACC) routed Rutgers (Big Ten), 92-31, in 2014.

Atlantic Coast - Maryland, ranking fourth in both polls, lost in overtime against eventual NCAA champion North Carolina State, 103-100, in the 1974 final in what some believe might have been the greatest college game ever played. Three players from each team earned All-American honors during their careers - North Carolina State's David Thompson, Tom Burleson and Monte Towe plus Maryland's John Lucas, Len Elmore and Tom McMillen. The Terrapins had four players score at least 20 points - Lucas, McMillen, Owen Brown and Mo Howard - in a 20-point victory over 22-6 North Carolina (105-85) in the semifinals. The Terps, of course, didn't participate in the NCAA playoffs that year because a 32-team bracket allowing teams other than the league champion to be chosen on an at-large basis from the same conference wasn't adopted until the next season.

Atlantic Sun - Belmont hit 12 of 19 first-half shots from beyond the arc in the 2007 final against top seed East Tennessee State.

Atlantic 10 - Temple reached the tourney semifinals 19 consecutive seasons in one stretch.

Big East - St. John's doesn't seem to have any advantage at Madison Square Garden. It lost five consecutive tourney games on its homecourt by an average margin of 11.4 points from 1987 through 1991.

Big Sky - Montana, capitalizing on a homecourt advantage, overcame a jinx by winning back-to-back tournament titles in 1991 and 1992. The Grizzlies had just two losing regular-season league records from 1976 through 1990, but they didn't win the tournament title in that span, losing the championship game five times from 1978 through 1984.

Big South - The No. 1 seed won this unpredictable tourney only five times in the first 17 years. Radford failed to reach the postseason tournament final for nine years until capturing the event in 1998.

Big Ten - Illinois won as many games in the 1999 tourney as the Illini did in regular-season conference competition that season (3-13).

Big 12 - Kansas won the first three championship games from 1997 through 1999 by at least 14 points.

Big West - Pacific didn't compile a winning league record from 1979 through 1992, but the Tigers climaxed three consecutive appearances in the tournament semifinals by advancing to the '92 championship game.

Colonial - Navy, seeded No. 8 in 1991 in its last year in the tournament before joining the Patriot League, upset top seed James Madison in overtime, 85-82, in the opening round.

Conference USA - Three of four C-USA Tournament champions from 1997 through 2000 won four games in four days. Cincinnati captured six league tournament titles in seven years from 1992 through 1998 in the Great Midwest and C-USA.

Horizon League - The first two tournament winners (Oral Roberts '80 and Oklahoma City '81) of the league's forerunner, the Midwestern City, subsequently shed Division I status and de-emphasized to the NAIA level. ORU, which also won the crown in 1984, returned to Division I status in 1993-94. Butler lost its first 12 games in the tourney until breaking into the win column in 1992.

Metro Atlantic Athletic - Eight different schools won the tournament title in an eight-year span from 1992 through 1999.

Mid-American - Bowling Green never has won the MAC Tournament.

Mid-Eastern Athletic - North Carolina A&T won seven consecutive titles from 1982 through 1988. The Aggies defeated Howard in the championship game each of the first six years of their streak with the middle four of them decided by a total of only 17 points.

Missouri Valley - Indiana State won only two of its next 20 MVC tourney games after All-American Larry Bird led the Sycamores to the 1979 title.

Mountain West - Not once has Air Force reached the championship game of the WAC or Mountain West.

Northeast - The final pitted the top two seeds against each other 11 times in a 13-year span from 1983 through 1995.

Ohio Valley - Former member Western Kentucky reached the championship game in eight of the OVC's first 10 tourneys. Tennessee Tech won only one tournament game from 1975 through 1992.

Pacific-12 - Arizona won the last three tourney finals from 1988 through 1990 by a minimum of 16 points before the league discontinued the event until reviving it in 2002.

Patriot League - No seed worse than third reached the championship game in the first 20 years of event from 1991 through 2010.

SEC - Seven of the 13 tourney MVPs from 1979 through 1991 didn't play for the champion. One of them, LSU's John Williams, didn't even compete in the 1986 title game. Although Kentucky standout center Alex Groza saw limited action in the 1947 tournament because of a back injury, the Wildcats cruised to victories over Vanderbilt (98-29), Auburn (84-18), Georgia Tech (75-53) and Tulane (55-38). UK was also without Converse All-American guard Jack Parkinson (serving in the military), but the five-man all-tourney team was comprised of nothing but Wildcats - forwards Jack Tingle and Joe Holland, center Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones and guards Ken Rollins and Ralph Beard. UK (24) has won more than half of the SEC's tourneys.

Southern - Furman's Jerry Martin, an outfielder who hit .251 in 11 years with the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals and New York Mets from 1974 through 1984, was named MVP in the 1971 tournament after the 6-1 guard led the Paladins to the title with 22-, 36- and 19-point performances to pace the tourney in scoring. Two years earlier, current Davidson coach Bob McKillop scored three points for East Carolina against the Lefty Driesell-coached Wildcats in the 1969 SC Tournament championship game.

Southland - North Texas State's Kenneth Lyons outscored Louisiana Tech's Karl Malone, 47-6, when Lyons established a still existing single-game scoring record in the 1983 tournament quarterfinals. Malone led the SLC in rebounding (10.3 rpg) and steals (1.9 spg) that season as a freshman before going on to score more than 30,000 points in the NBA. Two years earlier, McNeese State won a first-round game after going winless in regular-season conference competition.

SWAC - Regular-season champion Grambling State lost by 50 points to Southern (105-55) in the 1987 final. An interesting twist that year was the fact Bob Hopkins, Grambling's first-year coach, had coached Southern the previous three seasons.

Summit League - The first tournament final in 1984 featured two teams with losing league records in regular-season competition (Western Illinois and Cleveland State).

Sun Belt - South Alabama's stall didn't prevent the Jaguars from losing to New Orleans, 22-20, on Nate Mills' last-second jumper in the 1978 final. The next season, the Sun Belt became the first league to experiment with a 45-second shot clock. The four different schools that accounted for the participants in six consecutive finals from 1980 through 1985 went on to join other conferences - UAB, Old Dominion, South Florida and Virginia Commonwealth. Two-time champion Charlotte also abandoned ship.

West Coast - The top two seeds didn't meet in the championship game until 2000. The most tragic moment in the history of any conference tournament occurred in the semifinals of the 1990 event at Loyola Marymount when Hank Gathers, the league's all-time scoring leader and a two-time tourney MVP, collapsed on his home court during the Lions' game with Portland. He died later that evening and the tournament was suspended. The Lions earned the NCAA Tournament bid because of their regular-season crown and advanced to the West Regional final behind the heroics of Bo Kimble, who was Gathers' longtime friend from Philadelphia.

Western Athletic - The tourney's biggest upset occurred in 1990 when No. 9 seed Air Force defeated No. 1 seed Colorado State in the quarterfinals, 58-51. Hawaii's Carl English, averaging 3.9 points per game as a freshman during the regular season, had a season-high 25 in a 78-72 overtime victory against host Tulsa in the 2001 final.

On This Date: March Calendar of Notable Games in College Hoops History

Existing single-game rebounding records for San Francisco (Bill Russell) and Santa Clara (Ken Sears) were set on the same day in West Coast Conference competition in 1955. In another oddity, Yale's single-game scoring and rebounding marks against a major-college opponent were established in the same game against Harvard in 1956. Following is a day-by-day calendar citing memorable moments in March major-college basketball history:

1 - Kentucky's Cliff Hagan (42 points vs. Georgia in 1952 semifinals) set SEC Tournament single-game scoring record. . . . New Hampshire's Matt Alosa (39 vs. Hartford in opening round of 1996 North Atlantic Conference Tournament at Newark, DE), Saint Louis' Anthony Bonner (45 at Loyola of Chicago in overtime in 1990), Southern Illinois' Dick Garrett (46 vs. Centenary in 1968) and Southern Utah's Davor Marcelic (43 at Cal State Northridge in 1991) set school Division I single-game scoring records. . . . Larry Jeffries (40 vs. Abilene Christian in 1969) had highest-scoring game for Trinity TX in season when school made its lone NCAA DI Tournament appearance. . . . In 1952, Penn State and Pittsburgh combined for only nine field-goal attempts (fewest in a game since 1938). . . . North Carolina State ended South Carolina's school-record 32-game winning streak (43-24 in 1934) and Southern Methodist's school-record 44-game homecourt winning streak was snapped by Texas A&M (43-42 in 1958). . . . Tom Heinsohn (42 vs. Boston College in 1956) set Holy Cross' single-game rebounding record. . . . Chris Collier (23 vs. Centenary in 1990) set Georgia State's single-game rebounding record against a DI opponent.
2 - Junior forward Ralph Jukkola became the only LSU teammate to outscore NCAA all-time leading scorer Pete Maravich in a regular-season game (22-17 in 74-71 loss at Tennessee in 1968) when Pistol was limited to fewer than 20 points for the lone time in college. Jukkola averaged 9.1 ppg in his three-year varsity career compared to Maravich's lofty mark of 44.2 ppg. . . . San Francisco's Tim Owens (45 points vs. Loyola Marymount in 1991 quarterfinals) set WCC Tournament single-game scoring record. . . . Colgate's Jonathan Stone (52 vs. Brooklyn in 1992), Eastern Michigan's Gary Tyson (47 vs. Wheaton IL in 1974), McNeese State's Michael Cutright (51 at Stephen F. Austin in double overtime in 1989), New Mexico's Marvin Johnson (50 vs. Colorado State in 1978) and Southern Methodist's Gene Phillips (51 at Texas in 1971) set school Division I single-game scoring records. Johnson's output is also a Western Athletic Conference record in league competition. . . . Oklahoma tied an NCAA single-game record by converting all 34 of its free-throw attempts (against Iowa State in 2013). . . . Penn State's school-record 45-game homecourt winning streak was snapped by Penn (85-79 in 1955). . . . Jameel Warney (23 vs. UMBC in 2016 America East Conference Tournament quarterfinals) set Stony Brook's single-game rebounding record against a DI opponent.
3 - Jacksonville's Dee Brown (41 points vs. Old Dominion in 1990 quarterfinals) set Sun Belt Conference Tournament single-game scoring record and Monmouth's Rahsaan Johnson (40 vs. St. Francis NY in 2000 quarterfinals) set Northeast Conference Tournament single-game scoring record. . . . Drake's Philip "Red" Murrell (51 vs. Houston in overtime in 1958), Lafayette's Bobby Mantz (47 vs. Wilkes College PA in 1958), Maine's Jim Stephenson (54 vs. Colby in 1969), Robert Morris' Gene Nabors (38 vs. St. Francis PA in 2000 Northeast Conference Tournament quarterfinals at Trenton, NJ), St. John's Bob Zawoluk (65 vs. St. Peter's in 1950), Santa Clara's Carlos "Bud" Ogden (55 at Pepperdine in 1967), Temple's Bill Mlkvy (73 at Wilkes College PA in 1951), Tulsa's Willie Biles (48 vs. Wichita State in 1973) and UNLV's Trevor Diggs (49 vs. Wyoming in 2001) set school single-game scoring records. Diggs' output is also a Mountain West Conference record in league competition. . . . Florida State's Al Thornton (45 vs. Miami in 2007) and Tennessee-Martin's Lester Hudson (42 vs. Tennessee Tech in 2009) set school single-game scoring records against a Division I opponent. . . . Kentucky's Adolph Rupp became the coach to compile 800 victories the fastest with a 90-86 win at Auburn in 1969 (974 games in 37th season). . . . Army's Todd Mattson (24 vs. Holy Cross in 1990), Delaware State's Kendall Gray (30 vs. Coppin State in 2015), Iowa's Chuck Darling (30 vs. Wisconsin in 1952) and Minnesota's Larry Mikan (28 vs. Michigan in 1970) set school single-game rebounding records.
4 - Houston Baptist's Reggie Gibbs (43 points at Texas-San Antonio in 1989), Marshall's Skip Henderson (55 vs. The Citadel in 1988 Southern Conference Tournament quarterfinals at Asheville, NC) and Montana State's Tom Storm (44 vs. Portland State in 1967) set school single-game scoring records against NCAA Division I opponents. Henderson's output is also a Southern Conference Tournament single-game record. . . . Army's Mark Lueking (43 vs. Bucknell in 1995 quarterfinals) tied Patriot League Tournament single-game scoring record. . . . Villanova's school-record 72-game homecourt winning streak was snapped by St. Francis PA (70-64 in 1958). . . . San Francisco's Bill Russell (35 vs. Loyola Marymount in 1955) and Santa Clara's Ken Sears (30 vs. Pacific in 1955) set school single-game rebounding records. . . . Collis Jones (25 vs. Western Michigan in 1971) set Notre Dame's single-game rebounding record against a Division I opponent. . . . One of the most tragic moments in college basketball history occurred in semifinals of 1990 West Coast Conference Tournament at Loyola Marymount when Hank Gathers, the league's all-time scoring leader and a two-time tourney MVP, collapsed and died on his homecourt during the Lions' game with Portland.
5 - Bradley's Hersey Hawkins (41 points vs. Indiana State in 1988 Missouri Valley quarterfinals), Holy Cross' Rob Feaster (43 vs. Navy in 1994 Patriot League semifinals), Maryland-Eastern Shore's Tee Trotter (40 vs. Bethune-Cookman in 2002 Mid-Eastern Athletic quarterfinals) and Texas Tech's Rick Bullock (44 vs. Arkansas in 1976 SWC semifinals) set conference tournament single-game scoring records. . . . Cal State Northridge's Mike O'Quinn (39 vs. Eastern Washington in overtime in 1998 Big Sky Tournament quarterfinals at Northern Arizona), Cornell's George Farley (47 at Princeton in 1960), Michigan's Cazzie Russell (48 vs. Northwestern in 1966), Minnesota's Eric Magdanz (42 at Michigan in 1962) and Wichita State's Antoine Carr (47 vs. Southern Illinois in 1983) set school Division I single-game scoring records. . . . Carnegie Tech's Melvin Cratsley set Eastern Intercollegiate Conference single-game scoring record with 34 points vs. West Virginia in 1938. . . . Boston University's Kevin Thomas (34 vs. Boston College in 1958), Delaware State's Kendall Gray (30 vs. Coppin State in 2015), Pacific's Keith Swagerty (39 vs. UC Santa Barbara in 1965) and Saint Louis' Jerry Koch (38 vs. Bradley in 1954) set school single-game rebounding records. . . . Baylor's Jerome Lambert (26 vs. Southern Methodist in 1994) and Wyoming's Leon Clark (24 vs. Arizona in 1966) set school single-game rebounding records against a DI opponent.
6 - Texas Christian's Mike Jones (44 points vs. Fresno State in 1997 quarterfinals) set WAC Tournament single-game scoring record. . . . Duquesne's Ron Guziak (50 vs. St. Francis PA at Altoona in 1968), Fairfield's George Groom (41 vs. Assumption MA in 1972), Minnesota's Ollie Shannon (42 vs. Wisconsin in 1971), Missouri's Joe Scott (46 vs. Nebraska in 1961) and Sam Houston State's Senecca Wall (45 vs. Texas-Arlington in double overtime in 2001 Southland Conference Tournament quarterfinals) set school Division I single-game scoring records. . . . Ohio State set an NCAA single-game record by making 14 consecutive three-point field-goal attempts (against Wisconsin in 2011).
7 - North Carolina's Lennie Rosenbluth (45 points vs. Clemson in 1957 ACC quarterfinals) and Longwood's Michael Kessens (36 vs. VMI in 2013 Big South quarterfinals) set conference tournament single-game scoring records. . . . Houston Baptist's Reggie Gibbs (43 vs. Georgia Southern in 1989 TAAC Tournament quarterfinals), Lehigh's Daren Queenan (49 vs. Bucknell in double overtime in 1987 ECC Tournament semifinals at Towson State), Notre Dame's Austin Carr (61 vs. Ohio University in first round of 1970 NCAA Tournament Mideast Regional) and Rhode Island's Tom Garrick (50 vs. Rutgers in 1988 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament quarterfinals at West Virginia) set school Division I single-game scoring records. Carr's output is also an NCAA playoff single-game record and outputs by Garrick and Gibbs are single-game records in respective league tourneys. . . . Oklahoma State center Arlen Clark established an NCAA standard for most successful free throws in a game without a miss when he converted all 24 of his foul shots against Colorado in 1959. . . . In 1928, Butler beat Notre Dame, 21-13, in inaugural game at legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse, which was the largest basketball arena in the U.S. at the time and retained that distinction until 1950.
8 - Marshall's DeAndre Kane (40 points vs. Tulsa in 2012 C-USA quarterfinals), William & Mary's Marcus Thornton (37 vs. Hofstra in double overtime in 2015 CAA semifinals) and Wright State's Bill Edwards (38 vs. Illinois-Chicago in 1993 Summit League final) set conference tournament single-game scoring records and Kentucky's Melvin Turpin (42 vs. Georgia in 1984 quarterfinals) tied SEC Tournament single-game scoring record. . . . Harvard's Brady Merchant (45 vs. Brown in 2003), Miami of Ohio's Ron Harper (45 vs. Ball State in 1985 Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals) and Vanderbilt's Tom Hagan (44 at Mississippi State in 1969) set school single-game scoring records. Harper's output is also a MAC Tournament single-game scoring record. . . . Brown's Gerry Alaimo (26 vs. Rhode Island in 1958) and Georgia's Bob Lienhard (29 vs. Louisiana State in 1969) set school single-game rebounding records against a Division I opponent.
9 - Greg Ballard (43 points at Oral Roberts in 1977 NIT first round) set Oregon's single-game scoring record. . . . Marcus Mann (28 vs. Jackson State in 1996) set Mississippi Valley State's single-game rebounding record against a Division I opponent.
10 - North Texas State's Kenneth Lyons (47 points vs. Louisiana Tech in 1983 Southland quarterfinals), Northwestern's Michael Thompson (35 vs. Minnesota in 2011 Big Ten opening round) and Washington State's Klay Thompson (43 vs. Washington in 2011 Pac-12 quarterfinals) set single-game scoring records in their respective conference tournaments. Lyons' output is also a school single-game scoring record. . . . Paul Williams (45 at Southern California in 1983) set Arizona State's single-game scoring record. . . . John Lee (41 vs. Harvard in 1956) set Yale's single-game scoring record against a Division I opponent. . . . Lamar's school-record 80-game homecourt winning streak was snapped by Louisiana Tech (68-65 in 1984 SLC Tournament). . . . Ed Robinson (32 vs. Harvard in 1956) set Yale's single-game rebounding record.
11 - Connecticut's Donyell Marshall (42 points vs. St. John's in 1994 Big East quarterfinals), Texas Tech's Mike Singletary (43 vs. Texas A&M in 2009 Big 12 opening round) and Cal State Fullerton's Josh Akognon (37 vs. UC Riverside in 2009 Big West opening round) set single-game scoring records in their respective conference tournaments. . . . Brigham Young's Jimmer Fredette (52 vs. New Mexico in 2011 Mountain West Tournament semifinals at Las Vegas), Montana's Anthony Johnson (42 at Weber State in 2010 Big Sky Tournament final) and Nebraska's Eric Piatkowski (42 vs. Oklahoma in 1994 Big Eight Tournament quarterfinals at Kansas City) set school single-game scoring records. Outputs for Fredette, Johnson and Piatkowski are also single-game scoring records in their respective conference tourneys. . . . Indiana (95) and Michigan (57) combined for an NCAA single-game record of 152 rebounds in 1961. Walt Bellamy (33) set IU's individual rebounding record in the contest.
12 - Bradley's Bob Carney (23 against Colorado in 1954 regional semifinals) set NCAA Tournament single-game record by converting 23 free-throw attempts. . . . Stony Brook's Jameel Warney (43 points vs. Vermont in 2016 America East final) and Eastern Washington's Tyler Harvey (42 vs. Idaho in 2015 Big Sky quarterfinals at Montana) tied conference tournament scoring marks. Warney's output is also a school standard since moving up to NCAA Division I level. . . . DePaul's George Mikan (53 vs. Rhode Island State in 1945 NIT semifinals), Fairleigh Dickinson's Elijah Allen (43 vs. Connecticut in 1998 NCAA Tournament first round) and Navy's David Robinson (50 vs. Michigan in first round of 1987 NCAA Tournament East Regional) set school Division I single-game scoring records. . . . Syracuse outlasted Connecticut, 127-117, in six overtimes in 2009 Big East Conference Tournament quarterfinals in longest postseason game in NCAA history.
13 - Vermont's Taylor Coppenrath (43 points vs. Maine in 2004 final) set America East Conference Tournament single-game scoring record.
14 - Louisville's Russ Smith (42 points vs. Houston in 2014 semifinals) set American Athletic Conference Tournament single-game scoring record. Smith's output also set a school mark for most points against a major-college opponent.
15 - Andrew Goudelock (39 points vs. Dayton in 2011 NIT first round) set College of Charleston's single-game scoring record against a Division I opponent.
16 - Kentucky's Kenny Walker (11-of-11 vs. Western Kentucky in 1986 second round) became only player in NCAA Tournament history to make all of more than 10 field-goal attempts in a single playoff game. . . . Temple's Fred Cohen (34 vs. Connecticut in 1956 NCAA Tournament East Regional semifinals) set a school and NCAA Tournament single-game rebounding record. . . . Nate Thurmond (31 vs. Mississippi State in 1963 Mideast Regional third-place game) set Bowling Green's single-game rebounding record against a Division I opponent.
17 - Texas' Travis Mays (23-of-27 vs. Georgia in 1990 first round) tied NCAA Tournament single-game record for most free-throws made. . . . Maurice Stokes (43 points vs. Dayton in 1955 NIT semifinals) set Saint Francis (PA) single-game scoring record against a Division I opponent. . . . In 1939, Villanova defeated Brown, 42-30, in the first NCAA Tournament game ever played. . . . Al Inniss (37 vs. Lafayette in 1956 NIT first round) set St. Francis NY single-game rebounding record.
18 - Loyola Marymount's Jeff Fryer (11 three-pointers vs. Michigan in 1990 second round) became the only player in NCAA playoff history to make more than 10 three-point field-goals in a single playoff game.
19 - Louisiana State's Shaquille O'Neal (11 rejections vs. Brigham Young in 1992 first round) set NCAA Tournament single-game record for most blocked shots.
20 - Duke's Mike Krzyzewski passed North Carolina's Dean Smith (65 victories) for the most coaching wins in NCAA Tournament history with a 63-55 second-round triumph against Mississippi State in 2005. . . . Michigan State's Adrien Payne (17-for-17 from free-throw line vs. Delaware in 2014 opener) set NCAA Tournament single-game record for most successful foul shots without a miss. . . . UCLA's Gail Goodrich (18 vs. Michigan in 1965 championship game) set Final Four single-game record for most free throws made.
21 - UNC Wilmington's John Goldsberry became only player in NCAA Tournament history to make as many as eight three-pointers without a miss in single playoff game (against Maryland in 2003 first round).
22 - The only time in major-college history two undefeated major colleges met in a national postseason tournament was the 1939 NIT final between Loyola of Chicago and Long Island University (LIU won, 44-32). . . . University of Chicago ended Penn's school-record 31-game winning streak (28-24 in 1920) and LIU ended Seton Hall's school-record 41-game winning streak (49-26 in 1941 NIT semifinals).
23 - Hal Lear (48 points vs. Southern Methodist in 1956 NCAA Tournament third-place game) set Temple's single-game scoring record against a Division I opponent. . . . San Francisco's Bill Russell (27 vs. Iowa in 1956 championship game) set Final Four record for most rebounds.
24 - Askia Jones (62 points vs. Fresno State in 1994 NIT quarterfinals) set Kansas State's single-game scoring record.
25 - Eventual 10-year N.L. OF Frankie Baumholtz scored a team-high 19 points for Ohio University in 1941 NIT final defeat against LIU.
26 - UCLA's Bill Walton (44 points vs. Memphis State in 1973) set NCAA Tournament championship game scoring record by sinking a Final Four standard 21-of-22 field-goal attempts (95.5%). . . . DePaul's Mark Aguirre (34 vs. Penn in 1979 national third-place game) set Final Four scoring record by a freshman.
28 - UNLV's Mark Wade (18 vs. Indiana in 1987 national semifinals) set NCAA Tournament single-game record for most assists. Teammate Freddie Banks established Final Four mark for most three-point field goals with 10. . . . North Carolina's Al Wood (39 points vs. Virginia in 1981) set scoring record for NCAA Tournament national semifinal game.
30 - Princeton's Bill Bradley (58 points vs. Wichita State in 1965 NCAA Tournament national third-place game) and Siena's Doremus Bennerman (51 vs. Kansas State in 1994 NIT third-place game at Madison Square Garden) set school single-game scoring records. Bradley's output was the highest in any Final Four contest.
31 - Kansas' Jeff Withey (7 rejections vs. Ohio State in 2012 national semifinals) set record for most blocked shots in a Final Four game since they became an official statistic.

Memorable Moments in February College Basketball History
Memorable Moments in January College Basketball History
Memorable Moments in December College Basketball History
Memorable Moments in November College Basketball History

They Had Game: Not Oscar Quality on Court But At Least Competed There

In this instance, legendary Oscar Robertson would definitely be accurate in a rambling, self-absorbed speech to describe their game as inferior to his era. But in deference to Oscar Awards, following are movie actors/directors who "had game" as well-rehearsed college basketball players before becoming famous entertainers:

Actor with the hit movie Fabulous Baker Boys among his credits. He is the son of Lloyd Bridges and brother of Jeff Bridges.

The 5-9 guard averaged 0.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game for UCLA's 1960-61 freshman team that compiled a 20-2 record. He was a frosh teammate of Fred Slaughter, the starting center for the Bruins' first NCAA championship team in 1964.

JIM CAVIEZEL, Bellevue (Wash.) Community College
Former Gap model played Jesus in Mel Gibson-directed The Passion of the Christ (2004) and was in Bobby Jones Stroke of Genius the same year. Also played the part of Slovnik in GI Jane (1997) with Demi Moore, Private Wit in Thin Red Line (1998), Catch in Angel Eyes (2001) with Jennifer Lopez, and Ashley Judd's husband in High Crimes (2002) with Morgan Freeman. In the TV drama Person of Interest on CBS, he played the role of Reese, a former member of the elite Special Forces who is now drinking heavily and at the end of his rope in New York City.

Bellevue coach Ernie Woods called Caviezel the hardest worker he had in 30 years. Caviezel's younger brother, Tim, played for the University of Washington, averaging 3.6 ppg in 1990-91 as a freshman and 4.2 ppg in 1991-92 as a sophomore before transferring to Long Beach State. Tim, a 6-7 swingman, subsequently transferred again to Western Washington, where Jim's wife, Kerri, ranks among the career leaders in five statistical categories for the women's basketball squad.

"Basketball taught me to train for every possible situation but always stay in the moment," Caviezel said.

CHEVY CHASE, Haverford (Pa.)
After a one-year stint on Saturday Night Live, Chevy quit to move to Los Angeles. Following mixed success in a variety of films, he became one of the biggest box-office draws in the U.S. in the 1980s with hits such as Caddyshack and National Lampoon's Vacation. One of his popular movie roles was as "Fletch" when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers in a dream sequence.

Chase was a JV basketball and soccer player as a freshman in 1962-63 before transferring to Bard (N.Y.).

MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN, Kankakee (Ill.) Community College/Alcorn State
Former bodyguard appeared in four films with Bruce Willis: Armageddon (1998; cast as Bear), Breakfast of Champions (1999), The Whole Nine Yards (2000) and Sin City (2005; cast as Manute, a powerful mobster). Breakout role occurred when he earned an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination in The Green Mile. Voiced a dog Sam in Cats & Dogs (2001) and played Colonel Attar, a gorilla, in Planet of the Apes (2001). Starred alongside his friend, The Rock, in The Scorpion King (2002) and was the criminal mastermind behemoth Kingpin in Daredevil (2003).

The 6-5 Duncan was a teammate of eventual Chicago State coach Kevin Jones with Kankakee's 31-4 squad in 1980-81 before enrolling at Alcorn State under coach Davey Whitney. An excerpt in the Braves' 1983-84 media guide said: "He adds size, speed and excellent jumping ability to the roster. A very hard worker, he'll add tremendous depth to the bench." After dropping out of college because of family problems, he spent several years digging ditches for a gas company in his hometown of Chicago. "He was a tough, physical player," Whitney told "He was undersized and didn't weigh much back then, but he was very strong and powerful. He was just tough. He'd knock guys around."

LOUIS GOSSETT JR., New York University
The son of a porter and maid, he turned to acting in high school after a leg injury temporarily impeded his hopes for a basketball career. Following his Broadway debut at 17, he attended NYU on an athletic scholarship while continuing to perform on TV and the stage. He won an Emmy in 1977 for his role in the TV miniseries Roots-Part I before winning an Oscar in 1982 as supporting actor in the box-office hit An Officer and a Gentleman.

Gossett played for NYU's freshman squad in the late 1950s.

Miller became the first blond Tarzan in Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959), which lifted most of its footage from earlier Johnny Weissmuller movies. "Playing Tarzan is like being in a circus," says the 6-4 Miller on his web site. "Go ride that elephant, play with that chimp, swing on that vine. It's a terrific job for a guy who grew up to be a kid." Miller was a regular on Wagon Train in the early 1960s as Duke Shannon (his name was then Scott Miller) and played Juliet Prowse's husband in the TV series Meet Mona McClusky in 1965. For years, he was the "Gorton Fisherman," appearing in numerous commercials in his yellow rain gear.

Denny (7.4 ppg and 5.3 rpg in only eight games) and his brother Kent (7.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg) Miller were on the same Bruins squad in 1958-59 (16-9 record under coach John Wooden) as teammates of decathlete Rafer Johnson and eventual Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum. Denny Miller spent three years in the U.S. Army between averaging 4 ppg in 1954-55 and 3.1 ppg and 2.3 rpg in 1957-58.

World renowned orator and baritone was a 6-3, 215-pound two-way end who finally was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995. Valedictorian when he graduated in 1919, learned to speak 15 languages and forge a glorious international career as a singer and actor. Earned law degree from Columbia, financing way through school by playing pro football with the Akron Pros and Milwaukee Badgers (scored two touchdowns). Robeson, son of a runaway slave, was an outspoken antifascist and champion of racial equality and socialist causes who remained enough of a supporter of the Soviet Union to get him blacklisted on Broadway. Founder of the Progressive Party played roles in 11 films and established works such as The Emperor Jones and Show Boat and became the first black to play Othello with a white cast.

Robeson was a center for Rutgers' basketball team.

LEON ROBINSON, Loyola Marymount
Goes by the stage name "Leon." He was a lover-boy idol in Waiting to Exhale, and played a similar character in Tim Reid's acclaimed Once Upon a Time ... When We Were Colored. Robinson was the ruthless killer, Kinette, in Cliffhanger and was Derice, the sweet and charming captain of the Jamaican bobsled team, in the surprise comedy hit, Cool Runnings. Leon appeared as a football teammate of Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves, and was the leading man as New York high school hoop sensation Earl (The Goat) Manigault in Above the Rim. Leon starred opposite Robin Givens in the TV mini-series, The Women of Brewster Place and was cast as Jesus in Madonna's controversial 1989 music video Like a Prayer. Received critical acclaim for his portrayal of two legendary singers in made-for-TV movies: David Ruffin in the 1998 NBC miniseries The Temptations and Little Richard in the self-titled 2000 NBC production based on the life of the rock-and-roll pioneer.

Robinson lettered for the Lions in 1978-79 when he averaged 2.9 ppg and 1.4 rpg. The Bronx native also attended Orange Coast Community College (Calif.).

TOM SELLECK, Southern California
Television and movie star won an Emmy in 1984 for his work in Magnum, P.I. He had a two-year stint (1974-75) on The Young and the Restless. His big-screen career got a major boost with the box-office hit Three Men and a Baby in 1987.

Selleck was a 6-4, 200-pound forward for Southern California. After serving as captain of the basketball team at Los Angeles Valley Community College, he scored four points in seven games for the Trojans in 1965-66 and was scoreless in three games in 1966-67. Excerpt from USC's school guide: "Agile and quick performer who adds depth on front line. Business administration major is good jumper with fine mobility. Rapidly improving shooter has impressed coaches with his hustle in practice. Needs to work on defense."

RON SHELTON, Westmont (Calif.)
Writer-director is synonymous with sports movies such as The Best of Times (high school football/1986), Bull Durham (minor league baseball/1988), White Men Can't Jump (street basketball/1992), Cobb (major league baseball/1994), Blue Chips (college basketball/1994), Tin Cup (golf/1996) and Play It to the Bone (boxing/1999). One of his non-sports films, Blaze, became a personal milestone for him as he went on to marry one of the stars, Toronto-born Lolita Davidovich. In Blue Chips, actor Nick Nolte was coach Pete Bell, who broke the rules in order to get the players he needed to remain competitive. "I played pickup into my 40s, right up until the time I made White Men Can't Jump," Shelton said. "I knew the game. I just loved that world."

Shelton scored 1,420 points in the mid-1960s, finishing the 20th Century among his alma mater's top 10 career scorers. He went on to play five seasons of Organized Baseball as a second baseman in the Baltimore Orioles' minor league system.

RON TAYLOR, Southern California
Best known for his roles as Lothar in The Rocketeer (1991) and Roc in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994). He also played Al, the tall police detective whose face is never seen, in The Naked Gun (1988) and on the TV series Police Squad. Nicknamed "Tiny Ron," the seven-footer also appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the role of the Hupyrian alien Maihar'du.

Three-year USC letterman in the late 1960s was a second-round choice by Seattle in the 1969 NBA draft (18th pick overall). He played three seasons in the ABA before competing professionally in Austria in the 1970s before starting his film career.

Television star portrayed Officer Bobby Hill on hit series Hill Street Blues. Also appeared in the following movies: The Kid Who Loved Christmas (1990), Heaven is a Playground (1991), Buffalo Soldiers (1997) and After All (1999).

The 5-11, 160-pound guard for UCLA averaged 16.6 points per game in 1965-66 as a sophomore, 12.7 in 1966-67 as a junior and 12.1 in 1967-68 as a senior. He was an All-NCAA Tournament selection in 1967 and 1968 when the Bruins won national titles by combining for a 59-1 record. Warren was named to Converse and Helms All-American squads as a junior. In his senior season, he was named to the 10-man United States Basketball Writers Association All-America team and was a third five selection on the Associated Press and United Press International All-American squads. Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 14th round of the 1968 NBA draft.

Excerpt from school guide: "Named on the Academic All-American first team. One of UCLA's all-time great ballhandlers as well as being an outstanding driver and jump shooter."

Oscar award-winning actor Denzel Washington earned rave reviews for his performance as a high school football coach in Remembering the Titans. Most Hollywood buffs remember Washington's performances as a regular on the TV drama series St. Elsewhere while becoming a critically-acclaimed screen actor and major box-office draw in the 1990s with his performances in hit films Malcolm X, The Pelican Brief, and The Preacher's Wife. The hits continued with Man on Fire (2004).

But what the most ardent moviegoer doesn't know, let alone remember, is that Washington was a walk-on freshman basketball player for Fordham under coach P.J. Carlesimo. Washington probably was acting when he said "he had game" in describing his basketball ability in an interview about his movie role as the father of the nation's No. 1 player in director Spike Lee's 1998 release He Got Game.

Senior Celebrations: Pensive Parents Have Few Things They'd Like to Know

Naturally, parental pride displayed from coast to coast during Senior Night or Day the end of February and early March doesn't necessarily need to stem from athletics. Amid proper priorities, your child didn't have to be the best but he had to try his level best.

A parent knows life goes on after the anticipation of a senior salute. But how can a mom and dad express appreciation for all of the memories shared together?

Adding sports as a factor makes the lessons-learned equation more complex. Culminating at bittersweet senior celebration, it takes a significant amount of resilience to endure withdrawal from all of the devotion and emotion, last-second decisive shots, motivational talks coping with occasional slump, chance to dance in postseason competition, title dream dashed in close contest, team awards banquet, etc., etc., etc.

Who would have thought the first time he picked up a ball that he would make such a difference and stand so tall? Reflecting on all they've experienced, the parent is fortunate to still have a pulse whether their offspring is a walk-on or team standout.

It's easy enough to substitute girl for boy in the following poem portraying a parent trying to come to terms with an impending spread-their-wings departure; whether it be from high school to college or from college to the "real world." These reflections might be therapeutic if you went through a similar range of emotions amid whatever success your own flesh and blood enjoyed along the way.

Lord, there's a little thing I need to know
Where in the world did my little boy go?
Perplexed from time to time but one thing I know today
I'm a proud parent beyond words; what more can I say
Kids go through stages but not with this sort of speed
It was only yesterday he was unable to read
Wasn't it just months ago he went from crawl to walk
Hard-headed as a mule; certainly knew how to balk
Took one day at a time raising him the very best we could
Now inspires those around him just like we believed he would
High achiever turning a corner in his life
He has got what it takes to cope with any strife
Can't carry a tune but set school shooting star records
Now, the game-of-life clock dwindles from minutes to seconds
So angels above please watch over him daily
Although some of his antics may drive you crazy
He represents everything that I value the most
For that very reason, I'm offering a toast
But if he feels sorry for himself and about to give up
Do not hesitate to give him a gentle kick in the rump
Remembering what I did wrong but at least a couple things right
Always said you could do it; just try with all your might
I just yearn to see all of his grandest plans come true
God, it's my turn to have a great commission for You
Be with him, bless him and give him nothing but success
Aid his climb up that mountain; settle for nothing less
Guide his steps in the dark and rain
Pick up the pieces and ease any pain
Time to share our best with the remainder of the world
It is much like having a family flag unfurled
How can a once infant son make grown man cry
Groping for right words trying to say goodbye
To me, he'll always be a pure and spotless lamb
Cradled in our arms or holding his little hand
If I was Elton John, I'd tell everyone this is "Your Poem"
Simply sing how wonderful life was with you in our home
My soul swells with pride at any mention of you
How long gone are you going to be; wish I knew
Sure don't believe it is at all out of line
To seek to rebound for you just one more time
Although you're going to be many miles away
I will see you in my heart each and every day
So go down that windy path; don't you dare look back
You've found faith; it will keep you on the right track
He's headed for real world and all it offers
But first, here are your final marching orders
Always do the very best you possibly can
Refuse to lose even when you don't understand
There's no telling the goals you will be able to reach
By giving proper respect to instructors who teach
Aspire each and every day you wake
Not to waste a single breath you take
Might as well let all of your ability show
Because those gifts turn to dust whenever you "go"
Don't bury your talents in the ground
Lend helping hand to those you're around
I'll never forget the times when you were all you could be
Rose to the occasion and sent playoff game to OT
Cherish all the moments - the hugs and tears
For all your passion play through these years
My little guy is bound far beyond a Final Four
Poised for more success; prosperity at his door
All things are possible; he has found out
How much I love him is what I'm thinking about
Wherever you go, you'll be best from beginning to end
To that most truthful statement, I say Amen and Amen
After Senior Night, I'll stroll into your off-limits room
Try to keep my composure when it seems like doom and gloom
You will always be on my mind
But nothing like gut-wrenching time
When I ask the Lord a big thing I need to know
Where in His big world will His maturing man go?

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.

Curry Favor: Sir Charles and Big O Join Mistake-Ridden Mid-Major Deniers

Golden State guard Stephen Curry, anointed NBA Most Valuable Player the past two seasons while shattering the league's record for most three-pointers, neither is too small nor too fragile. What is too small and fragile are the brains of any genius who overlooked the Davidson All-American for significantly inferior performers as a high school recruit, those who subsequently bypassed him in a similar fashion in the NBA draft and blabbermouth such as Charles Barkley claiming Curry is "just a shooter."

Legendary Oscar Robertson came close to joining the condemnation chorus by saying "coaches today don't know anything about defenses." The Big O scored more valid points than Sir Charles on the state of the game but their "mid-major" mistake was including Curry in any critique. By any measure, Curry can compete in any era against anybody after becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. Knuckleheads offended by Curry's dynamo daughter at a post-game press conference podium should save their angst for those individuals on a basketball payroll despite shunning Curry - occasionally including media or front-office colleagues.

In retrospect, it defies belief ESPN "expert" Seth Greenberg boasted the gall to patronize Virginia Tech All-American Dell Curry's son by offering a spot on the Hokies' roster as a walk-on before the Minnesota Timberwolves picked long-forgotten Jonny Flynn one slot ahead of the incomparable Curry in 2009. In other words, Greenberg and the Timberwolves are the only individual and pro team capable of stopping Curry. Of course, Loyola (Md.) is the only college capable of containing Curry, holding the nation's top point producer scoreless in 2008-09.

In a previous non-sexist straightforward generation when fifty-something Hannah Storm also dressed like a teenager, Stockton-to-Malone could have been a hallmark of the Washington Bullets/Wizards rather than the Utah Jazz if there were more astute judgments made in 1984 and 1985 between mid-major and SEC/ACC players. Smug egghead prosecutors seeking face time appealing to low-information voters by indicting hard-working policemen probably would have more stature probing low-intelligence individuals previously laying an egg bypassing workmanlike Curry. Following is an alphabetical list of mid-major standouts selected behind players from current power conference members before they became league MVP such as Curry, Finals MVP, appeared in five or more All-Star Games or all-time Top 10 in assists, blocked shots, rebounds or steals:

Mid-Major Standout (Pick Overall) College Year Players From Current Power League Member Chosen Ahead of Him in Draft
Tiny Archibald (19) Texas-El Paso 1970 Jim Ard (Cincinnati)/Gary Freeman (Oregon State)/Al Henry (Wisconsin)/Mike Price (Illinois)/John Vallely (UCLA)
Maurice Cheeks (36) West Texas State 1978 Marty Byrnes (Syracuse)/Harry Davis (Florida State)/Jack Givens (Kentucky)/Butch Lee (Marquette)/Wayne Radford (Indiana)/Raymond Townsend (UCLA)/Rick Wilson (Louisville)
Larry Costello (12) Niagara 1954 Ed Kalafat (Minnesota)/Bob Mattick (Oklahoma State)/Dick Rosenthal (Notre Dame)
Stephen Curry (7) Davidson 2009 Jonny Flynn (Syracuse)/Hasheem Thabeet (Connecticut)
Joe Dumars (18) McNeese State 1985 Uwe Blab (Indiana)/Kenny Green (Wake Forest)/Keith Lee (Memphis State)
Wayne Embry (23) Miami (Ohio) 1958 Pete Brennan (North Carolina)/Archie Dees (Indiana)/Roy DeWitz (Kansas State)/Vern Hatton (Kentucky)/Frank Howard (Ohio State)/John Nacincik (Maryland)/Joe Quigg (North Carolina)/Lamar Sharrar (West Virginia)
Walt Frazier (5) Southern Illinois 1967 Sonny Dove (St. John's)
Hal Greer (14) Marshall 1958 Pete Brennan (North Carolina)/Archie Dees (Indiana)/Vern Hatton (Kentucky)/Joe Quigg (North Carolina)/Lamar Sharrar (West Virginia)
Richie Guerin (17) Iona 1954 Dick Farley (Indiana)/Ed Kalafat (Minnesota)/Bob Mattick (Oklahoma State)/Dick Rosenthal (Notre Dame)
Dennis Johnson (29) Pepperdine 1976 Bob Carrington (Boston College)/Norm Cook (Kansas)/Jacky Dorsey (Georgia)/Scott Lloyd (Arizona State)/Willie Smith (Missouri)/Chuckie Williams (Kansas State)
Gus Johnson (11) Idaho 1963 Art Heyman (Duke)/Tom Hoover (Villanova)/Tom Thacker (Cincinnati)/Gerry Ward (Boston College)
Sam Jones (8) North Carolina Central 1957 George BonSalle (Illinois)/Lennie Rosenbluth (North Carolina)/Win Wilfong (Memphis State)
Rudy LaRusso (12) Dartmouth 1959 Don Goldstein (Louisville)/John Richter (North Carolina State)/Joe Ruklick (Northwestern)
Karl Malone (13) Louisiana Tech 1985 Kenny Green (Wake Forest)/Keith Lee (Memphis State)
Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell (12) UNC Charlotte 1977 Tom LaGarde (North Carolina)
Steve Nash (15) Santa Clara 1996 Todd Fuller (North Carolina State)
Willis Reed (10) Grambling 1964 Gary Bradds (Ohio State)/George Wilson (Cincinnati)
John Stockton (16) Gonzaga 1984 Lancaster Gordon (Louisville)/Terence Stansbury (Temple)/Melvin Turpin (Kentucky)
Nate Thurmond (4) Bowling Green 1963 Art Heyman (Duke)/Tom Thacker (Cincinnati)
Chet Walker (14) Bradley 1962 Paul Hogue (Cincinnati)/John Rudometkin (Southern California)

NOTE: Drafts in 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963 and 1964 included territorial picks.

Unfinished Business: Xavier Shows Potential of Reaching Final Four First Time

Weep On It/Think On It/Sleep On It/Drink On It. That could have been the motto for Xavier after the Musketeers remained a "Susan Lucci" school in Division I last season after losing in the NCAA Tournament. Brigham Young, Missouri and Xavier are the only three schools participating in at least 25 NCAA Tournaments but never advancing to a Final Four. But X is exhibiting traits where it could mark a spot at the national semifinals in 2016.

Missouri has reached a regional final on four occasions but fell short in advancing to the Promised Land. Boston College is another bridesmaid multiple times, losing three regional finals (1967, 1982 and 1994) in 18 tourney appearances (22-19 record) since the field expanded beyond eight teams in 1950.

Alabama (20-20) is the only school with a non-losing NCAA playoff record among the following list of five frustrated institutions in a quagmire because they've made a minimum of 20 appearances without reaching the Final Four:

School Tourney Appearances (Playoff Record Through 2015) Regional Final Losses
Utah State 20 (6-22 mark, .214) 1970
Brigham Young 29 (15-32, .319) 1951 and 1981
Missouri 26 (22-26, .458) 1976, 1994, 2002 and 2009
Xavier 25 (23-25, .479) 2004 and 2008
Alabama 20 (20-20, .500) 2004

Nova Joined Blue-Ribbon Programs Ranked Number 1 Atop AP National Poll

Different shades of blue comprise uniform colors of the five blue-blood programs spending the most weeks ranked #1 in major-college history - UCLA, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas. Villanova, another school donning blue, was ranked atop the AP national poll most of February this season until the Wildcats were declawed at Xavier. Number 1 stint was the first time Nova ever was perched on such a regular-season pedestal although the Wildcats won the 1985 NCAA Tournament title.

Maryland seemed to be the most likely heir apparent to succeed Villanova as #1 until the Terrapins dropped a couple of contests against second-division Big Ten Conference opponents. Thus the Terps, NCAA titlist in 2002, remained on the list of seven schools capturing an NCAA crown at some point in their history but never earning a regular-season top ranking, joining Oregon (1939 champion), Wyoming (1943), Utah (1944), CCNY (1950), California (1959) and Texas-El Paso (1966).

Breakout Season: Grayson Allen Continued NCAA Championship Game Surge

There was little doubt Duke's Grayson Allen, despite a Louisville scholar punching him while down on the floor, would be up and running as an All-American competing in the NCAA playoffs this campaign while compiling the largest one-season scoring average increase in ACC history. Allen, who averaged 21.6 points per game, posted a modest 4.4 mark a year ago as a freshman. Allen didn't "trip up" and wound up ranking sixth on the following list of first-time All-Americans posting increases of at least 14 ppg from the previous season:

First-Time All-American School A-A Season Avg. Previous Year Avg. Increase
Jimmy Rayl Indiana 29.8 ppg in 1961-62 4.0 ppg in 1960-61 25.8 ppg
Gary Bradds Ohio State 28.0 ppg in 1962-63 4.7 ppg in 1961-62 23.3 ppg
Larry Fogle Canisius 33.4 ppg in 1973-74 14.8 ppg in 1972-73 18.6 ppg
Greg "Bo" Kimble Loyola Marymount 35.3 ppg in 1989-90 16.8 ppg in 1988-89 18.5 ppg
Jimmy Hagan Tennessee Tech 28.8 ppg in 1958-59 11.0 ppg in 1957-58 17.8 ppg
Grayson Allen Duke 21.6 ppg in 2015-16 4.4 ppg in 2014-15 17.2 pgg
Howard "Butch" Komives Bowling Green 36.7 ppg in 1963-64 20.2 ppg in 1962-63 16.5 ppg
Austin Carr Notre Dame 38.1 ppg in 1969-70 22.1 ppg in 1968-69 16.0 ppg
Bob McCurdy Richmond 32.9 ppg in 1974-75 17.6 ppg in 1973-74 15.3 ppg
Neal Walk Florida 26.5 ppg in 1967-68 11.5 ppg in 1966-67 15 ppg
Jodie Meeks Kentucky 23.7 ppg in 2008-09 8.8 ppg in 2007-08 14.9 ppg
Mark Workman West Virginia 26.1 ppg in 1950-51 11.3 ppg in 1949-50 14.8 ppg
Tom Kondla Minnesota 24.9 ppg in 1966-67 10.9 ppg in 1965-66 14.0 ppg

Allen was averaging a modest 3.9 ppg entering last year's Final Four prior to becoming an overnight sensation by erasing a nine-point, second-half deficit virtually by himself to spark a rally against Wisconsin in the NCAA championship game. From a historical perspective, only one unsung player in history had more of a Final Four impact than Allen, who finished with 16 points in the final after contributing nine in the national semifinals against Michigan State. Nothing compares to the version of Washington coming "out-of-the-valley forge" when UCLA's Kenny Washington was instrumental in helping venerable coach John Wooden capture his first NCAA Tournament championship in 1964. Washington, the only player with a single-digit season scoring average (6.1) to tally more than 25 points in a championship game, scored 26 points in a 98-83 triumph over Duke in the final. Teammate Gail Goodrich contributed 27 points as he and Washington became the only duo to each score more than 25 in an NCAA final.

Although Washington became the only player to score 25 or more points in a final and not be named to the All-Tournament team, he wasn't rebuffed again the next year. Washington, averaging a modest 8.9 points per game entering the 1965 Final Four, scored a total of 27 points in victories over Wichita State and Michigan as the Bruins successfully defended their title en route to 10 crowns in 12 years under Wooden. Washington joined teammates Goodrich and Edgar Lacey on the 1965 All-Tournament team with co-national players of the year Bill Bradley (Princeton) and Cazzie Russell (Michigan).

In 1969, UCLA was without two-time All-Tournament team selection Lucius Allen because of academic problems, but the Bruins got another significant increase in point production at the Final Four from an unlikely source. Guard John Vallely averaged 22 points in victories against Drake and Purdue after arriving at the national semifinals with a 10.2-point average. Allen is the only freshman on the following list of six championship team rank-and-file players to average fewer than eight points per game entering the Final Four before seizing the moment and averaging double digits in scoring in their last two games with an increase of more than 7 ppg from their pre-Final Four scoring mark:

Unsung Hero Class Pos. NCAA Champion Season Avg. Avg. Before Final 4 Final 4 Avg. Avg. Increase
Kenny Washington Soph. F-G UCLA '64 6.1 5.2 19.5 14.3
Grayson Allen Fr. G Duke '15 4.4 3.9 12.5 8.6
Norm Mager Sr. F CCNY '50 3.6 3.0 11.5 8.5
John Dick Jr. F Oregon '39 6.7 6.3 14.5 8.2
Gene Brown Soph. G San Francisco '56 7.1 6.6 14.0 7.4
Tommy Curtis Jr. G UCLA '73 6.4 5.8 13.0 7.2

NOTE: Washington State junior guard Kirk Gebert, who scored 21 points in a 39-34 loss against Wisconsin in 1941 final to finish the year with a 6.6-point average, is the only player other than Washington with a single-digit season average to score more than 20 points in a title game.

ESPN analyst Dick Vitale has good reason comparing Allen to former Ohio State standout John Havlicek. But Allen will need to keep on improving at a comparable dramatic pace upon reaching the professional level to join the following "Magnificent 7" list of All-Americans (including Havlicek) who posted career scoring averages more than five points per game higher over more than 10 NBA seasons than they did in multiple college campaigns:

Player School College Average NBA Average Scoring Increase NBA Career Scoring Average Summary
Michael Jordan North Carolina 17.7 ppg 30.1 ppg 12.4 ppg 15 seasons with low mark of 20 in final NBA campaign in 2002-03
Hakeem Olajuwon Houston 13.3 ppg 21.8 ppg 8.5 ppg 18 years with first 13 seasons compiling more than 20 from 1984-85 through 1996-97
Charles Barkley Auburn 14.1 ppg 22.1 ppg 8 ppg 16 years with 11 consecutive seasons compiling more than 20 from 1985-86 through 1995-96
John Havlicek Ohio State 14.6 ppg 20.8 ppg 6.2 ppg 16 years with eight consecutive seasons compiling more than 20 from 1966-67 through 1973-74
Clyde Drexler Houston 14.4 ppg 20.4 ppg 6 ppg 15 years with his last 13 seasons compiling at least 18 from 1985-86 through 1997-98
Patrick Ewing Georgetown 15.3 ppg 21 ppg 5.7 ppg 17 years with his first 13 seasons compiling at least 20 from 1985-86 through 1997-98
Marques Johnson UCLA 14.4 ppg 20.1 ppg 5.7 ppg 11 years with first of six boasting more than 20 a career-high 25.6 in 1978-79

Foreign Aid: International Players Continue to Make Valparaiso Vibrant

2 Trump 20:16 - "Build higher the wall; fingerprint them all." - chapter and verse Trumpism from fake Gospel of Donald about protecting Southern border of U.S.

Punching back at papal pap, perhaps the purge to purify should include tearing down the Vatican wall. But whether in Italy or any foreign country, the art of the deal in basketball is that it can trumpet borders don't exist and legal immigrants have made a significant impact on the sport. No American university has benefited more from fingerprint of foreigners over the years than Valparaiso, which is getting significant support again this season with half of the Crusaders' regular rotation coming from outside North America.

Foreigners have been instrumental in keeping Valpo among the nation's Cinderella stories since the mid-1990s when coach Bryce Drew arrived on campus as the key player under his father (Homer). Previously, many onlookers thought it wasn't an intelligent decision for the Midwest's version of an Ivy League institution to move up to the NCAA Division I level when the Crusaders compiled losing records each of their first 16 years in DI.

Valpo's spanning-the-globe foreign invasion has included: Lubos Barton (Czech Republic), Ali Berdiel (Puerto Rico), Ryan Broekhoff (Australia), Antonio Falu (Puerto Rico), Vashil Fernandez (Jamaica), Benjamin Fumey (Germany), Joaquim Gomes (Angola), Raitis Grafs (Latvia), Moussa Gueye (Senegal), Samuel Haanpaa (Finland), Shane Hammink (Netherlands), Shawn Huff (Finland), Mohamed Kone (France), Calum MacLeod (New Zealand), Moussa Mbaye (Senegal), Roberto Nieves (Puerto Rico), Stalin Ortiz (Colombia), Marko Punda (Croatia), Michael Rogers (Jamaica), David Skara (Croatia), Oumar Sylla (Mali), Kevin Van Wijk (Netherlands), Antanas Vilcinskas (Lithuania), Zoran Viskovic (Croatia), Hrvoje Vucic (Croatia), Ivan Vujic (Croatia) and Cameron Witt (Australia).

Barton, Berdiel, Broekhoff, Gomes, Grafs, Ortiz, Van Wijk and Viskovic were all-conference selections in the Mid-Continent Conference or Horizon League. You can work on your geography by assessing the comprehensive list assembled by of foreign players impacting college basketball.

Zipping Along: Akron Among Five Programs Posting > 20 Wins Last 11 Years

The most ardent college hoops observer probably didn't realize Akron zips along as one of only five Division I schools likely posting more than 20 victories each of the past 11 seasons. After Memphis and Pittsburgh fell off the consecutive 20-win list last season, the Zips are joined by the following more recognizable institutions with a look at their best and worst seasons during these streaks:

School Years Coach(es) Best Record (Season) Worst Record (Season)
Kansas 27 Roy Williams and Bill Self 34-2 (1996-97) 23-10 (1998-99)
Duke 20 Mike Krzyzewski 37-2 (1998-99) 22-11 (2006-07)
Gonzaga 19 Dan Monson and Mark Few 35-3 (2014-15) 23-11 (2006-07)
Akron 11 Keith Dambrot 26-7 (2006-07) 21-14 (2014-15)
Ohio State 11* Thad Matta 34-3 (2010-11) 24-13 (2007-08)

*If Buckeyes win at least two games in March at end of 2015-16 campaign.

By George: Indiana Pacers Sensation Familiar With Press Overlooking Him

Paul George should be accustomed to voters shunning him after seeing Russell Westbrook repeat as NBA All-Star Game MVP despite George falling one basket shy of breaking legendary Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star scoring record of 42 points set in 1962.

Mr. Versatility for Fresno State in 2009-10 was overlooked by inept All-American voters before promptly blossoming into an All-Star with the Indiana Pacers. George, flourishing despite incurring a gruesome broken leg a couple of years ago, is the latest textbook example of the chronic problem exhibited by low-information A-A voters and their shoddy treatment of mid-major standouts. Is the mess media spending too much time reading a contrived-narrative slanted story in "Rolling to Get Stoned"?

Jeff Foxworthy, breaking the gruesome mental-midget fever, should host a show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Rate Press Pundit? Questioning the qualifications of misguided media members quickly comes to mind when assessing their longstanding track record failing to acknowledge stellar mid-level players as All-Americans. The majority of the mess media look as if they are swallowing their own vomit trying to accept and describe Donald Trump's political prowess. Despite superb collegiate careers, including player of the year acclaim in a mid-major conference, a striking number of individuals didn't generate sufficient national recognition to be chosen as an All-American. For instance, Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap led the nation in rebounding three straight seasons from 2003-04 through 2005-06 but wasn't accorded All-American status.

Incredibly, the overlooked features two prominent floor generals who went on to lead the NBA in assists a total of 14 times - John Stockton (nine) and two-time MVP Steve Nash (five) - plus Tim Hardaway, who averaged 8.2 apg during his 13-year pro career; Joe Dumars, a six-time NBA All-Star guard and 1989 NBA Finals MVP, and Derek Fisher, who received five championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers in the first decade of the 21st Century. Among shunned frontcourters, two-time conference MVPs Chris Gatling, Brian Grant, Popeye Jones and Rik Smits each played at least 11 seasons in the NBA.

Whether they are coaches who need to come out of the film-watching closet or members of the lame-stream media, many incompetent voters should be deep-sixed for overdosing on the premier leagues while condescendingly looking upon mid-level players such as Georgia State's R.J. Hunter last season. Hunter, a two-time MVP in the Sun Belt Conference, and NBA Most Improved Player C.J. McCollum (Lehigh) could eventually be among the following alphabetical list of Division I conference MVPs left behind in regard to securing All-American status before they enjoyed NBA/ABA careers of at least six seasons:

Player Pos. School Mid-Level Conference League MVP Season(s)
Mark Acres F Oral Roberts Midwestern City 1982-83 and 1983-84
Rick Adelman G Loyola CA West Coast Athletic 1967-68
Jim Ard C Cincinnati Missouri Valley 1969-70
Vin Baker C Hartford North Atlantic 1992-93
Jose Juan Barea G Northeastern Colonial Athletic Association 2005-06
Anthony Carter G Hawaii Western Athletic 1996-97
Terry Catledge F South Alabama Sun Belt 1983-84 and 1984-85
Chris Childs G Boise State Big Sky 1988-89
Doug Christie G-F Pepperdine West Coast 1990-91 and 1991-92
Craig "Speedy" Claxton G Hofstra America East 1997-98 and 1999-00
Wayne Cooper C New Orleans Sun Belt 1977-78
Antonio Daniels G Bowling Green Mid-American 1996-97
Bryce Drew G Valparaiso Mid-Continent 1996-97 and 1997-98
Joe Dumars G McNeese State Southland 1984-85
Ledell Eackles F New Orleans American South 1987-88
Blue Edwards F East Carolina Colonial Athletic Association 1988-89
Melvin Ely C Fresno State Western Athletic 2000-01 and 2001-02
Derek Fisher G Arkansas-Little Rock Sun Belt 1995-96
Fred Foster F Miami of Ohio Mid-American 1967-68
Winston Garland G Southwest Missouri State Mid-Continent 1986-87
Chris Gatling C-F Old Dominion Sun Belt 1989-90 and 1990-91
Kenny Gattison F Old Dominion Sun Belt 1985-86
Mike Glenn G Southern Illinois Missouri Valley 1975-76
Brian Grant F-C Xavier Midwestern Collegiate 1992-93 and 1993-94
Willie Green G Detroit Horizon League 2002-03
Bob Gross F-G Long Beach State PCAA 1974-75
Tim Hardaway G Texas-El Paso Western Athletic 1988-89
Trenton Hassell F Austin Peay Ohio Valley 2000-01
Gordon Hayward G-F Butler Horizon League 2009-10
Armond Hill G Princeton Ivy League 1975-76
George Hill G IUPUI Summit League 2007-08
Tyrone Hill F-C Xavier Midwestern Collegiate 1989-90
Roy Hinson C Rutgers Atlantic 10 1982-83
Lindsey Hunter G Jackson State Southwestern Athletic 1992-93
Avery Johnson G Southern (LA) Southwestern Athletic 1987-88
Eddie Jones F-G Temple Atlantic 10 1993-94
Ronald "Popeye" Jones C Murray State Ohio Valley 1989-90 and 1990-91
Chris Kaman C Central Michigan Mid-American 2002-03
Joe Kleine C Arkansas Southwest 1984-85
Larry Krystkowiak F Montana Big Sky 1983-84 through 1985-86
Courtney Lee G-F Western Kentucky Sun Belt 2007-08
Jim Les G Bradley Missouri Valley 1985-86
Reggie Lewis F Boston University ECAC North Atlantic 1984-85 through 1986-87
Grant Long F Eastern Michigan Mid-American 1987-88
Pace Mannion G-F Utah Western Athletic 1982-83
Aaron McKie G Temple Atlantic 10 1992-93
Steve Mix C-F Toledo Mid-American 1968-69
Steve Nash G Santa Clara West Coast 1994-95 and 1995-96
Johnny Newman F Richmond ECAC South 1983-84
Norm Nixon G Duquesne Eastern Collegiate Basketball League 1976-77
Michael Olowokandi C Pacific Big West 1997-98
Anthony Parker G-F Bradley Missouri Valley 1995-96
Robert "Sonny" Parker G-F Texas A&M Southwest 1974-75
Tim Perry F Temple Atlantic 10 1987-88
Kurt Rambis C-F Santa Clara West Coast Athletic 1979-80
Dan Roundfield F Central Michigan Mid-American 1974-75
Brian Shaw G UC Santa Barbara PCAA 1987-88
Reggie Slater C Wyoming Western Athletic 1991-92
Larry Smith F Alcorn State Southwestern Athletic 1979-80
Rik Smits C Marist ECAC Metro 1986-87 and 1987-88
Ricky Sobers G UNLV West Coast Athletic 1974-75
John Stockton G Gonzaga West Coast Athletic 1983-84
Rodney Stuckey G Eastern Washington Big Sky 2005-06
Jason Thompson F Rider Metro Atlantic Athletic 2007-08
George Trapp F Long Beach State PCAA 1969-70 and 1970-71
Gary Trent F Ohio University Mid-American 1992-93 through 1994-95
Ronny Turiaf F Gonzaga West Coast 2004-05
David Wesley G Baylor Southwest 1991-92


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