At least 10 of the 37 schools appearing in excess of 50 NCAA payoff games failed to participate in the tourney each year since the field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985, including 11 former Final Four schools this season.
Nearly half of the "star schools" stayed home in 2004, including Houston being in the midst of a 17-year drought from 1993 through 2009. Following is a chronological list of big-name universities who were tourney outcasts since 1985:
1985 (14) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Indiana, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
1986 (12) - Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Kansas State, Marquette, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, Wake Forest
1987 (13) - Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis State, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Texas, Utah, Villanova, Wake Forest
1988 (12) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Marquette, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
1989 (15) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Kansas, Kentucky, Marquette, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, Utah, Wake Forest
1990 (12) - Cincinnati, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis State, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
1991 (14) - Cincinnati, Florida, Illinois, Houston, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, West Virginia
1992 (11) - Florida, Illinois, Kansas State, Marquette, Maryland, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Purdue, UNLV, Utah, Villanova
1993 (15) - Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Texas, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
1994 (13) - Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Memphis, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, St. John's, UNLV, Utah, Villanova, West Virginia
1995 (11) - Duke, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Marquette, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, St. John's, UNLV, West Virginia
1996 (11) - Florida, Houston, Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, UNLV, West Virginia
1997 (16) - Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Kansas State, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Syracuse, UNLV, West Virginia
1998 (14) - Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Memhis, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas, Villanova, Wake Forest
1999 (12) - Georgetown, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, UNLV, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2000 (12) - Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Villanova, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2001 (14) - Connecticut, Houston, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina State, Purdue, St. John's, UNLV, Utah, Villanova, West Virginia
2002 (15) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, Purdue, Syracuse, Temple, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
2003 (14) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, St. John's, Temple, UCLA, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
2004 (18) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Marquette, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UCLA, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
2005 (15) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Indiana, Kansas State, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UNLV
2006 (14) - Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas State, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UNLV, Utah, Wake Forest
2007 (15) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Syracuse, Temple, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2008 (14) - Cincinnati, Florida, Houston, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Syracuse, Utah, Wake Forest
2009 (13) - Arkansas, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, St. John's, UNLV
2010 (15) - Arizona, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, St. John's, UCLA, Utah
2011 (10) - Arkansas, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Utah, Wake Forest
2012 (13) - Arizona, Arkansas, Houston, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, St. John's, UCLA, Utah, Villanova, Wake Forest
2013 (11) - Arkansas, Connecticut, Houston, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Purdue, St. John's, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2014 (15) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Illinois, Indiana, Marquette, Maryland, Notre Dame, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UNLV, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2015 (11) - Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, Temple, UNLV, Wake Forest
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 9 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 athlete to lead his championship team in scoring in two Final Four games and pitch in the major leagues the same year? Hint: He was a guard for three consecutive Final Four teams and was selected to the All-NCAA Tournament team as a senior.
2. Name the only school with more than 1,300 victories in the 20th Century never to reach the Final Four. Hint: The school participated in the NCAA playoffs just once (1992) in the last 40-plus years.
3. Name the only school to defeat a team three times in a season the opponent captured the NCAA title. Hint: The school also defeated the same conference foe three times the next season as defending national champion.
4. Name the only champion to win its two Final Four games by a total of more than 50 points. Hint: The titlist suffered its only loss that season against one of the Final Four victims.
5. Of the 35 Final Four Most Outstanding Players selected from 1946 through 1981 when there was a national third-place game, who was the only honoree to play for a fourth-place team? Hint: He never averaged as many as nine points per game in four NBA seasons.
6. Name the only school to lose in back-to-back years in the first round to different institutions going on to capture national titles those years. Hint: The school won a total of 47 games in the two seasons. The two defeats were in the middle of six consecutive playoff appearances for the school after it appeared in the playoffs just once from 1939 through 1982.
7. Name the only year four teams arrived at the national semifinals with a composite winning percentage of less than 75 percent. Hint: The two schools that met in the national third-place game are traditional football powers. The college losing both of its Final Four games that year is the only national semifinalist to finish a season with as many as 14 defeats.
8. Who is the only player to score more than 60 points in a single playoff game and to score more than 43 points at least twice? Hint: Of the players who scored more than 235 playoff points and/or averaged more than 25 points per tournament game (minimum of three games), he is the only individual from the select group to have a losing playoff record. He is the only one of the top 25 playoff scorers never to reach the Final Four.
9. Who is the only male player to score more than 44 points in a single Final Four game? Hint: He is the only player to twice convert more than 12 free throws without a miss in a playoff game.
10. Who is the only player to score more than 400 points in his playoff career? Hint: The only individual to start in four straight Final Fours hit two last-second shots to help his team win East Regional final overtime games and is the only player with at least 10 championship game free-throw attempts to convert all of them.
The Atlantic Coast Conference provided more than three teams among the Sweet 16 for the first time in 20 years. But are these squads running on fumes when they reach the Final Four after getting beat up on all season in a rigorous league? Syracuse '03 (from the Big East) is the only national champion in the previous 17 years to emerge in a year when one of the power alliances supplied at least four representatives among the Sweet 16.
In 2009, the Big East became the only conference to have five playoff teams reach the regional semifinals in the same year until the ACC duplicated the feat this year. The ACC boasted four members advancing that far on eight occasions in a 12-year stretch from 1984 through 1995. The ACC, upon adding Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse as new members, is unlikely to endure such an extended absence of four or more entrants in the immediate future.
The ACC in 1985 was the only league in this category not to have at least one of the quartet reach the Final Four until the Big East was foiled in 2006. Following is a look at the 25 times when thoroughbred leagues supplied at least four of the Sweet 16 since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to at least 48 teams in 1980:
|Year||Power League||Four or More Members Reaching Sweet 16|
|1980||Big Ten||Indiana, z-Iowa, Ohio State, z-Purdue|
|1984||ACC||Maryland, North Carolina, z-Virginia, Wake Forest|
|1985||ACC||Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State|
|1985||Big East||Boston College, y-Georgetown, z-St. John's, x-Villanova|
|1986||ACC||y-Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State|
|1986||SEC||Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, z-Louisiana State|
|1989||ACC||z-Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia|
|1989||Big Ten||z-Illinois, Indiana, x-Michigan, Minnesota|
|1990||ACC||Clemson, y-Duke, z-Georgia Tech, North Carolina|
|1992||ACC||x-Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina|
|1993||ACC||Florida State, x-North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest|
|1995||ACC||Maryland, z-North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest|
|1996||SEC||Arkansas, Georgia, x-Kentucky, z-Mississippi State|
|1997||Pacific-10||x-Arizona, California, Stanford, UCLA|
|1998||Pacific-10||Arizona, z-Stanford, UCLA, Washington|
|1999||Big Ten||Iowa, z-Michigan State, z-Ohio State, Purdue|
|2001||Pacific-10||y-Arizona, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA|
|2002||Big 12||z-Kansas, Missouri, z-Oklahoma, Texas|
|2003||Big East||Connecticut, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, x-Syracuse|
|2006||Big East||Connecticut, Georgetown, Villanova, West Virginia|
|2009||Big East||z-Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, z-Villanova|
|2012||Big East||Cincinnati, z-Louisville, Marquette, Syracuse|
|2012||Big Ten||Indiana, Michigan State, z-Ohio State, Wisconsin|
|2013||Big Ten||Indiana, y-Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State|
|2015||ACC||z-Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame|
x-Won NCAA championship
y-Finished national runner-up
z-Reached Final Four
After an average of four mid-level schools reached the Sweet 16 in a six-year span from 2006 through 2011, the previous 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 in 2014.
Wichita State advancing to the Final Four plus victories by Lehigh, Norfolk State and Florida Gulf Coast the previous four years were invigorating but the mid-major community missed out on a potential bonanza. Wichita State, a Final Four participant in 2013, was eliminated in second round last season by Kentucky but the Shockers returned to the Sweet 16 this year. 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:
Now we know why Kansas seeks to avoid Wichita State year upon year after the Shockers clobbered KU in the Midwest Regional. Ditto Notre Dame and its shunning this century of Butler, which took the Irish into overtime in the same regional. The results showed 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. Fans shouldn't have to wait for an entertaining contest such as Morehead State upsetting Louisville, 62-61, in the opening round of the 2011 playoffs.
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. Essentially, it is a sad state of affairs for fans in Kansas to need to hope KU and Wichita State oppose each other every 20 to 25 years in the NCAA tourney for them to meet on the hardwood.
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 dozen 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. The next year in the same region's semifinals, UK erased a half-time deficit to upend the Cards, 72-67.
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.
11. 1963 Mideast Regional final (Loyola of Chicago 79, Illinois 64)
Sparked by All-American Jerry Harkness' 33 points, Loyola's only meeting against the Illini in a 24-year span from 1955-56 through 1978-79 represented the Ramblers' lone win in their irregular series until 1984-85.
T12. 1974 East Regional first round (Furman 75, South Carolina 67)
Furman's Clyde Mayes collected 21 points and 16 rebounds to upend the Gamecocks' star-studded roster featuring Mike Dunleavy Sr., Alex English and Brian Winters.
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.
For all the bitter disappointment experienced by fans of a highly-ranked team bowing out of the provocative NCAA Tournament such as Villanova, there is an equal amount of euphoria emanating from supporters of the victor (North Carolina State). The range of disparate emotions is one of the reasons there is such a fascination with upsets because nothing is guaranteed as evidenced by a power team knocked off its high horse by a darkhorse.
The ultimate in March Madness materialized in 1993 when Arizona, ranked fifth by AP, was stunned in the first round of the West Regional by Santa Clara (64-61). In terms of point spreads, it was the biggest upset in NCAA playoff history because Santa Clara was a 20-point underdog. The next largest point spread to not hold up occurred in 1986 when 17 1/2-point underdog Arkansas-Little Rock shocked Notre Dame in the Midwest Regional (90-83).
A total of 22 No. 1 seeds, including DePaul three straight years from 1980 through 1982, failed to reach the regional semifinals since seeding was introduced in 1979. Villanova became the fifth #1 seed in the last six years joining the following crestfallen top-seeded teams:
|Year||No. 1 Seed||Regional||Loss in Second Round||Score|
|1979||North Carolina||East||#9 seed Penn||72-71|
|1981||DePaul||Mideast||#9 St. Joseph's||49-48|
|1981||Oregon State||West||#8 Kansas State||50-48|
|1982||DePaul||Midwest||#8 Boston College||82-75|
|1986||St. John's||West||#8 Auburn||81-65|
|1990||Oklahoma||Midwest||#8 North Carolina||79-77|
|1992||Kansas||Midwest||#9 Texas-El Paso||66-60|
|1994||North Carolina||East||#9 Boston College||75-72|
|1998||Kansas||Midwest||#8 Rhode Island||80-75|
|2000||Stanford||South||#8 North Carolina||60-53|
|2002||Cincinnati||West||#8 UCLA||105-101 (2OT)|
|2004||Kentucky||St. Louis/Midwest||#9 UAB||76-75|
|2010||Kansas||Midwest||#9 Northern Iowa||69-67|
|2013||Gonzaga||West||#9 Wichita State||76-70|
|2014||Wichita State||Midwest||#8 Kentucky||78-76|
|2015||Villanova||East||#8 North Carolina State||71-68|
First-time entrants into the NCAA playoffs get no sympathy. The average seeding was #14 for the more than 40 schools making their tournament debuts since the bracket included at least 64 teams. Tourney newcomer UC Irvine came close but the #13 Anteaters bowed in their playoff debut against #4 Louisville, 57-55, in the East Regional.
Newbies assert themselves when they receive a decent draw. A majority of first-timers with seedings of 10th or better in the late 1980s and early 1990s won their first-round games, including all three times when they had better seeds (sixth-seeded Florida in 1987, seventh-seeded New Orleans in 1987 and eighth-seeded Seton Hall in 1988).
Of the schools making their tournament debuts since the field expanded to at least 52 teams, almost one-fourth of them survived the first round. Three opening-round winners in the mid-1980s also won their next game - Georgia '83, Cleveland State '86 and Florida '87. Georgia '83 was the ultimate underdog. The Bulldogs, the only first-time entrant seeded better than fifth (No. 4 seed in the East Regional) since the field expanded to at least 48 teams in 1980, reached the Final Four.
Georgetown and Missouri each lost twice to NCAA playoff virgins in the seeding era. UCI nearly joined the following chronological list of newcomers winning their debuts since seeding was introduced in 1979:
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.
"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 quality mid-major schools such as Belmont and Boise State because they still never have 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:
Ten power league members always classified as major colleges - with majority of them from the South - finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll at least twice although they didn't make their initial NCAA appearance until after 1970. Virginia, a #2 seed in the East Regional this year, was among the late arrivals to the NCAA party. Among the late-bloomer group, Nebraska is winless in the NCAA playoffs while Florida is a two-time NCAA champion.
Major School (Power League) 1st NCAA Tourney Star Player(s) in Playoff Debut Alabama (SEC) 1975 (0-1) Leon Douglas and T.R. Dunn Auburn (SEC) 1984 (0-1) Charles Barkley and Chuck Person Clemson (ACC) 1980 (3-1) Larry Nance Florida (SEC) 1987 (2-1) Vernon Maxwell and Dwayne Schintzius Georgia (SEC) 1983 (3-1) James Banks, Terry Fair and Vern Fleming Minnesota (Big Ten) 1972 (1-1) Jim Brewer, Clyde Turner and Dave Winfield Nebraska (Big Eight) 1986 (0-1) Brian Carr and Bernard Day Seton Hall (Big East) 1988 (1-1) Mark Bryant and John Morton South Carolina (ACC) 1971 (0-2) Kevin Joyce, Tom Owens, Tom Riker and John Roche Virginia (ACC) 1976 (0-1) Wally Walker
After Richmond shocked Jim Boeheim-coached Syracuse in 1991 and Santa Clara kayoed Lute Olson's Arizona squad in 1993, the next three #15 seed victories over #2 seeds came at the hands of historically-black colleges and universities - Coppin State over South Carolina in 1997, Hampton](schools/hampton) over Iowa State in 2001 and Norfolk State over Missouri in 2012.
However, no HBCU institution has reached the Sweet 16. Perceived in most quarters as picking-on-patsies fodder, the truth about black crime in basketball is that it's a big sin many fans don't know or can't recall the high degree of success historically-black colleges and universities enjoyed at the small-college level. For instance, Norfolk State appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament 10 times in a 12-year span from 1984 until finishing third in the 1995 tourney. But most of these HBCU institutions currently are imprisoned at the NCAA Division I level, where they are little more than indentured servants doing the bidding of their major university masters almost always getting whipped on the road during non-conference competition.
What many observers should know is seven different historically black colleges and universities advancing to the NCAA DI level captured a total of nine NAIA and NCAA College Division Tournament championships in a 21-year span from 1957 through 1977 (Tennessee State from 1957 through 1959, Grambling '61, Prairie View A&M '62, Winston-Salem State '67, Morgan State '74, Coppin State '76 and Texas Southern '77). Coppin State is the lone school in this group to go on and post a triumph in the NCAA Division I playoffs.
Winson-Salem State saw what life looked like on the DI side of the fence and abandoned ship after only one season. All but two of the 25 HBCUs endured at least one season with 20 defeats in a six-year span from 2003-04 through 2008-09. The pair that emerged unscathed during that stretch were Hampton (worst record was 13-17 in 2003-04) and Norfolk State (11-19 in 2006-07).
Conference members from the Mid-Eastern Athletic and Southwestern Athletic have won only 10% of their NCAA Division I Tournament games. Alcorn State registered the first three of the following modest total of 11 HBCU wins in the DI tourney (six in preliminary round competition following Hampton's win against Manhattan in First Four this year) since the SWAC and MEAC moved up to the Division I level in 1979-80 and 1980-81, respectively:
1980 Midwest First Round: #8 Alcorn State 70 (Baker/Smith game-high 18 points), #9 South Alabama 62 (Rains 22)
1983 Midwest Preliminary Round: Alcorn State 81 (Phelps 18), Xavier 75 (Fleming 16)
1984 Midwest Preliminary Round: Alcorn State 79 (Phelps 21), Houston Baptist 60 (Lavodrama 14)
1993 West First Round: #13 Southern (LA) 93 (Scales 27), #4 Georgia Tech 78 (Mackey 27)
1997 East First Round: #15 Coppin State 78 (Singletary 22), #2 South Carolina 65 (McKie 16)
2001 West First Round: #15 Hampton 58 (Williams 16), #2 Iowa State 57 (Rancik/Shirley 10)
2004 Preliminary Round: Florida A&M 72 (Woods 21), Lehigh 57 (Tempest 13)
2010 Preliminary Round: Arkansas-Pine Bluff 61 (Smith 14), Winthrop 44 (Corbin 13)
2012 West First Round: #15 Norfolk State 86 (O'Quinn 26), #2 Missouri (Dixon 22)
2013 Preliminary Round: North Carolina A&T 73 (Underwood 19), Liberty 72 (Marshall 22)
2015 Preliminary Round: Hampton 74 (Chievous/Johnson 15), Manhattan 64 (Richards 17)
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.
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. Notwithstanding the misleading media's spin, the NCAA tourney hasn't been saturated with authentic upsets since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985. On the other hand, there has been only four years in that span failing to provide 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 51 times in the last 31 years after #14 seeds UAB and Georgia State upset #3 Big 12 powers Iowa State and Baylor, respectively. 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-eight of the first 51 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. Gary Waters is the only coach to win two opening-round games in this category while in charge of two different schools (Kent State in 2001 and Cleveland State in 2009).
A #16 seed never has defeated a #1. But following is a rundown of the first 51 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||Coach||#2 Seed Loser||Score|
|1993||Santa Clara||Dick Davey||Arizona||64-61|
|1997||Coppin State||Ron "Fang" Mitchell||South Carolina||78-65|
|2001||Hampton||Steve Merfeld||Iowa State||58-57|
|2012||Lehigh||Dr. Brett Reed||Duke||75-70|
|2012||Norfolk State||Anthony Evans||Missouri||86-84|
|2013||Florida Gulf Coast||Andy Enfield||Georgetown||78-68|
#14 seed (19 victories)
|Year||#14 Seed Winner||Coach||#3 Seed Loser||Score|
|1986||Arkansas-Little Rock||Mike Newell||Notre Dame||90-83|
|1986||Cleveland State||Kevin Mackey||Indiana||83-79|
|1987||Austin Peay State||Lake Kelly||Illinois||68-67|
|1988||Murray State||Steve Newton||North Carolina State||78-75|
|1990||Northern Iowa||Eldon Miller||Missouri||74-71|
|1992||East Tennessee State||Alan LeForce||Arizona||87-80|
|1995||Weber State||Ron Abegglen||Michigan State||79-72|
|1995||Old Dominion||Jeff Capel Jr.||Villanova||89-81 (3OT)|
|1997||Tennessee-Chattanooga||William "Mack" McCarthy||Georgia||73-70|
|1998||Richmond||John Beilein||South Carolina||62-61|
|1999||Weber State||Ron Abegglen||North Carolina||76-74|
|2006||Northwestern State||Mike McConathy||Iowa||64-63|
|2013||Harvard||Tommy Amaker||New Mexico||68-62|
|2015||UAB||Jerod Haase||Iowa State||60-59|
|2015||Georgia State||Ron Hunter||Baylor||57-56|
#13 seed (25 victories)
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.
X marked the first head coaching spot for Sean Miller when he directed Xavier for five seasons from 2004-05 through 2008-09 before leaving with nine years remaining on a contract to join Arizona. Miller, who guided the Musketeers to a regional semifinal each of his last two campaigns with them, will oppose his old stomping grounds in the West Regional after taking the Wildcats that far for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
Earlier, the South Regional opening-round opponent for SMU coach Larry Brown was UCLA, a school he guided to the NCAA Tournament championship contest in 1980 and 5-2 playoff mark overall. The Mustangs needed to reach this year's title tilt for Brown to meet Kansas, a school he directed to the NCAA crown in 1988 and 14-4 playoff record.
Brown, losing to the Bruins despite a 19-0 second-half run, would have needed to capture the national title again with a victory against KU to join Norm Sloan as the only coach ever to post an NCAA playoff victory against a school he previously guided to the national championship. Sloan was Florida's mentor in 1987 when the Gators notched an 82-70 first-round triumph over North Carolina State, the institution he took to the 1974 title.
Gene Bartow is the only individual to oppose two different schools in the playoffs he previously coached to the Final Four (UAB lost against Memphis State in 1985 and UCLA in 1990). North Carolina's Roy Williams lost three times by double-digit margins against Kansas in a six-year span from 2008 through 2013 after taking the Jayhawks to the Final Four on four occasions (1991, 1993, 2002 and 2003).
Lute Olson is the only coach to twice defeat the same school he previously took to the NCAA playoffs (Arizona beat Iowa in 1988 and 1996). Brown and Miller are the 15th and 16th different bench bosses on the following chronological list of "muscle-memory" mentors who opposed a school in the NCAA Tournament they previously directed in the playoffs:
|Tourney Coach||School||Playoff Round||Foe Previously Took to NCAA Playoffs||Tournament Career Summary|
|Ben Carnevale||Navy||1959 First Round||W vs. North Carolina, 76-63||Carnevale compiled 2-1 mark in NCAA playoffs with Tar Heels in 1946 before going 4-6 with Midshipmen (1947-53-54-59-60).|
|Frank McGuire||South Carolina||1972 Regional Semifinal||L vs. North Carolina, 92-69||McGuire was 5-1 with Tar Heels in 1957 and 1959 before going 4-5 with Gamecocks (1971 through 1974).|
|Gene Bartow||UAB||1985 Second Round||L vs. Memphis State, 67-66||Bartow was 3-1 with Tigers in 1973 before going 6-9 with Blazers (1981-82-83-84-85-86-87-90-94).|
|Johnny Orr||Iowa State||1986 Second Round||W vs. Michigan, 72-69||Orr was 7-4 with Wolverines from 1974 through 1977 before going 3-6 with Cyclones (1985-86-88-89-92-93).|
|Norm Sloan||Florida||1987 First Round||W vs. N.C. State, 82-70||Sloan was 5-2 with Wolfpack (1970-74-78) before going 3-3 with Gators from 1987 through 1989.|
|Lute Olson||Arizona||1988 Regional Semifinal||W vs. Iowa, 99-79||Olson was 7-6 with Hawkeyes from 1979 through 1983 before going 39-22 with Wildcats from 1985 through 2007.|
|Gene Bartow||UAB||1990 First Round||L vs. UCLA, 68-56||Bartow was 5-2 with Bruins in 1976 and 1977 before going 6-9 with Blazers (1981-82-83-84-85-86-87-90-94).|
|Nolan Richardson Jr.||Arkansas||1994 Regional Semifinal||W vs. Tulsa, 103-84||Richardson was 0-3 with Golden Hurricane (1982-84-85) before going 26-12 with Razorbacks from 1988 through 1996 and 1998 through 2001.|
|Lute Olson||Arizona||1996 Second Round||W vs. Iowa, 87-73||Olson was 7-6 with Hawkeyes from 1979 through 1983 before going 39-22 with Wildcats from 1985 through 2007.|
|Gale Catlett||West Virginia||1998 Second Round||W vs. Cincinnati, 75-74||Catlett was 2-3 with Bearcats from 1975 through 1977 before going 5-8 with Mountaineers (1982-83-84-86-87-89-92-98).|
|Lon Kruger||Illinois||2000 Second Round||L vs. Florida, 93-76||Kruger was 4-2 with Gators in 1994 and 1995 before going 3-3 with Illini (1997-98-00).|
|Lefty Driesell||Georgia State||2001 Second Round||L vs. Maryland, 79-60||Driesell was 10-8 with Terrapins (1973-75-80-81-83-84-85-86) before going 1-1 with Panthers in 2001.|
|Tubby Smith||Kentucky||2002 Second Round||W vs. Tulsa, 87-82||Smith was 4-2 with Golden Hurricane in 1994 and 1995 before going 18-6 with Wildcats from 1998 through 2004.|
|Thad Matta||Ohio State||2007 Second Round||W vs. Xavier, 78-71||Matta was 5-3 with Muskeeters (2002 through 2004) before going 18-9 with Buckeyes from 2006 through 2015.|
|Ben Howland||UCLA||2007 Regional Semifinal||W vs. Pittsburgh, 64-55||Howland was 4-2 with Panthers (2002 and 2003) before going 15-7 with Bruins (2005-06-07-08-09-11-13).|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||2008 National Semifinal||L vs. Kansas, 84-66||Williams was 34-14 with Jayhawks (1990 through 2003) before going 31-9 with Tar Heels from 2004 through 2015.|
|Bill Self||Kansas||2011 Second Round||W vs. Illinois, 73-59||Self was 6-3 with Illini (2001 through 2003) before going 27-11 with Jayhawks from 2004 through 2015.|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||2012 Regional Final||L vs. Kansas, 80-67||Williams was 34-14 with Jayhawks (1990 through 2003) before going 31-9 with Tar Heels from 2004 through 2015.|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||2013 Second Round||L vs. Kansas, 70-58||Williams was 34-14 with Jayhawks (1990 through 2003) before going 31-9 with Tar Heels from 2004 through 2015.|
NCAA Tournament coaches will need to draw upon all of their resources to motivate their clubs in postseason play. Following is an alphabetical list assessing the educational backgrounds of mentors in this year's NCAA playoffs:
|NCAA Playoff Coach||School||Bachelor's||Master's|
|Dana Altman||Oregon||Business||Business Administration|
|Rick Barnes||Texas||Health & Physical Education|
|Mike Brey||Notre Dame||Physical Education|
|Rick Byrd||Belmont||Physical Education||Physical Education|
|Bill Coen||Northeastern||unavailable||Business Administration|
|Tom Crean||Indiana||Parks & Recreation|
|Larry Davis||Cincinnati (interim)||Education||Physical Education|
|Mike Davis||Texas Southern||Telecommunications|
|Bryce Drew||Valparaiso||Sports Management|
|Scott Drew||Baylor||Liberal Arts||Liberal Studies|
|Matthew Driscoll||North Florida||Education|
|Cliff Ellis||Coastal Carolina||Physical Education||Education|
|Mark Few||Gonzaga||Physical Education||Athletic Administration|
|Steve Fisher||San Diego State||Math/Physical Education||Physical Education|
|Travis Ford||Oklahoma State||Communication|
|Mark Fox||Georgia||Physical Education||Athletic Administration/Sports Psychology|
|Mark Gottfried||North Carolina State||Communications|
|Jerod Haase||UAB||Business Administration||Business|
|Jim Hayford||Eastern Washington||Social Science||Education|
|Fred Hoiberg||Iowa State||Finance|
|Chris Holtmann||Butler||Psychology||Athletic Administration|
|Bob Huggins||West Virginia||Physical Education||Health Administration|
|Ron Hunter||Georgia State||Education||Education|
|Tom Izzo||Michigan State||Health and Physical Education|
|Ben Jacobson||Northern Iowa||Physical Education|
|Lon Kruger||Oklahoma||Business||Physical Education|
|Larry Krystkowiak||Utah||Business Administration|
|Mike Krzyzewski||Duke||Officer Training|
|Steve Lavin||St. John's||Communications|
|Chris Mack||Xavier||Communication Arts|
|Gregg Marshall||Wichita State||Economics/Business||Sports Management|
|Thad Matta||Ohio State||Education|
|Marvin Menzies||New Mexico State||Economics||Education|
|Ryan "Archie" Miller||Dayton||Parks, Recreation & Tourism|
|Rick Pitino||Louisville||Political Science|
|Leon Rice||Boise State||Physical Education||Athletic Administration/Management & Program Development|
|David Richman||North Dakota State||Physical Education||Sport and Recreation Management|
|Bo Ryan||Wisconsin||Business Administration|
|Bill Self||Kansas||Business||Athletic Administration|
|Larry Shyatt||Wyoming||Physical Education||Secondary Education|
|Shaka Smart||Virginia Commonwealth||History||Social Science|
|John Thompson III||Georgetown||Politics|
|Andy Toole||Robert Morris||Political Science|
|Mark Turgeon||Maryland||Personnel Administration|
|Russell Turner||UC Irvine||English and Economics|
|Brad Underwood||Stephen F. Austin||Radio & TV Communications|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||Education||Education|
|Mike Young||Wofford||Physical Education|
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 winning at least two national championships, it's the only one in the select group to go more than 25 years between titles.
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 two years ago. 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 an extended period. 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, blowing a 17-point halftime lead against Ole Miss, showed this year with its eighth 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 (32) 19 (1950-57-65-69-72-79-80-87-90-92-95-01-03-04-07-08-09-14-15) 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) St. John's (31) 14 (1961-68-73-76-77-78-80-84-88-92-98-02-11-15) Temple (31) 14 (1944-64-67-70-72-79-90-92-95-98-08-09-10-12) West Virginia (26) 13 (1955-56-57-58-62-65-67-83-86-87-92-09-12)
February was Black History Month, but shouldn't we be fair and balanced to fully embrace political correctness? Amid running (comparable to well-meaning Starbucks) the risk of portrayal akin to Al Campanis when discussing race issues, CollegeHoopedia.com has conducted extensive research on trailblazing African-Americans who broke the color barrier at current NCAA Division I schools. In order to not be one-sided, it's time to assess the racial overtones of college basketball through the current minority prism of the white player.
According to a politically-direct UCF study several years ago, fewer than 1/3 of NCAA Division I players are white. There is some credence to refraining from judging a book by its cover, but the last time a majority of the NCAA consensus All-American first-team selections were white was 1969-70 (LSU's Pete Maravich, Purdue's Rick Mount and Kentucky's Dan Issel).
Non-whites accounted for more than 83% of the NCAA consensus All-American first- and second-selections since the shot clock was introduced nationwide in 1985-86. Alarmists might beg to differ, but the white American player hasn't exactly slipped into extinction. This isn't boxing, but versatile Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky clearly is the latest "Great White Hope."
Celebrating discriminating White History Moments even if it might offend college hoops sage Charles Barkley and entitled Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison, the last all-white NCAA consensus first-team All-American squad was in 1953-54. White players matter. There is no reason to recoil at the following alphabetical list of the modest total of 20 different white players before Kaminsky named an NCAA consensus first-team All-American:
White First-Team All-American Pos. School A-A Season(s) Steve Alford G Indiana 1985-86 and 1986-87 Andrew Bogut C Utah 2004-05 Nick Collison F Kansas 2002-03 Dan Dickau G Gonzaga 2001-02 Danny Ferry F Duke 1988-89 Jimmer Fredette G Brigham Young 2010-11 Tyler Hansbrough F-C North Carolina 2006-07 through 2008-09 Bobby Hurley G Duke 1992-93 Casey Jacobsen F-G Stanford 2000-01 Christian Laettner F-C Duke 1991-92 Raef LaFrentz F-C Kansas 1996-97 and 1997-98 Kevin Love C UCLA 2007-08 Doug McDermott F Creighton 2011-12 through 2013-14 Chris Mihm C Texas 1999-2000 Adam Morrison F Gonzaga 2005-06 Chris Mullin G St. John's 1984-85 Troy Murphy F Notre Dame 1999-00 and 2000-01 Kelly Olynyk C Gonzaga 2012-13 J.J. Redick G Duke 2004-05 and 2005-06 Keith Van Horn F Utah 1996-97
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 in the 20th Century 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.
The sampling isn't extensive but Duke, runner-up to Virginia before bowing against Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament semifinals, faces an uphill climb in capturing the NCAA championship after the Blue Devils were accorded a #1 seed despite failing to win either the ACC regular-season or conference tournament title. Prospects of a national title are also against Virginia and Notre Dame if you put much stock in the following chronological list detailing what happened in the NCAA tourney to the first five #1 seeds in this non-champion category:
|No. 1 Seed||Year||League Finish||NCAA Playoff Result||Summary of Principal Conference Competition|
|Illinois||1989||2nd in Big Ten||lost in national semifinals||regular-season champion Indiana lost in regional semifinals; Big Ten did not conduct postseason tourney|
|Michigan||1993||2nd in Big Ten||lost in national final||regular-season champion Indiana lost in regional final; Big Ten did not conduct postseason tourney|
|Texas||2003||2nd in Big 12||lost in national semifinals||regular-season champion Kansas lost in national final; Big 12 tourney champion Oklahoma lost in regional final|
|Connecticut||2009||T2nd in Big East||lost in national semifinals||regular-season and Big East tourney champion Louisville lost in regional final|
|Pittsburgh||2009||T2nd in Big East||lost in regional final||regular-season and Big East tourney champion Louisville lost in regional final|
Stature as a great player has never had anything to do with becoming a good coach. In fact, it can be a hindrance because of great expectations. But UCLA's Steve Alford is among the 14 individuals in history to coach a team to the NCAA Division I Tournament after earning a spot on an NCAA first- or second-team consensus All-American squad. Clem Haskins is the only All-American who also played in the NBA to have more NCAA tourney coaching victories than Alford, the lone All-American to coach four different schools in the playoffs. This year, Buffalo's Bobby Hurley (Duke) joined the following All-Americans in this category:
|Coach||School||Playoff Years||Alma Mater||All-American Years|
|Steve Alford||Southwest Missouri State||1999||Indiana||1st team in 1986 and 1987|
|UCLA||2014 and 2015|
|Henry Bibby||Southern California||1997||UCLA||1st in 1972|
|Bob Calihan||Detroit||1962||Detroit||2nd in 1939|
|Bob Cousy||Boston College||1967 and 1968||Holy Cross||1st in 1950|
|Larry Finch||Memphis State||1988-89-92-93-95||Memphis State||2nd in 1973|
|Sidney Green||Florida Atlantic||2002||UNLV||2nd in 1983|
|Clem Haskins||Western Kentucky||1981 and 1986||Western Kentucky||1st in 1967|
|Walt Hazzard||UCLA||1987||UCLA||1st in 1964|
|Bobby Hurley||Buffalo||2015||Duke||1st in 1993|
|Danny Manning||Tulsa||2014||Kansas||2nd in 1986; 1st in 1987 and 1988|
|Jeff Mullins||UNC Charlotte||1988 and 1992||Duke||2nd in 1964|
|John Shumate||Southern Methodist||1993||Notre Dame||1st in 1974|
|John Wooden||UCLA||1950-52-56-62-63-64-65-67-68-69-70-71-72-73-74-75||Purdue||1930 through 1932|
NOTES: The NCAA did not distinguish between first- and second-team All-Americas until 1939. . . . Alford (8-8 NCAA Tournament record after defeating SMU in opening contest), Bibby (0-1), Cousy (2-2), Green (0-1), Haskins (11-8), Hazzard (1-1), Hurley (making first coaching appearance), Manning (0-1), Mullins (0-3) and Shumate (0-1) played in the NBA.
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, unaware that UCLA legend John Wooden notched only one tourney triumph in his first 13 years with the Bruins, need to exercise a little patience in this era of instant gratification.
Fans of former Final Four schools such as Louisiana State (Johnny Jones), New Mexico State (Marvin Menzies), Providence (Ed Cooley) and Wyoming (Larry Shyatt) probably are restless because their present bench bosses never have won an NCAA playoff game in their coaching careers of at least eight seasons. As for the misguided media seeking another overnight success, they need to 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 was frustrated by the tourney long before losing against Mercer last year. LSU, NMSU, PC and Wyoming supporters should 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.
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 acronym 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.