When Villanova defeated North Carolina in the national final, the Wildcats joined 12 previous NCAA Tournament titlists rebounding from a non-league defeat to upend the same opponent in the playoffs. Nova had a 67-point turnaround in frustrating Oklahoma in the national semifinals, 95-51, notching the largest-ever margin in a Final Four contest (44 points). Every full decade of NCAA playoff competition had at least one of the following champions in this category (in reverse order):
|Year||Round||Champion Reversing Result||Earlier Margin of Defeat vs. Same Non-League Foe|
|2016||National Semifinals||Villanova 95, Oklahoma 51||23 points at Honolulu|
|2012||Regional Semifinals||Kentucky 102, Indiana 90||one point at Indiana|
|2004||National Final||Connecticut 82, Georgia Tech 73||16 points at New York|
|1996||National Semifinals||Kentucky 81, Massachusetts 74||10 points at Springfield, MA|
|1993||National Final||North Carolina 77, Michigan 71||one point at Honolulu|
|1988||National Semifinals||Kansas 66, Duke 59||four points at home|
|1981||National Final||Indiana 63, North Carolina 50||nine points at North Carolina|
|1977||First Round||Marquette 66, Cincinnati 51||independent lost by one point at Cincy|
|1974||National Semifinals||North Carolina State 80, UCLA 77 (2OT)||18 points at St. Louis|
|1968||National Semifinals||UCLA 101, Houston 69||two points vs. independent at Astrodome|
|1953||Regional Final||Indiana 79, Notre Dame 66||one point at independent Notre Dame|
|1945||Regional Final||Oklahoma A&M 68, Arkansas 41||three points at Arkansas|
|1941||Regional Final||Wisconsin 36, Pittsburgh 30||two points vs. independent at home|
No one thought any set of non-conference opponents ever would come close to duplicating what occurred in 1952 when St. John's upset top-ranked Kentucky, 64-57, in an Eastern Regional final after the Redmen left UK red-faced earlier in the season by 41 points (81-40). St. John's subsequently bowed against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament final by 17 points. But St. John's 48-point turnaround paled in sweet-revenge comparison to Villanova's stunning 67-point turnaround after Nova overwhelmed Oklahoma, 95-51, in the national semifinals following a 23-point setback against OU in Hawaii earlier in the campaign.
Naturally, the most amazing reversals of fortune in a single season happen among annual rivals in conference competition. In 1997-98, Missouri rebounded from the Tigers' most-lopsided loss in school history (111-56 at Kansas State) to defeat the Wildcats in their Big 12 Conference return engagement (89-59 at Mizzou) for an incredible 85-point turnaround in margin. Following is a list citing about-faces of more than 65 points in the same season among league rivals:
|Pts.||Season||Opponents Splitting Verdicts||First Game Winner (Margin)||Second Game Winner (Margin)|
|85||1997-98||by Missouri vs. Kansas State||Kansas State 111-56 (55)||Missouri 89-59 (30)|
|71||2000-01||by UTEP vs. Fresno State||Fresno State 108-56 (52)||UTEP 80-61 (19)|
|68||1997-98||by Alabama vs. Auburn||Auburn 94-40 (54)||Alabama 76-62 (14)|
|67||1996-97||by UCLA vs. Stanford||Stanford 109-61 (48)||UCLA 87-68 (19)|
|66||1997-98||by Michigan vs. Indiana||Indiana 80-62 (18)||Michigan 112-64 (48)|
Extra! Extra! As a new season is on the horizon, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history.
Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only four percent of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 2 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
In 2001, San Diego Padres RF Tony Gwynn (All-WAC basketball second-team selection with San Diego State in 1979-80 and 1980-81) became the fifth player in N.L. history to spend 20-plus years playing his entire career with one franchise.
New York Mets manager Gil Hodges (played for St. Joseph's IN in 1943 and Oakland City IN in 1947 and 1948), two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffered a fatal heart attack in 1972 after playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday.
RHP Bobby Humphreys (four-year letterman for Hampden-Sydney VA in mid-1950s) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Washington Senators in 1966.
LF David Justice (led Thomas More KY in assists in 1984-85), debuting with the Cleveland Indians, whacked a tie-breaking two-run homer in the seventh inning in a 9-7 decision over the Oakland A's in 1997.
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.
There is a tendency to overindulge at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Anyone digesting the following assortment of did-you-know facts on 2016 Final Four coaches should find that variety is the spice of this smorgasbord:
Jim Boeheim (Syracuse): Avid golfer, an assistant basketball coach under Roy Danforth, also served as varsity golf coach for the Orange from 1967 until the program disbanded in 1973. Three-year teammate of Syracuse All-American Dave Bing in the mid-1960s played in the CBA for the Scranton Miners. Boeheim made 13-of-19 field-goal attempts (68.4%) in two 1966 NCAA playoff games for East Regional runner-up. On five occasions (1977-84-96-01-03), he guided the Orange to the Top 20 in a final AP poll after they were not ranked that high in the preseason.
Lon Kruger (Oklahoma): Never has won an undisputed regular-season conference championship (tied for first in SEC with Florida in 1993-94 and in Big Ten with Illinois in 1997-98). He was selected in 12th round of 1970 MLB draft by the Houston Astros out of high school and in 21st round of 1974 MLB draft by the St. Louis Cardinals after graduating from Kansas State, compiling a 1-6 pitching record in summer of '74 for St. Petersburg (Florida State League/Class A).
Roy Williams (North Carolina): Coached eventual Tar Heels All-American Brad Daugherty in fourth grade. Williams' son, Scott, was a backup guard with the Tar Heels.
Jay Wright (Villanova): Worked as an administrative assistant with the Philadelphia Stars football franchise, which captured the 1983 United States Football League championship.
Drawing upon all resources including degrees of success to motivate their teams, following are the educational backgrounds of the Final Four coaches:
|Final Four Coach||School||Bachelor's||Master's|
|Jim Boeheim||Syracuse||Social Science||Social Science|
|Lon Kruger||Oklahoma||Business||Physical Education|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||Education||Education|
Close likely will determine who gets to smoke the victory cigar. Boeheim boasts the best mark among active coaches in tight tilts decided by fewer than six points. Ask Arizona fans if close doesn't count after the Wildcats lost five regional finals from 2003 through 2015 by a total of 14 points. Following is how the 2016 Final Four mentors 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.|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||1989-2016||19-14||21-17||24-16||22-22||23-17||109-86||.559|
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.
Extra! Extra! As a new season is on the horizon, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history.
Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only four percent of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 1 calendar of events focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
OF Larry Doby (reserve guard for Virginia Union's 1943 CIAA basketball titlist) traded by the Baltimore Orioles to the Cleveland Indians in 1958.
LF "Sweet" Lou Johnson (Kentucky State teammate of legendary HBCU coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Los Angeles Angels in 1961.
INF Paul Popovich (averaged 3.3 ppg for West Virginia's 1960 NCAA playoff team) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Tom Dettore (averaged 14.1 ppg and 9 rpg for Juniata PA in 1965-66) and cash in 1974.
Don't mean to hurt "wittle" feelings of Washington-area fans sympathetic to Emory students terrified by Trump chalk talk. But if history means anything, a National Invitation Tournament crown won't serve as a springboard to NCAA playoff success for George Washington. Defending NIT champions combined for a 12-17 NCAA Tournament record from 1986 through 2016 with the previous two kingpins not participating at all in national postseason competition.
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. Four more NIT champions in the last 10 years - South Carolina '06, Penn State '09, Minnesota '14 and Stanford '16 - 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.
Only three schools in the last 32 years reached an NCAA regional semifinal the year after capturing an NIT title - (Virginia '93, West Virginia '08) and Baylor '14. Virginia is the last ACC member to post a winning league mark the year after securing an NIT crown. 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 (T6th); lost in NCAA regional semifinals 2014 Minnesota 18-15; 6-12 in Big Ten (T10th); no postseason 2015 Stanford 15-15; 8-10 in Pac-12 (9th); no postseason 2016 George Washington To be determined in 2016-17
Chattanooga's Matt McCall (29-5) posted the most first-year victories for an NCAA Division I coaching newcomer this season. Following are rookie NCAA Division I head coaches with the best winning percentages going back to 1963-64 when Tates Locke became Bob Knight's predecessor at Army:
|Season||First-Year Head Coach||School||W-L||Pct.||Predecessor|
|1963-64||Tates Locke||Army||19-7||.731||George Hunter|
|1964-65||Gary Thompson||Wichita State||21-9||.700||Ralph Miller|
|1965-66||Lou Carnesecca||St. John's||18-8||.692||Joe Lapchick|
|1965-66||Bob Knight||Army||18-8||.692||Tates Locke|
|1966-67||Tommy Bartlett||Florida||21-4||.840||Norm Sloan|
|1967-68||John Dromo||Louisville||21-7||.750||Peck Hickman|
|1968-69||Tom Gola||La Salle||23-1||.958||Jim Harding|
|1969-70||Terry Holland||Davidson||22-5||.815||Lefty Driesell|
|1970-71||Richard "Digger" Phelps||Fordham||26-3||.897||Ed Conlin|
|1971-72||Chuck Daly||Penn||25-3||.893||Dick Harter|
|1972-73||Norm Ellenberger||New Mexico||21-6||.778||Bob King|
|1973-74||Lute Olson||Long Beach State||24-2||.923||Jerry Tarkanian|
|1974-75||Tom Apke||Creighton||20-7||.741||Eddie Sutton|
|1974-75||Wayne Yates||Memphis State||20-7||.741||Gene Bartow|
|1975-76||Bill Blakeley||North Texas State||22-4||.846||Gene Robbins|
|1976-77||Jim Boeheim||Syracuse||26-4||.867||Roy Danforth|
|1976-77||Charlie Schmaus||Virginia Military||26-4||.867||Bill Blair|
|1977-78||Gary Cunningham||UCLA||25-3||.893||Gene Bartow|
|1978-79||Bill Hodges||Indiana State||33-1||.971||Bob King|
|1979-80||Bob Dukiet||St. Peter's||22-9||.710||Bob Kelly|
|1979-80||Dave "Lefty" Ervin||La Salle||22-9||.710||Paul Westhead|
|1980-81||Pat Foster||Lamar||25-5||.833||Billy Tubbs|
|1981-82||Jim Boyle||St. Joseph's||25-5||.833||Jim Lynam|
|1982-83||Ed Tapscott||American University||20-10||.667||Gary Williams|
|1983-84||Rick Huckabay||Marshall||25-6||.806||Bob Zuffelato|
|1984-85||Newton Chelette||Southeastern Louisiana||18-9||.667||Ken Fortenberry|
|1985-86||Pete Gillen||Xavier||25-5||.833||Bob Staak|
|1986-87||Pete Herrmann||Navy||26-6||.813||Paul Evans|
|1987-88||Rick Barnes||George Mason||20-10||.667||Joe Harrington|
|1988-89||Kermit Davis||Idaho||25-6||.806||Tim Floyd|
|1989-90||Jim Anderson||Oregon State||22-7||.759||Ralph Miller|
|1990-91||Alan LeForce||East Tennessee State||28-5||.848||Les Robinson|
|1991-92||Blaine Taylor||Montana||27-4||.871||Stew Morrill|
|1992-93||Fran Fraschilla||Manhattan||23-7||.767||Steve Lappas|
|1993-94||Kirk Speraw||Central Florida||21-9||.700||Joe Dean Jr.|
|1994-95||George "Tic" Price||New Orleans||20-11||.645||Tim Floyd|
|1995-96||Mike Heideman||Wisconsin-Green Bay||25-4||.862||Dick Bennett|
|1996-97||Bill Carmody||Princeton||24-4||.857||Pete Carril|
|1997-98||Bill Guthridge||North Carolina||34-4||.895||Dean Smith|
|1998-99||Tevester Anderson||Murray State||27-6||.818||Mark Gottfried|
|1999-00||Mark Few||Gonzaga||26-9||.743||Dan Monson|
|2000-01||Thad Matta||Butler||24-8||.750||Barry Collier|
|2001-02||Stan Heath||Kent State||29-6||.829||Gary Waters|
|2002-03||Brad Brownell||UNC Wilmington||24-7||.774||Jerry Wainwright|
|2003-04||Jamie Dixon||Pittsburgh||31-5||.861||Ben Howland|
|2004-05||Mark Fox||Nevada||25-7||.781||Trent Johnson|
|2005-06||Rob Jeter||Wisconsin-Milwaukee||22-9||.710||Bruce Pearl|
|2006-07||Anthony Grant||Virginia Commonwealth||28-7||.800||Jeff Capel III|
|2007-08||Brad Stevens||Butler||30-4||.882||Todd Lickliter|
|2008-09||Ken McDonald||Western Kentucky||25-9||.735||Darrin Horn|
|2009-10||Shaka Smart||Virginia Commonwealth||27-9||.750||Anthony Grant|
|2010-11||B.J. Hill||Northern Colorado||21-11||.656||Tad Boyle|
|2011-12||Steve Prohm||Murray State||31-2||.939||Billy Kennedy|
|2012-13||Kevin Ollie||Connecticut||20-10||.667||Jim Calhoun|
|2013-14||Brad Underwood||Stephen F. Austin||32-3||.914||Danny Kaspar|
|2014-15||David Richman||North Dakota State||23-10||.697||Saul Phillips|
|2015-16||Matt McCall||Chattanooga||29-5||.853||Will Wade|
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.
UNLV-bound Chris Beard is deemed an ascending star in the coaching profession after compiling a 30-5 record (.857) in his only season with UALR. Beard passed Stan Heath (29 with Kent State in 2001-02) for the highest victory total for a "won-a-done" mentor. But what media mavens fail to point out is there were a couple of coaches - Lute Olson and Digger Phelps - posted even better winning percentages in "short-and-sweet" one-year stints since the generally recognized start of the modern era of college basketball in the early 1950s.
Fordham improved by 14 games in Digger Phelps' only season with the Rams in 1970-71, a mark that stood for one-year wonders until Beard broke it this year with a 15-game improvement after the Trojans went 13-18 in 2014-15. UNC Wilmington's Buzz Peterson, the only coach to win a national postseason championship in his only season at a school (Tulsa), is among the following "one-and-done" coaches who won more than 60% of their games in one-year tenures in the last 50-plus years:
|Coach||School||Season||W-L||Pct.||Reason for One-Year Stint|
|Lute Olson||Long Beach State||1973-74||24-2||.923||Became coach at Iowa.|
|Digger Phelps||Fordham||1970-71||26-3||.897||Became coach at Notre Dame.|
|Chris Beard||UALR||2015-16||30-5||.857||Became coach at UNLV.|
|Carl Tacy||Marshall||1971-72||23-4||.852||Became coach at Wake Forest.|
|Keno Davis||Drake||2007-08||28-5||.848||Became coach at Providence.|
|Matt Painter||Southern Illinois||2003-04||25-5||.833||Became coach at Purdue.|
|Stan Heath||Kent State||2001-02||29-6||.829||Became coach at Arkansas.|
|Thad Matta||Butler||2000-01||24-8||.750||Became coach at Xavier.|
|Bill Fitch||Bowling Green||1967-68||18-7||.720||Became coach at Minnesota.|
|Jim Harding*||La Salle||1967-68||20-8||.714||Forced out by administration.|
|Buzz Peterson||Tulsa||2000-01||26-11||.703||Became coach at Tennessee.|
|Bob Vanatta||Army||1953-54||15-7||.682||Became coach at Bradley.|
|Larry Shyatt||Wyoming||1997-98||19-9||.679||Became coach at Clemson.|
|Rick Barnes||George Mason||1987-88||20-10||.667||Became coach at Providence.|
|Ron Greene||Mississippi State||1977-78||18-9||.667||Became coach at Murray State.|
|Art Tolis||New Orleans||1987-88||21-11||.656||Forced out by administration.|
|Scott Drew||Valparaiso||2002-03||20-11||.645||Became coach at Baylor.|
|Louis Orr||Siena||2000-01||20-11||.645||Became coach at Seton Hall.|
|Bob Huggins||Kansas State||2006-07||22-13||.629||Became coach at West Virginia.|
*Harding became coach for Minnesota (ABA) for portion of 1968-69 season.
Junior college products have made a significant difference for NCAA Tournament titlists. Keith Erickson (El Camino CA), Jack Hirsch (Los Angeles Valley CA), Larry Hollyfield (Compton CA), Terry Schofield (Santa Monica CA), John Vallely (Orange Coast CA) and Sidney Wicks (Santa Monica CA) were instrumental in helping UCLA win seven of its NCAA championships (1964, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973) and mighty mite Bobby Joe Hill (Burlington IA) was the spark-plug for Texas Western when the Miners captured the 1966 title. Wicks is the only individual to become a member of three NCAA champions after playing in junior college.
Taking a cue from Kansas' eight Final Four squads benefiting from J.C. recruits, Oklahoma boasts a couple of juco products on its roster (Akolda Manyang and Dinjiyl Walker). Supplying significantly more impact in previous national semi appearances, the Sooners also had multiple J.C. recruits on their Final Four rosters in 1988 and 2002. Harvey Grant, an All-American for OU in 1987-88, is among the following alphabetical list of key Final Four team members who previously played for junior colleges:
|J.C. Recruit||Pos.||Final Four Team(s)||Junior College(s)|
|George Ackles||C||UNLV '91||Garden City (Kan.)|
|Tony Allen||G||Oklahoma State '04||Wabash Valley (Ill.)|
|Malcolm Armstead||G||Wichita State '13||Chipola (Fla.)|
|Rex Bailey||G||Western Kentucky '71||Vincennes (Ind.)|
|Jarvis Basnight||F||UNLV '87||Mount San Antonio (Calif.)|
|Warren Baxter||G||San Francisco '55 & '56||San Francisco City|
|Corey Beck||G||Arkansas '94 & '95||South Plains (Tex.)|
|Walter Berry||F||St. John's '85||San Jacinto (Tex.)|
|Daron "Mookie" Blaylock||G||Oklahoma '88||Midland (Tex.)|
|Corie Blount||C||Cincinnati '92||Rancho Santiago (Calif.)|
|Carl Boldt||F||San Francisco '56||Glendale (Calif.)|
|Kenny Booker||F-G||UCLA '70 & '71||Long Beach (Calif.)|
|Roy Boone||G||Wisconsin '00||Coffeyville (Kan.)|
|Ron Brewer||G||Arkansas '78||Westark (Ark.)|
|Karl Brown||G||Georgia Tech '90||Chipola (Fla.)|
|Terry Brown||G||Kansas '91||Erie (Pa.) & Northeastern Oklahoma A&M|
|Pembrook Burrows||F||Jacksonville '70||Brevard (Fla.)|
|David Butler||C||UNLV '90||San Jacinto (Tex.)|
|Chet Carr||F||Southern California '54||Vallejo (Calif.)|
|Jerry Chambers||F-C||Utah '66||Trinidad (Colo.)|
|Jason Cipolla||G||Syracuse '96||Tallahassee (Fla.)|
|Charlie Criss||G||New Mexico State '70||New Mexico J.C.|
|Howie Dallmar||G||Stanford '42||Menlo (Calif.)|
|Bennett Davison||F||Arizona '97||West Valley (Calif.)|
|Art Day||C||San Francisco '57||Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.)|
|Jason Detrick||G||Oklahoma '02||Southwest Missouri State-West Plains|
|Alex Dillard||G||Arkansas '94 & '95||Southern Union (Ala.)|
|Don Draper||G||Drake '69||Coffeyville (Kan.)|
|Al Dunbar||G||San Francisco '57||Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.)|
|Jerry Dunn||F||Western Kentucky '71||Vincennes (Ind.)|
|Cleanthony Early||F||Wichita State '13||Sullivan County (N.Y.)|
|Ebi Ere||G||Oklahoma '02||Barton County (Kan.)|
|Denny Fitzpatrick||G||California '59||Orange Coast (Calif.)|
|Jerry Frizzell||F||Seattle '58||Grays Harbor (Wash.)|
|Dean Garrett||C||Indiana '87||City College of San Francisco|
|Alex Gilbert||C||Indiana State '79||Coffeyville (Kan.)|
|Armon Gilliam||F-C||UNLV '87||Independence (Kan.)|
|Artis Gilmore||C||Jacksonville '70||Gardner-Webb (N.C.)|
|Ricky Grace||G||Oklahoma '88||Midland (Tex.)|
|Harvey Grant||F||Oklahoma '88||Independence (Kan.)|
|Jeff Graves||F-C||Kansas '03||Iowa Western|
|Evric Gray||F||UNLV '91||Riverside (Calif.)|
|Rickey Green||G||Michigan '76||Vincennes (Ind.)|
|Carl Hall||F||Wichita State '13||Middle Georgia & Northwest Florida State|
|Arnette Hallman||F||Purdue '80||Joliet (Ill.)|
|Dick Hammer||G||Southern California '54||Fullerton (Calif.)|
|Darrin Hancock||F||Kansas '93||Garden City (Kan.)|
|Josh Harrellson||C||Kentucky '11||Southwestern Illinois|
|Bobby Joe Hill||G||Texas Western '66||Burlington (Iowa)|
|Larry Hollyfield||G-F||UCLA '72 & '73||Compton (Calif.)|
|Lenzie Howell||F||Arkansas '90||San Jacinto (Tex.)|
|Othello Hunter||F||Ohio State '07||Hillsborough (Fla.)|
|Roy Irvin||C||Southern California '54||Fullerton (Calif.)|
|Bobby Jackson||G||Minnesota '97||Western Nebraska|
|Alonzo Jamison||F||Kansas '91||Rancho Santiago (Calif.)|
|David Johanning||C||Kansas '91||Hutchinson (Kan.)|
|Larry Johnson||F||UNLV '90 & '91||Odessa (Tex.)|
|Dontae' Jones||F||Mississippi State '96||Northeast Mississippi|
|Herb Jones||F||Cincinnati '92||Butler County (Kan.)|
|John Keller||F-G||Kansas '52||Garden City (Kan.)|
|Larry Kenon||F||Memphis State '73||Amarillo (Tex.)|
|Weldon Kern||F||Oklahoma A&M '45 & '46||Cameron (Okla.)|
|Charlie Koon||G||Washington '53||Olympic (Wash.)|
|Don Kruse||C||Houston '67||Kilgore (Tex.)|
|Vern Lewis||G||Houston '67 & '68||Tyler (Tex.)|
|Chadrack Lufile||F||Wichita State '13||Chipola (Fla.), Vincennes (Ind.) & Coffeyville (Kan.)|
|Akolda Manyang||C||Oklahoma '16||Indian Hills (Iowa)|
|Archie Marshall||F||Kansas '86||Seminole (Okla.)|
|Erik Martin||F||Cincinnati '92||Rancho Santiago (Calif.)|
|Bob McAdoo||C||North Carolina '72||Vincennes (Ind.)|
|Bill McClintock||F||California '59 & '60||Monterey Peninsula (Calif.)|
|Aaron McGhee||F-C||Oklahoma '02||Vincennes (Ind.)|
|Johnny McNeil||C||Georgia Tech '90||Chowan (N.C.)|
|Lincoln Minor||G||Kansas '88||Midland (Tex.)|
|Wat Misaka||G||Utah '44||Weber (Utah)|
|Casey Mitchell||G||West Virginia '10||Chipola (Fla.)|
|Larry Moffett||C||UNLV '77||Compton (Calif.)|
|Rex Morgan||G||Jacksonville '70||Lake Land (Ill.)|
|Roger Morningstar||F||Kansas '74||Olney (Ill.) Central|
|Willie Murrell||F||Kansas State '64||Eastern Oklahoma A&M|
|Swen Nater||C||UCLA '72 & '73||Cypress (Calif.)|
|Carl Nicks||G||Indiana State '79||Gulf Coast (Fla.)|
|Jim Nielsen||F||UCLA '67 & '68||Pierce (Calif.)|
|Charles Okwandu||C||Connecticut '11||Harcum (Pa.)|
|Ehimen Orukpe||C||Wichita State '13||Three Rivers (Mo.)|
|V.C. "Buck" Overall||F||Texas '43||Tyler (Tex.)|
|Andre Owens||G||Oklahoma State '95||Midland (Tex.)|
|Gerald Paddio||F||UNLV '87||Kilgore (Tex.) & Seminole (Okla.)|
|Hal Patterson||F||Kansas '53||Garden City (Kan.)|
|Mike Preaseau||F||San Francisco '56 & '57||Menlo (Calif.)|
|Ryan Randle||F-C||Maryland '02||Allegany (Md.)|
|George Reese||F||Ohio State '99||Independence (Kan.)|
|George Reynolds||G||Houston '68||Imperial Valley (Calif.)|
|Morris "Moe" Rivers||G||North Carolina State '74||Gulf Coast (Fla.)|
|Dave Rose||G||Houston '83||Dixie State (Utah)|
|Lynden Rose||G||Houston '82||North Harris County (Tex.)|
|Terrell Ross||G||Texas '03||Allegany (Md.)|
|Randy Rutherford||G||Oklahoma State '95||Bacone (Okla.)|
|Greg Samuel||G||Florida State '72||Broward (Fla.)|
|Terry Schofield||G||UCLA '69, '70 & '71||Santa Monica (Calif.)|
|Moses Scurry||F||UNLV '90||San Jacinto (Tex.)|
|Daryan Selvy||F||Oklahoma '02||Carl Albert (Okla.)|
|Tony Skinn||G||George Mason '06||Blinn (Tex.)|
|Keith Smart||G||Indiana '87||Garden City (Kan.)|
|Odie Smith||G||Kentucky '58||Northeast Mississippi|
|Robert Smith||G||UNLV '77||Arizona Western|
|Sam Smith||F||UNLV '77||Seminole (Okla.)|
|Phil Spence||F||North Carolina State '74||Vincennes (Ind.)|
|Elmore Spencer||C||UNLV '91||Connors (Okla.) State|
|Leroy Staley||F||Indiana State '79||Florida J.C.|
|Dwight Stewart||C||Arkansas '94 & '95||South Plains (Tex.)|
|Jozsef Szendrei||C||Oklahoma '02||Northeastern (Colo.)|
|Rich Tate||G||Utah '66||Trinidad (Colo.)|
|Ron Thomas||F||Louisville '72||Henderson County (Tex.)|
|Tom Tolbert||F||Arizona '88||Cerritos (Calif.)|
|Nick Van Exel||G||Cincinnati '92||Trinity Valley (Tex.)|
|Eloy Vargas||C||Kentucky '11 & '12||Miami-Dade (Fla.)|
|Toby Veal||F||Virginia Commonwealth '11||Northwest Florida State|
|Mark Wade||G||UNLV '87||El Camino (Calif.)|
|Dinjiyl Walker||G||Oklahoma '16||Iowa Western|
|Russell Walters||F||Mississippi State '96||Jones County (Miss.)|
|Lloyd Walton||G||Marquette '74||Moberly (Mo.)|
|Quannas White||G||Oklahoma '02||Midland (Tex.)|
|Jerome Whitehead||C||Marquette '77||Riverside (Calif.) City|
|Nick Wiggins||G||Wichita State '13||Vincennes (Ind.) & Wabash Valley (Ill.)|
|Andre Wiley||F||Oklahoma '88||Compton (Calif.)|
|David Willard||C||UNLV '87||Laredo (Tex.)|
|Willie Wise||F||Drake '69||San Francisco City|
|Janavor Weatherspoon||G||Oklahoma State '04||Odessa (Tex.)|
|Gary Zeller||G||Drake '69||Long Beach (Calif.)|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 18 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 major-college coach to finish his career with more than 500 victories and never participate in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: The coach spent his entire four-year school coaching career at one institution and had nine consecutive winning seasons at the Division I level from 1972-73 through 1980-81.
2. Who is the only player to average more than 26 points per game for an undefeated NCAA champion before averaging less than five points per game in his NBA career? Hint: He averaged the same number of points in the NCAA Tournament as he did for the entire season.
3. Who is the only coach to win three national third-place games? Hint: No coach accumulated as many different All-Americans as he did (16) in his first 20 campaigns at a single school.
4. Who is the only former major-college player to score more than 23,000 points in the NBA after never participating in the NCAA Tournament or NIT? Hint: His alma mater returned to small-college status after being at the Division I level for more than 50 years but never appearing in the NCAA playoffs or NIT.
5. Of the 10 different players to compile season scoring averages of more than 23 points per game for a national champion, who is the only individual in this group to tally fewer than 40 points in two games at the Final Four? Hint: His team won both Final Four games that year by a minimum of 20 points.
6. Who is the only individual to coach a team to the Final Four after becoming an NCAA consensus first-team All-American and NBA first-round draft choice? Hint: He joined Chet Walker and Bob Love as 20-points-per-game scorers for the Chicago Bulls in 1969-70 after becoming the first African-American to earn a league MVP while attending a Southern school.
7. Who is the only national player of the year to score less than 10 points when his school was eliminated in a Final Four contest the same season? Hint: He averaged more than 25 points per game in his four previous playoff contests that year.
8. Name the only Final Four team to have as many as six players still on its roster with double-digit season scoring averages. Hint: All six individuals played in the NBA as did another player on the squad who averaged eight points per game.
9. Who is the only All-Tournament selection to finish his college playing career at another major university? Hint: His brother was a wide receiver for a Super Bowl champion.
10. Who is the only leading scorer for a Final Four team to also play for the school's football squad in a New Year's Day bowl game and win a silver medal in the Olympics as a high jumper? Hint: The Olympics climaxed a superb academic school year for the versatile athlete who won the NCAA high jump crown and led his school's football and basketball teams in scoring. He also appeared in the first two NBA All-Star Games.
College basketball has taken on an increasingly international flavor with an average of more than 400 foreign athletes competing for NCAA Division I men's teams over the last 13 seasons. A classic example is Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, a product of the Bahamas who emerged as the first backcourt foreigner in NCAA history to become a two-time All-American.
You've heard of a trade deficit. How about the trade surplus at the national semifinals? All but two Final Four since 1993 had an international flavor with at least one player from outside North America in the regular rotation of a team reaching the national semifinals.
"If communism hadn't fallen, I would have had to make the most difficult decision in my life," said center George Zidek, the starting center for UCLA's 1995 national champion who once was yelped at by dogs and arrested during a riot in Prague. "I would have had to leave to play basketball and never come back to my country or my family. I don't know if I could have done that."
An old adage claimed that fans couldn't tell the players without a roster. Now, it's at the point where fans can't pronounce the names on rosters without taking a couple of Berlitz language courses. Following is a chronological look at Final Four foreigners in the last 24 years coming from 25 different nations (in reverse order):
2016 - Oklahoma G Buddy Hield (Bahamas)
2015 - None
2010 - West Virginia F Deniz Kilicli (Turkey)
2008 - UCLA F-C Alfred Aboya (Cameroon), F Nikola Dragovic (Serbia) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)
2007 - UCLA F-C Alfred Aboya (Cameroon) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)
2006 - Florida G Walter Hodge (Puerto Rico), F-C Al Horford (Dominican Republic) and G David Huertas (Puerto Rico), Louisiana State F Magnum Rolle (Bahamas) and UCLA F-C Alfred Aboya (Cameroon) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)
2003 - Texas G Sydmill Harris (The Netherlands)
2002 - Oklahoma C Jabahri Brown (Virgin Islands) and C Jozsef Szendrei (Hungary)
2001 - None
2000 - Wisconsin G Kirk Penney (New Zealand)
1997 - North Carolina F Ademola Okulaja (Germany) and C Serge Zwikker (Netherlands)
1993 - North Carolina G Henrik Rodl (Germany)
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 17 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. Which school had the only trio to each score at least 20 points in two Final Four games? Hint: All three players finished their college careers with more than 2,000 points and were on the roster the next year when the school lost its playoff opener. The school is the only national runner-up to score more than 85 points in an NCAA final.
2. Name the only school to have three players score more than 20 points in a Final Four game. Hint: The school lost the championship game that year by more than 20 points although the score was tied at halftime.
3. Who is the only player to score 40 or more points in a Final Four game and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: He was held under 10 points in his other Final Four game that year.
4. Who is the only coach to go more than 40 years from his first to his last appearance in the playoffs? Hint: He and his son, who succeeded him, both compiled a losing tourney record.
5. Who is the only player to compile an NBA playoff scoring average more than 15 points per game higher than his NCAA Tournament average? Hint: He scored just six points in his NCAA playoff debut against a school participating in the tourney for just the second time.
6. Who is the only player to lead an NCAA tournament in scoring with more than 120 points and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: He averaged 32.3 points per game in his three-year college career.
7. Who is the only player from 1957 through 1996 to lead a tournament in rebounding and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: His school was making just its second tourney appearance the year he led in rebounding.
8. Who is the only non-guard to be the undisputed leading scorer of an NCAA Tournament and not participate in the Final Four? Hint: He never played in the NBA.
9. Who is the first coach to make more than a dozen NCAA playoff appearances before reaching the Final Four? Hint: He was coach of the first team to win the national championship in its first Final Four appearance since Texas Western in 1966.
10. Who is the only player to take more than 40 field-goal attempts in a playoff game his team lost? Hint: The guard was the nation's leading scorer with more than 36 points per game for the only school to reach the national semifinals of a small-college tournament one year and participate in the NCAA Tournament the next season.
Although there is a disenchantment stigma attached to transfers, it shouldn't be considered a crime. The performance of transfers Michael Gbinije (Syracuse from Duke) and Ryan Spangler (Oklahoma from Gonzaga) could determine the eventual NCAA titlist. Including injured Kentucky star Derek Anderson in 1997, 29 of the last 33 Final Fours featured teams with at least one starter or key reserve who began his college career attending another four-year Division I school.
Vanderbilt guard Billy McCaffrey, a transfer from Duke, is the only All-Tournament selection to finish his college playing career attending another major university. There was no All-Tournament team in 1942 when Stanford guard Howie Dallmar was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player before completing his undergraduate work at Penn toward the end of World War II. McCaffrey earned a spot on the 1991 All-Tournament team by scoring 16 points to help Duke defeat Kansas (72-65) in the championship game.
"What I really wanted was consistency; not playing a key factor in some games, very minimal in others," McCaffrey said. "My role probably would have been the same if I had stayed. I felt I could do more. I needed to enjoy the game more. I think a player likes to know that he can be counted on for certain things every night. That's how I get pleasure from the games. Your college career is too short to spend somewhere you're not happy.
"I don't regret leaving. I cherish those memories. I was happy for them (when the Blue Devils repeated in 1992). I knew when I left that they had a good chance to win (again). I took that into consideration when I made my decision to leave. I'd already been a part of a national championship. Maybe that made it easier."
Following is a chronological look at how transfers have impacted the Final Four in the last 33 years (in reverse order):
2012 - Ohio State F Evan Ravenel (Boston College), Louisville G Chris Smith (Manhattan), Kentucky C Eloy Vargas* (Florida), Kansas F Justin Wesley (Lamar), Kansas C Jeff Withey (Arizona) and Kansas F Kevin Young (Loyola Marymount)
2010 - None
2009 - None
2006 - None
2004 - Oklahoma State G Daniel Bobik (Brigham Young), Georgia Tech G Will Bynum (Arizona), Oklahoma State G-F Joey Graham (Central Florida), Oklahoma State F Stephen Graham (Central Florida), Oklahoma State G John Lucas III (Baylor) and Oklahoma State F Jason Miller (North Texas)
1994 - None
*Played for a junior college between four-year schools.
Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, the nation's runner-up in scoring with 25.4 points per game, came close to duplicating one of the most overlooked achievements in NCAA Tournament history. In 1951-52, Clyde Lovellette of champion Kansas became the only player to lead the nation in scoring average (28.4 ppg) while competing for a squad reaching the NCAA tourney title game. Final Four luminaries averaging more than 30 ppg include Elvin Hayes (36.8/Houston '68), Oscar Robertson (33.7/Cincinnati '60 and 32.6/Cincinnati '59), Rick Mount (33.3/Purdue '69), Elgin Baylor (32.5/Seattle '58), Bill Bradley (30.5/Princeton '65) and Len Chappell (30.1/Wake Forest '62).
Lovellette, an 11-year NBA center who passed away earlier this year, served as sheriff of Vigo County in his native Indiana (noted for raid on Terre Haute brothels). OU fans would be content with Hield raiding the Final Four by joining Lovellette as the only other player cracking the 30-point plateau in the national semifinals and championship contest in the same season (33 against both Santa Clara and St. John's).
Hield, sharing national player of the year awards with Michigan State's Denzil Valentine, is the first Final Four player since Georgia Tech's Dennis Scott to average in excess of 25 ppg. Only two other Final Four players notched higher scoring averages than Hield since the playoff field expanded to at least 32 teams in 1975 - Larry Bird (28.6 ppg for Indiana State '79 and Glen Rice (25.6 for Michigan '89). Following is a list of individuals in the last 26 years amassing the highest scoring average from a Final Four club since Scott's mark of 27.7 ppg in 1989-90:
Keith Smart, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player for 1987 national kingpin Indiana, is battling a rare form of skin cancer spreading along the left side of his jaw. Smart's ailment surfaced as a question lingered after center Andrew Smith, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Butler's 2011 NCAA playoff runner-up, lost his fight against lymphoma in mid-season: Is there a Final Four curse?
This topic reared its ugly head earlier in the season when Michael Wright, leading rebounder and second-leading scorer for Arizona's 2001 national runner-up team including Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson and Luke Walton, was found dead with a skull fracture in New York City in the back seat of his Lexus SUV. Covered with garbage bags amid reports of police investigating possibility of him murdered by someone he met on a gay dating app, the Chicago high school teammate of Kevin Garnett was 35.
Ranging from famous military battles to freak circumstances to mysterious disappearances to nuclear bombs to CIA activity to suicides, the existence of a Final Four curse is debatable although there is no denying a striking number of prominent national semifinal players and coaches died prematurely. For instance, Sid Tanenbaum, the second-leading scorer for NYU's 1945 national runner-up, was murdered on September 4, 1986, at the age of 60 when stabbed to death by a local woman in his Queens machine shop. According to police reports, Tanenbaum was assaulted because he chose to stop lending money to his attacker after previously assisting her numerous times.
Life expectancy in the U.S. for people born in 2012 is 79 years. Any tribute isn't enough when a man such as Smith is buried long before his time. Unspeakable tragedy also struck Butler when the six-month-old son of Emerson Kampen, a backup to Smith, died of a genetic disorder affecting the central nervous system. The following lengthy list of additional Final Four players (cited chronologically) passed away early (60 and younger), 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.
Dale Gentry, the fifth-leading scorer for Washington State's 1941 national runner-up, collapsed and died of a heart attack in 1963 at the age of 50 after completing arrangements for his 16-year-old son's funeral following injuries incurred in an auto accident.
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.
Center Ed Voss, the second-leading scorer for 1942 champion Stanford, died of polio in 1953 at the age of 31, a month after his 7-year-old son also succumbed to the disease. Cardinal teammate Jack Dana's wife, California socialite Renee Cohu, died of a sleeping pill overdose in the winter of 1970 at the age of 42 when the missing daughter of a former TWA president was found in a Miami Beach motel.
Charles "Stubbie" Pearson, captain of Dartmouth's 1942 national runner-up and valedictorian of his class the same year, was killed in action on March 30, 1945, while dive-bombing a Japanese ship off the Palau Islands. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Teammate George Galbraith Jr., a backup forward, died in a training flight over Mississippi.
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).
Georgetown's Lloyd Potolicchio, who matched DePaul legend George Mikan's 11-point output in the 1943 national semifinals when the Hoyas eliminated the Blue Demons before bowing to Wyoming in title tilt, joined the Air Force. Potolicchio was boom operator Master Sergeant when killed in a refueling mission on January 17, 1966, in a B-52 crash off the coast of southern Spain. His KC-135 tanker was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, resulting in the B-52G breaking apart with B28RI hydrogen weapons falling to earth and plutonium contamination occurring near the fishing village of Palomares. In March 2009, Time magazine identified the Palomares accident as one of the world's "worst nuclear disasters." Teammate Bob Duffey, a backup swingman, was killed on November 13, 1944, in European theater combat.
Frontcourter Frank Oftring, a key contributor for Holy Cross' 1947 champion and 1948 national third-place team, died on October 4, 1982, at the age of 58. Teammate Bob Curran, a regular for both squads, was 56 when he passed away on October 18, 1977.
Forward Tom Hamilton, a regular as a freshman forward with Texas' 1947 national third-place club, died at the age of 48 on November 29, 1973, after suffering a brain hemorrhage prior to officiating a high school football game in Tyler, Tex. Hamilton, a first baseman briefly with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1952 and 1953, served as baseball coach and athletic director for St. Edward's (Tex.) at the time of his death.
Center Bob Harris, the leading scorer for Oklahoma A&M's 1949 national runner-up, died on April 10, 1977 at the age of 50. Teammate Joe Bradley, A&M's second-leading scorer, passed away on June 5, 1987, at the age of 58.
Bill Erickson, a starting guard for Illinois' 1949 national third-place team, died on September 21, 1987, at the age of 59. Teammate Don Sunderlage, the Illini's sixth-leading scorer in 1949 and top point producer for another third-place squad in 1951, died in mid-July 1961 at the age of 31 following an automobile accident in Lake Geneva, Wis.
Don Schlundt, the leading scorer and rebounder for Indiana's 1953 NCAA champion, died of pancreatic cancer in October 1985 at the age of 52. Teammate Dick Farley, the Hoosiers' third-leading scorer, passed away from cancer in early October 1969 at the age of 37.
Forward Bob Ames, who scored a total of eight points in three playoff games in 1955 for La Salle's national runner-up after being a member of the Explorers' 1954 NCAA titlist, was killed in Beirut in 1983 at the age of 49. A truck loaded with TNT on a suicide mission rammed into the facility where Ames, a father of six children, was staying while serving as a liaison trying to allay contacts among the Lebanese, Syrians and Israelis in hopes of calming the escalating discord. He joined the CIA and worked his way up the chain of command to become the Director of the CIA's Office of Analysis of the Near East and South Asia. "The Spy Who Loved Basketball" worked closely with both the Carter and Reagan administrations.
Bucky O'Connor, coach for Iowa's 1955 Final Four club and 1956 runner-up, died in 1958 at the age of 44 in a highway accident near Waterloo. "The boy who has faith in God can look to the future without worry or strain," O'Connor told his players. "I firmly believe that the boys on our team who attend church are more likely to be successful because they can face their problems with hope and encouragement."
Jim Krebs, the leading scorer and rebounder for Southern Methodist's 1956 Final Four squad, was killed in 1965 at the age of 29 in a freak accident. While helping a neighbor clear storm damage, a tree limb fell the wrong way and crushed his skull.
Forward Al Filardi, the third-leading rebounder for NYU's 1960 national fourth-place squad, just turned 60 when he died in early August 1999.
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 demise.
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.
Forward Jamie Thompson, the third-leading scorer for Wichita's 1965 fourth-place team who tallied 36 points when the Shockers were eliminated in the national semifinals by eventual champion UCLA, died in January 2006 at the age of 60.
Guard Rudy Waterman, Dayton's third-leading scorer for 1967 national runner-up, died at 34 in mid-June 1979 after shooting himself and developing bacterial meningitis while hospitalized in New York. He had been fired from his job as a sales representative for a Midwest aluminum company. Flyers coach Don Donoher's son, Gary, died in New York at age 27 in August 1988 from AIDS-related complications.
Ken Spain and Theodis Lee, starting frontcourters with All-American Elvin Hayes for Houston's team that entered the 1968 Final Four with an undefeated record, each 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. Teammate Don Kruse, a center for the Cougars' national third-place team in 1967, died in the spring of 2004 at the age of 59.
Steve Patterson, one of UCLA's top three rebounders for NCAA kingpins in 1970 and 1971 after serving as Lew Alcindor's understudy for another titlist in 1969, died in 2004 at the age of 56 because of lung cancer.
Howard Porter, Villanova's leading scorer and rebounder for 1971 runner-up, 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 at the age of 58, according to murder charges filed several months later.
Forward Mike Lawhon, Louisville's third-leading scorer for the Cardinals' 1972 national fourth-place team, died in early April 2004 at the age of 53. Lawhon was an orthopedic surgeon who passed away while attending a medical conference.
Larry Finch, Memphis State's leading scorer for 1973 runner-up, died in early April 2011 at the age of 60. Finch suffered the first of multiple strokes 10 years earlier. In early September 2014, his daughter (Shanae), suffering from Crohn's disease, collapsed and died at the age of 39. Teammate Ronnie Robinson, the Tigers' second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, died in early May 2004 at the age of 53 from congestive heart failure.
Maurice Lucas, leading scorer and rebounder for Marquette's 1974 national runner-up, died in 2010 at the age of 58 from bladder cancer. Teammate Jerry Homan, a backup frontcourter, had a son, Luke, pass away in the fall of 2006 when the UW-LaCrosse student's body was recovered in the Mississippi River after last seen celebrating Oktoberfest (UW-L teammate Austin Scott was charged with two counts of obstructing officers for lying to authorities during the death investigation).
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. Teammate Norm Cook, the Jayhawks' second-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer as a freshman, was 53 in 2008 when he died after suffering from paranoid schizophrenia most of his adult life.
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. UK teammate G.J. Smith, a reserve forward, died in late summer 2012 at the age of 59 because of a heart attack.
The remains of former UCLA forward Gavin Smith, who scored 14 points for the third-place Bruins at the 1976 Final Four, were found in a rural desert area of Southern California in early November 2014. Police had been probing Smith's mysterious disappearance 2 1/2 years earlier. Smith, a 57-year-old movie executive for Fox, was driving a black 2000 four-door Mercedes E Class when he vanished at night. Most media outlets focus on Smith's connection to UCLA but he actually made a hoop name for himself playing with Hawaii, where he finished 16th in the nation in scoring in 1976-77 by setting a Rainbows' single-season record (23.4 points per game).
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.
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. Teammate Lewis Brown, the third-leading rebounder and sixth-leading scorer for UNLV, 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 the 6-11 center used cocaine with the Rebels. "Drugs were his downfall," said his sister. Murray State transfer Larry Moffett, UNLV's second-leading rebounder, passed away in early May 2011 in Shreveport, La., at the age of 56. He previously was a cab driver in Las Vegas.
Guard Chad Kinch, the third-leading scorer for UNC Charlotte's 1977 national fourth-place 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. UNCC teammate Lew Massey, the 49ers' runner-up in scoring and rebounding, died in mid-January 2014 at the age of 57.
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 up to par 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 liked 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. Wolfpack coach Jim Valvano also was 47 in the spring of 1993 when he passed away because of cancer. Backup forward Quinton Leonard died of a heart attack in the spring of 2006 at the age of 44.
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.
Mike Masucci, a freshman backup center for Kansas' eventual 1988 champion dismissed from the Jayhawks before the tourney commenced and his subsequent transfer, died in January 2005 at the age of 36 from a heart attack.
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," then KU coach Roy Williams said. Power forward Chris Lindley, who signed with Kansas and would have been a freshman for the 1991 squad before having his right foot amputated in January 1990 after a train accident, died at 34 in mid-February 2007.
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.
A 32-year-old brother of defensive stopper Byron Mouton, Maryland's fourth-leading scorer and rebounder for a 2001 Final Four team, was shot and killed in an apparent carjacking incident in Houston about one month into the next season. The Terrapins went on to capture the 2002 NCAA championship as the Tulane transfer finished as their third-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer.
Unsure how many of his championship team players in 2005 and 2009 circumvented normal final exams while taking bogus no-show classes. But while North Carolina's Roy Williams probably isn't too keen on discussing scholastic standards ("I'm to the point that I don't really care what anybody else thinks of what I say"), he ranks #4 among celebrated coaches showing up for the most Final Four appearances, registering a 7-6 record following a 2016 title tilt defeat. His mentor, Dean Smith, compiled a losing F4 record (8-11).
|Coach||School(s)||F4 Record (Pct.)||Final Four Appearances (Years/Finishes)|
|Mike Krzyzewski||Duke||14-7 (.667)||12 (1986/2nd, 1988/T3rd, 1989/T3rd, 1990/2nd, 1991/1st, 1992/1st, 1994/2nd, 1999/2nd, 2001/1st, 2004/T3rd, 2010/1st and 2015/1st)|
|John Wooden||UCLA||21-3 (.875)||12 (1962/4th, 1964/1st, 1965/1st, 1967/1st, 1968/1st, 1969/1st, 1970/1st, 1971/1st, 1972/1st, 1973/1st, 1974/3rd and 1975/1st)|
|Dean Smith||North Carolina||8-11 (.421)||11 (1967/4th, 1968/2nd, 1969/4th, 1972/3rd, 1977/2nd, 1981/2nd, 1982/1st, 1991/T3rd, 1993/1st, 1995/T3rd and 1997/T3rd)|
|Roy Williams||Kansas/North Carolina||7-6 (.538)||8 (1991/2nd, 1993/T3rd, 2002/T3rd, 2003/2nd, 2005/1st, 2008/T3rd, 2009/1st and 2016/2nd)|
Despite both of them reaching the Elite Eight, the odds were against Villanova and Notre Dame advancing to the NCAA Tournament championship game to oppose each other in the playoffs for the first time. What other powerhouses never have battled each other in the NCAA tourney?
Although the event is in its eighth decade, there are attractive power school match-ups never to have occurred. The potentially entertaining intra-sectional playoff contests between storied programs never to take place in the NCAAs include:
Squads 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 19 of the first 23 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.|
|2015||Big Ten members Michigan State (T3rd) and Wisconsin (1st) were on opposite sides of the bracket in Indianapolis. Wisconsin reached title game and MSU was eliminated by Duke.|
|2016||North Carolina (1st) lost in national championship game after defeating fellow ACC member Syracuse (T9th) in semifinals.|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 16 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 school to have four players score more than 14,000 points in the pros after never participating in national postseason competition (NCAA playoffs and NIT). Hint: One member of the foursome left college early after just one season of eligibility when he averaged 30 points per game and another is the highest scorer in NBA history to never participate in the NBA playoffs.
2. Name the only father-son combination to be on the rosters of two teams from the same school to win NCAA Tournament championships. Hint: Both of them were underclassmen when their teams captured NCAA titles.
3. Who is the only player never to appear in the NBA or ABA after averaging more than 20 points per game for a team reaching an NCAA Tournament final? Hint: A college teammate was a member of the NBA championship team that drafted him.
4. Who is the only undergraduate non-center to average more than 23 points per game for a national champion? Hint: He is the last player to score the most points in a single game of an NCAA Tournament and play for the championship team.
6. Who is the only coach to win an NBA championship after directing a college to the Final Four? Hint: His college squad was implicated in a game-fixing scandal.
7. Who is the only player to grab more than 41 rebounds at a single Final Four? Hint: He is the only player to retrieve more than 21 missed shots in a championship game and the only player to score more than 20 points and grab more than 20 rebounds in back-to-back NCAA finals.
8. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to later coach a school other than his alma mater to the playoffs? Hint: He coached for more than 20 years in the same conference against UCLA legend John Wooden. He is also the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to complete his college playing career attending another university.
9. Who is the only junior college player to later be selected Final Four Most Outstanding Player? Hint: He won the award when the Final Four was held in his home state and eventually became an NBA head coach.
10. Name the only school with a losing league record to defeat a conference rival by more than 20 points in a season the opponent wound up winning the national championship. Hint: The school with a losing league mark participated in the NCAA playoffs the next season for the first time since reaching the Final Four more than 20 years earlier when a consensus first-team All-American became the only player in school history to average more than 25 points in a season.
Despite a total of 58 NCAA playoff appearances, Dana Altman, Mike Brey, Fran Dunphy and Mark Few remain among the best coaches never to reach a Final Four. They are among all-time greats such as John Chaney, Lefty Driesell, Gene Keady and Norm Stewart - four retired luminaries failing to advance to the national semifinals in a total of 64 NCAA Tournaments. "It's so difficult not being able to make that final step," said Chaney, who lost five regional finals with Temple.
Driesell made 11 NCAA playoff appearances with Davidson and Maryland from 1966 through 1986. "I always wanted to get to the Final Four, but not as much as some people think," said Driesell, who lost four regional finals. "I'm not obsessed with it."
Only four schools - North Carolina, Duke, Georgetown and Syracuse - supplied more NCAA consensus first- and second-team All-Americans from 1982 through 1992 than Stewart-coached Missouri (seven). It must have been particularly frustrating for Mizzou fans when the Tigers compiled a 4-8 NCAA tourney worksheet in that span.
But some mentors never will receive the accolades they deserve because of failing to reach the Promised Land, including maligned Dave Bliss, who resurfaced as coach of an NAIA school in Texas. Let's hope they didn't seek a safe space on campus to curl up in a fetal position, but the following "Generation Hex" list includes prominent coaches without a Final Four berth on their resume despite more than 10 NCAA Tournament appearances:
|Coach||NCAA Tourneys||Playoff Record (Pct.)||Closest to Reaching Final Four|
|Gene Keady||18||19-18 (.514)||regional runner-up with Purdue in 1994 and 2000|
|John Chaney||17||23-17 (.575)||regional runner-up with Temple five times (1988-91-93-99-01)|
|Mark Few||17||21-17 (.553)||regional runner-up with Gonzaga in 2015|
|Fran Dunphy||16||3-16 (.158)||won three opening-round games with Penn and Temple (1994, 2011 and 2013)|
|Norm Stewart||16||12-16 (.429)||regional runner-up with Missouri in 1976 and 1994|
|Mike Brey||13||12-13 (.480)||regional runner-up with Notre Dame in 2015 and 2016|
|Lefty Driesell||13||16-14 (.533)||regional runner-up four times with Davidson and Maryland (1968-69-73-75)|
|Dana Altman||12||9-12 (.429)||regional runner-up with Oregon in 2016|
|Dave Bliss||11||8-11 (.421)||regional semifinals with Oklahoma in 1979|
|Pete Carril||11||4-11 (.267)||won two games with Princeton in 1983|
|Gale Catlett||11||7-11 (.389)||regional semifinals with West Virginia in 1998|
|Tom Davis||11||18-11 (.621)||regional runner-up with Boston College in 1982 and Iowa in 1987|
|Mark Gottfried||11||10-11 (.476)||regional final with Alabama in 2004|
|Tom Penders||11||12-11 (.522)||regional final with Texas in 1990|
For the seventh straight season, at least one team reached the Final Four after losing a vital player who defected following the previous season to make themselves available for the NBA draft, where they were selected in the first round. North Carolina and Syracuse were able to reload this year after each lost an NBA draft choice.
Among schools losing a prominent undergraduate early, Kentucky was the only school to capture a crown (1998 without Ron Mercer) until Duke achieved the feat (2010 without Gerald Henderson) and UK secured another title two years ago sans Brandon Knight. In a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, UK returned to the national semifinals in 2011 after losing five undergraduates who became NBA first-round draft choices.
The Final Four has had at least one team arrive after losing a prominent undergraduate to the NBA draft 13 times in the last 15 years. Following is a list of the 31 squads unfazed by the early loss of key player(s) who left college with eligibility still remaining:
Final Four Team Prominent Undergraduate Defection Previous Year Marquette '74 Larry McNeill (25th pick overall in 1973 NBA draft) Louisiana State '81 DeWayne Scales (36th pick in 1980 draft) Georgia '83 Dominique Wilkins (3rd pick in 1982 draft) Houston '83 Rob Williams (19th pick in 1982 draft) Houston '84 Clyde Drexler (14th pick in 1983 draft) Louisiana State '86 Jerry Reynolds (22nd pick in 1985 draft) Syracuse '87 Pearl Washington (13th pick in 1986 draft) Kentucky '97 Antoine Walker (6th pick in 1996 draft) North Carolina '97 Jeff McInnis (37th pick in 1996 draft) Kentucky '98 Ron Mercer (6th pick in 1997 draft) Indiana '02 Kirk Haston (16th pick in 2001 draft) Kansas '03 Drew Gooden (4th pick in 2002 draft) Georgia Tech '04 Chris Bosh (4th pick in 2003 draft) Louisiana State '06 Brandon Bass (33rd pick in 2005 draft) UCLA '07 Jordan Farmar (26th pick in 2006 draft) North Carolina '08 Brandan Wright (8th pick in 2007 draft) Kansas '08 Julian Wright (13th pick in 2007 draft) UCLA '08 Arron Afflalo (27th pick in 2007 draft) Duke '10 Gerald Henderson (12th pick in 2009 draft) Kentucky '11 John Wall (1st pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 DeMarcus Cousins (5th pick in 2010 draft) Butler '11 Gordon Hayward (9th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Patrick Patterson (14th pick in 2010 draft) Virginia Commonwealth '11 Larry Sanders (15th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Eric Bledsoe (18th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Daniel Orton (29th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '12 Brandon Knight (8th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Markieff Morris (13th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Marcus Morris (14th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Josh Selby (49th pick in 2011 draft) Syracuse '13 Dion Waiters (4th pick in 2012 draft) Syracuse '13 Fab Melo (22nd pick in 2012 draft) Kentucky '14 Nerlens Noel (6th pick in 2013 draft) Kentucky '14 Archie Goodwin (29th pick in 2013 draft) Michigan State '15 Gary Harris (19th pick in 2014 draft) Duke '15 Rodney Hood (23rd pick in 2014 draft) Duke '15 Jabari Parker (2nd pick in 2014 draft) Kentucky '15 Julius Randle (7th pick in 2014 draft) Kentucky '15 James Young (17th pick in 2014 draft) North Carolina '16 J.P. Tokoto (58th pick in 2015 draft) Syracuse '16 Chris McCullough (29th pick in 2015 draft)
When Roy Williams (North Carolina) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) tangled at the national semifinals, it represented the most experienced Final Four match-up in history (total of 13 F4 appearances between them).
This year marks only the seventh occasion when all four coaches converged on the NCAA Tournament national semifinals with previous Final Four experience. But it's the third time in just the last five years. Following are the seven set of coaches who got back to business at the Final Four: