Canada has become significantly more than a hockey hotbed. The recent Canadian basketball bounty has gone from Syracuse's Kris Joseph (Quebec) in 2012 to Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk (British Columbia) in 2013 to three All-Americans this season from Ontario - Iowa State frontcourter Melvin Ejim, Michigan guard Nik Stauskas and Kansas freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins.
Foreigners have been much more than bit players in a modern day version of "Coming to America." In time, voters may regret not anointing Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid (Cameroon) as an All-American before he declared early for the NBA draft. But the three Canadians this season joined the following alphabetical list of hoop princes of sorts as the first 21 All-Americans who spent most of their formative years in a country outside mainland U.S.:
|Foreigner||Pos.||College||Native Country||Year(s) All-American||NBA Draft Status|
|Andrew Bogut*||C||Utah||Australia||2005||1st pick overall by Milwaukee|
|Kresimir Cosic||C||Brigham Young||Yugoslavia||1972 and 1973||66th by L.A. Lakers|
|Tim Duncan*||C||Wake Forest||Virgin Islands||1995 through 1997||1st by San Antonio|
|Melvin Ejim||F-C||Iowa State||Ontario||2014||TBD|
|Patrick Ewing*||C||Georgetown||Jamaica||1982 through 1985||1st by New York|
|Adonal Foyle||C||Colgate||West Indies||1997||8th by Golden State|
|Al Horford||F-C||Florida||Dominican Republic||2007||3rd by Atlanta|
|Kris Joseph||F||Syracuse||Quebec||2012||51st by Boston|
|Dikembe Mutombo||C||Georgetown||Zaire||1991||4th by Denver|
|Eduardo Najera||F||Oklahoma||Mexico||2000||38th by Houston|
|Hakeem Olajuwon||C||Houston||Nigeria||1983 and 1984||1st by Houston|
|Kelly Olynyk||C||Gonzaga||British Columbia||2013||13th by Dallas|
|Juan "Pepe" Sanchez||G||Temple||Argentina||2000||undrafted|
|Detlef Schrempf||F||Washington||Germany||1985||8th by Dallas|
|Rony Seikaly||C||Syracuse||Greece||1988||9th by Miami|
|Doron Sheffer||G||Connecticut||Israel||1996||36th by L.A. Clippers|
|Hasheem Thabeet||C||Connecticut||Tanzania||2009||2nd by Memphis|
|Mychal Thompson||F-C||Minnesota||Bahamas||1977 and 1978||1st by Portland|
|Greivis Vasquez||G||Maryland||Venezuela||2010||28th by Memphis|
*Named National Player of the Year.
A significant number of schools turn sheepish at the mention of recent NCAA Tournament success. Among Division I institutions making at least 10 NCAA playoff appearances, eight former Final Four participants - Holy Cross, Houston, New Mexico State, Oregon State, Princeton, San Francisco, Southern Methodist and Texas-El Paso - combined to go winless in the past 16 years.
DePaul, Oregon State and San Francisco each have won more than 20 NCAA tourney games but collaborated for only one win in the last 25 years (DePaul over Dayton in double overtime in 2004). With B.B. King "The Thrill is Gone" lyrics in the background, following is an alphabetical list of schools with at least 10 NCAA playoff appearances for which Sweet 16 is a distant memory:
School (Playoff Appearances) Recent NCAA Tournament Travails Charlotte (11) no appearance last 9 years; winless last 13 years Clemson (11) one victory last 17 years DePaul (22) appeared once last 14 years; one victory last 25 years George Washington (11) one victory last 20 years Georgia (11) one victory last 18 years Holy Cross (12) winless since 1953 Houston (19) winless last 30 years Idaho State (11) winless last 37 years Iowa (23) one victory last 15 years Minnesota (12) one victory last 17 years New Mexico State (19) winless last 21 years Old Dominion (11) one victory last 19 years Oregon State (16) winless last 32 years Penn (23) one victory last 34 years Pepperdine (13) one victory last 32 years Princeton (24) winless last 16 years San Francisco (16) appeared once last 32 years Santa Clara (11) no appearance last 18 years Seattle (11) winless since 1964 Southern Methodist (10) no appearance last 21 years; winless last 26 years Texas-El Paso (17) winless last 22 years Utah State (20) one victory last 44 years Weber State (14) winless last 15 years Wyoming (14) one victory last 27 years
"I'm gonna make it to heaven, light up the sky like a flame. I'm gonna live forever. Baby, remember my name." - Theme from 1980s film and TV series Fame
Hungry Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier failed to exhibit a complete command of the English language in a post-title game tirade about the Huskies' banishment from the NCAA playoffs a year ago because of the program's scholastic deficiencies. But Napier had complete command of putting Grade-A English on the ball en route to becoming 2014 Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
A post-playing days vocation probably is the last thing Napier is thinking about. But what happens when the ball stops bouncing? What did the brightest stars do in the real world? The following individuals weren't always defined solely as basketball standouts who earned acclaim as the Most Outstanding Player at a Final Four:
Year(s) - Most Outstanding Player, Position, School
1939 - Jimmy Hull, F, Ohio State
Employed as a dentist.
1940 - Marv Huffman, G, Indiana
Played one season with Goodyear in the National Industrial League in 1940-41 (5.1 ppg) and four with the Akron Collegians. After he stopped playing basketball, he was a special assistant to the president of Goodyear. He died in 1984 of multiple sclerosis.
1941 - John Kotz, F, Wisconsin
Retired in 1980 after working his way up from shipping clerk to president and majority stockholder of Badger Sporting Goods Company.
1942 - Howie Dallmar, G, Stanford
Averaged 9.6 ppg with the Philadelphia Warriors in three NBA seasons from 1946-47 through 1948-49. Compiled a 105-51 record (.673) for Penn in six seasons from 1948-49 through 1953-54 before posting a 264-264 record (.500) for Stanford in 21 seasons from 1954-55 through 1974-75. His best season was a 22-5 mark in 1952-53.
1943 - Kenny Sailors, G, Wyoming
Averaged 12.6 ppg and 2.8 apg with seven different NBA teams in five seasons from 1946-47 through 1950-51. Lived in Gakona, Alaska, where he owned a guided big-game hunting business with his son. Had a winter home in Arizona.
1944 - Arnie Ferrin, F, Utah
Averaged 5.8 ppg with the Minneapolis Lakers in three NBA seasons from 1948-49 through 1950-51. General Manager of the ABA's Utah Stars, athletic director for his alma mater and chairman of the NCAA Tournament selection committee in 1988.
1945 and 1946 - Bob Kurland, C, Oklahoma A&M
Retired Phillips Petroleum executive had a retirement home in Florida.
1947 - George Kaftan, F-C, Holy Cross
Averaged 7.5 ppg with the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Baltimore Bullets in five NBA seasons from 1948-49 through 1952-53. Graduated from Georgetown Dental School, coached C.W. Post for 17 seasons and maintained a dental practice.
1948 and 1949 - Alex Groza, C, Kentucky
Averaged 22.5 ppg with the Indianapolis Olympians in two NBA seasons in 1949-50 and 1950-51 before his pro career ended because of a college point-shaving scandal. Got a job at General Electric in Louisville before returning to his hometown (Martin's Ferry, Ohio) and running his mother's tavern. Compiled a 91-77 record (.542) as coach for Bellarmine College in seven seasons from 1959-60 through 1965-66. Executive with two ABA franchises (Kentucky Colonels and San Diego Conquistadors) before getting involved with professional volleyball. Joined Reynolds Metals in 1977 and traveled around the country as Pacific Coast manager of its chemical division.
1950 - Irwin Dambrot, F, CCNY
Became a dentist.
1951 - Bill Spivey, C, Kentucky
After 16 years in the bush leagues with assorted nondescript teams, he extended his nomadic existence with a series of jobs - salesman, insurance agent, real estate developer, government official (Kentucky's deputy insurance commissioner) and restaurant and bar owner - before relocating to Costa Rica.
1952 - Clyde Lovellette, C, Kansas
Averaged 17 ppg and 9.5 rpg with the Minneapolis Lakers, Cincinnati Royals, St. Louis Hawks and Boston Celtics in 11 NBA seasons from 1953-54 through 1963-64. Assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers in 1967 when they started their ABA franchise. Served as a sheriff in his native Indiana and taught and coached at White's Institute, a school for troubled youngsters in Wabash, before moving to Munising, Mich.
1953 - B.H. Born, C, Kansas
Played AAU basketball until the late 1950s with the Peoria (Ill.) Caterpillars before going to work in the personnel office for Caterpillar Bulldozers. He spent his entire career working for Caterpillar until his retirement.
1954 - Tom Gola, C-F, La Salle
Averaged 11.3 ppg and 8 rpg with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors and New York Knicks in 11 NBA seasons from 1955-56 through 1965-66. He invested in driving ranges, apartment complexes, recycling companies and residential sites. Gola owned his own insurance company and a skating rink. He was a spokesman for Texaco, Vitalis and the Army Reserve. In 1966, Gola began a two-term career as a state legislator while coaching his alma mater before becoming Philadelphia's city controller. He later became a vice president of the Valley Forge Investment Corporation and served on the board of the Philadelphia Convention Center.
1955 - Bill Russell, C, San Francisco
Twelve-time All-Star averaged 15.1 ppg, 22.5 rpg and 4.3 apg with the Boston Celtics in 13 NBA seasons from 1956-57 through 1968-69. Five-time MVP was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996). Compiled a 341-290 record (.540) with the Celtics (1966-67 through 1968-69), Seattle SuperSonics (1973-74 through 1976-77) and Sacramento Kings (1987-88) in eight seasons. Network analyst dabbled with acting but retreated to the quiet life on Mercer Island in Washington, and has a clothing line company called Center Court.
1956 - Hal Lear, G, Temple
Played in three games for the NBA's Philadelphia Warriors in 1956-57 before playing 10 seasons in the Eastern Basketball League, becoming MVP in 1956-57 and averaging 39.7 ppg for Easton in 1960-61. Also averaged 13.1 ppg for Los Angeles and Cleveland in the ABL in 1961-62.
1957 - Wilt Chamberlain, C, Kansas
Averaged 30.1 ppg, 22.9 rpg and 4.4 apg with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers in 14 NBA seasons from 1959-60 through 1972-73. Made a fortune in the restaurant business, designed homes, owned racehorses and played professional volleyball. Also wrote four books: Wilt; A View From Above; Chamberlain House: The Possible Dream, and Who's Running the Asylum: The Insane World of Sports Today.
1958 - Elgin Baylor, C, Seattle
Averaged 27.4 ppg, 13.5 rpg and 4.3 apg with the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers in 14 seasons from 1958-59 through 1971-72. Coached the New Orleans Jazz for four seasons in the late 1970s (86-135 record). Executive with the Los Angeles Clippers.
1959 - Jerry West, F-G, West Virginia
Averaged 27 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 6.7 apg with the Los Angeles Lakers in 14 NBA seasons from 1960-61 through 1973-74. Long-time executive with the Lakers before accepting a similar position with the Memphis Grizzlies.
1960 and 1961 - Jerry Lucas, C, Ohio State
Seven-time All-Star averaged 17 ppg and 15.6 rpg with the Cincinnati Royals, San Francisco Warriors and New York Knicks in 11 NBA seasons from 1963-64 through 1973-74. One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996). Memory expert and motivational speaker lived in Templeton, Calif., while working on revolutionary educational programs. Taught his memory and learning technique to many Fortune 500 companies and countless churches. He authored more than 60 books on learning, including The Memory Book, which was on the New York Times' best-seller list for 50 weeks and reached the No. 2 position behind All the President's Men, the investigative story that uncovered the Watergate scandal.
1962 - Paul Hogue, C, Cincinnati
Averaged 6.3 ppg and 7.1 rpg with the New York Knicks and Baltimore Bullets in two NBA seasons in 1962-63 and 1963-64. Worked with the Tennessee juvenile program before moving back to Cincinnati to work at a milling machine firm. He served as a physical therapist at a state mental hospital, a counselor at a neighborhood youth center and as a counselor in a local school system before becoming the division supervisor for the Postal Services' Employee Assistance Program.
1963 - Art Heyman, F, Duke
Averaged 10.3 ppg and 2.8 rpg with the New York Knicks, Cincinnati Royals and Philadelphia 76ers in three NBA seasons from 1963-64 through 1965-66 before averaging 15.4 ppg and 6.4 rpg with the New Jersey Americans, Pittsburgh/Minnesota Pipers and Miami Floridians in three ABA seasons from 1967-68 through 1969-70. Owned and operated several restaurants.
1964 - Walt Hazzard, G, UCLA
Averaged 12.6 ppg, 3 rpg and 4.9 apg with five different NBA teams in 10 seasons from 1964-65 through 1973-74. Worked in the Los Angeles Lakers' front office and coached his alma mater and Chapman College before suffering a stroke and undergoing open-heart surgery in 1996.
1965 - Bill Bradley, F, Princeton
Rhodes Scholar averaged 12.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 3.4 apg with the New York Knicks in 10 NBA seasons from 1967-68 through 1976-77. Three-term U.S. Senator (Democrat-N.J.) until 1995 was a tax and trade expert with a strong voice on race issues and campaign finance reform. The presidential candidate against Al Gore in 2000 authored two basketball books (Life on the Run in 1976 and Values of the Game in 1998).
1966 - Jerry Chambers, F, Utah
Averaged 8.3 ppg and 3.2 rpg with the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, Buffalo Braves, San Diego Conquistadors and San Antonio Spurs in six NBA/ABA seasons from 1966-67 to 1973-74. Worked for the L.A. city parks and recreation department for many years.(323/732-0391 or 323/939-8874)
1967, 1968 and 1969 - Lew Alcindor, C, UCLA
Six-time league MVP averaged 24.6 ppg and 11.2 rpg in 20 NBA seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers from 1969-70 through 1988-89. Nineteen-time All-Star is one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996). In 1999, he worked with a high school team at White Mountain Apache Reservation in Whiteriver, Ariz. He was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2000 and then worked in training camp with the Indiana Pacers before becoming head coach of the USBL's Oklahoma Storm for one season. Hired by the New York Knicks as a scout in March, 2004 before serving as a Lakers aide helping develop center Andrew Bynum. In January 2012, he was appointed a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State.
1970 - Sidney Wicks, F, UCLA
Averaged 16.8 ppg and 8.7 rpg with the Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics and San Diego Clippers in 10 NBA seasons from 1971-72 through 1980-81. Worked in property management. Served as an assistant coach at his alma mater under Walt Hazzard for four seasons in the mid-1980s. At the completion of his coaching stint with the Bruins, Wicks has been in private business.
1971 - Howard Porter, F, Villanova
Averaged 9.2 ppg and 4.1 rpg with the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets in seven NBA seasons from 1971-72 through 1977-78. Senior probation officer for Ramsey County (Minn.) after getting clean from drugs with the help of a colleague working with him loading furniture for a construction firm in Orlando. Earlier, Porter failed at running a club in Florida and a convenience store. He was trying to trade money and crack cocaine for sex with a prostitute in St. Paul in May, 2007, when the probation officer was beaten to death, according to murder charges filed several months later.
1972 and 1973 - Bill Walton, C, UCLA
Averaged 13.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg and 3.4 apg with the Portland Trail Blazers, San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics in 10 NBA seasons from 1974-75 to 1986-87. Network commentator for both the NBA and NCAA after and while working in a similar capacity for the Clippers.
1974 - David Thompson, F, North Carolina State
Averaged 22.7 ppg and 4.1 rpg with the Denver Nuggets and Seattle SuperSonics in nine ABA/NBA seasons from 1975-76 through 1983-84. Motivational speaker with Unlimited Sports Management was also community relations director for the Charlotte Hornets.
1975 - Richard Washington, C-F, UCLA
Averaged 9.8 ppg and 6.3 rpg with the Kansas City Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers in six NBA seasons from 1976-77 through 1981-82. Contractor in Portland.
1976 - Kent Benson, C, Indiana
Averaged 9.1 ppg and 5.7 rpg with four different NBA teams in 11 seasons from 1977-78 through 1987-88. Resided in Bloomington, where he worked with Diversified Benefit Services.
1977 - Butch Lee, G, Marquette
Averaged 8.1 ppg and 3.2 apg with the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers in two NBA seasons in 1978-79 and 1979-80. Owned two restaurants, coached pro ball in Puerto Rico and had a sign business in San Juan.
1978 - Jack Givens, F, Kentucky
Averaged 6.7 ppg and 2.9 rpg with the Atlanta Hawks in two NBA seasons in 1978-79 and 1979-80. Announcer for the Orlando Magic.
1979 - Earvin "Magic" Johnson, G, Michigan State
Averaged 19.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 11.2 apg with the Los Angeles Lakers in 13 NBA seasons from 1979-80 through 1990-91 and 1995-96. Business entrepreneur emphasized attempting to revitalize a number of minority neighborhoods. He owned the Magic Theatres, an L.A. restaurant chain (Fatburgers), a TGI Friday's and some Starbucks coffee shops. Johnson was a principal in a local black-owned bank and delved into the entertainment business as a concert promoter and owner of the Magic Johnson Record label. Part of ownership group that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in the spring of 2012.
1980 - Darrell Griffith, G, Louisville
Averaged 16.2 ppg and 3.3 rpg with the Utah Jazz in 11 NBA seasons from 1980-81 through 1990-91. Resides in Louisville where he has several real estate investments and business interests. Father-in-law of NBA standout Derek Anderson established a foundation in his hometown.
1981 - Isiah Thomas, G, Indiana
Twelve-time All-Star averaged 19.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg and 9.3 apg with the Detroit Pistons in 13 NBA seasons from 1981-82 through 1993-94. One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996) served as president of the New York Knicks from 2003-04 through 2007-08. Executive and part owner of the Toronto Raptors, owner of the CBA and coach of the Indiana Pacers (131-115 record in three seasons from 2000-01 through 2002-03). Served as coach for Florida International the last three seasons.
1982 - James Worthy, F, North Carolina
Averaged 17.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 3 apg with the Los Angeles Lakers in 12 NBA seasons from 1982-83 through 1993-94. Network TV analyst.
1983 - Hakeem Olajuwon, C, Houston
Twelve-time All-Star averaged 21.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg and 3.1 bpg with the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors in 18 seasons from 1984-85 through 2001-02. Six-time All-NBA first-team selection was named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996). NBA Most Valuable Player in 1993-94 is one of only eight players in league history to amass more than 20,000 points and 12,000 rebounds.
1984 - Patrick Ewing, C, Georgetown
Eleven-time All-Star averaged 21 ppg, 9.8 rpg and 2.4 bpg with the New York Knicks, Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic in 17 seasons from 1985-86 through 1991-02. One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996) became an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets.
1985 - Ed Pinckney, F, Villanova
Averaged 6.8 ppg and 5 rpg with seven different NBA teams in 12 seasons from 1985-86 through 1996-97. Miami Heat TV analyst while trying to cope with an overactive thyroid.
1986 - Pervis Ellison, C, Louisville
Averaged 9.7 ppg and 6.8 rpg with the Sacramento Kings, Washington Bullets and Boston Celtics in 10 NBA seasons from 1989-90 through 1997-98 and 1999-2000. Lives in Atlanta.
1987 - Keith Smart, G, Indiana
Played in two games with the San Antonio Spurs in 1988-89 before basketball took him to the Philippines, Venezuela and France. After playing and coaching in the CBA with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Fury, he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as director of player development and assistant coach. Smart was named interim head coach of the Cavs midway through the 2002-03 campaign, replacing John Lucas. Also coach the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.
1988 - Danny Manning, F, Kansas
Two-time All-Star averaged 14 ppg and 5.2 rpg with seven different franchises in 15 NBA seasons from 1988-89 through 2002-03. Assistant coach at his alma mater for nine seasons before accepting head coaching position with Tulsa and subsequently accepting a similar position at Wake Forest.
1989 - Glen Rice, F, Michigan
Averaged 18.3 ppg and 4.4 rpg with six different NBA franchises in 15 seasons from 1989-90 through 2003-04. Three-time All-Star is still the Heat's all-time leading scorer.
1990 - Anderson Hunt, G, UNLV
Pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in connection with marijuana found in his possession during a traffic stop in October 1993. Worked in real estate in Detroit.
1991 - Christian Laettner, C-F, Duke
All-Star in 1996-97 averaged 12.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 2.6 apg with six different NBA franchises in 13 seasons from 1992-93 through 2004-05. He and Duke teammate Brian Davis faced huge financial and legal hurdles stemming from a loan their real estate company failed to repay nearly $700,000 to former Duke captain and current Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins. Court documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal indicated that Laettner and Davis were defendants in several civil lawsuits seeking repayment of about $30 million.
1992 - Bobby Hurley, G, Duke
Averaged 3.8 ppg and 3.3 apg with the Sacramento Kings and Vancouver Grizzlies in five NBA seasons from 1993-94 through 1997-98. Owned race horses and did TV commentary on the ACC for Fox Sports. Assistant coach under his brother, Danny, with Wagner and Rhode Island.
1993 - Donald Williams, G, North Carolina
Played professional basketball overseas in Germany and Greece and with the Harlem Globetrotters.
1994 - Corliss Williamson, F, Arkansas
Averaged 11.1 ppg and 3.9 rpg with the Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers in 12 NBA seasons from 1995-96 through 2006-07. Scored a career-high 40 points against the Pistons on 3-4-98. Coached for Arkansas Baptist College and Central Arkansas.
1995 - Ed O'Bannon, F, UCLA
Averaged 5 ppg and 2.5 rpg with the New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks in two NBA seasons in 1995-96 and 1996-97. After his NBA career, he played in several other professional leagues and is currently playing in Poland.
1996 - Tony Delk, G, Kentucky
Averaged 9.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 1.9 apg with eight different franchises in 10 NBA seasons from 1996-97 through 2005-06. Scored a career-high 53 points against the Kings on 1-2-01.
1997 - Miles Simon, G, Arizona
Appeared in five games with the NBA's Orlando Magic in 1998-99. Played professionally in Israel in 2000 and Italy in 2001 before joining the Dakota Wizards of the CBA where he earned 2002 Newcomer of the Year and MVP honors. Also played in Venezuela and Turkey before joining his alma mater's staff as an assistant under Lute Olson in 2005. Served as a commentator for ESPN.
1998 - Jeff Sheppard, G, Kentucky
After playing the 1998-99 season with the Atlanta Hawks, he played professionally in Italy. Married former UK women's player Stacey Reed.
1999 - Richard Hamilton, F-G, Connecticut
Averaged 17.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 3.4 apg with the Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls in 14 seasons from 1999-2000 to 2012-13.
2000 - Mateen Cleaves, G, Michigan State
Averaged 3.6 ppg and 1.9 apg with four different NBA franchises in six seasons from 2000-01 through 2005-06 before becoming a color commentator.
2001 - Shane Battier, F, Duke
Averaged 8.6 ppg and 4.2 rpg with four different NBA franchises in 13 seasons from 2001-02 through 2013-14.
2002 - Juan Dixon, G, Maryland
Averaged 8.4 ppg with five different NBA franchises in seven seasons from 2002-03 through 2008-09 before playing overseas in Greece, Spain and Turkey and subsequently becoming an assistant coach for his alma mater.
2003 - Carmelo Anthony, F, Syracuse
Averaged 25.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 3.1 apg with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks in 11 seasons from 2003-04 through 2013-14.
2004 - Emeka Okafor, C, Connecticut
Averaged 12.4 ppg, 9.9 rpg and 1.7 bpg with the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards in nine seasons from 2004-05 to 2012-13.
2005 - Sean May, C-F, North Carolina
Averaged 6.9 ppg and 4 rpg with the Charlotte Hornets and Sacramento Kings in four injury-plagued seasons from 2005-06 through 2009-10 before playing overseas.
2006 - Joakim Noah, C, Florida
Averaged 12 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 3.2 apg and 1.8 bpg with the Chicago Bulls in seven seasons from 2007-08 through 2013-14.
2007 - Corey Brewer, F, Florida
Averaged 10 ppg and 3 rpg with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets in seven seasons from 2007-08 through 2013-14. He scored 51 points in a single game against the Houston Rockets.
2008 - Mario Chalmers, G, Kansas
Averaged 8.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.8 apg and 1.5 spg with the Miami Heat in six seasons from 2008-09 through 2013-14.
2009 - Wayne Ellington, G, North Carolina
Averaged 6.4 ppg and 1.8 rpg with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks in five seasons from 2009-10 through 2013-14.
2010 - Kyle Singler, F, Duke
Second-round draft choice by the NBA's Detroit Pistons played overseas two seasons in Spain before averaging 9.1 ppg and 3.9 rpg in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
2011 - Kemba Walker, G, Connecticut
Averaged 16.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 5.4 apg with the Charlotte Bobcats from 2011-12 through 2013-14.
2012 - Anthony Davis, C, Kentucky
Averaged 17.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 2.3 bpg with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012-13 and 2013-14, becoming an NBA All-Star in his second season.
2013 - Luke Hancock, G, Louisville
Averaged 12.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg and 2.2 apg for the Cardinals as a senior, helping defeat 2014 NCAA champion-to-be Connecticut a total of three times.
Herewith is ample evidence for those arguments dealing with whether a school winning an NCAA Tournament title was indeed the nation's premier team over the course of an entire campaign. Louisville, which defeated NCAA champion Connecticut three times this season by a total of 55 points, joined St. John's '85 with the distinction of being the only schools to beat a team three times in a campaign when the opponent wound up capturing the national crown. The shoe was on the other foot in 2002-03 when UConn twice whipped NCAA champion-to-be Syracuse.
The first 38 NCAA titlists, from Oregon (29-5 record in 1938-39) through Indiana (the last unbeaten team with a 32-0 mark in 1975-76), averaged barely over two setbacks per season. No kingpin sustained more than six reversals until Marquette's Al McGuire-coached squad was 25-7 in 1976-77. However, McGuire's swan song was a sign of things to come as six of the 11 championship clubs from 1981 through 1991 finished with at least seven losses. Two of the six - Villanova '85 and Kansas '88 - entered the playoffs unranked in a wire-service final Top 20 since the AP and UPI both were conducting polls in 1951.
Incredibly, St. John's also upended Villanova three times in 1985-86 when the Wildcats were the defending national champion. Following is a list of the 12 titlists losing at least twice in their title season against a total of 19 different opponents:
|Season||NCAA Champion||Record||Team(s) Defeating Titlist at Least Twice|
|1953-54||La Salle||26-4||Niagara (24-6) defeated the Explorers twice by a total of 27 points before finishing in third place in the NIT.|
|1980-81||Indiana||26-9||Iowa (21-7) defeated the Hoosiers twice by a total of 16 points before losing its NCAA playoff opener in second round against Wichita State on the Shockers' home-court.|
|1982-83||North Carolina State||26-10||Maryland (20-10) defeated the Wolfpack twice by a total of 14 points before losing in second round against national runner-up Houston. Virginia (29-5) defeated the Wolfpack twice by a total of 19 points before losing against N.C. State by one point in West Regional final.|
|1984-85||Villanova||25-10||St. John's (31-4) defeated the Wildcats three times by a total of 22 points before losing against Georgetown in national semifinals. Georgetown (35-3) defeated the Wildcats twice by a total of nine points before losing against Villanova by two points in national final.|
|1985-86||Louisville||32-7||Kansas (35-4) defeated the Cardinals twice by a total of seven points before losing against Duke in national semifinals.|
|1987-88||Kansas||27-11||Kansas State (25-9) defeated the Jayhawks twice by a total of 26 points before losing against KU in Midwest Regional final. Oklahoma (35-4) defeated the Jayhawks twice by eight points in Big Eight Conference regular-season competition before losing against KU by four points in national final.|
|1988-89||Michigan||30-7||Illinois (31-5) defeated the Wolverines twice by a total of 28 points before losing against UM by two points in national semifinals. Indiana (27-8) defeated the Wolverines twice by one point before losing against eventual national runner-up Seton Hall in West Regional semifinals.|
|1996-97||Arizona||25-9||UCLA (24-8) defeated the Wildcats twice by a total of eight points before losing against Minnesota in Midwest Regional final.|
|2002-03||Syracuse||30-5||Connecticut (23-10) defeated the Orangemen twice by a total of 27 points before losing against Texas in South Regional semifinals.|
|2005-06||Florida||33-6||South Carolina (23-15) defeated the Gators twice by a total of 10 points before successfully defending its NIT championship. Tennessee (22-8) defeated the Gators twice by four points apiece before losing against Wichita State in second round of Washington Regional.|
|2010-11||Connecticut||32-9||Notre Dame (27-7) defeated the Huskies twice by three points each time before losing against Florida State in second round of South Regional. Louisville (25-10) defeated the Huskies twice by a total of 14 points before losing against Morehead State in opening round of South Regional.|
|2013-14||Connecticut||32-8||SMU (27-10) defeated the Huskies twice by nine points each time before finishing NIT runner-up. Louisville (31-6) defeated the Huskies three times by a total of 55 points before bowing against eventual national runner-up Kentucky in Midwest Regional semifinals.|
Connecticut's four NCAA champions lost a total of 10 pre-tourney games by double figures. One sizable setback this season (81-48 at Louisville) set a standard for widest margin of defeat for an eventual national kingpin. The following seven NCAA titlists lost a regular-season contest away from home by more than 20 points:
NCAA Champion Margin Pre-NCAA Playoff Defeat Result Connecticut '14 33 at Louisville 81-48 UCLA '65 27 at Illinois 110-83 North Carolina '93 26 at Wake Forest 88-62 Villanova '85 23 at Pittsburgh 85-62 UCLA '75 22 at Washington 103-81 Duke '91 22 at Charlotte vs. North Carolina 96-74 Maryland '02 21 at Duke 99-78
In hoop parlance, it's the equivalent of triple-teaming as an unprecedented animosity appears to be escalating toward government unaccountability. Republican lawmakers, perceiving disregard for the Constitution and stonewalling their oversight by withholding documents, have focused on a series of Amateur Hour White House Administration shenanigans - Benghazi bungling, IRS targeting of conservative groups, incompetent Obamacare rollout (disgraced HHS Secretary spent more time fundraising (a/k/a shaking down insurance companies) to publicize the health care law rather than testing enrollment website for glitches) and far-reaching snooping of world leaders (including allies) plus subpoenas of the media.
Despite claims that intimidating and criminalizing the media "is something I've never been involved with or heard of (signed warrant nonetheless)," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's intrusive actions impacting freedom of the press isn't the first time he has been in the middle of a firestorm. Conducting an off-the-record session with selected media members did nothing to resolve many questions about his priorities seemingly more in favor of towel-head terrorists and CAIR-ing Muslim mutilators than law-abiding American citizens such as Uncle Sam, Father Jim and Brother Bob. Holder previously failed to divulge sufficient information about the botched "Fast and Furious" ATF "gun-walking" operation selling 2,000 firearms to Mexican drug cartels. The nation's top cop, treating the DOJ as a partisan sanctuary community according to mistreating opponents, seemed to be shedding light on as much material regarding the controversial ATF topic and media meddling as the number of FGM he had for Columbia's freshman basketball squad in 1969-70 (misfired on all four field-goal attempts). Parsing words like "is," demented Demorat defenders at Al "Not So" Sharpton's Race Card Convention and majority of lame-stream media outlets probably would "enable" Holder if the AG said he didn't fib to Congress about monitoring the press' co-conspirator calls or was Columbia's all-time leading varsity scorer instead of Leonard "Buck" Jenkins (1,766 points from 1989-90 through 1992-93).
Rev Rat wasn't the informant, but it doesn't seem possible the picked-on DOJ reportedly also facilitated anti-George Zimmerman protests in Florida and failed to adequately monitor runaway overtime payments in his department. Evidence of widespread passivity exists when there isn't a growing sentiment calling for the resignation of whining Holder, one of several former college basketball players in the StinkBurger Administration's propaganda machine.
Whether or not there is a cover-up or obstruction of justice, lost amid the juvenile freshman-like gamesmanship and intellectual impoverishment of the grievance industry is the moral obligation to supply a full explanation to the distraught family of murdered border patrol agent Brian Terry that feels as if the government is hiding something. The House oversight committee leader for the Democrats said they "would not rest" until they found answers but some shameless political parasites on The Hill are more concerned with covering their side's back rather than discerning who shot Terry in the back. The same demonstrably deceptive Democratic Ranking Member's staff communicated in a disconcerting direct way with the IRS multiple times about a voter fraud prevention group.
An arrogant Holder, claiming he made an "extraordinary offer" (estimated mostly-redacted 7,600 of 80,000-plus subpoenaed documents) before requesting executive privilege from the White House, has been in "fast-and-furious" hot water for a variety of issues, including his responses regarding other issues such as the New Black Panther Party, voter rights, enforcement of immigration laws and national security leaks. Meanwhile, the CYAG (Cover Your _ _ ) White House tried to protect Holder with executive privilege and still voices support for him despite Mr. Recusal's unprincipled surveillance of the media.
(With)Holder, an Ivy League freshman the same year as Princeton's Brian Taylor and Harvard's James Brown, was confirmed as AG despite his outrageous pandering to leftist special interests in orchestrating a pardon for international fugitive Marc Rich and clemency for 16 members of a terrorist group (FALN). Obama, a backup JV basketball player for Occidental (CA), said as an Illinois Senator that the President is not the AG's client. But does his "segregation has reoccurred" administration emphasize rules for radicals more than principles of patriots?
The feds' priorities were more concerned with detaining an obscure producer of an anti-Islamic film making light of the prophet Mohammed. Meanwhile, the stonewalling Obama Administration - either grossly incompetent or immersed in a corrupt cover-up - dealt with a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, by callously standing in front of caskets at an airport hangar (plus the White House press corps, the U.N. and national politically-oriented shows) offering an orchestrated narrative claiming the nondescript video was responsible for a spontaneous murder of the American ambassador and three other Americans. Unbelievably, a Navy SEAL among the deceased violated stand-down orders to help save numerous individuals at the embassy and then fought the terrorists for seven hours while his pleas for backup at an annex were ignored by morally-bankrupt government officials real-time watching events unfold. Months later, the apologist-in-chief and cowardly cronies were still striving to supply a cogent response to their deflect-and-deny sacrificial inaction. They would rather sanctimoniously flash half a peace sign to opponents by promoting Susan "Damsel in Distress" Rice despite her incessant Benghazi video lies to everyone across the nation possessing a triple-digit IQ.
The father of slain SEAL Tyrone Woods said bombastic VP Joe Biden asked an incredibly inappropriate question: "Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?" Countered Woods' father: "Better to die a hero than to live as a coward." If you're interested in political players and seek a mite more insight than you'll generate any morning from MSLSD's Mika the Myopic Mannequin, CollegeHoopedia.com has conducted extensive research on politicians and political appointees who were college hoopsters. The vast majority of them honor the Constitution more than splitting-hairs Holder, who is anything but the "right" man to investigate himself, refute the FBI with a probe of Zimmerman, assess misdeeds and suspect emails of I-R-Mess mistress Lois Loser or critique anything of significance for that matter. By any measure, what's "outrageous" is for POTUS, amid an ongoing probe, to already claim there isn't "a smidgeon of corruption" at an obfuscating IRS and for a "watchdog" press to be his lapdog while cronies order federal agents to hassle a Nevada rancher with excessive force rather than sending them to our borders to protect law-abiding U.S. citizens. Of course, there will be "consequences."
Kentucky (31), buttressed by Louisville (NCAA DI) and Georgetown (NAIA) in 2013, moved ahead of California last year as the state with the most national titles from each level of four-year college men's basketball - NCAA Division I, NIT, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA. But California moved into a tie with Kentucky this season when Vanguard (Calif.) captured the NAIA crown.
Illinois and Ohio are the only states to boast at least one champion from all five levels. Among the 12 states amassing a total of more than 10 national crowns, Missouri is the only one in that group without a Division I championship. Drury (Mo.) and Central Missouri won the last two DII titles but the state's two headline schools - Mizzou and Saint Louis - never have reached the Final Four.
The biggest surprise among states never to capture a national title is Iowa. Following is how states stack up by national titles including the NIT and various levels of small-college basketball:
State DI NIT DII DIII NAIA Total California 15 7 5 0 4 31 Kentucky 11 3 10 0 7 31 Ohio 3 6 3 5 2 19 North Carolina 11 2 3 0 1 17 Illinois 1 6 1 6 1 15 New York 2 10 0 3 0 15 Oklahoma 2 2 1 0 10 15 Indiana 5 2 6 0 1 14 Missouri 0 1 3 2 8 14 Wisconsin 2 1 0 11 0 14 Pennsylvania 2 6 2 3 0 13 Kansas 3 1 1 0 6 11 Texas 1 2 0 0 7 10 Virginia 0 4 5 1 0 10 Minnesota 0 3 2 1 3 9 Michigan 3 3 0 2 0 8 Tennessee 0 2 1 1 4 8 Alabama 0 0 3 0 3 6 Connecticut 4 1 1 0 0 6 Georgia 0 0 1 0 5 6 Massachusetts 1 1 1 3 0 6 Maryland 1 1 2 0 1 5 Arizona 1 0 0 0 3 4 South Carolina 0 2 0 0 2 4 Utah 1 3 0 0 0 4 West Virginia 0 2 0 0 2 4 Colorado 0 1 2 0 0 3 District of Columbia 1 0 1 1 0 3 Florida 2 0 1 0 0 3 Louisiana 0 0 0 0 3 3 New Jersey 0 2 0 1 0 3 Arkansas 1 0 0 0 1 2 Rhode Island 0 2 0 0 0 2 South Dakota 0 0 2 0 0 2 Washington 0 0 2 0 0 2 Hawaii 0 0 0 0 1 1 Mississippi 0 1 0 0 0 1 Montana 0 0 0 0 1 1 Nebraska 0 1 0 0 0 1 Nevada 1 0 0 0 0 1 New Mexico 0 0 0 0 1 1 Oregon 1 0 0 0 0 1 Wyoming 1 0 0 0 0 1
NOTE: Eight states - Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Vermont - never have had a four-year school win a men's national championship.
Swingman Roscoe Smith (transferred to UNLV before declaring for NBA draft) missed out on some championship bling because he departed Connecticut before the Huskies won this year's NCAA title. Smith joins the following alphabetical list of transfer players denied receiving an NCAA championship ring because they left a school subsequently capturing a national crown:
*Played for a junior college between four-year schools
NOTES: McCaffrey and Palmer played for an NCAA champion with Duke in 1991 and Huertas did with Florida in 2006. . . . King played only one season for Villanova in 2009-10. . . . E. Williams left Memphis after 2009-10 campaign when he declared early for the NBA draft. Likewise for Smith at UNLV following 2013-14 season.
Iowa State junior forward Dustin Hogue secured the satisfaction of posting the highest single-game output this season against NCAA champion-to-be Connecticut when the junior college transfer scored 34 points in the East Regional at New York. Hogue, who averaged a modest 11.6 points per game for the Cyclones, is the first player to achieve the season-high feat against the eventual titlist in the NCAA playoffs since Connecticut's Ray Allen in 1995. The only player in this category to have a greater difference between his single-game high against the titlist and his season average is Notre Dame guard Kyle McAlarney, who tallied 39 points versus champion-to-be North Carolina at Maui in 2008-09 when he averaged 15 ppg.
Since UCLA's first NCAA championship in 1964, Louisville's Russ Smith has the lowest scoring average (11.5 ppg in 2011-12) for any player who posted the single-game high against an NCAA titlist. Some of the names probably will be surprising, but following is a look in reverse order at the last 51 individuals who posted the season-high scoring total against the NCAA kingpin:
|Year||Opposing High Scorer vs. NCAA Titlist||Avg.||Single-Game High|
|2014||Dustin Hogue, F, Jr., Iowa State||11.6||34 points vs. Connecticut in NCAA playoffs|
|2013||Tyler Brown, G, Sr., Illinois State||18.1||25 at Louisville|
|2012||Russ Smith, G, Soph., Louisville||11.5||30 at Kentucky|
|2011||Dwight Hardy, G, Sr., St. John's||18.3||33 vs. Connecticut|
|2010||Trevon Hughes, G, Sr., Wisconsin||15.3||26 vs. Duke|
|2009||Kyle McAlarney, G, Sr., Notre Dame||15.0||39 vs. North Carolina at Maui|
|2008||Michael Beasley, F-C, Fr., Kansas State||26.2||39 at Kansas|
|2007||Al Thornton, F, Sr., Florida State||19.7||28 vs. Florida|
|2006||Chris Lofton, G, Soph., Tennessee||17.2||29 vs. Florida|
|2005||Will Bynum, G, Sr., Georgia Tech||12.5||35 vs. North Carolina in ACC Tournament|
|2004||Chris Thomas, G, Jr., Notre Dame||19.7||31 vs. Connecticut|
|2003||Chris Hill, G, Soph., Michigan State||13.7||34 vs. Syracuse|
|2002||Jason "Jay" Williams, G, Jr., Duke||21.3||34 vs. Maryland|
|2001||James "J.J." Miller, G, Sr., North Carolina A&T||16.0||34 at Duke|
|2000||A.J. Guyton, G, Sr., Indiana||19.7||34 vs. Michigan State|
|1999||Trajan Langdon, G, Sr., Duke||17.3||25 vs. Connecticut|
|1998||Brian Williams, G, Jr., Alabama||16.1||28 vs. Kentucky in SEC Tournament|
|1997||Isaac Fontaine, G, Sr., Washington State||21.9||32 vs. Arizona|
|1996||Marcus Camby, C, Jr., Massachusetts||20.5||32 vs. Kentucky at Great Eight|
|1995||Ray Allen, G, Soph., Connecticut||21.1||36 vs. UCLA in NCAA playoffs|
|1994||Gary Collier, F, Sr., Tulsa||22.9||35 vs. Arkansas in NCAA playoffs|
|1993||Chris Webber, F, Soph., Michigan||19.2||27 vs. North Carolina at Honolulu|
|1993||Randolph Childress, G, Soph., Wake Forest||19.7||27 vs. North Carolina|
|1993||James Forrest, F, Soph., Georgia Tech||19.5||27 vs. North Carolina in ACC Tournament|
|1993||Lester Lyons, G, Jr., East Carolina||15.4||27 vs. North Carolina in NCAA playoffs|
|1992||Malik Sealy, F, Sr., St. John's||22.6||37 vs. Duke at Greensboro|
|1991||Jeff Webster, F, Fr., Oklahoma||18.3||32 vs. Duke|
|1990||Greg "Bo" Kimble, F-G, Sr., Loyola Marymount||35.3||42 vs. UNLV in NCAA playoffs|
|1989||Roy Marble, F, Sr., Iowa||20.5||32 vs. Michigan|
|1988||Mitch Richmond, G-F, Sr., Kansas State||22.6||35 vs. Kansas|
|1987||Freddie Banks, G, Sr., UNLV||19.5||38 vs. Indiana in NCAA playoffs|
|1986||Ron Harper, F, Sr., Miami (oh)||24.4||36 vs. Louisville in Big Apple NIT at Cincinnati|
|1985||Len Bias, F, Jr., Maryland||18.9||30 vs. Villanova|
|1984||Chris Mullin, G-F, Jr., St. John's||22.9||29 vs. Georgetown in Big East Tournament|
|1983||Ralph Sampson, C, Sr., Virginia||19.1||33 vs. North Carolina State|
|1982||Ralph Sampson, C, Jr., Virginia||15.8||30 at North Carolina|
|1981||Mike McGee, F, Sr., Michigan||24.4||29 vs. Indiana|
|1980||Jeff Ruland, C, Jr., Iona||20.1||30 vs. Louisville|
|1979||Joe Barry Carroll, C, Jr., Purdue||22.8||27 vs. Michigan State|
|1979||Calvin Roberts, F-C, Jr., Cal State Fullerton||15.3||27 vs. Michigan State|
|1978||Freeman Williams, G, Sr., Portland State||35.9||39 at Kentucky|
|1977||Dave Corzine, C, Jr., DePaul||19.0||26 vs. Marquette|
|1976||Terry Furlow, F, Sr., Michigan State||29.4||40 vs. Indiana|
|1975||Kevin Grevey, F, Sr., Kentucky||23.5||34 vs. UCLA in NCAA final|
|1974||Billy Cook, G, Soph., Memphis State||16.2||33 vs. North Carolina State|
|1973||Billy Knight, F, Jr., Pittsburgh||23.7||37 vs. UCLA|
|1972||Fred Boyd, G, Sr., Oregon State||19.8||37 vs. UCLA|
|1971||Austin Carr, G, Sr., Notre Dame||38.0||46 vs. UCLA|
|1970||Pete Maravich, G, Sr., Louisiana State||44.5||38 vs. UCLA|
|1970||Rich Yunkus, C, Jr., Georgia Tech||30.1||38 vs. UCLA|
|1969||Vic Collucci, G, Soph., Providence||15.4||36 vs. UCLA|
|1968||Elvin Hayes, F-C, Sr., Houston||36.8||39 vs. UCLA|
|1967||Bill Hewitt, F, Jr., Southern California||19.5||39 vs. UCLA|
|1966||Jerry Chambers, F-C, Sr., Utah||28.8||38 vs. Texas Western in NCAA playoffs|
|1965||Ollie Johnson, C, Sr., San Francisco||21.6||37 vs. UCLA|
|1964||Tom Dose, C, Sr., Stanford||20.0||38 vs. UCLA|
Which cliche is most accurate? If a team is on a winning streak entering the NCAA Tournament, it has momentum on its side and is peaking at the right time. On the other hand, some observers contend a loss before the start of the playoffs is deemed as a wake-up call. All four of Connecticut's champions in the last 16 years entered the tourney with fewer than six straight triumphs.
Since the last undefeated team in Division I (Indiana was 32-0 in 1975-76), there have been 38 national champions. Twenty-two of those teams entered the tourney with a victory; 16 entered with a defeat after UConn bowed against Louisville in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. The longest winning streak of a champion-to-be in that span was by UCLA, which won 13 in a row in 1995 before posting six more triumphs in the playoffs. Louisville accounted for two of the other double-digit victory streaks for champions-to-be entering the playoffs.
Of the 22 aforementioned squads entering on a winning note, the average winning streak was six in a row. Following in reverse order is how those 38 post-unbeaten IU titlists entered the NCAA playoffs (including conference tournaments):
Although three of Connecticut's top five scorers were in their final season of eligibility, 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, which is what Louisville had this year. Only three NCAA champions since Indiana '87 - UCLA (1995), Michigan (2000) and Maryland (2002) - featured seniors as their top two scorers. Following is a look at the vital seniors for the last 30 basically youthful championship teams (in reverse order):
2014 - Connecticut (four of top 10 scorers were seniors/Shabazz Napier was leading scorer, Niels Giffey was fourth, Lasan Kromah was fifth and Tyler Olander was 10th).
2013 - Louisville (one of top eight scorers was a senior/Peyton Siva was second-leading scorer).
2012 - Kentucky (one of top seven scorers was a senior/Darius Miller was fifth-leading scorer).
2011 - Connecticut (none of top six scorers was a senior).
2010 - Duke (three of nine-man rotation were seniors/Jon Scheyer was leading scorer, Brian Zoubek was fourth and Lance Thomas was sixth).
2009 - North Carolina (two of top eight in scoring average were seniors/Tyler Hansbrough was leading scorer and Danny Green was fourth).
2008 - Kansas (one of top six scorers was a senior/Darnell Jackson was fourth-leading scorer).
2007 - Florida (two of nine-man rotation were seniors/Lee Humphrey was fifth and Chris Richard was sixth).
2006 - Florida (none of top seven scorers was a senior).
2005 - North Carolina (one of top five scorers was a senior/Jawad Williams was third).
2004 - Connecticut (one of top eight scorers was a senior/Taliek Brown was sixth).
2003 - Syracuse (one of top eight scorers was a senior/Keith Duany was fourth).
2002 - Maryland (three of top eight regulars were seniors/Juan Dixon was top scorer, Lonny Baxter was second and Byron Mouton was fourth).
2001 - Duke (two of top nine scorers were seniors/Shane Battier was second and Nate James was fifth).
2000 - Michigan State (three of top 11 scorers were seniors/Morris Peterson was first, Mateen Cleaves was second and A.J. Granger was fifth).
1999 - Connecticut (one of top seven scorers was a senior/Ricky Moore was fifth).
1998 - Kentucky (two of top seven scorers were seniors/Jeff Sheppard was first and Allen Edwards was fifth).
1997 - Arizona (none of top seven scorers was a senior).
1996 - Kentucky (three of top 10 scorers were seniors/Tony Delk was first, Walter McCarty was third and Mark Pope was sixth).
1995 - UCLA (three of top seven scorers were seniors/Ed O'Bannon was first, Tyus Edney was second and George Zidek was fourth).
1994 - Arkansas (one of top 10 scorers was a senior/Roger Crawford was eighth).
1993 - North Carolina (one of top seven scorers was a senior/George Lynch was second).
1992 - Duke (two of top 10 scorers were seniors/Christian Laettner was first and Brian Davis was fifth).
1991 - Duke (one of top 10 scorers was a senior/Greg Koubek was seventh).
1990 - UNLV (two of top eight scorers were seniors/David Butler was third and Moses Scurry was sixth).
1989 - Michigan (two of top 11 scorers were seniors/Glen Rice was first and Mark Hughes was sixth).
1988 - Kansas (two of top 11 scorers were seniors/Danny Manning was first and Chris Piper was fourth).
1987 - Indiana (two of top eight scorers were seniors/Steve Alford was first and Daryl Thomas was second).
1986 - Louisville (three of top nine scorers were seniors/Billy Thompson was first, Milt Wagner was second and Jeff Hall was fifth).
1985 - Villanova (three of top eight scorers were seniors/Ed Pinckney was first, Dwayne McClain was second and Gary McLain was fourth).
There has been some smooth sailing, but it is usually a rugged road en route to becoming NCAA kingpin such as Connecticut after the Huskies needed to go into overtime against Saint Joseph's in their playoff opener. Talk of the Kentucky squad two years ago being one of the all-time greatest teams was somewhat silly insofar as intra-state rival Louisville, erasing 12-point deficits in both the semifinals and final last year, became the 42nd NCAA champion posting higher average victory margins than UK in the tournament.
North Carolina '09 became the 12th NCAA Tournament champion to win all of its playoff games by double-digit margins. The first nine champions in this category came before the NCAA field was expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985.
A total of 49 champions won a minimum of one playoff game by four points or less, including 22 titlists to win at least one contest by just one point. Wyoming '43 would have become the only champion to trail at halftime in every tournament game if the Cowboys didn't score the last three baskets of the first half in the national final to lead Georgetown at intermission (18-16). Four titlists trailed at intermission in both of their Final Four games - Kentucky '51, Louisville '86, Duke '92 and Kentucky '98.
UCLA '67, the first varsity season for Lew Alcindor (became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), set the record for largest average margin of victory for a champion when the Bruins started a dazzling streak of 10 consecutive Final Four appearances. They won their 12 NCAA playoff games with Alcindor manning the middle by an amazing average margin of 21.5 points.
Which of John Wooden's 10 national champion UCLA teams did the Wizard of Westwood perceive as his best?
"I've never come out and said it," Wooden said before passing away two years ago, "but it would be hard to pick a team over the 1968 team. I will say it would be the most difficult team to prepare for and play against offensively and defensively. It created so many problems. It had such great balance. We had the big center (Alcindor) who is the most valuable player of all time. Mike Warren was a three-year starter who may have been the most intelligent floor leader ever, going eight complete games once without a turnover. Lucius Allen was a very physical, talented individual who was extremely quick. Lynn Shackleford was a great shooter out of the corner who didn't allow defenses to sag on Jabbar. Mike Lynn didn't have power, but he had as fine a pair of hands around the boards as I have ever seen."
The roster for UCLA's 1968 national champion included six players with double-digit season scoring averages, but senior forward Edgar Lacey dropped off the team with an 11.9-point average following a dispute with Wooden after a ballyhooed mid-season defeat against Houston before 52,693 fans at the Astrodome. Lacey, assigned to defend Cougars star Elvin Hayes early in the game, was annoyed with Wooden for singling him out following Hayes' 29-point first-half outburst. Lacey, the leading rebounder for the Bruins' 1965 NCAA titlist when he was an All-Tournament team selection, missed the 1966-67 campaign because of a fractured left kneecap.
The three Lew-CLA teams rank among the seven NCAA champions with average margins of victory in a tournament of more than 19 points per game. It's no wonder a perceptive scribe wrote the acronym NCAA took on a new meaning during the plunderous Alcindor Era - "No Chance Against Alcindor."
"Bill Walton might have been a better all-around player (than Alcindor)," Wooden said. "If you were grading a player for every fundamental skill, Walton would rank the highest of any center who ever played. But Alcindor is the most valuable, owing to the pressure he put on the other team at both ends of the court."
North Carolina won all six of its playoff contests by double digits in 2009 but the only titlist to win all of its tournament games by more than 15 points was Ohio State '60. Center Jerry Lucas, a first-team All-American as a sophomore, averaged 24 points and 16 rebounds in four playoff contests for the Buckeyes. He collected 36 points and 25 rebounds to help them erase a six-point halftime deficit in their Mideast Regional opener against Western Kentucky.
Connecticut became the 13th NCAA titlist with an average winning margin of fewer than eight points per playoff game. Following is a breakdown of the point differential and average margin of victory in the NCAA playoffs for the first 76 national champions:
*All-time tournament record (111-42 first-round victory over Tennessee Tech).
NOTE: Fifteen teams participated in a total of 21 overtime games en route to national titles - Utah (1944), North Carolina (two triple overtime Final Four games in 1957), Cincinnati (1961), Loyola of Chicago (1963), Texas Western (two in 1966, including a double overtime), North Carolina State (double overtime in 1974), UCLA (two in 1975), Louisville (two in 1980), North Carolina State (double overtime in 1983), Michigan (1989), Duke (1992), North Carolina (1993), Arizona (two in 1997), Kentucky (1998), Kansas (2008) and Connecticut (2014).
CollegeHoopedia.com hopes the rigors of our daily Q&A didn't give you an inferiority complex. Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, this is final of 23 days featuring a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from (10 per day from Selection Sunday until a grand finale added value of 20 on the day of the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only automatic qualifier to enter the NCAA playoffs with an overall losing record despite compiling a winning conference mark. Hint: The school lost in the first round to the nation's top-ranked team, an opponent the school succumbed to four seasons earlier when eventual NBA guard Lindsey Hunter scored a then school-record 48 points.
2. Name the only one of the different teams to twice defeat an eventual NCAA champion in their title season to not appear in the NCAA Tournament that year. Hint: A former NBA coach guided the school to its only NCAA playoff victory against an opponent whose coach also later coached in the NBA.
3. Name the only team since seeding started to reach the Final Four without meeting a top eight seed. Hint: The team was eliminated in the national semifinals.
4. Name the only school to twice be denied an at-large bid in a 10-year span despite going undefeated in regular-season conference competition. Hint: The school reached a regional final the next time it went unbeaten in league play.
5. Name the only school in the 20th Century to compete for the national championship in both football and basketball in the same academic school year. Hint: The school lost both games.
6. Who is the only individual to win tournament games while coaching schools from the three conferences with the top winning percentages in NCAA Tournament competition reflecting actual membership (ACC, Big East and Big Ten)? Hint: He is the only coach to win playoff games with as many as three different schools when they were seeded ninth or worse.
8. Who is the only leading scorer in an NCAA Tournament championship game to subsequently serve as an admiral in the U.S. Navy? Hint: He was an NCAA consensus first-team All-America the next season before eventually commanding the aircraft carrier Saratoga for two years.
9. Who is the only championship game starter in the 20th Century to be the son of a former NCAA consensus All-American? Hint: The father was a U.S. Olympic team member and the star player for the first black coach at a predominantly white Division I school.
10. Name the only teammate twosome to each score more than 25 points in an NCAA final. Hint: They combined for 53 points to lead their school to its first of multiple NCAA Tournament titles.
11. Name the only starting backcourt to combine for more than 50 points in a Final Four game. Hint: They combined to shoot 39 percent from the floor in the two Final Four games that year.
12. Who is the only individual to coach teams in the NAIA Tournament, NCAA Division III Tournament, NCAA Division II Tournament, National Invitation Tournament and NCAA Division I Tournament? Hint: He took two different schools to the five levels of national postseason competition in a 13-year span beginning with an appearance as an interim head coach.
13. Who is the only individual to be the team-high scorer for both winning and losing teams in NCAA championship games although his season scoring average was less than half of the team leader each year? Hint: He played in the shadow of an All-American whose total of points and rebounds (4,663) is the highest in NCAA history.
14. Who is the only coach to guide teams from the same school to the football Rose Bowl and basketball Final Four? Hint: The Rose Bowl and Final Four appearances were 17 years apart.
15. Name the only son of a member of one of the first classes of baseball Hall of Fame selections to start for a school in its first NCAA Tournament appearance. Hint: The son pitched for four major league teams before becoming a prominent executive. His father was a first baseman.
16. Name the only school to reach the Final Four and College World Series championship game in the same year. Hint: The school advanced to the Final Four again the next season.
17. Who is the only coach to win three first-round games with teams seeded 12th or worse? Hint: The former coach was 4-1 in tournament games decided by fewer than five points. He played basketball at Fordham when NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi was the Rams' freshman basketball coach.
18. Name the school that won all four of its first-round games despite being seeded eighth or worse each time. Hint: The four victories came in the first five tournaments after the NCAA introduced seeding.
19. Name the only school to appear in at least three NCAA Tournaments in the 20th Century and reach a regional final each time. Hint: The school's playoff appearances were in successive years.
20. Who is the only player to obtain NCAA and NBA championship rings without participating in postseason competition for either the college or pro title teams? Hint: The 7-0 center was in his first year with both of the championship squads.
The departure of Danny Manning to Wake Forest enabled Tulsa to join Idaho, Kansas State and Penn as schools losing the most head coaches, seven, over the years to other major colleges or the NBA. Montana followed suit when Wayne Tinkle left his alma mater to align with Oregon State.
Incredibly, Tulsa lost four coaches in a seven-year span from 1995 to 2001. If Frank Haith is successful at all as coach with the Golden Hurricane after leaving Missouri's program in disarray, the prospect of such an opportunist living up to the obligations of his original seven-year deal is remote. The following list shows Idaho (11 years from 1983 to 1993) and Penn (15 years from 1971 to 1985) losing four coaches in comparable short spans:
Idaho - Dave MacMillan (left for Minnesota/1927), Dave Strack (Michigan/1960), Joe Cipriano (Nebraska/1963), Don Monson (Oregon/1983), Tim Floyd (New Orleans/1988), Kermit Davis (Texas A&M/1990), Larry Eustachy (Utah State/1993)
Kansas State - Jack Gardner (Utah/1953), Tex Winter (Washington/1968), Cotton Fitzsimmons (Phoenix Suns/1970), Lon Kruger (Florida/1990), Dana Altman (Creighton/1994), Bob Huggins (West Virginia/2008), Frank Martin (South Carolina/2012)
Montana - Jud Heathcote (Michigan State/1976), Jim Brandenburg (Wyoming/1978), Mike Montgomery (Stanford/1986), Stew Morrill (Colorado State/1991), Pat Kennedy (Towson/2004), Larry Krystkowiak (assistant with Milwaukee Bucks/2006), Wayne Tinkle (Oregon State/2014)
Penn - Howie Dallmar (Stanford/1954), Jack McCloskey (Wake Forest/1966), Dick Harter (Oregon/1971), Chuck Daly (assistant with Philadelphia 76ers/1977), Bob Weinhauer (Arizona State/1982), Craig Littlepage (Rutgers/1985), Fran Dunphy (Temple/2006)
Tulsa - Ken Hayes (New Mexico State/1975), Nolan Richardson Jr. (Arkansas/1985), Tubby Smith (Georgia/1995), Steve Robinson (Florida State/1997), Bill Self (Illinois/2000), Buzz Peterson (Tennessee/2001), Danny Manning (Wake Forest/2014)
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 22 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only player to lead an NCAA Tournament team in season scoring and rebounding before becoming the only NCAA playoff participant to subsequently appear in both the NBA Finals and World Series. Hint: He became his alma mater's athletic director.
2. Name the only championship team to have two guards be its top two scorers for the season. Hint: It's the only school to win an NCAA title the year after losing an NCAA Tournament opener by a double-digit margin.
3. Who is the only individual to play for an NCAA champion, NBA champion and ABA champion? Hint: The 6-2 swingman averaged almost three times as many rebounds per game for back-to-back NCAA titlists as he did points per game in his pro career.
4. Name the only school to lose an NCAA Tournament game in which it connected on at least three-fourths of its field-goal attempts. Hint: The school's leading scorer in that game was a freshman who went on to average at least 22 points per game in four tourneys, including first-round games against No. 3 and No. 4 seeds his last three years.
5. Who is the only player to hit a game-winning basket in an NCAA final one year and become a consensus All-American for another university the next season? Hint: He was a second-team All-American the same season a former teammate was first-team All-American one year after being named Final Four Most Outstanding Player as a freshman.
6. Name the only team to defeat three #1 seeds in a single tourney. Hint: The three #1 seeds were the three winningest schools in the history of major-college basketball. The champion is the only team needing at least four games to win the NCAA title to have all of its playoff games decided by single-digit margins. It is also the only titlist to finish as low as fifth place in its conference standings.
7. Name the only NCAA championship team to have four freshman starters. Hint: Two of the freshmen were among three starters who also excelled in a sport other than basketball.
8. Who is the only Final Four coach to previously lead the nation in a statistical category as a major-college player? Hint: He coached his alma mater to the NCAA Tournament six years later before guiding another school to the Final Four twice in a four-year span.
9. Name the only school to appear in the NCAA Tournament under two coaches who subsequently became NBA coach of the year. Hint: The school participated in the NCAA playoffs under these individuals in back-to-back seasons before they earned their NBA awards in a five-year span.
10. Who is the only player to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds for an NIT semifinalist one year and an NCAA semifinalist the next season? Hint: After earning an NIT Most Valuable Player award, he helped his school become the first member of a first-year conference to reach the NCAA Final Four.
There is a clear and present danger for pole sitters such as Florida. Two years ago, Kentucky became only the fourth of 31 schools atop the national rankings entering the NCAA playoffs since 1983 to capture the national championship.
In 2006, Duke became the ninth No. 1 team in 17 years to fail to advance to a regional final when the Blue Devils were eliminated by LSU. In 1992, Duke defied a trend by becoming the first top-ranked team in 10 years entering the NCAA Tournament to win a national title. The previous five top-ranked teams failed to reach the championship game. UNLV lost twice in the national semifinals (1987 and 1991) and Temple '88, Arizona '89 and Oklahoma '90 failed to reach the Final Four.
Temple, a 63-53 loser against Duke in the 1988 East Regional final, and Kansas State, an 85-75 loser against Cincinnati in the 1959 Midwest Regional final, are the only teams ranked No. 1 by both AP and UPI entering the tourney to lose by a double-digit margin before the Final Four.
The school gaining the sweetest revenge against a top-ranked team was St. John's in 1952. Defending NCAA champion Kentucky humiliated the Redmen by 41 points (81-40) early in the season when the Catholic institution became the first to have a black player on the floor at Lexington, Ky. The player, Solly Walker, played only a few minutes before he took a hit sidelining him for three weeks. But St. John's, sparked by center Bob Zawoluk's 32 points, avenged the rout by eliminating the Wildcats (64-57) in the East Regional, ending their 23-game winning streak. The Redmen, who then defeated second-ranked Illinois in the national semifinals, lost against Kansas in the NCAA final.
In the 1982 championship game, North Carolina needed a basket with 16 seconds remaining from freshman Michael Jordan to nip Georgetown, 63-62, and become the only top-ranked team in 13 years from 1979 through 1991 to capture the NCAA title. It was a particularly bitter pill to swallow for seven of the 11 top-ranked teams to lose in the NCAA championship game in overtime or by two or three points in regulation.
Florida is the latest #1 to learn it's win or go home as the Gators became the eighth top-ranked team to be eliminated in the national semifinals. Less than one-third of them captured the NCAA crown. Following is analysis sizing up how the No. 1 teams fared in the NCAA playoffs since the Associated Press introduced national rankings in 1949:
20 - Won national title (Kentucky '49; Kentucky '51; Indiana '53; San Francisco '56; North Carolina '57; UCLA '64; UCLA '67; UCLA '69; UCLA '71; UCLA '72; UCLA '73; North Carolina State '74; UCLA '75; Indiana '76; Kentucky '78; North Carolina '82; Duke '92; UCLA '95, Duke '01, and Kentucky '12.
13 - Finished as national runner-up (Bradley '50/defeated by CCNY; Ohio State '61/Cincinnati; Ohio State '62/Cincinnati; Cincinnati '63/Loyola of Chicago; Michigan '65/UCLA; Kentucky '66/Texas Western; Indiana State '79/Michigan State; Houston '83/North Carolina State; Georgetown '85/Villanova; Duke '86/Louisville; Duke '99/Connecticut; Illinois '05/North Carolina, and Ohio State '07/Florida).
8 - Lost in national semifinals (Cincinnati '60/defeated by California; Houston '68/UCLA; UNLV '87/Indiana; UNLV '91/Duke; Massachusetts '96/Kentucky; North Carolina '98/Utah; North Carolina '08/Kansas, and Florida '14/Connecticut.
8 - Lost in regional finals (Kentucky '52/defeated by St. John's; Kansas State '59/Cincinnati; Kentucky '70/Jacksonville; Michigan '77/UNC Charlotte; Temple '88/Duke; Indiana '93/Kansas; Kentucky '03/Marquette, and Louisville '09/Michigan State).
7 - Lost in regional semifinals (North Carolina '84/defeated by Indiana; Arizona '89/UNLV; Kansas '97/Arizona; Duke '00/Florida; Duke '02/Indiana); [Duke] '06/Louisiana State, and Ohio State '11/Kentucky).
7 - Lost in second round (DePaul '80/defeated by UCLA; DePaul '81/St. Joseph's; Oklahoma '90/North Carolina; North Carolina '94/Boston College; Stanford '04/Alabama; Kansas '10/Northern Iowa), and Gonzaga '13/Wichita State).
1 - Lost in first round (West Virginia '58/defeated by Manhattan).
1 - Declined a berth (Kentucky '54).
NOTE: After United Press International started ranking teams in 1951, UPI had just three different No. 1 teams entering the national playoffs than AP - Indiana lost in 1954 East Regional semifinals against Notre Dame, California finished as 1960 national runner-up to Ohio State and Indiana lost in 1975 Mideast Regional final against Kentucky.
Eddie Jordan, a member of the New Jersey Nets among the four NBA franchises he played for during his seven-year NBA playing career, returned to his alma mater (Rutgers '77) as head coach. Jordan didn't have a diploma but joined LSU's Johnny Jones and UNLV's Dave Rice as the only active coaches to have played for their alma mater in a Final Four. Perhaps Rutgers can meet Manhattan (Steve Masiello) in a Coaches vs. Graduation Tip-Off Classic next season to draw attention to the APR disease.
Jordan also has NBA head coaching experience (three different franchises a total of nine years) but he may need to be more like Connecticut's Kevin Ollie and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg to make a more successful transition from the NBA to the college game. Ollie and Hoiberg had significantly less coaching experience than Jordan among the following alphabetical list of six active Division I head coaches detailing the first season they coached their alma mater after playing in the NBA:
|Active Coach||Alma Mater||1st Year||Summary of NBA Playing Career|
|Jerome Allen||Pennsylvania '95||2009-10||Averaged 2.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg and 1.7 apg with three NBA teams in two seasons in 1995-96 and 1996-97|
|Bryce Drew||Valparaiso '98||2011-12||Averaged 4.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg and 2.2 apg with three NBA teams in six seasons from 1998-99 through 2003-04|
|Fred Hoiberg||Iowa State '95||2010-11||Averaged 5.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg and 1.7 apg with the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls in eight seasons from 1995-96 through 2002-03|
|Eddie Jordan||Rutgers '77||2013-14||Averaged 8.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg and 3.8 apg with four NBA teams in seven seasons from 1977-78 through 1983-84|
|Kevin Ollie||Connecticut '95||2012-13||Averaged 3.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg and 2.3 apg with 12 NBA teams in 13 seasons from 1997-98 through 2009-10|
|Lorenzo Romar||Washington '80||2002-03||Averaged 5.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg and 3.5 apg with three NBA teams in five seasons from 1980-81 through 1984-85|
Close likely will determine who gets to smoke the victory cigar. Kentucky, after disappointing by losing eight of its first 10 games decided by fewer than six points, turned things around this season and reached the NCAA championship game by winning five playoff games by a total of only 18 points. Kevin Ollie's sterling start as UConn's coach stems from winning 13 of his first 19 games decided by fewer than six points in his first two campaigns. Florida's Billy Donovan, despite prevailing in seven of eight outings decided by fewer than six points this season, probably would already be in the Naismith Hall of Fame if he had a better career record in close contests, winning only 42% of his first 97 games decided by fewer than four points. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan has one of the five best marks among active coaches in tight tilts decided by fewer than six points.
Ask Arizona fans if close doesn't count after the Wildcats lost four regional finals from 2003 through 2014 by a total of seven points. Following is how the 2014 Final Four coaches have fared at the major-college level in games decided by fewer than six points:
|Final Four Coach||School||DI Seasons||1||2||3||4||5||Total||Pct.|
|Kevin Ollie||Connecticut||2013 and 2014||3-1||2-1||1-0||2-2||5-2||13-6||.684|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 21 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only player to post the highest-scoring game in a single tournament the same year he also played major league baseball? Hint: He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
2. Who is the only Final Four player to become AAU national champion in the decathlon in the same year? Hint: The Final Four team's third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder finished third in the decathlon the previous year.
3. Who is the only Final Four player to finish among the top two high jumpers in four NCAA national track meets? Hint: The starting center for a national championship team is the first athlete to place in the NCAA high jump four consecutive years.
4. Name the only coach in NCAA history to reach an NCAA Division I Tournament regional final in back-to-back years with different schools. Hint: He also reached a regional final in his first season at his next coaching outpost.
5. Name the only top-ranked team entering the tournament to be eliminated by an opponent it defeated by more than 40 points during the regular season. Hint: The school that avenged the embarrassing defeat upended the nation's second-ranked team in its next playoff game.
6. Who is the only individual to play in the NCAA Tournament before setting several major league fielding records for a second baseman? Hint: He was the second-leading scorer for his school's playoff team and one of his teammates has been a prominent college basketball coach for more than 20 years.
7. Who is the only member of the College Football Hall of Fame to participate in back-to-back Final Fours? Hint: He is one of the few athletes to earn consensus football All-American honors at two positions.
8. Who is the only individual to lead a school in scoring in an NCAA Tournament before leading a major league in doubles as a player and manage a team in a World Series? Hint: The outfielder drove in six runs in one inning of an American League game.
9. Name the only university to win a minimum of two games in four different postseason national tournaments - NAIA, NCAA Division II, NIT and NCAA Division I. Hint: Of the schools to win at least one game in all four national tourneys, it is the only one with an overall losing record in postseason competition.
10. Name the only school to win back-to-back basketball championships the same academic school years it participated in New Year's Day football bowl games. Hint: One of the two basketball title teams is the only school to have as many as 26 different players appear in its games in a season it won an NCAA crown. The two titlists helped the school become the only university to reach the NCAA championship game in its first three playoff appearances.
Sports Illustrated supplied one of the best Final Four features focusing on the 25th anniversary of when Seton Hall's Ramon Ramos and Michigan's Rumeal Robinson played prominent roles before encountering extreme difficulties. Ramos has brain damage stemming from an auto accident in mid-December 1989 when he hit a patch of ice speeding in a borrowed Nissan 300ZX. Meanwhile, Robinson joined the "bad boys of basketball" by being imprisoned for shady real estate deals.
But at least Ramos and Robinson are alive. The existence of a Final Four curse is debatable although there is no denying that a striking number of prominent national semifinal players died prematurely. Any tribute isn't enough when a man is buried before his time. The following list of Final Four players (cited chronologically) passed away early, but the deceased left lasting memories:
Three of Oregon's starting five on the first NCAA championship team in 1939 - guards Bobby Anet and Wally Johansen and center Slim Wintermute - all died in their 40s. Wintermute disappeared in Lake Washington in 1977, a case that never has been solved.
Center Bill Menke, the third-leading scorer for Indiana's 1940 NCAA champion who supplied a team-high 10 points in the Hoosiers' national semifinal victory over Duquesne, later became a Navy pilot and served in World War II. In January 1945, he was declared missing in action (and presumed dead) when he didn't return from a flight in the Caribbean.
Thomas P. Hunter, a three-year letterman who was a sophomore member of Kansas' 1940 runner-up, was killed in action against the Japanese on Guam, July 21, 1944, while fighting with the Ninth Marines as a first lieutenant. Hunter was elected posthumously as captain of the Jayhawks' 1945-46 squad that compiled a 19-2 record.
All 11 regulars on Pitt's 1941 Final Four team participated in World War II and one of them, guard Bob Artman, was killed in action.
Three of the top seven scorers for Kentucky's first NCAA Tournament and Final Four team in 1942 died during World War II - Mel Brewer (Army second lieutenant/25 years old in France), Ken England (Army captain of ski troop/23 in Italy) and Jim King (Army second lieutenant and co-pilot/24 in Germany).
Jim Krebs, the leading scorer and rebounder for Southern Methodist's 1956 Final Four squad, was killed in 1965 at the age of 30 in a freak accident. While helping a neighbor clear storm damage, a tree limb fell the wrong way and crushed his skull.
Gary Bradds, a backup to national player of the year Jerry Lucas for Ohio State's 1962 NCAA runner-up before earning the same award himself two years later, died of cancer in July 1983 when he was 40. Bradds was principal of an elementary school in Bowersville, Ohio, at the time of his death.
Bill Buntin, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer (behind Cazzie Russell) for Michigan's Final Four teams in 1964 and 1965, collapsed and died during an informal workout one day after his 26th birthday in May 1968.
Ken Spain and Theodis Lee, starting frontcourters with All-America Elvin Hayes for Houston's team that entered the 1968 Final Four with an undefeated record, died of cancer. Spain, who overcame cancer after he was first diagnosed with it in 1977, died of the disease 13 years later in October 1990 when he was 44. Lee, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters, was 33 when he passed away in March 1979, one week after the illness was diagnosed.
Danny Knight, the leading scorer and rebounder for Kansas' 1974 Final Four team, was 24 when he died in June 1977, three weeks after sustaining injuries in a fall down the steps at his home. Knight had been suffering headaches for some time and doctors attributed his death to an aneurysm in the brain.
Dan Hall, a frontcourt backup from Kentucky's historic recruiting class as a freshman for UK's 1975 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of an apparent suicide at age 58 the first full week in January 2013. Hall subsequently transferred to Marshall, where he averaged 10.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg in 1976-77 and 1977-78.
Center Jerome Whitehead, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Marquette's 1977 NCAA titlist, was 56 in mid-December 2012 when he was found dead because of chronic alcohol abuse. Teammate Gary Rosenberger, a guard who was the fourth-leading scorer in coach Al McGuire's swan song, passed away in the fall of 2013 at the age of 57 due to complications from a heart attack and stroke.
Guard Chad Kinch, the third-leading scorer for UNC Charlotte's 1977 Final Four team as a freshman, died at his parents' home in Cartaret, N.J., from complications caused by AIDS. He passed away on April 3, 1994, the day between the Final Four semifinals and final in Charlotte. The host school happened to be UNC Charlotte. It was the second time Kinch's parents lost a son. Sixteen years earlier, Ray Kinch, a Rutgers football player, was killed in a house fire.
Forward Glen Gondrezick, the leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for UNLV's 1977 third-place club, died in late April 2009 at the age of 53 due to complications stemming from a heart transplant he received the previous September.
Center Lewis Brown, the third-leading rebounder and sixth-leading scorer for UNLV's 1977 national third-place team, spent more than 10 years homeless on the streets of Santa Monica, Calif., before passing away in mid-September 2011 at the age of 56. According to the New York Times, family members said he used cocaine with the Rebels. "drugs were his downfall," said his sister.
Murray State transfer Larry Moffett, the second-leading rebounder for UNLV's 1977 national third-place team, passed away in early May 2011 in Shreveport, La., at the age of 56. He previously was a cab driver in Las Vegas.
Orlando Woolridge, a backup freshman in 1978 when Notre Dame made its lone Final Four appearance before he became a scoring specialist in 13 NBA seasons, died at the end of May 2012 at the age of 52 because of a chronic heart condition.
Matt White, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Penn's 1979 Final Four squad as a senior, was fatally stabbed in mid-February 2013 by his wife, who told police she had caught him looking at child pornography. White, the Quakers' all-time leader in field-goal shooting (59.1%), was 55.
Derek Smith, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer as a sophomore forward for Louisville's 1980 NCAA champion, died of a heart ailment at age 34 on August 9, 1996, while on a cruise with his family. He was the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder for the Cardinals' 1982 Final Four team before averaging 12.8 ppg and 3.2 rpg in the NBA with five different franchises. His son, Nolan, became a starting guard for Duke's 2010 NCAA titlist.
Rob Williams, leading scorer for Houston's 1982 Final Four team, died of congestive heart failure at the age of 52 in March 2014 after suffering a stroke 15 years earlier that left him blind in his left eye and partially paralyzed on his left side. Williams denied rumors he was too high on cocaine to play against North Carolina in the national semifinals (0-for-8 field-goal shooting). But Williams admitted he used drugs. "Cocaine came later but I started out smoking weed (in junior high)," Williams said. "I was always a curious type of fellow, so I wanted to see what cocaine was about. So I tried it. And to tell you the truth, I like it."
Lorenzo Charles, the second-leading rebounder for N.C. State's 1983 champion, provided one of the tourney's most memorable moments with a game-winning dunk against heavily-favored Houston in the final. Working for a limousine and bus company based in Apex, N.C., he was killed in June 2011 when the charter bus the 47-year-old was driving with no passengers aboard crashed along Interstate 40 in Raleigh.
Melvin Turpin, the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder as a senior for Kentucky's 1984 Final Four team (29-5 record), was 49 and battling diabetes in July 2010 when he committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest.
Baskerville Holmes, a starting forward who averaged 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for Memphis State's 1985 Final Four team, and his girlfriend were found shot to death on March 18, 1997 in an apparent murder-suicide in Memphis. He was 32.
Guard Phil Henderson, the leading scorer and senior captain of Duke's 1990 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of cardiac arrest in mid-February 2013 at his home in the Philippines at the age of 44. He was the Blue Devils' second-leading scorer as a junior and sixth-leading scorer as a sophomore for two more Final Four squads.
Larry Marks, a backup forward for Arkansas' 1990 Final Four squad after being a starter the previous season, died of an apparent heart attack in mid-June 2000 after playing some recreational basketball. He was 33.
Sean Tunstall, a reserve guard for Kansas' 1991 NCAA Tournament runner-up was shot and killed at age 28 in the parking lot of a recreation center in his native St. Louis on October 16, 1997, in a drug deal gone bad. Tunstall, recruited to KU when Larry Brown was the Jayhawks' coach, had received a prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of selling cocaine in 1993. "He was one of the few kids I never thought I completely reached," KU coach Roy Williams said.
Peter Sauer, a captain and third-leading rebounder for Stanford's 1998 Final Four squad, was 35 when he collapsed during a recreation game in White Plains, N.Y., hit his head and never was revived. His father, Mark Sauer, is a former president of two pro franchises - the NHL's St. Louis Blues and MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates.
An average of four coaches per year leave NCAA playoff teams since seeding started in 1979. The first tournament mentor to depart this season was Danny Manning, who abandoned Tulsa to return to his home state (North Carolina) trying to help Wake Forest return to the first division of the ACC.
In every year since 1968, directing a team to the NCAA Tournament has been a springboard to bigger and better things at a "poach-a-coach" school. Following are head coaches since the field expanded to at least 64 entrants in 1985 who had a change of heart and accepted a similar job at a different major college promptly after directing a team to the NCAA playoffs:
1985 (six) - J.D. Barnett (Virginia Commonwealth to Tulsa), Craig Littlepage (Penn to Rutgers), Nolan Richardson Jr. (Tulsa to Arkansas), Andy Russo (Louisiana Tech to Washington), Tom Schneider (Lehigh to Penn), Eddie Sutton (Arkansas to Kentucky)
1987 (two) - Jim Brandenburg (Wyoming to San Diego State), Benny Dees (New Orleans to Wyoming)
1990 (five) - Kermit Davis Jr. (Idaho to Texas A&M), Mike Jarvis (Boston University to George Washington), Lon Kruger (Kansas State to Florida), Mike Newell (UALR to Lamar), Les Robinson (East Tennessee State to North Carolina State)
1992 (one) - Charlie Spoonhour (Southwest Missouri State to Saint Louis)
1993 (one) - Eddie Fogler (Vanderbilt to South Carolina)
1994 (eight) - Tom Asbury (Pepperdine to Kansas State), Rick Barnes (Providence to Clemson), Jeff Capel Jr. (North Carolina A&T to Old Dominion), Kevin O'Neill (Marquette to Tennessee), Skip Prosser (Loyola, Md. to Xavier), Kelvin Sampson (Washington State to Oklahoma), Ralph Willard (Western Kentucky to Pittsburgh), Jim Wooldridge (Southwest Texas State to Louisiana Tech)
1995 (three) - Dick Bennett (Wisconsin-Green Bay to Wisconsin), Scott Edgar (Murray State to Duquesne), Tubby Smith (Tulsa to Georgia)
1996 (one) - Ben Braun (Eastern Michigan to California)
1997 (five) - Ernie Kent (Saint Mary's to Oregon), Mack McCarthy (UT-Chattanooga to Virginia Commonwealth), Jim O'Brien (Boston College to Ohio State), Steve Robinson (Tulsa to Florida State), Al Skinner (Rhode Island to Boston College), Tubby Smith (Georgia to Kentucky)
1998 (seven) - Rick Barnes (Clemson to Texas), Larry Eustachy (Utah State to Iowa State), Rob Evans (Mississippi to Arizona State), Mark Gottfried (Murray State to Alabama), Mike Jarvis (George Washington to St. John's), Melvin Watkins (UNC Charlotte to Texas A&M), Tim Welsh (Iona to Providence)
2002 (three) - Stan Heath (Kent State to Arkansas), Steve Merfeld (Hampton to Evansville), Jerry Wainwright (UNC Wilmington to Richmond)
2003 (eight) - Cy Alexander (South Carolina State to Tennessee State), Ed DeChellis (East Tennessee State to Penn State), Dennis Felton (Western Kentucky to Georgia), Ben Howland (Pittsburgh to UCLA), Oliver Purnell (Dayton to Clemson), Bill Self (Illinois to Kansas), Dereck Whittenburg (Wagner to Fordham), Roy Williams (Kansas to North Carolina)
2004 (eight) - Jessie Evans (Louisiana-Lafayette to San Francisco), Ray Giacoletti (Eastern Washington to Utah), Billy Gillispie (Texas-El Paso to Texas A&M), Trent Johnson (Nevada to Stanford), Thad Matta (Xavier to Ohio State), Matt Painter (Southern Illinois to Purdue), Joe Scott (Air Force to Princeton), John Thompson III (Princeton to Georgetown)
2006 (eight) - Mike Anderson (UAB to Missouri), Brad Brownell (UNC Wilmington to Wright State), Mick Cronin (Murray State to Cincinnati), Mike Davis (Indiana to UAB), Fran Dunphy (Penn to Temple), Greg McDermott (Northern Iowa to Iowa State), Kelvin Sampson (Oklahoma to Indiana), Herb Sendek (North Carolina State to Arizona State)
2008 (five) - Jim Christian (Kent State to Texas Christian), Tom Crean (Marquette to Indiana), Keno Davis (Drake to Providence), Darrin Horn (Western Kentucky to South Carolina), Trent Johnson (Stanford to Louisiana State)
2010 (five) - Tony Barbee (Texas-El Paso to Auburn), Steve Donahue (Cornell to Boston College), Bob Marlin (Sam Houston State to Louisiana-Lafayette), Fran McCaffery (Siena to Iowa), Oliver Purnell (Clemson to DePaul).
2011 (seven) - Mike Anderson (Missouri to Arkansas), Patrick Chambers (Boston University to Penn State), Ed DeChellis (Penn State to Navy), Sydney Johnson (Princeton to Fairfield), Lon Kruger (UNLV to Oklahoma), Jim Larranaga (George Mason to Miami, Fla.), Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M to Maryland)
2012 (six) - Larry Eustachy (Southern Mississippi to Colorado State), Jim Ferry (Long Island to Duquesne), John Groce (Ohio University to Illinois), Frank Martin (Kansas State to South Carolina), Tim Miles (Colorado State to Nebraska), Sean Woods (Mississippi Valley State to Morehead State)
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 20 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only athlete to rank among the top five in scoring average in an NCAA Tournament and later start for an NFL champion? Hint: He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection who played in back-to-back Super Bowls. His brother was the first black player for the major leagues' last integrated team.
2. Who is the only player to lead an NCAA championship game in scoring while playing for his father? Hint: The son has the lowest game-high point total in NCAA final history.
4. Who is the only active coach to have played in the NCAA Tournament and College World Series in the same year? Hint: He served as captain on the baseball and basketball teams as a college senior. After graduation, he played minor league baseball before becoming an outstanding fast-pitch softball player who was named to a couple of national All-Star teams.
5. Name the only school to have a single coach guide the same group of players to victories in the NAIA Tournament, NIT and NCAA Tournament. Hint: It's the only school in the last 60 years to enter the NIT with an undefeated record. One of the five regulars from the three national postseason tournament winners was one of the NBA's premier rebounders before becoming an assistant coach in the league and head coach of his alma mater.
6. Who is the only coach to guide teams to the championship game in both the Division I and Division II Tournaments? Hint: He is the only coach to have a career NCAA Division I Tournament record as many as eight games below the .500 mark, only title team coach to compile a non-winning career playoff mark and only coach to lose three consecutive regional final games.
7. Who is the only player to score more than 60% of his team's points in an NCAA Tournament game and be on the losing end of the score? Hint: It was a first-round contest and the individual was national player of the year.
8. Who is the only player to score more than two-thirds of his team's points in an NCAA Tournament game? Hint: He scored more than 50% of his squad's points over three playoff outings.
9. Name the only school to win a small college national postseason tournament before capturing at least one NCAA Division I title. Hint: The school opposed the same coach in the championship game of the small college tournament and the NCAA Final Four. The school also supplied the only team to win an NCAA crown after setting or tying an existing school record for most defeats the previous season.
10. Who is the only individual to participate in the Final Four before playing and coaching in the NFL at least five seasons apiece? Hint: He was a member of an NFL team that moved to another city the year after capturing the league title.
If history means anything, a National Invitation Tournament crown won't serve as a springboard to NCAA playoff success for Minnesota. Defending NIT champions combined for a 12-17 NCAA Tournament record from 1986 through 2014.
The NIT titlists from 1985 through 2004 combined for a losing national postseason tournament record (15-17) the year after capturing an NIT championship - NCAA (8-13) and NIT (7-4) - with three of them not reaching national postseason play. Two more NIT champions in the last eight years - South Carolina '06 and Penn State '09 - also failed to appear in national postseason competition the next season. West Virginia '08, Ohio State '09 and Wichita State '12 combined for a 2-3 NCAA playoff mark the years after winning an NIT title.
This season, Baylor became only the third school in the last 30 years to reach an NCAA regional semifinal the year after capturing an NIT title, joining (Virginia '93 and West Virginia '08). Following is a breakdown of how the NIT champions fared the next season since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985:
Year NIT Champion Season Summary the Following Campaign 1985 UCLA 15-14 record in 1985-86; 9-9 in Pacific-10 (4th place); no postseason 1986 Ohio State 20-13 in 1986-87; 9-9 in Big Ten (6th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1987 Southern Mississippi 19-11 in 1987-88; 5-7 in Metro (7th); lost in NIT 2nd round 1988 Connecticut 18-13 in 1988-89; 6-10 in Big East (T7th); lost in NIT 3rd round 1989 St. John's 24-10 in 1989-90; 10-6 in Big East (4th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1990 Vanderbilt 17-13 in 1990-91; 11-7 in SEC (4th); lost in NCAA 1st round 1991 Stanford 18-11 in 1991-92; 10-8 in Pacific-10 (4th); lost in NCAA 1st round 1992 Virginia 21-10 in 1992-93; 9-7 in ACC (5th); lost in NCAA regional semifinal 1993 Minnesota 21-12 in 1993-94; 10-8 in Big Ten (T4th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1994 Villanova 25-8 in 1994-95; 14-4 in Big East (2nd); lost in NCAA 1st round 1995 Virginia Tech 23-6 in 1995-96; 13-3 in Atlantic 10 (T1st/W); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1996 Nebraska 19-14 in 1996-97; 7-9 in Big 12 (4th/N); lost in NIT 3rd round 1997 Michigan 25-9 in 1997-98; 11-5 in Big Ten (4th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1998 Minnesota 17-11 in 1998-99; 8-8 in Big Ten (6th); lost in NCAA 1st round 1999 California 18-15 in 1999-00; 7-11 in Pacific-10 (7th); lost in NIT 3rd round 2000 Wake Forest 19-11 in 2000-01; 8-8 in ACC (T5th); lost in NCAA 1st round 2001 Tulsa 27-7 in 2001-02; 15-3 in WAC (T1st); lost in NCAA 2nd round 2002 Memphis 23-7 in 2002-03; 13-3 in C-USA (1st/National); lost in NCAA 1st round 2003 St. John's 6-21 in 2003-04; 1-15 in Big East (14th); no postseason 2004 Michigan 13-18 in 2004-05; 4-12 in Big Ten (9th); no postseason 2005 South Carolina 23-15 in 2005-06; 6-10 in SEC (5th/East); won NIT championship 2006 South Carolina 14-16 in 2006-07; 4-12 in SEC (6th/Eastern); no postseason 2007 West Virginia 26-11 in 2007-08; 11-7 in Big East (T5th); lost in NCAA regional semifinals 2008 Ohio State 22-11 in 2008-09; 10-8 in Big Ten (T4th); lost in NCAA 1st round 2009 Penn State 11-20 in 2009-10; 3-15 in Big Ten (11th); no postseason 2010 Dayton 22-14 in 2010-11; 7-9 in Atlantic 10 (T8th); lost in NIT 1st round 2011 Wichita State 27-6 in 2011-12; 16-2 in Missouri Valley (1st); lost in NCAA 1st round 2012 Stanford 19-15 in 2012-13; 9-9 in Pac-12 (T6th); lost in NIT 2nd round 2013 Baylor 26-12 in 2013-14; 9-9 in Big 12; lost in NCAA regional semifinals 2014 Minnesota To be determined in 2014-15
Two teams from the same conference reached the Final Four eight consecutive years from 1999 through 2006. Teams from the same league have met in the national championship game on three occasions - 1976 (champion Indiana and runner-up Michigan/from Big Ten), 1985 (Villanova and Georgetown/Big East) and 1988 (Kansas and Oklahoma/Big Eight).
At least one of the two members from the same league participated in the national championship game in 18 of the first 22 years two teams from the same alliance advanced to the Final Four.
|Year||Final Four Results of Two Teams From the Same Conference|
|1976||Indiana (1st in regular-season competition) defeated fellow Big Ten Conference member Michigan (2nd) in championship game.|
|1980||Purdue (3rd) defeated fellow Big Ten member Iowa (T4th) in national third-place game.|
|1981||North Carolina (2nd) defeated fellow ACC member Virginia (1st) in national semifinals before the Tar Heels bowed against Indiana in final.|
|1985||Villanova (T3rd) defeated fellow Big East member Georgetown (2nd) in national final after the Hoyas defeated St. John's (1st) in national semifinals.|
|1987||Syracuse (T1st) was runner-up to Indiana after defeating fellow Big East member Providence (T4th) in national semifinals.|
|1988||Kansas (3rd) defeated fellow Big Eight member Oklahoma (1st) in championship game.|
|1989||Michigan (3rd) won championship game against Seton Hall after the Wolverines defeated fellow Big Ten member Illinois (2nd) in national semifinals.|
|1990||UNLV defeated ACC members Georgia Tech (T3rd) in national semifinals and Duke (2nd) in championship game.|
|1991||Kansas split two games with ACC members, defeating North Carolina (2nd) in national semifinals before losing against Duke (1st) in championship game.|
|1992||Duke defeated Big Ten members Indiana (2nd) in national semifinals and Michigan (T3rd) in championship game.|
|1994||Arkansas (1st in West Division) won championship game against Duke after the Blue Devils defeated the Hogs' fellow SEC member Florida (T1st in East) in national semifinals.|
|1996||Kentucky (1st in East Division) won championship game against Syracuse after the Orangemen defeated the Wildcats' fellow SEC member Mississippi State (1st in West Division) in national semifinals.|
|1999||Michigan State (1st) and fellow Big Ten member Ohio State (2nd) lost against Duke and Connecticut, respectively, in national semifinals.|
|2000||Michigan State (T1st) won national championship after defeating fellow Big Ten member Wisconsin (6th) in national semifinals.|
|2001||Duke (T1st) won national championship after defeating fellow ACC member Maryland (3rd) in national semifinals.|
|2002||Kansas (1st) and Big 12 rival Oklahoma (2nd) lost against Maryland and Indiana, respectively, in national semifinals.|
|2003||Kansas (1st) finished national runner-up and Big 12 rival Texas (2nd) lost against eventual champion Syracuse in national semifinals.|
|2004||Georgia Tech (T3rd) finished national runner-up and ACC rival Duke (1st) lost against eventual champion Connecticut in national semifinals.|
|2005||Illinois (1st) finished national runner-up and Big Ten rival Michigan State (2nd) lost against eventual champion North Carolina in national semifinals.|
|2006||Florida (2nd in Eastern Division) won national championship and SEC rival LSU (1st in Western Division) lost against UCLA in national semifinals.|
|2009||Big East rivals Connecticut (T2nd) and Villanova (4th) each lost in national semifinals.|
|2013||Louisville (T1st) won national championship against Michigan after the Wolverines defeated Syracuse (T5th) in national semifinals in their Big East swan songs.|
|2014||SEC members Florida (1st) and Kentucky (T2nd) were on opposite sides of the bracket in Arlington, TX. Connecticut defeated top-ranked Florida in national semifinals and preseason #1 UK in national final.|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 19 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only Final Four team to have a trio all average more than 20 points per game in the same season. Hint: The school won its conference tournament that year although none of the threesome shot better than 50% from the floor over the three games.
2. Name the only duo to twice reach the Final Four and both players average more than 20 points per game each season. Hint: Their team lost each year at the Final Four by the same score. One of the pair is the only player to score more than 25 points in Final Four defeats in back-to-back years.
3. Who is the only one of UCLA's eight first-team All-Americans from 1964 through 1975 to fail to earn a spot on an All-NCAA Tournament team when the Bruins won 10 national titles? Hint: He averaged more than 15 points per game in two of his three varsity seasons and went on to coach the Bruins' crosstown rival to a regional final.
4. Who is the only NCAA baseball championship coach to direct a basketball team from the same school to the Final Four? Hint: He is the school's all-time winningest basketball coach.
5. Who is the only championship team senior to average seven points per game or less entering the national semifinals before seizing the moment and averaging double digits in scoring in his last two games with an increase of at least six points per game from his pre-Final Four scoring mark? Hint: He was the seventh-leading scorer for the season on a team with just two seniors among its top eight point producers.
6. Who is the only player to score more than half of a championship team's points in a single NCAA Tournament? Hint: He was the team's only player to compile a double-digit season scoring average and no teammate scored more than seven points in either of the two Final Four games.
7. Name the only school to lose three national championship games in a city where it enjoyed a distinct homecourt advantage. Hint: The school lost two of the three title games by one point before capturing the title there in a season it became the only NCAA champion to lose four consecutive conference contests.
8. Name the only team to fail to have at least one player score in double figures in the championship game. Hint: It was the school's only NCAA Tournament appearance until the university started appearing regularly in the tourney since 1975.
9. Name the only Division II school to have three of its former head coaches go on to direct major-college teams to the NCAA Division I Tournament championship game. Hint: None of the three coaches compiled a losing record in any of the total of 11 seasons they coached at the small school, which won the Division II Tournament in 1984 and captured the first two NAIA Tournament titles.
10. Who is the only one of the individuals named NBA Most Valuable Player, score more than 20,000 pro points or be selected to at least five All-NBA teams after participating in more than six NCAA Division I Tournament games and not compile a winning tourney record? Hint: He left college with eligibility remaining, but was involved in two NCAA playoff defeats when the tournament conducted regional third-place games.