If the upper-crust elite smugly look down their noses, they might find their opponents boast the upper hand by looking down the barrel of a gun such as Ohio State against Dayton. Duke, which was embarrassed by Mercer, is one of 18 former national champions to lose multiple times in the tourney against members of lower-profile conferences seeded five or more places worse than the major university currently a member of one of the consensus power six leagues. Kansas has a high of six setbacks as a total of 12 former NCAA titlists have lost three or more such contests.
A total of 80 different lower-profile schools (after Mercer and North Dakota State) and current members of 24 different mid-major conferences (all but Northeast) have won such games since seeding was introduced in 1979. The mid-major school with the most "David vs. Goliath" victories among the following list is Richmond with six.
ACC (29 defeats against mid-major opponents seeded five or more places worse) - Boston College (lost to #12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005); Clemson (#13 Southwest Missouri State in 1987 and #11 Western Michigan in 1998); Duke (#11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2007, #15 Lehigh in 2012 and #14 Mercer in 2014); Florida State (#13 Middle Tennessee State in 1989); Georgia Tech (#13 Richmond in 1988 and #13 Southern in 1993); Louisville (#12 Ball State in 1990, #12 Butler in 2003 and #13 Morehead State in 2011); North Carolina (#9 Penn in 1979, #14 Weber State in 1999 and #11 George Mason in 2006); North Carolina State (#14 Murray State in 1988); Notre Dame (#14 UALR in 1986, #11 Winthrop in 2007 and #11 Old Dominion in 2010); Pittsburgh (#10 Kent State in 2002, #13 Bradley in 2006 and #8 Butler in 2011); Syracuse (#7 Navy in 1986, #11 Rhode Island in 1988, #15 Richmond in 1991 and #13 Vermont in 2005); Virginia (#12 Wyoming in 1987 and #12 Gonzaga in 2001); Wake Forest (#13 Cleveland State in 2009)
BIG EAST/including new AAC members UC and UConn from previous version (15) - Cincinnati (lost to #12 Harvard in 2014); Connecticut (#11 George Mason in 2006 and #13 San Diego in 2008); DePaul (#12 New Mexico State in 1992); Georgetown (#10 Davidson in 2008, #14 Ohio University in 2010, #11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011 and #15 Florida Gulf Coast in 2013); Marquette (#12 Tulsa in 2002); Providence (#12 Pacific in 2004); St. John's (#10 Gonzaga in 2000 and #11 Gonzaga in 2011); Seton Hall (#7 Western Kentucky in 1993); Villanova (#14 Old Dominion in 1995 and #10 Saint Mary's in 2010)
BIG TEN (25) - Illinois (lost to #14 Austin Peay State in 1987, #12 Dayton in 1990, #14 Chattanooga in 1997 and Western Kentucky in 2009); Indiana (#14 Cleveland State in 1986, #13 Richmond in 1988, #11 Pepperdine in 2000 and #13 Kent State in 2001); Iowa (#14 Northwestern State in 2006); Maryland (lost to #12 College of Charleston in 1997); Michigan (#11 Loyola Marymount in 1990 and #13 Ohio University in 2012); Michigan State (#14 Weber State in 1995 and #11 George Mason in 2006); Nebraska (#14 Xavier in 1991 and #11 Penn in 1994); Ohio State (#12 Utah State in 2001, #9 Wichita State in 2013 and #11 Dayton in 2014); Purdue (#11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011); Wisconsin (#12 Southwest Missouri State in 1999, #11 Georgia State in 2001, #7 UNLV in 2007, #10 Davidson in 2008 and #12 Cornell in 2010)
BIG 12 (18) - Iowa State (lost to #15 Hampton in 2001); Kansas (#9 Texas-El Paso in 1992, #8 Rhode Island in 1998, #14 Bucknell in 2005, #13 Bradley in 2006, #9 Northern Iowa in 2010 and #11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011); Kansas State (#11 Tulane in 1993 and #13 La Salle in 2013); Oklahoma (#13 Southwestern Louisiana in 1992, #13 Manhattan in 1995, #13 Indiana State in 2001, #11 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2006 and #12 North Dakota State in 2014); Oklahoma State (#12 Princeton in 1983, #10 Temple in 1991 and #12 Tulsa in 1994); Texas Tech (#11 Southern Illinois in 2002)
PACIFIC-12 (17) - Arizona (lost to #14 East Tennessee State in 1992, #15 Santa Clara in 1993 and #12 Miami of Ohio in 1995); California (#12 Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1994); Oregon State (#10 Lamar in 1980, #11 Evansville in 1989 and #12 Ball State in 1990); Southern California (#13 UNC Wilmington in 2002); Stanford (#14 Siena in 1989 and #10 Gonzaga in 1999); UCLA (#12 Wyoming in 1987, #13 Penn State in 1991, #12 Tulsa in 1994, #13 Princeton in 1996 and #12 Detroit in 1999); Utah (#10 Miami of Ohio in 1999); Washington State (#12 Penn in 1980)
SEC (30) - Alabama (lost to #11 Lamar in 1983, #11 South Alabama in 1989, #10 Kent State in 2002 and #12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005); Auburn (#12 Richmond in 1984); Florida (#12 Creighton in 2002, #12 Manhattan in 2003 and #8 Butler in 2011); Georgia (#14 Chattanooga in 1997 and #11 Southern Illinois in 2002); Kentucky (#7 UAB in 1981, #11 Middle Tennessee State in 1982 and #9 UAB in 2004); Louisiana State (#13 Navy in 1985 and #11 UAB in 2005); Mississippi (#13 Valparaiso in 1998); Mississippi State (#12 Eastern Michigan in 1991, #12 Butler in 2003 and #7 Xavier in 2004); Missouri (#13 Xavier in 1987, #11 Rhode Island in 1988, #14 Northern Iowa in 1990 and #15 Norfolk State in 2012); South Carolina (#15 Coppin State in 1997 and #14 Richmond in 1998); Tennessee (#12 Southwest Missouri State in 1999 and #7 Wichita State in 2006); Vanderbilt (#13 Siena in 2008, #13 Murray State in 2010 and #12 Richmond in 2011)
NOTES: Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were members of the Big Eight until 1997. Mizzou left the Big 12 for SEC in 2013. . . . Notre Dame was an independent in 1986. . . . Florida State, Louisville and Tulane were members of the Metro Conference in 1989, 1990 and 1993, respectively. . . . Dayton was a member of the Midwestern Collegiate in 1990. . . . DePaul was a member of the Great Midwest in 1992. . . . Texas-El Paso and Utah were members of the WAC in 1992 and 1999, respectively. . . . Marquette and Louisville were members of Conference USA in 2002 and 2004, respectively. . . . Tulsa was a member of Missouri Valley in 1994 and 2002. . . . Boston College was a member of the Big East in 2005. . . . Defeats for Maryland (ACC), Louisville (Big East), Pittsburgh (Big East) and Syracuse (Big East) came when they were members of another power league.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 8 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's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only school to reach the Final Four three consecutive years on two separate occasions in the 20th Century. Hint: In the first three-year stretch, it became the only school to lose three straight national semifinal games. In the second three-year stretch, the school was involved in the only times two teams from the same state met each other in the championship game.
2. What was the only year two undefeated teams reached the Final Four? Hint: One of the squads had a perfect ending after winning in the national semifinals and championship game by an average of 16 points, while the other club that was unbeaten lost in the national semifinals and third-place game by an average of 15 points.
3. Who is the shortest player to lead an NCAA champion in scoring average? Hint: He was part of a three-guard starting lineup, averaging under 5-10 in height, that played the entire championship game for the only current Division I school to capture an NCAA title despite never having an NCAA consensus first- or second-team All-America.
4. Who is the only U.S. Olympic basketball coach to win the NCAA and NIT titles with different schools? Hint: He never participated in a national postseason tournament with the third university he coached (Michigan State).
5. Who was the only coach to direct two different schools to the Final Four twice apiece in the 20th Century? Hint: He is the only coach to compile a record of more than four games under .500 in Final Four contests and the only coach to guide three teams to national fourth-place finishes.
6. Who is the only coach of a championship team other than Rick Pitino to subsequently coach another university and compile a winning NCAA playoff record at his last major-college job? Hint: He is the only coach to win a national title at a school where he stayed less than five seasons.
7. Of the coaches to reach the national semifinals at least twice, who is the only one to compile an undefeated Final Four record? Hint: He won both of his championship games against the same school. He is also the only NCAA consensus first-team All-American to later coach his alma mater to an NCAA title.
8. Name the only school to lead UCLA at halftime in the 22 Final Four games for the Bruins' 11 titlists. Hint: The school that led one of the 11 UCLA champions at intermission of a Final Four game was coached by a John Wooden protege.
9. Of the coaches hired by NBA teams after winning an NCAA championship, who is the only one to compile a non-losing NBA playoff record? Hint: He is one of four different men to coach an undefeated NCAA championship team.
10. Name the only school to defeat a team by as many as 27 points in a season the opponent wound up winning the national title. Hint: The school is also the only one to defeat an eventual national titlist twice in the same season by at least 12 points.
After an average of four mid-level schools reached the Sweet 16 in a six-year span from 2006 through 2011, the last three seasons could have cemented the premise about mid-major schools deserving additional at-large consideration.
But that was before eight mid-level schools - Gonzaga, New Mexico, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis, Saint Mary's, Southern Mississippi, UNLV and Virginia Commonwealth - were eliminated in games against power six conference members by an average of only four points in 2012, the Mountain West Conference flopped in 2013 and only two mid-majors reached the Sweet 16 this year.
Wichita State advancing to the Final Four plus victories by Lehigh, Norfolk State and Florida Gulf Coast the previous three years were invigorating but the mid-major community missed out on a potential bonanza. Wichita State was eliminated early this season but Dayton and San Diego State were able to advance with at least two victories. Following is a look at how at least one mid-major conference member advanced to a regional semifinal or beyond since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985:
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 7 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's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only coach to grace the NCAA playoffs in five decades. Hint: He achieved the feat with four different universities.
2. Who is the only player to score a team-high point total in his prominent school's first NCAA Tournament victory the same year he earned All-American honors as a quarterback for a national football champion? Hint: He later became executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame after coaching two different universities when they participated in the Rose Bowl.
3. Who is the only individual to be more than 10 games below .500 in his initial campaign as a major-college head coach and subsequently guide a team to a national championship? Hint: He won his last 10 NCAA Tournament games decided by fewer than five points. In his last two playoff appearances with the former titlist, it became the only school to receive at-large bids in back-to-back years with as many as 14 defeats entering the tourney.
4. Name the only school to be denied three NCAA Tournament berths because it was on probation. Hint: The three times the school didn't participate in the national playoffs because of NCAA probation were from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s.
5. Who was the only player to score more than 40 points in his first tournament game? Hint: The university left the Division I level for 28 years and was UCLA's first victim when the Bruins started a 38-game winning streak in the playoffs. He and his twin brother were infielders together with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
6. Name the only school to deploy just five players in an entire championship game. Hint: The school, participating in the playoffs for the first time that year, set a record for largest winning margin with a 69-point victory in its first-round game. The school is the only former NCAA champion never to compete against legendary coaches Bob Knight and Dean Smith.
7. Who is the only individual to go as many as 25 years between coaching teams in the NCAA Tournament? Hint: His first two playoff teams were eliminated in their tourney openers by eventual championship game participants.
8. Name the only school to have more than one two-time first-team All-American never reach the Final Four. Hint: One of the players is the only three-time first-team All-America to fail to appear in the NCAA playoffs. The school is the only top four seed to lose a first-round game by more than 20 points.
9. Who is the only player to have season scoring averages of fewer than 10 points per game in back-to-back years he was named to the All-NCAA Tournament team? Hint: His school reached the national championship game each season and had two different centers named Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Also, he is part of the only set of brothers to play together in two NCAA title games. One of their teammates became a marquee coach.
10. Who is the only individual to play for an NCAA basketball champion and in a major league baseball World Series? Hint: He was primarily a relief pitcher for six different teams in 13 big league seasons from 1975 through 1989.
It's not dumping on Duke, but is double-digit NCAA defeats trending for Mike Krzyzewski, who was eliminated from the national tournament for the third time in the last eight years by a double-digit seeded opponent? At least none of the three were against an Atlantic 10 Conference member at the time. Similarly, new ACC member Syracuse bowed out against #11 Dayton, making Jim Boeheim the first coach ever to lose six games against double-digit seeded foes.
Last year, Georgetown coach John Thompson III joined Bobby Cremins as the only coaches in NCAA Tournament history to be eliminated four straight seasons from the playoffs by opponents with double-digit seeds. Granted, seedings can be very misleading after the process was introduced in 1979. With more parity and balance than ever before, there isn't much difference between a No. 4 seed and a No. 13 seed. Just ask Kansas' Bill Self after the Jayhawks exited at the hands of #10 Stanford.
But Boeheim, Krzyzewski, Self and Thompson might need inoculation against teams with worse seeds. Following is an alphabetical list of prominent coaches absorbing at least three NCAA Tournament defeats in a span of 10 years or fewer with the same school against opponents with double-digit seeds:
|Marquee Coach||School||Three or More Losses vs. Double-Digit Seeded Opponents in Fewer Than 10 Years|
|Jim Boeheim||Syracuse||2005/#13 Vermont, 2006/#12 Texas A&M, 2011/#11 Marquette and 2014/#11 Dayton|
|Dale Brown||Louisiana State||1984/#10 Dayton, 1985/#13 Navy, and 1991/#11 Connecticut|
|Bobby Cremins||Georgia Tech||1986/#11 LSU, 1987/#10 LSU, 1988/#13 Richmond, 1989/#11 Texas and 1993/#13 Southern|
|Lou Henson||Illinois||1983/#10 Utah, 1987/#14 Austin Peay State and 1990/#12 Dayton|
|Gene Keady||Purdue||1985/#11 Auburn, 1986/#11 Louisiana State, 1990/#10 Texas, 1991/#10 Temple and 1995/#14 Wisconsin-Green Bay|
|Mike Krzyzewski||Duke||2007/#11 Virginia Commonwealth, 2012/#15 Lehigh and 2014/#14 Mercer|
|Ralph Miller||Oregon State||1980/#10 Lamar, 1984/#11 West Virginia and 1989/#11 Evansville|
|Lute Olson||Arizona||1992/#14 East Tennessee State, 1993/#15 Santa Clara and 1995/#12 Ball State|
|Bo Ryan||Wisconsin||2008/#10 Davidson, 2010/#12 Cornell and 2013/#12 Ole Miss|
|Wimp Sanderson||Alabama||1983/#11 Lamar, 1989/#11 South Alabama, and 1990/#11 Loyola Marymount|
|Bill Self||Kansas||2005/#14 Bucknell, 2006/#13 Bradley, 2011/#11 Virginia Commonwealth and 2014/#10 Stanford|
|Kevin Stallings||Vanderbilt||2008/#13 Siena, 2010/#13 Murray State and 2011/#12 Richmond|
|Norm Stewart||Missouri||1987/#13 Xavier, 1988/#11 Rhode Island and 1990/#14 Northern Iowa|
|John Thompson III||Georgetown||2008/#10 Davidson, 2010/#14 Ohio University, 2011/#11 Virginia Commonwealth, 2012/#11 North Carolina State and 2013/#15 Florida Gulf Coast|
|Billy Tubbs||Oklahoma||1984/#10 Dayton, 1986/#12 DePaul and 1992/#13 Southwestern Louisiana|
Ten power league members always classified as major colleges - with majority of them from the South - finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll at least twice although they didn't make their initial NCAA appearance until after 1970. Two of the four #1 seeds this year - Florida and Virginia - were late arrivals to the NCAA party. Among the late-bloomer group, Nebraska is winless in the NCAA playoffs while Florida is a two-time NCAA champion.
Major School (Power League) 1st NCAA Tourney Star Player(s) in Debut Alabama (SEC) 1975 (0-1) Leon Douglas and T.R. Dunn Auburn (SEC) 1984 (0-1) Charles Barkley and Chuck Person Clemson (ACC) 1980 (3-1) Larry Nance Florida (SEC) 1987 (2-1) Vernon Maxwell and Dwayne Schintzius Georgia (SEC) 1983 (3-1) James Banks, Terry Fair and Vern Fleming Minnesota (Big Ten) 1972 (1-1) Jim Brewer, Clyde Turner and Dave Winfield Nebraska (Big Eight) 1986 (0-1) Brian Carr and Bernard Day Seton Hall (Big East) 1988 (1-1) Mark Bryant and John Morton South Carolina (ACC) 1971 (0-2) Kevin Joyce, Tom Owens, Tom Riker and John Roche Virginia (ACC) 1976 (0-1) Wally Walker
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, bombs, government work and drive-in movies. A No. 16 seed never has defeated a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 120 such match-ups since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985.
But when Coastal Carolina grabbed a five-point halftime lead against Virginia, hope sprung eternal that somehow/somewhere/someway/someday a #16 seed will prevail and become the ultimate giant killer. A superior second-half performance enabled UVA to win by a double-digit margin. If history means anything, a single-digit result would have revealed a chink in the Cavaliers' armor. None of the first 12 #1 seeds in the following "shaky-start" category went on to capture the NCAA championship and only three of them - Duke '86, Illinois '89 and North Carolina '97 - advanced to the Final Four:
Year Margin Regional Single-Digit Outcome Between #1 and #16 NCAA Playoff Seeds 1989 1 East Georgetown 50 (Mourning team-high 21 points), Princeton 49 (Scrabis 15) 1989 1 Southeast Oklahoma 72 (King 28), East Tennessee State 71 (Dennis 20) 1996 2 West Purdue 73 (Austin 18), Western Carolina 71 (McCollum 21) 1985 4 Southeast Michigan 59 (Tarpley 15), Fairleigh Dickinson 55 (Wilson 12) 1990 4 Southeast Michigan State 75 (Smith 22), Murray State 71 (Jones 37)* 1989 6 Midwest Illinois 77 (Battle 18), McNeese State 71 (Cutright 28) 2013 6 West Gonzaga 64 (Olynyk 21), Southern 58 (Beltran 21) 1986 7 East Duke 85 (Dawkins 27), Mississippi Valley State 78 (Coleman 24) 2012 7 East Syracuse 72 (Southerland 15), UNC Asheville 65 (Primm 18) 2013 7 South Kansas 64 (Withey 17), Western Kentucky 57 (Crook 13) 1997 8 East North Carolina 82 (Carter 22), Fairfield 74 (Francis 26) 1986 9 West St. John's 83 (Berry 31), Montana State 74 (Hampton 21) 1990 9 Midwest Oklahoma 77 (Jones 19), Towson State 68 (Lee 30) 1996 9 Southeast Connecticut 68 (Allen 24), Colgate 59 (Foyle 21)
It might not end up on his tombstone but Stephen F. Austin's Brad Underwood achieved something NCAA championship coaches Jim Calhoun, Billy Donovan, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, Bill Self, Tubby Smith and Roy Williams failed to do - win NCAA playoff debut in their first season as an NCAA Division I head coach.
Krzyzewski (Duke) and Calhoun (Connecticut) were eliminated in the first round in back-to-back years by Anthony Grant (Virginia Commonwealth in 2007) and Bill Grier (San Diego in 2008). Following is an alphabetical list of active coaches guiding teams to an NCAA Tournament triumph in their career in first full season at the DI level:
NOTE: Barnes (Cal State Bakersfield), Bennett (Virginia), Fisher (San Diego State), Fox (Georgia), Grant (Alabama), Hunsaker (Utah Valley), Lavin (St. John's), Martin (South Carolina) and Matta (Ohio State) coached different schools this season. Fisher was interim coach in 1989 when he directed Michigan to the NCAA title.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 6 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's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who was the only player to lead the nation in scoring average in the same season he played for a team reaching the NCAA Tournament championship game? Hint: He was the first player to score more than 30 points in a Final Four game and the only individual to crack the 30-point plateau in the national semifinals and final in the same season. He was also the only Big Eight Conference player to lead the nation in scoring.
2. Of the 60 or so different players to score at least 2,500 points and/or rank among the top 25 in career scoring average, who was the only one to have a winning NCAA playoff record in his career plus post higher scoring, rebounding and field-goal shooting playoff averages than he compiled in the regular season? Hint: The player scored at least 17 points in all 10 of his NCAA playoff games.
3. Who was the only football Heisman Trophy winner to play in the basketball Final Four? Hint: He won the Most Outstanding Player Award in a Liberty Bowl after setting a school record for longest run from scrimmage.
4. What was the only Final Four match-up to have both coaches opposing his alma mater? Hint: It's happened twice. The protege was an assistant at his alma mater for 10 years.
5. Who is the only coach to oppose his alma mater more than twice at the Final Four? Hint: He is also the only coach in the 20th Century to twice win conference and NCAA tournaments in the same year.
6. Who is the only unbeaten coach in NCAA playoff history? Hint: He is the only NCAA basketball championship coach to also be baseball coach at the same school when it won a College World Series game.
7. Who was the only coach with more than 30 NCAA Tournament victories to earn those wins at more than one school until Lute Olson (Iowa and Arizona) joined him in 1998? Hint: Three schools for the first coach were slapped with an NCAA probation during his stints there.
8. Who is the only coach in back-to-back years to win at least one NCAA playoff game in his first season with two different schools? He coached Butler the previous campaign. Hint: He was an assistant under three coaches who directed two different schools to the NCAA Tournament (Charlie Coles, Tates Locke and Herb Sendek).
9. Name the only school to gain an at-large invitation despite losing all of its conference road games. Hint: Three years earlier, the school received an at-large bid despite losing four league road games by at least 25 points.
10. Of the individuals to both play and coach in the NCAA Tournament, who leads that group in both scoring and rebounding totals? Hint: He was the leading scorer in the biggest blowout in regional final history.
Should I stay or should I go? It's a good thing some universities play in mammoth arenas because the egos of their "Pompous Pilots" wouldn't fit any other place. It wasn't exactly "Christian Living" when Jim Christian, leaving Ohio University for Boston College, departed a school for the third time in the last seven years with at least three seasons remaining on his contract.
Much of the excess in the canonization of coaches is perpetrated by coaches-turned-television commentators who shamelessly fawn over their former colleagues. The analysts should be more concerned about encouraging coaches to spare fans the pious blather about the sanctity of a contract or agreement. Granted, it's survival of the fittest amid the offer-you-can't-refuse backdrop. But in a great many cases, schools have been little more than convenient steppingstones for "larger-than-life" coaches along their one-way street to success. It's understandable in many instances that mercenaries are leaving the minute they're appointed because coaches are in a distasteful "hired-to-be-fired" vocation, where a pink slip is only one losing season or poor recruiting year away.
Nevertheless, loyalty has become too much of a one-way street with the latest example being Buzz Williams departing for seven-year Virginia Tech deal despite having a rollover contract reportedly at least six seasons with Marquette. After all, the private school, only paying him millions of dollars annually, wanted his assistants to comport themselves properly, had personnel changes in the athletic department and their league switched to a different cable network. Meanwhile, players considering their options occasionally are grilled by coaches and commentators for contemplating transfers or leaving early for the NBA. There are countless examples of schools holding a player's eligibility hostage out of sheer vindictiveness. How much more one-sided can it be when that lame double standard exists?
After all, the value systems for high-profile coaches are sufficiently open-minded to permit running out on contracts when more lucrative jobs come open. Contracts are understood to be for the protection of the coach, not the team, whose players are somehow indentured to the schools for as many as four years of eligibility unless of course a coach chooses not to renew their scholarships. Perhaps that's why many believe incoming recruits should be allowed out of their letter-of-intent to seek another destination if the coach they signed with departs before they even get to campus.
Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but that's most definitely the way it is as contracts don't appear to mean squat to a striking number of meandering mentors who abandon ship like so many rats at high tide. Lon Kruger departed three different schools with at least four years remaining on pacts before leaving UNLV with two seasons left.
Many "leveraged" coaches have been preoccupied of late with attempting to virtually extort raises and extensions on already hefty packages. But in recent years, administrations at Boston College, Kent State, Marist, Miami (Fla.), St. John's and Wyoming seemed to be guinea pigs of sorts by fighting back via adherence to buyout clauses in trying to regain control of the situation in this big business atmosphere.
In mid-July 2010, a New York State Supreme Court Justice made a possible precedent-setting ruling in favor of Marist, which contended that coach Matt Brady's contract required him to secure written consent before negotiating with another school and forbade him from offering "a scholarship to current Marist players or to persons that he or his staff recruited to play at Marist" if he ever took a comparable job.
Brady clearly negotiated with James Madison in 2008 without "written" consent and Marist compiled a list of 19 prospects Brady recruited on behalf of Marist that it believed he should have been unable to recruit to JMU per the details of his contract. Four players on that "off-limits" list - Trevon Flores, Devon Moore, Andrey Semenov and Julius Wells - ultimately signed with JMU.
The judge ruled in favor of Marist's claims that Brady had an enforceable contract when he discussed leaving Marist with JMU, that JMU knew of the contract's existence, that JMU intentionally induced Brady to violate his fiduciary obligations under the contract, and that Marist incurred damages as a result of the breach of those obligations. Marist also filed a separate civil suit against Brady. In mid-May 2011, Kent State sued Geno Ford for more than $1.2 million in damages stemming from his departure for Bradley.
Six of Tulsa's previous eight coaches - Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith, Steve Robinson, Bill Self, Buzz Peterson and Danny Manning - left the school for more prestigious positions despite each of them having at least three years remaining on their contracts before Frank Haith downgraded by departing Missouri for Tulsa with three years remaining on his Mizzou pact. Half of the Golden Hurricane defectors went on to capture NCAA championships. Tulsa is one of three universities from which Self has bailed. He signed a five-year extension with Illinois in December, 2002, that included a bump in salary to $900,000 and payout of $500,000 if he stayed the life of the contract. There also was a buyout of $100,000 per year remaining on the pact.
Deal or no deal? The length of contracts doesn't seem to carry any weight as a factor in the equation. Although precise information on terms of contracts frequently is akin to Swiss bank account material, following is an alphabetical list detailing coaches such as Buzz Williams who reportedly still had contractual obligations to schools of more than five seasons when they left for greener pastures at some point in their careers:
- Steve Alford (10 years remaining on contract) - left New Mexico/hired by UCLA
- Rick Barnes (6) - Clemson/Texas
- John Beilein (6) - Richmond/West Virginia
- Tony Bennett (6) - Washington State/Virginia
- Dave Bliss (6) - New Mexico/Baylor
- Mike Brey (7) - Delaware/Notre Dame
- John Calipari (10) - Massachusetts/New Jersey Nets
- Jeff Capel III (6) - Virginia Commonwealth/Oklahoma
- Tom Crean (9) - Marquette/Indiana
- Matt Doherty (6) - Florida Atlantic/Southern Methodist
- Larry Eustachy (6) - Utah State/Iowa State
- Dennis Felton (6) - Western Kentucky/Georgia
- Tim Floyd (6) - New Orleans/Iowa State
- Tim Floyd (8) - Iowa State/Chicago Bulls
- Travis Ford (7) - Massachusetts/Oklahoma State
- Billy Gillispie (8) - Texas A&M/Kentucky
- Brian Gregory (7) - Dayton/Georgia Tech
- Leonard Hamilton (7) - Miami (Fla.)/Washington Wizards
- Ben Howland (6) - Pittsburgh/UCLA
- Jeff Lebo (8) - Chattanooga/Auburn
- Gregg Marshall (8) - Winthrop/Wichita State
- Thad Matta (9) - Xavier/Ohio State
- Fran McCaffery (7) - Siena/Iowa
- Sean Miller (9) - Xavier/Arizona
- Dan Monson (10) - Gonzaga/Minnesota
- Lute Olson (7) - Iowa/Arizona
- Buzz Peterson (9) - Appalachian State/Tulsa
- Skip Prosser (6) - Xavier/Wake Forest
- Oliver Purnell (6) - Clemson/DePaul
- Mike Rice Jr. (7) - Robert Morris/Rutgers
- Steve Robinson (7) - Tulsa/Florida State
- Kelvin Sampson (6) - Washington State/Oklahoma
- Tubby Smith (6) - Georgia/Kentucky
- Mark Turgeon (9) - Wichita State/Texas A&M
In the first six years of the NCAA Tournament seeding process from 1979 through 1984 when the playoff field ranged from 40 to 53 teams, a total of 13 No. 1 and 2 seeds lost their openers. The NCAA tourney hasn't been saturated with authentic upsets since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985, but there has been only four years without a first-round shocker from the bottom of the bracket (1994, 2000, 2004 and 2007).
Teams seeded 13th or worse defeated teams seeded among the top four in a regional a total of 49 times in the last 30 years after #14 Mercer upset #3 Duke. It was really ugly a couple of times for SEC members when Navy overwhelmed LSU by 23 points in 1985 and Siena smothered Vanderbilt by 21 in 2008.
Thirty-six of the first 49 poignant surprises were decided by fewer than seven points or in overtime. Arizona's stunning defeat against Santa Clara in 1993 materialized despite the Wildcats reeling off 25 unanswered points in a stretch bridging the last five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half.
A #16 seed never has defeated a #1. But following is a rundown of the first 49 first-round knockouts by the bottom of the bracket (#13, #14 and #15 seeds) since the NCAA field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985:
#15 seed (7 victories)
|Year||#15 Seed Winner||#2 Seed Loser||Score|
|1997||Coppin State||South Carolina||78-65|
|2013||Florida Gulf Coast||Georgetown||78-68|
#14 seed (17 victories)
|Year||#14 Seed Winner||#3 Seed Loser||Score|
|1986||Arkansas-Little Rock||Notre Dame||90-83|
|1987||Austin Peay State||Illinois||68-67|
|1988||Murray State||North Carolina State||78-75|
|1992||East Tennessee State||Arizona||87-80|
|1995||Weber State||Michigan State||79-72|
|1995||Old Dominion||Villanova||89-81 (3OT)|
|1999||Weber State||North Carolina||76-74|
#13 seed (25 victories)
|Year||#13 Seed Winner||#4 Seed Loser||Score|
|1987||Southwest Missouri State||Clemson||65-60|
|1989||Middle Tennessee State||Florida State||97-83|
|1993||Southern (La.)||Georgia Tech||93-78|
|2001||Indiana State||Oklahoma||70-68 (OT)|
|2002||UNC Wilmington||Southern California||93-89 (OT)|
|2008||San Diego||Connecticut||70-69 (OT)|
|2009||Cleveland State||Wake Forest||84-69|
|2013||La Salle||Kansas State||63-61|
North Carolina A&T State appeared in the NCAA playoffs the most times (nine) without winning a tournament game until prevailing in a First Four outing last year. But N.C. A&T still has a long way to go to join the ranks of the "quick exit" schools with more than a dozen opening-round defeats.
Connecticut, after absorbing nine opening-round losses in 17 years from 1951 through 1967, had the most opening-round setbacks for years. But the Huskies didn't incur an opening-round reversal for 28 years until suffering two in a recent five-year span. Similarly, St. John's suffered eight opening-round losses in a 20-year stretch from 1973 through 1992.
Maryland was the first school to incur at least 10 NCAA Tournament defeats but never absorb an opening-round setback until the Terrapins lost to Santa Clara in 1996. BYU showed this year with its seventh first-round reversal in the 21st Century why the Cougars are atop the following list of schools most prone to sustaining an opening-round defeat:
School (Playoff Losses) NCAA Tournament Opening-Round Defeats Brigham Young (31) 18 (1950-57-65-69-72-79-80-87-90-92-95-01-03-04-07-08-09-14) Princeton (28) 16 (1952-55-60-63-69-76-77-81-89-90-91-92-97-01-04-11) Utah State (20) 16 (1939-63-71-75-79-80-83-88-98-00-03-05-06-09-10-11) Missouri (26) 14 (1944-78-81-83-86-87-88-90-93-99-00-11-12-13) Temple (31) 14 (1944-64-67-70-72-79-90-92-95-98-08-09-10-12) St. John's (30) 13 (1961-68-73-76-77-78-80-84-88-92-98-02-11) West Virginia (26) 13 (1955-56-57-58-62-65-67-83-86-87-92-09-12)
Now we know why Ohio State seeks to avoid Dayton year upon year after the Flyers beat the Buckeyes in the opening round of the South Regional. For the second time in three years, the NCAA bracket enabled Ohio fans to witness games they should enjoy every year in non-league competition. Cincinnati's ballyhooed intrastate clash with Ohio State in the 2012 East Regional, resurrected title-game memories of their memorable match-ups five decades ago, showing again why some major schools should be ashamed of themselves for ducking nearby quality opponents. Why in the world did they have to resort to a national tournament assignment hundreds of miles from their fan base to oppose each other?
In a "Days of Whine and Hoses" era when many cash-strapped athletic departments are begging for revenue, they still schedule numerous poorly-attended home games against inferior opponents. It defies logic as to why tradition-rich schools forsake entertaining non-conference contests with natural rivals while scheduling more than their share of meaningless "rout-a-matics" at home.
The normal intensity of an NCAA Tournament tilt escalates even more in "bragging rights" games between neighboring opponents that rarely if ever tangle on the same floor unless forced to compete against each other by a postseason bracket. For instance, it is a sad state of affairs for fans in Kansas to need to hope KU and Wichita State advance to the NCAA championship game for them to finally meet on the hardwood again.
A classic example of the scheduling neglect was an intense 2001 West Regional matchup between Maryland and Georgetown. Of course, the Washington, D.C., area isn't the only region with a scheduling complex. As emotional as it was, the Hoya Paranoia-Terrapin Trepidation confrontation didn't stack up among the following top 10 intrastate contests in NCAA playoff history including a couple of Kentucky/Louisville duels before they started meeting on a regular basis:
1. 1961 NCAA Championship Game (Cincinnati 70, Ohio State 65 in OT)
Paul Hogue, a 6-9 center who hit just 51.8% of his free-throw attempts during the season, sank only two of 10 foul shots in his two previous contests before putting Cincinnati ahead to stay with a pair of pivotal free throws in overtime in a victory over previously undefeated Ohio State.
2. 1998 East Regional second round (North Carolina 93, UNCC 83 in OT)
UNC Charlotte forward DeMarco Johnson outplayed national player of the year Antawn Jamison of the Tar Heels, but Carolina got a total of 55 points from Shammond Williams and Vince Carter to withstand the 49ers' bid for an upset.
3. 1983 Mideast Regional final (Louisville 80, Kentucky 68 in OT)
The first meeting between in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville in more than 24 years was memorable as the Cardinals outscored the Wildcats 18-6 in overtime to reach the Final Four.
4. 1981 Midwest Regional semifinals (Wichita State 66, Kansas 65)
Mike Jones hit two long-range baskets in the last 50 seconds for Wichita State in the first game between the intrastate rivals in 36 years.
5. 1989 Southeast Regional first round (South Alabama 86, Alabama 84)
In an exciting intrastate battle, South Alabama erased a 16-point halftime deficit. Jeff Hodge and Gabe Estaba combined for 55 points for USA.
6. 1971 West Regional final (UCLA 57, Long Beach State 55)
The closest result for UCLA during the Bruins' 38-game playoff winning streak from 1967 to 1973 came when they had to erase an 11-point deficit despite 29 percent field-goal shooting to edge Jerry Tarkanian-coached Long Beach State.
7. 1971 Mideast Regional semifinals (Western Kentucky 107, Kentucky 83)
This year's game wasn't anything like when WKU, long regarded as poor country cousins by Kentucky, whipped the Wildcats in their first-ever meeting when All-American Jim McDaniels poured in 35 points for the Hilltoppers.
8. 1959 Mideast Regional semifinals (Louisville 76, Kentucky 61)
Second-ranked Kentucky (24-3) hit less than one-third of its field-goal attempts in blowing a 15-point lead against intrastate rival Louisville (19-12). The Cardinals had lost to Georgetown (KY) earlier in the season.
10. 1962 NCAA Championship Game (Cincinnati 71, Ohio State 59)
Ohio State All-American center Jerry Lucas wrenched his left knee in the national semifinals against Wake Forest, limiting his effectiveness against Cincinnati counterpart Paul Hogue in the Bearcats' 71-59 triumph in the final.
"No, you never get any fun out of the things you haven't done." - Ogden Nash
Nobody said it was going to be easy. The preceding quote definitely rings true for schools such as Eastern Kentucky and Nebraska because they still have never won an NCAA Tournament game after dropping opening-round contests this year. Following are universities competing in the NCAA playoffs the most but still possessing a defect because they are winless:
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 5 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's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only player to score more than 30,000 points in his pro career after never appearing in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: He is the only former major-college player to become NBA Most Valuable Player after failing to participate in the NCAA Tournament. He was 0-2 in the NIT, where he lost his final college game by 41 points, before leaving college for the pros with one season of eligibility remaining.
2. Who is the only person to play for an NBA championship team before coaching an NCAA titlist? Hint: He was a backup to an NBA all-time great after being the leading scorer and rebounder for a team winning an NIT crown.
3. Who became an NCAA playoff coach after being the only player in history to participate with two different schools in the NCAA championship game? Hint: One of the teams he played for was undefeated. He coached two different schools in the tourney.
4. Who is the only coach to engineer a turnaround featuring an NCAA playoff appearance in his first full season at a new job although the school compiled a record of more than 20 games below .500 the previous year? Hint: It was his only year as coach at the school.
5. Name the only mid-major conference to have two different members reach a regional semifinal as at-large teams in the same year, beating opponents from the Big East, Big 12 and SEC in the process. Hint: Two other members of the same league achieved the feat in the previous seven years. Only two of its current members haven't won playoff games when seeded five or more places worse than a major university currently a member of one of the current consensus top six leagues since seeding started in 1979.
6. Name the only former NCAA Tournament champion not to win at least one playoff game since capturing the title. Hint: It's the first NCAA champion to have black players in its starting lineup and is the only school to win the NCAA playoffs and NIT in the same year. The school is also the only former major college to win a Division I Tournament championship.
7. Name the school with the most playoff games decided by one or two points (four) on its way to a championship. Hint: It was the first school to need six victories to claim the national crown and is the only school to have two different coaches capture a national championship after compiling a losing record in their first seasons as a major-college head coach.
8. Who is the only coach to win his first 12 tournament games decided in overtime or by fewer than six points in regulation? Hint: His first of three NCAA championship game teams had four players become NBA first-round draft choices.
9. Name the only state to have more than six different schools reach the Final Four. Hint: The state went 31 years between its two national championships.
10. Name the only person to coach two different universities in back-to-back years when each school made its initial playoff appearance. Hint: He reached the national championship game with one of the schools.
Weep On It/Think On It/Sleep On It/Drink On It. That could be the motto for Brigham Young and Xavier after they remained "Susan Lucci" schools in Division I after losing their openers in the NCAA Tournament. BYU and X are among the schools participating in at least 20 NCAA Tournaments but never advancing to a Final Four.
BYU and Xavier have twice reached a regional final but fell short in advancing to the Promised Land, which is half as many times as Missouri has been in that spot. Boston College is another bridesmaid on multiple occasions, losing three regional finals (1967, 1982 and 1994) in 18 tourney appearances (22-19 record) since the field expanded beyond eight teams in 1950.
Alabama (20-20) is the only school with a non-losing NCAA playoff record among the following list of five frustrated institutions in a quagmire because they've made a minimum of 20 appearances without reaching the Final Four:
When will the Division I Committee and "impartial" media promoting leagues with which they have cozy business dealings realize a losing conference record probably should deny any team receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament? In 27 of the last 32 years, the selection committee awarded at least one at-large berth to a squad with a sub-.500 mark in a top-caliber league. There was a high of three such clubs in 1991 when the committee pretty much simply wasted everyone's time.
A couple of self-absorbed ESPN experts projecting Oklahoma State to reach the Final Four flopped as much as OSU's Marcus Smart in doing their historical homework. In a "payback" pointing out a pitiful pick, magic-marker maven Digger Phelps, striving to secure soothsayer legend status via a run-on sentence before the network chose not to renew his contract, dug a grave for himself by "getting it done" bringing to the table a prediction the Cowboys (8-10 in Big 12 Conference) would become the first team with a losing league record advancing to the national championship game.
Since numbers never lie, the cold and hard facts are that Virginia '84 is the only team with a sub-.500 conference mark to reach the Final Four. Three years later, Louisiana State became the last at-large team with a losing league mark to reach a regional final.
Maryland (#5 in 1986 and #4 in 2004) earned the two best seeds for an at-large squad with a losing conference record. North Carolina State '05 is the only school in this sub.-500 category in the previous 12 years to advance to the Sweet 16. In the same span, a total of 13 mid-major regular-season champions earning at-large bids reached the Sweet 16 or beyond. This striking number of at-large mid-level success stories doesn't even include recent Final Four clubs such as Virginia Commonwealth '11 (fourth-place finisher in Atlantic 10) and Wichita State '13 (second in Missouri Valley). How much more evidence does the committee require to give the overachieving Belmonts and Green Bays of the world a closer look rather than issuing handouts to underachieving members of power alliances?
Iowa State '92 is the only school receiving an at-large bid despite losing all of its conference road games. The Cyclones, dropping their seven Big Eight road contests by an average margin of 14.4 points, compiled the worst league mark (5-9) among at-large teams until Florida State '98 (6-10 in ACC with three losses by more than 20 points).
A breakdown of conference recipients of basically unwarranted at-large bids include the ACC (15), Big Ten (seven), Big East (five), Big Eight/Big 12 (four), SEC (four) and Pacific-12 (one). After registering a 10-5 NCAA playoff mark from 1983 through 1987, teams in this suspect group went 19-31 since 1988. Oklahoma State, poking along with seven successive setbacks in one sorry stretch this season, joined the following list of underachieving power league losers given preferential treatment over more worthy mid-major conference members:
|Year||At-Large Team||Conference||League||Overall||NCAA Playoff Performance|
|1983||Alabama||SEC||8-10||20-12||#6 seed lost in first round|
|1984||Virginia||ACC||6-8||21-12||#7 seed lost in national semifinals|
|1985||Boston College||Big East||7-9||20-11||#11 seed lost in regional semifinals|
|1986||Maryland||ACC||6-8||19-14||#5 seed lost in second round|
|1987||Louisiana State||SEC||8-10||24-15||#10 seed lost in regional final|
|1988||Iowa State||Big Eight||6-8||20-12||#12 seed lost in first round|
|1988||Maryland||ACC||6-8||18-13||#7 seed lost in second round|
|1989||Providence||Big East||7-9||18-11||#12 seed lost in first round|
|1990||Indiana||Big Ten||8-10||18-11||#8 seed lost in first round|
|1990||Virginia||ACC||6-8||20-12||#7 seed lost in second round|
|1991||Georgia Tech||ACC||6-8||17-13||#8 seed lost in second round|
|1991||Villanova||Big East||7-9||17-15||#9 seed lost in second round|
|1991||Virginia||ACC||6-8||21-12||#7 seed lost in first round|
|1992||Iowa State||Big Eight||5-9||21-13||#10 seed lost in second round|
|1992||Wake Forest||ACC||7-9||17-12||#9 seed lost in first round|
|1994||Seton Hall||Big East||8-10||17-13||#10 seed lost in first round|
|1994||Wisconsin||Big Ten||8-10||18-11||#9 seed lost in second round|
|1995||Iowa State||Big Eight||6-8||23-11||#7 seed lost in second round|
|1996||Clemson||ACC||7-9||18-11||#9 seed lost in first round|
|1997||Virginia||ACC||7-9||18-13||#9 seed lost in first round|
|1998||Clemson||ACC||7-9||18-13||#6 seed lost in first round|
|1998||Florida State||ACC||6-10||17-13||#12 seed lost in second round|
|1999||Purdue||Big Ten||7-9||21-13||#10 seed lost in regional semifinals|
|2001||Penn State||Big Ten||7-9||21-12||#7 seed lost in regional semifinals|
|2003||Alabama||SEC||7-9||17-12||#10 seed lost in first round|
|2004||Maryland||ACC||7-9||20-12||#4 seed lost in second round|
|2005||Iowa||Big Ten||7-9||21-12||#10 seed lost in first round|
|2005||North Carolina State||ACC||7-9||21-14||#10 seed lost in regional semifinals|
|2007||Arkansas||SEC||7-9||21-13||#12 seed lost in first round|
|2008||Arizona||Pacific-10||8-10||19-14||#10 seed lost in first round|
|2009||Maryland||ACC||7-9||20-13||#10 seed lost in second round|
|2010||Georgia Tech||ACC||7-9||22-12||#10 seed lost in second round|
|2012||Connecticut||Big East||8-10||20-13||#9 seed lost in first round|
|2013||Illinois||Big Ten||8-10||22-12||#7 seed lost in second round|
|2013||Minnesota||Big Ten||8-10||20-12||#1 seed lost in second round|
|2014||Oklahoma State||Big 12||8-10||21-12||#9 seed lost in first round|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 4 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's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only conference to have five different members win the national championship although it has only one title in the previous 24 years. Hint: One of the five members to capture a title didn't participate in the NCAA playoffs from 1948 through 1993. The league came within eight points of going 0-11 in the tournament in 1995 and 1996.
2. Name the only conference to have all of its current members win at least one NCAA Tournament game in the 1990s. Hint: It's the only league to have all of its current members participate in at least 10 NCAA playoff games.
3. Who is the only coach to have more than 15 of his teams appear in the playoffs but none reach the Final Four? Hint: He has the worst record in NCAA Tournament history for any coach with at least 25 decisions and was also 1-5 in the NIT. He has more victories as a pitcher in the College World Series for his alma mater than basketball Final Four appearances. He is the only coach with more than 700 victories never to advance to the national semifinals.
4. Who is the only retired major college coach with more than 700 victories to never reach the Final Four? Hint: He is the only coach to go at least 20 years between NCAA Tournament appearances with the same school.
5. Who is the only coach to leave an NCAA champion before the next season for another coaching job? Hint: He is the only coach to earn a trip to the Final Four in his first college season despite finishing the season with at least 10 defeats. He is also the only coach to reach the NCAA final after finishing fourth or lower in regular-season conference standings. Moreover, he is one of just two coaches, both were also NBA head coaches, to take two different schools to the NCAA playoff championship game.
6. Who is the only coach to direct teams to the NCAA Final Four and the NBA Finals and compile a winning NCAA playoff career record? Hint: His son coached at three Division I schools, taking two of them to the NCAA playoffs.
7. Name the only school to become NCAA champion despite losing five home games during the regular season. Hint: The school didn't participate in nine consecutive NCAA Tournaments and twice in a four-year span in the mid-1970s lost a first-round game after reaching the national final the previous season.
8. Name the only coach of an NCAA titlist to previously play major league baseball. Hint: The Hall of Famer's 18-year college head coaching career was all at one university.
9. Who is the only coach to compile NCAA playoff records at least three games above .500 at two different schools (minimum of five victories at each school) before Rick Pitino arrived at Louisville? Hint: The coach earned a doctorate.
10. Name the only school to have six different coaches take the university to the Final Four. Hint: Of the schools to win at least two national championships, it's the only one in the select group to go more than 25 years between titles.
Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl returned to the SEC in a similar capacity at Auburn. Pearl joins the following alphabetical list of active coaches who were bench bosses of two different schools in the same conference:
|Active Coach||Conference||First School||Second School|
|Cy Alexander||Mid-Eastern Athletic||South Carolina State (1988-2003)||North Carolina A&T (since 2013)|
|Horace Broadnax||Mid-Eastern Athletic||Bethune-Cookman (1998-2002)||Savannah State (since 2006)|
|Keith Dambrot||Mid-American||Central Michigan (1992 & '93)||Akron (since 2005)|
|Bill Herrion||North Atlantic/America East||Drexel (1992-99)||New Hampshire (since 2007)|
|Barry Hinson||Missouri Valley||Missouri State (2000-08)||Southern Illinois (since 2013)|
|Bob Huggins||Big 12||Kansas State (2007)||West Virginia (since 2013)|
|Ernie Kent||Pacific-10/12||Oregon (1998-2010)||Washington State (since 2015)|
|Jim Molinari||Mid-Continent/Summit League||Northern Illinois (1991)||Western Illinois (since 2009)|
|Kevin Nickelberry||Mid-Eastern Athletic||Hampton (2007-10)||Howard (since 2011)|
|Bruce Pearl||SEC||Tennessee (2006-11)||Auburn (since 2015)|
|Keith Richard||Sun Belt||Louisiana Tech (1999-2001)||Louisiana-Monroe (since 2011)|
The NCAA is not the only organization that should exhibit sensitivity to doing what it can to helping modify a culture contributing to the glamorization of untested athletes and suspect characters in college sports. ESPN frequently exploits teenagers beyond reason before they graduate from high school and the Worldwide Leader hypes hoops with endless hours of analysis, promotion and games. The Extra Sensitive Pious Network, playing the blame game by a different set of rules, pays obscene amounts of cash to power conferences for TV rights and gives outrageous forums to questionable individuals. By any measure, ESPN is as much, or perhaps more, at fault as the NCAA for entirely abdicating any obligation to protecting the interests of academic and moral integrity.
Pardon the interruption, but a classic example of ESPN's sanctimonious indifference to eroding values was a couple of years ago when it hired disgraced ex-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl as a full-time analyst plus possibly a budding part-time interior decorator. How could a viewer trust anything the former Boston College mascot said while winging it when the virtuous Volunteer encouraged recruits to "stretch the truth," couldn't remember what his home looked like inside and acquired acute amnesia when asked if he recognized his assistant coach's wife?
ESPN, rather than finding an insider with less baggage, felt compelled to "force" Pearl and his highly questionable ethics into the homes of SportsNation. Accepting Bruce-On-the-Loose's pearls of wisdom as the next Valvano variation of a showman was one thing, but Auburn sacrificing its standards, or lack thereof, is quite another. Much like Pearl revisiting the SEC, let's revisit this win-at-all-costs issue in a few years and see who had lyin' eyes. Just have the "show-cause" integrity to follow a "No Photos Allowed" sign at his new Sweet Home in Alabama and don't secretly tape conversations he has with recruits like someone Tigers fans will come to know and love because he'll secure a few more victories although few, if any, worthy of wasting toilet paper at Toomer's Corner.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, following is Day 3 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's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only coach to lose as many as five games to teams with double-digit seeds? Hint: Four of the defeats in this category were in consecutive years.
2. Name the only historically black college and university to win multiple NCAA Tournament games. Hint: It posted the first three HBCU victories in the early 1980s.
3. Who was the coach of the only University of Detroit team to win an NCAA playoff game until the Titans defeated St. John's in 1998? Hint: Detroit lost to an in-state rival in a regional semifinal four days after posting its first tournament victory. The coach of that squad is the only Seton Hall graduate to win an NCAA tourney game.
4. Name the only school with more than 30 NCAA Tournament appearances to compile a losing playoff record and never appear in the national championship game. Hint: It's the only school to finish more than 10 seasons ranked in an AP Top 10 since the wire service's first poll in 1949 to never win an NCAA Tournament title.
6. Name the only conference to have three representatives at a single Final Four by winning regional finals against three members from another league. Hint: No player scored more than 20 points in the three Final Four games that year.
7. Who is the only coach with six or more NCAA playoff appearances to reach a regional final every time? Hint: His school is the only one to win back-to-back NCAA championships in its first two appearances in the tournament. His son was coach of a school in the same conference when the institution participated in the tourney for the initial time.
8. Name the only school to win at least one playoff game in a year it entered the tournament with a losing record after suffering 14 consecutive defeats during one stretch of the regular season. Hint: The school participated in the national championship game the previous year and was once runner-up in the NCAA Tournament and NIT in the same season. The school has also won just one playoff game since 1955, the season it finished with its worst overall record in a 53-year span and became the only team ever to enter the playoffs with a record of more than 10 games under .500.
9. Name the only school to have as many as seven different coaches compile losing NCAA playoff records. Hint: The school is more games under .500 in tournament play than any institution, but pulled off a first-round upset of a defending champion behind a star player who subsequently entered the coaching profession and compiled a 6-3 NCAA Tournament record with another university in the same state from 1989-90 through 1991-92.
10. Name the only school to advance to a regional semifinal in three consecutive campaigns despite having a double-digit seed each year. Hint: The school defeated teams from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, C-USA, Pacific-10 and SEC during the NCAA playoffs in that span.
Although it appears the case, the Final Four hasn't eternally been the final word in national postseason competition. The 68-team NCAA playoffs, which played second fiddle to the National Invitation Tournament in their formative years, seemed to haughtily look down upon the NIT as little more than an acronymn contest for derisive entries such as National Insignificant Tournament, Not Influential Tournament, Nominally Important Tournament, No Interest Tournament, Nearly Ignominious Tournament, Naturally Impaired Tournament, Never Impressionable Tournament, etc.
The NIT champion can proclaim, "We're No. 69!" But in an earlier era, the NIT was superior to the NCAA at a time when airplanes didn't dominate the transportation industry, television was in its infancy and New York's Madison Square Garden was the place to be if a team wanted extensive national exposure. If ever there was a concept whose time had arrived, it was the NIT in 1938. If ever there was a location to conduct a national tourney at a time when the sports page was the principal place to digest sports news, it was in New York because of Gotham's 20 or so daily newspapers.
As competition for this year's NIT unfolds, here are top 40 hits for the event, citing nuggets you should know about the history of the nation's oldest national postseason tournament:
2. The 1939 NIT final featured two unbeaten teams when Long Island University defeated Loyola of Chicago, 44-32, marking the only matchup in major-college history when two undefeated major colleges met in a national postseason tournament. LIU finished with a 23-0 record and Loyola 21-1.
3. Frankie Baumholtz capped his Ohio University college basketball career by earning MVP honors in the 1941 NIT when he led the tourney in scoring with 53 points in three games for the second-place Bobcats, including a game-high 19 in the final. He went on to become a major-league outfielder who led the National League in pinch hits in 1955 and 1956.
5. Long before Michigan's "Fab Five" made headlines as a freshman-dominated team reaching the 1992 NCAA Tournament final, Toledo's similar squad finished runner-up to St. John's in the 1943 NIT. The Rockets were dubbed "Friddle's Freshmen" because first-year coach Berle Friddle had an all-freshman starting lineup. Toledo's roster included Emlen Tunnell, who went on to become a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame after playing in nine Pro Bowls as a defensive back.
7. In the early years of national postseason competition, the NCAA playoffs were scheduled after the NIT, which was clearly basketball's showcase event. For instance, NIT runner-up Rhode Island State upended Bowling Green in overtime in their NIT opener in 1946 after the Rams' Ernie Calverley swished a shot from beyond halfcourt at the end of regulation in perhaps the most exciting moment in NIT history.
8. Many observers think the 1948 NIT, starting the tourney's second decade, was the best from a strength standpoint. If there had been a national poll at the time, it is believed that five of the nation's top seven teams were in the NIT, which was won that year by Ed Macauley-led St. Louis University.
14. The final year teams participated in both national tournaments was 1952, when Dayton, Duquesne, St. John's and St. Louis doubled up on postseason participation. St. John's was runner-up to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament that year after the Redmen lost their opener in the NIT against La Salle (51-45).
15. In 1954, the last four NIT survivors (Holy Cross, Duquesne, Niagara and Western Kentucky) combined to win 91% of their games entering the semifinals, while their NCAA Final Four counterparts (La Salle, Bradley, Penn State and Southern California) combined to win barely over 70% of their games. Niagara, the third-place finisher in the NIT, defeated 1954 NCAA champion La Salle twice during the regular season by a total of 27 points.
16. Dave Ricketts, a sophomore starter for Duquesne's 1955 NIT champion, went on to become a major-league catcher who played with the Cardinals in the 1967 and 1968 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.
17. NIT champion-to-be Louisville was ranked 4th in the nation by AP in mid-February of 1956 when it lost by 40 points at Xavier (99-59). Two years later, Xavier lost 10 of its final 15 regular-season games after a 10-1 start and the NIT asked the Musketeers to give back its NIT bid. Xavier, however, said "no" and went on to win the 1958 NIT title despite being seeded last under first-year head coach Jim McCafferty.
18. Garry Roggenburk, the leading scorer for Dayton's 1962 NIT titlist, went on to become a lefthanded pitcher for five seasons later in the decade with three American League teams - the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Pilots.
19. The prestigious ACC, prior to its inaugural season in 1953-54, instituted a rule that no member could participate in the NIT. The ban remained in place until Duke was eliminated by Southern Illinois in the  quarterfinals. The final NIT at the old Garden in 1967 belonged to SIU, a so-called "small" school sparked by a smooth swingman named Walt Frazier. He wasn't Clyde yet, but the future Knick was well on his way.
20. One of the most bizarre incidents in NIT history was halftime of a game in 1968 when Oklahoma City coach Abe Lemons, annoyed with his team after playing poorly in the first half against Duke, ordered the Chiefs back to the court during intermission to scrimmage rather than to the dressing room to rest and regroup. Announcer Howard Cosell rattled off several questions to Lemons: "Coach, are you crazy? Won't your boys be too tired to play the second half? Where did you learn this coaching tactic? Did you do this to amuse the crowd?" Lemons, as determined not to respond to the questions as Cosell was at getting an answer, fired back, "Listen mister, you may be big stuff in New York, but you ain't nothin' in Walters, Okla. (Lemons' humble hometown)."
21. The issue of "choice" came to a head in 1970 when Marquette, an independent school coached by fiesty Al McGuire, won the NIT after rejecting an NCAA at-large invitation because the Warriors were going to be placed in the NCAA Midwest Regional (Fort Worth, Tex.) instead of closer to home in the Mideast Regional (Dayton, Ohio). McGuire's snub led the NCAA to decree any school offered an NCAA bid must accept it or be prohibited from participating in postseason competition.
22. SEC rival Tennessee was the only school to hold Pete Maravich under 30 points until Georgetown and Marquette achieved the feat in the 1970 NIT. Maravich, the highest scorer in NCAA history, ended his career at the NIT sitting on the bench in civilian clothes because of ankle and hip injuries, watching his father's LSU team finish fourth by losing to Bob Knight-coached Army. Pistol Pete had, for him, endured a suspect tourney in the brightest postseason spotlight ever focused on his extraordinary abilities. He averaged 25.7 points per game in three NIT assignments (18.5 ppg lower than his career average).
23. Julius Erving's final college game with Massachusetts was a 90-49 loss to eventual NIT champion North Carolina in the first round in 1971. The Tar Heels captured the crown although their leading scorer, junior forward Dennis Wuycik (18.4 ppg), suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Minutemen.
24. The competitive NIT, boasting three double overtime games in 1971, was a stark contrast in than period to the NCAA Tournament otherwise known as the "UCLA Invitational." Seemingly invincible UCLA captured seven consecutive NCAA titles from 1967 through 1973 by winning 28 tournament games by an average of almost 18 points per contest. In 1973, the Bruins' four tournament victories were by an average of 16 points, including a 21-point triumph over Memphis State in the championship game. Meanwhile, NIT champion Virginia Tech won four exciting postseason games that year by a total of five points, including a game-winning basket at the buzzer in overtime in the final against Notre Dame. The next year, seven of the total of 12 NIT games in the first round and quarterfinals were decided by four points or less.
27. Anthony Roberts' NIT single-game standard of 65 points accounted for 73 percent of Oral Roberts' output in a 90-89 loss to Oregon in the 1977 first round. Roberts' outburst is even more impressive because the Ducks ranked fifth in the nation in team defense (60.9 points per game).
28. NIT attendance slipped to an all-time low in 1976 although national power Kentucky won the title. In 1977, former executive director Pete Carlesimo, the father of former Seton Hall coach P.J. Carlesimo, saved the NIT by implementing a plan whereby early-round games were played at campus sites and locations across the country before the four semifinalists advanced to New York.
29. In a five-year span from 1980 through 1984 when the NCAA field ranged from 48 to 52 teams, Virginia (1980 NIT champion), DePaul (1983 runner-up) and Michigan (1984 champion) became NCAA regional No. 1 seeds the year after reaching an NIT final.
31. In 1985, the NIT started a preseason tournament, which evolved into the nation's premier in-season tourney and carried as much clout, if not more, than the postseason NIT. Coaches were fond of the preseason NIT because those games were exempt from counting against their regular-season limit of contests.
32. The NCAA postseason record of 14 three-point field goals was set by Kansas State guard Askia Jones in a 115-77 victory over Fresno State in the 1994 NIT quarterfinals. Jones, the son of former Villanova standout guard Wali Jones, poured in 28 of his Big Eight Conference-record 45 second-half points in the first 7:12 after intermission. His final total of 62 points, spurred by nine consecutive successful three-point shots bridging the first and second halves, was the second-highest scoring output in major-college postseason history.
33. The NIT's first nine champions lost a total of 25 games, but its 15 titlists from 1986 through 2000 combined to go 32 games below .500 in conference competition, including a 4-12 league mark compiled by 1988 Big East cellar dweller Connecticut and a 4-10 league record registered by 1996 Big Eight seventh-place team Nebraska.
34. The NIT's "final four" participants have combined to average more than 13 defeats per team since the NCAA field expanded to at least 64 entrants, including a grim 19-18 mark by 1985 NIT fourth-place finisher Louisville.
35. Former St. John's coach Joe Lapchick was the winningest coach in NIT history with a 21-10 record until Dave Odom tied him (21-3). St. John's has made more NIT appearances, won more NIT games and captured more NIT championships (six) than any school.
37. The NIT titlists since 1985 combined for a losing national postseason tournament record the year after capturing an NIT championship.
39. In 2000, Notre Dame forward Troy Murphy became the first consensus first-team All-American to participate in the NIT since forward Larry Bird of Indiana State, a loser at Rutgers in the 1978 quarterfinals.
Unrealistic expectations spread like a virus across the country when a young pup such as Brad Stevens becomes a big dawg by winning 11 NCAA Tournament games in his first four seasons coaching mid-major Butler before departing for the NBA's Boston Celtics at the conclusion of the 2012-13 campaign. But many school administrations and boosters need to exercise a little patience in this era of instant gratification. As for any of the misguided media, they should take a cue from ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg, who is deemed an expert after winning a grand total of one NCAA playoff game in 22 years as a DI head coach.
Starter-kit supporters for some schools should take a chill pill if their coach remains winless in NCAA Tournament competition by losing an opener. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski has been frustrated by the tourney long before losing against Mercer. Take a long look at how long it took for the following alphabetical list of high-profile coaches, including all-time leader Krzyzewski, to secure their first NCAA playoff victory.
NOTE: The victories for retired Greer, McCarthy and Newton were the only one they posted in NCAA playoff participation.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 2 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's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only individual selected the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player three times? Hint: His real first name was Ferdinand and he is the only player to couple three unanimous first team All-American seasons with three NCAA championships. He is also the only player to hit better than 70 percent of his field-goal attempts in two NCAA title games.
2. Who is the only coach to twice guide three different schools to the NCAA playoffs in the same decade? Hint: He achieved the feat in a span of six straight seasons and is the only coach to have two different sons play for him in the tourney with two different schools.
3. Who is the only one of the 40 Final Four Most Outstanding Players from 1972 through 2011 not to play for the championship team? Hint: He never led his college team in scoring average in any of his three seasons at the school.
4. Who is the only coach to guide a school to the Final Four as many as five times and never capture the national championship? Hint: He lost each time at the Final Four to the eventual titlist and served as captain for the school's first team in 1946.
5. Name the only current Pacific-12 Conference member never to reach the Final Four. Hint: The school has made more tournament appearances than seven Pac-12 members, but lost three West Regional finals by a total of 40 points before joining the conference. It absorbed the largest margin of defeat for the 14 No. 1 or 2 seeds losing their playoff opener since seeding started in 1979.
6. Name the only conference to have five teams all lose their opening-round game in a single tourney. Hint: The league has had four different schools lose first-round games by more than 20 points against squads with double-digit seeds since seeding started in 1979.
7. Who is the only coach to win a tournament game for four different schools? Hint: He was the only coach in the 20th Century to direct four different universities to the NCAA playoffs.
8. Who is the only individual to win NCAA titles in his first two seasons as head coach at a school? Hint: He achieved the feat the first year after the eligibility expired for the school's most illustrious player, a three-time UPI Player of the Year who led the nation in scoring each season.
9. Who is the only active coach to take two different schools to the NCAA playoffs in his maiden voyage with them after they posted a losing mark the previous campaign? Hint: He posted the nation's best winning percentage by a first-year major college head coach in 1987-88 when he went 20-10 (.667) in his lone season with yet another school.
10. Name the only school to reach the Final Four in its one and only NCAA Tournament appearance in the 20th Century. Hint: The coach of the Final Four team is the only individual to win more than 30 games in earning a trip to the national semifinals in his first season.
In a caste-like era separating the haves from the have-nots, imperial universities are seeking mega-conferences and, perhaps in the near future, a restrictive upper division. But the socially elite won't ever be able to exclude small schools from making a big impact on the NCAA playoffs.
Smaller colleges, many of them in the hinterlands, have supplied a striking number of the biggest names in coaching. From 1995 through 2000, five of the six NCAA Tournament championship coaches (Jim Calhoun, Jim Harrick, Tom Izzo, Lute Olson and Tubby Smith) graduated from obscure colleges with smaller enrollments. In fact, it is a rarity for a Final Four not to feature at least one coach who graduated from a non-Division I school.
John Calipari, a graduate of Clarion (Pa.) State, guided Kentucky to the 2012 national championship before Michigan's John Beilein (Wheeling Jesuit, NY) and Wichita State's Gregg Marshall (Randolph-Macon VA) directed teams to last year's Final Four. Following is an alphabetical list of 2014 NCAA Tournament mentors who worked their way up the ladder after graduating from a small school:
NCAA Playoff Coach School Small-College Alma Mater Dana Altman Oregon Eastern New Mexico '80 Rick Barnes Texas Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) '77 John Beilein Michigan Wheeling Jesuit (N.Y.) '75 Will Brown Albany Dowling (N.Y.) '95 John Calipari Kentucky Clarion (Pa.) State '82 Joe Callero Cal Poly Central Washington '86 Ed Cooley Providence Stonehill (Mass.) '94 Steve Fisher San Diego State Illinois State '67 Bob Hoffman Mercer Oklahoma Baptist '79 Tom Izzo Michigan State Northern Michigan '77 Rob Jeter Milwaukee Wisconsin-Platteville '91 Mike Lonergan George Washington Catholic (D.C.) '88 Gregg Marshall Wichita State Randolph-Macon (Va.) '85 Phil Martelli Saint Joseph's Widener (Pa.) '77 Tim Miles Nebraska Mary (N.D.) '89 Saul Phillips North Dakota State Wisconsin-Platteville '96 Randy Rahe Weber State Buena Vista (Colo.) '82 Monte' Ross Delaware Winston-Salem (N.C.) State '92 William "Bo" Ryan Wisconsin Wilkes College (Pa.) '69 Herb Sendek North Carolina State Carnegie-Mellon (Pa.) '85 Shaka Smart Virginia Commonwealth Kenyon (Ohio) '99 Mike Young Wofford Emory & Henry (Va.) '86
NOTE: Illinois State is now classified as an NCAA Division I university.