Annually, there is a clear and present danger for pole sitters such as Kansas. Four years ago, Kentucky became only the fourth of 34 schools atop the national rankings entering the NCAA playoffs since North Carolina '82 to capture the national championship.
In 2006, Duke became the ninth No. 1 team in 17 years to fail to advance to a regional final when the Blue Devils were eliminated by LSU. In 1992, Duke defied a trend by becoming the first top-ranked team in 10 years entering the NCAA Tournament to win a national title. The previous five top-ranked teams failed to reach the championship game. UNLV lost twice in the national semifinals (1987 and 1991) and Temple '88, Arizona '89 and Oklahoma '90 failed to reach the Final Four.
Temple, a 63-53 loser against Duke in the 1988 East Regional final, and Kansas State, an 85-75 loser against Cincinnati in the 1959 Midwest Regional final, are the only teams ranked No. 1 by both AP and UPI entering the tourney to lose by a double-digit margin before the Final Four.
The school gaining the sweetest revenge against a top-ranked team was St. John's in 1952. Defending NCAA champion Kentucky humiliated the Redmen by 41 points (81-40) early in the season when the Catholic institution became the first to have a black player on the floor at Lexington, Ky. The African-American player, Solly Walker, played only a few minutes before he took a hit sidelining him for three weeks. But St. John's, sparked by center Bob Zawoluk's 32 points, avenged the rout by eliminating the Wildcats (64-57) in the East Regional, ending their 23-game winning streak. The Redmen, who subsequently defeated second-ranked Illinois in the national semifinals, lost against Kansas in the NCAA final.
In the 1982 championship game, North Carolina needed a basket with 16 seconds remaining from freshman Michael Jordan to nip Georgetown, 63-62, and become the only top-ranked team in 13 years from 1979 through 1991 to capture the NCAA title. It was a particularly bitter pill to swallow for seven of the 11 top-ranked teams to lose in the NCAA championship game in overtime or by two or three points in regulation.
KU is the latest #1 to learn it's win or go home as the Wildcats became the ninth top-ranked team to be eliminated in a regional final. Less than one-third of the top-ranked squads captured the NCAA crown. Following is analysis sizing up how the No. 1 teams fared in the NCAA playoffs since the Associated Press introduced national rankings in 1949:
20 - Won national title (Kentucky '49; Kentucky '51; Indiana '53; San Francisco '56; North Carolina '57; UCLA '64; UCLA '67; UCLA '69; UCLA '71; UCLA '72; UCLA '73; North Carolina State '74; UCLA '75; Indiana '76; Kentucky '78; North Carolina '82; Duke '92; UCLA '95, Duke '01, and Kentucky '12.
13 - Finished national runner-up (Bradley '50/defeated by CCNY; Ohio State '61/Cincinnati; Ohio State '62/Cincinnati; Cincinnati '63/Loyola of Chicago; Michigan '65/UCLA; Kentucky '66/Texas Western; Indiana State '79/Michigan State; Houston '83/North Carolina State; Georgetown '85/Villanova; Duke '86/Louisville; Duke '99/Connecticut; Illinois '05/North Carolina, and Ohio State '07/Florida).
9 - Lost in national semifinals (Cincinnati '60/defeated by California; Houston '68/UCLA; UNLV '87/Indiana; UNLV '91/Duke; Massachusetts '96/Kentucky; North Carolina '98/Utah; North Carolina '08/Kansas; Florida '14/Connecticut, and Kentucky '15/Wisconsin.
9 - Lost in regional final (Kentucky '52/defeated by St. John's; Kansas State '59/Cincinnati; Kentucky '70/Jacksonville; Michigan '77/UNC Charlotte; Temple '88/Duke; Indiana '93/Kansas; Kentucky '03/Marquette; Louisville '09/Michigan State), and Kansas '16/Villanova.
7 - Lost in regional semifinals (North Carolina '84/defeated by Indiana; Arizona '89/UNLV; Kansas '97/Arizona; Duke '00/Florida; Duke '02/Indiana); Duke '06/Louisiana State, and Ohio State '11/Kentucky).
7 - Lost in second round (DePaul '80/defeated by UCLA; DePaul '81/St. Joseph's; Oklahoma '90/North Carolina; North Carolina '94/Boston College; Stanford '04/Alabama; Kansas '10/Northern Iowa), and Gonzaga '13/Wichita State).
1 - Lost in first round (West Virginia '58/defeated by Manhattan).
1 - Declined a berth (Kentucky '54).
NOTE: After United Press International started ranking teams in 1951, UPI had just three different No. 1 teams entering the national playoffs than AP - Indiana lost in 1954 East Regional semifinals against Notre Dame, California finished as 1960 national runner-up to Ohio State and Indiana lost in 1975 Mideast Regional final against Kentucky.
John Groce inherited a gross situation four years ago after two fellow mid-major coaches rejected overtures from Illinois. If not, he probably wouldn't be watching both Kansas and Villanova feature a regular-rotation player from Illinois in the 2016 South Regional final. The Illini are one of the 10 schools with the most Top 20 appearances but are closing in on duplicating the disarray of the 1970s when they failed to finish in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll or appear in the NCAA playoffs the entire decade.
There is no question Gross' program is struggling after almost half of its roster was apprehended this campaign. Illini Nation won't be all it can be unless he fends off Duke (lost Jahlil Okafor two years ago to Chicago native Mike Krzyzewski) and Kansas (Cliff "Hat Trick" Alexander) for elite in-state recruits. Illini fans are disheartened because close only counts in hand grenades and bombs, horseshoes plus drive-in movies; not recruiting. Former Illini coach Bill Self previously lured Chicago-area All-Americans Sherron Collins and Julian Wright to KU. Additional Windy City regal recruits shunning the Illini since they reached the NCAA title game in 2005 include Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Quinn Cook (Duke), Anthony Davis (Kentucky), Eric Gordon (Indiana), Derrick Rose (Memphis) and Tyler Ulis (Kentucky).
After compiling a losing Big Ten Conference record over the last nine years, it boils down to in-state recruiting. Among the Illinois natives who earned All-American status during the '70s with other universities were DePaul's Mark Aguirre (from Chicago), Minnesota's Jim Brewer (Maywood), Indiana's Quinn Buckner (Dolton), Penn's Corky Calhoun (Waukegan), Illinois State's Doug Collins (Benton), DePaul's Dave Corzine (Arlington Heights), Marquette's Bo Ellis (Chicago), Michigan's Rickey Green (Chicago), Kentucky's Dan Issel (Batavia), Iowa's Ronnie Lester (Chicago), Colorado's Cliff Meely (Chicago), Bradley's Roger Phegley (East Peoria), Kansas' Dave Robisch (Springfield), Marquette's Lloyd Walton (Chicago) and Jerome Whitehead (Waukegan) plus Georgia Tech's Rich Yunkus (Benton). Four of these standouts were All-Americans in the same season - Buckner, Ellis, Green and Walton in 1975-76.
Kansas, finishing this season as the nation's top-ranked team, has been a thorn in the Illini's side for an extended period. Alexander, Collins, Wright, Robisch and current frontcourter Jamari Traylor were joined at KU by the following '70s recruits from Illinois:
- Roger Brown (Chicago) - Leading rebounder for KU's 1971 Final Four squad.
- Seven of top eight scorers for Jayhawks' 1974 Final Four team - Norm Cook (Lincoln/All-Big Eight Conference first-team selection), Dale Greenlee (Rockford), Tom Kivisto (Aurora/all-league first-team selection), Roger Morningstar (Dundee/two-time all-league second-team selection), Tommie Smith (Kewanee), Rick Suttle (East St. Louis/three-time all-league selection) and Dave Taynor (Bethalto).
- Donnie Von Moore (Chicago) - End-of-the-bench forward for 1974 Final Four squad averaged 8.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 1.6 bpg the next three seasons.
- Herb Nobles (East St. Louis) - Leading rebounder and second-leading scorer in 1976-77.
Comparable to several decades ago, focusing its recruiting efforts on Chicago won't be a panacea for the Illini. If freedom of speech means anything to PC police, too many players UI summoned from there to Champaign seem as if they'd be more comfortable disrupting a Donald Trump rally. The "audacity-of-hype" truth is that the Windy City might be delusional and won't always supply a Messiah providing the "hope and change" you're seeking. Thus, Groce's staff needs to take every back road in the state to generate roster value. After all, Issel and Yunkus were among 22 different major-college All-Americans in less than 30 years to come from Illinois high schools in towns with populations smaller than 20,000. Bigger isn't always better or worth your time and energy. In other words, the leader-depleted Illini can't permit a quality playmaker such as Fred VanVleet (Rockford) to leave the state and become an All-American at Wichita State.
A significant number of schools turn sheepish at the mention of recent NCAA Tournament success. Among Division I institutions making at least 10 NCAA playoff appearances, seven former Final Four participants - Houston, New Mexico State, Oregon State, Princeton, San Francisco, Southern Methodist and Texas-El Paso - combined to go winless in the past 18 years.
DePaul, Oregon State and San Francisco each have won more than 20 NCAA tourney games but collaborated for only one win in the past 27 years (DePaul over Dayton in double overtime in 2004). With B.B. King "The Thrill is Gone" lyrics in the background, following is an alphabetical list of schools with at least 10 NCAA playoff appearances for which Sweet 16 is a distant memory:
School (Playoff Appearances) Recent NCAA Tournament Travails Boston College (18) winless past nine years with only one appearance Charlotte (11) no appearance past 11 years; winless past 15 years Clemson (11) one victory past 19 years DePaul (22) appeared once past 16 years; one victory past 27 years George Washington (11) one victory past 22 years Georgia (12) one victory past 20 years Holy Cross (13) posted first win since 1953 this season in play-in game Houston (19) winless past 32 years Idaho State (11) winless past 39 years Minnesota (12) one victory past 19 years New Mexico State (20) winless past 23 years Old Dominion (11) one victory past 21 years Oregon State (17) winless past 34 years Penn (23) one victory past 36 years Pepperdine (13) one victory past 34 years Princeton (24) winless past 18 years San Francisco (16) appeared once past 34 years Santa Clara (11) no appearance past 20 years Seattle (11) winless since 1964 Southern Methodist (11) winless past 28 years Texas-El Paso (17) winless past 24 years Utah State (20) one victory past 46 years Weber State (15) winless past 17 years Wyoming (15) one victory past 29 years
Yale's Brandon Sherrod, setting himself apart from anyone who ever played major-college basketball, set an NCAA Division I record by making 30 consecutive field-goal attempts covering five mid-season games. Singing his praises in helping the Bulldogs participate in the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 1962, Sherrod returned to them this campaign after taking a year off from school to tour the world as one of only 14 singers with Yale's a cappella group - the Whiffenpoofs.
Sherrod isn't the only talented singer who also made music as a college basketball player. Consider the following crooners who didn't whiff in the music industry:
ISHMAEL BUTLER, Massachusetts
Known as Butterfly with the hip-hop group Digable Planets, which was nominated for a 1994 Grammy Award as the "Best New Artist."
He averaged 3.8 ppg and 2 rpg in John Calipari's first season as UMass coach in 1988-89.
JOHN FRED GOURRIER, Southeastern Louisiana
Lead vocalist and harmonica player for the rock-and-roll group John Fred and the Playboy Band that boasted a hit single "Judy in Disguise" in 1967 and 1968.
The 6-5, 185-pound forward averaged eight points per game for Southeastern Louisiana as a junior in 1962-63 before scoring 248 points as a senior. The Baton Rouge native also played two seasons for SLU's baseball team and still shares the school single-game record for most RBI with eight.
VAUGHN HARPER, Syracuse
New York City disc jockey, the host with the mellow voice on "The Quiet Storm," for more than a quarter century in the New York City area.
One of the Orange's all-time leaders in rebounds per game (11.1). Harper also averaged 13.5 ppg from 1965-66 through 1967-68, leading SU in scoring as a senior (15.8 ppg). Teammate of All-American Dave Bing and all-time winningest coach Jim Boeheim grabbed team-high 10 rebounds in 91-81 loss to Duke in 1966 East Regional final. Ninth-round selection in the 1968 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons.
AL JARREAU, Ripon (Wis.)
Innovative musical expressions made him one of the most exciting and critically-acclaimed performers of our time, winning five Grammys, including best jazz vocalist in 1978 and 1979. He began singing at the age of four, and was soon harmonizing with his brothers and performing solo at a variety of local events in his hometown of Milwaukee. Following an extended stint in Los Angeles, he was spotted by Warner Brothers Records talent scouts and signed to a recording contract in 1975. Two years later, Jarreau embarked on his first world tour. While on a break from touring in 1996, he accepted a three-month stint on Broadway playing the role of the Teen Angel in the hit musical Grease!
Member of Ripon's basketball team from 1958-59 through 1961-62 posted career highs of 5.9 ppg and 4.3 rpg as a sophomore. While attending college, he performed locally with a group called The Indigos on weekends and holidays before graduating with a B.S. in Psychology.
MARK MILLER, Central Florida
Front man and principal songwriter for Sawyer Brown, one of the nation's most popular and enduring country music bands. Sawyer Brown, the top grossing country group in 1994, has sold more than 11 million records since getting a jump start in 1984 on Ed McMahon's Star Search and was named the Top Vocal Group in 1997 by the Academy of Country Music. Sawyer Brown's "Six Days on the Road" video, which came out in early 2000, emphasized the baldheaded Miller's shooting ability.
The 5-8 guard was scoreless in a total of 13 minutes in seven games for Central Florida in 1978-79. He had one assist and committed three turnovers. "I play whenever I can," Miller said. "I go at it really hard. I think my greatest strength in basketball is just seeing the floor and having a feel for where everything should go. And maybe that's my strength in music, too."
Miller, who majored in physical education, joined UCF the year after it went to the Final Four in Division II, and coach Torchy Clark was a local legend. "He (Torchy) wanted you to play hard, but he also wanted you to be a good person," Miller said. "If it came between winning and being a good person, he would rather you be a good person. He helped me as a player, and the lessons I learned from him have helped me in my career. Late at night while on tour, I still call him."
PERCY ROMEO MILLER JR., Southern California
Rapper/actor, son of entertainment mogul and entrepreneur Master P, has released multiple studio albums and compilation albums. His debut album titled after his original alias Lil' Romeo contained the hit single "My Baby" that charted #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-hop Singles.
Signed with the Trojans with friend Demar DeRozan, who left for the NBA after only one season. Romeo, a 5-9 point guard, played 19 minutes in nine games in 2008-09 and 2009-10, scoring a total of five points.
DAVID PALACIO, Texas Western
Executive vice president of EMI Latin, which is affiliated with Capitol Records in Hollywood, Calif.
Backup guard for Texas Western's 1966 NCAA championship team scored a season-high four points against Loyola (La.). Contributed a second-half field goal when the Miners erased a 16-point halftime deficit to win in overtime at New Mexico, 67-64. In their next outing, he chipped in with another basket in a 69-67 triumph over Arizona State. Palacio averaged 7.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game the next season as a junior.
KENNY PARKER, St. Peter's
Brother of one of the most influential rap and hip-hop artists of the 1980s and early 1990s - KRS-ONE (born Kris Parker). Kenny, who performed as a DJ alongside his brother and in music videos as part of the hard-core hip-hop outfit Boogie Down Productions, was a producer for BDP recordings. He has produced TV commercials for Nike.
Parker was a four-year regular who had his best scoring season as a freshman (8.4 ppg in 1985-86 when he supplied a 26-point, nine-rebound effort against MAAC power La Salle).
DARRYL SHEPHERD, Pittsburgh
Produced two No. 1 hits on the R&B charts. An accomplished keyboard player, he also has worked on movie soundtracks and for numerous artists (including Smokey Robinson).
Participated in the NIT and NCAA playoffs in the mid-1980s with the Panthers. His wife, attorney Renee Henderson, was a former Pitt sprinter who won the 60- and 200-meter dashes in France at the 2008 World Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships (setting two American Records en route to winning gold).
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 14 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 compile a losing record in a season it won on the road against a conference rival later capturing the NCAA championship. Hint: The school is a former national titlist itself, but had just one winning league mark in 12 years from 1977-78 through 1988-89.
2. Name the only school to compile a conference record of more than 10 games below .500 in a season it defeated a league rival becoming NCAA champion. Hint: The school, which finished in first or second place in league competition four consecutive seasons in the early 1930s, has 44 consecutive non-winning records in conference play.
3. Name the only school to trail by at least 10 points at halftime of a tournament game and end up winning the contest by more than 20. Hint: A prominent network broadcaster played for the team. The next year, the school became the only one in tourney history to win back-to-back overtime games by double-digit margins.
4. Who is the only coach to lose in back-to-back seasons to teams seeded 14th or worse? Hint: He captured an NCAA championship later that decade.
5. Name the only double-digit seeded team to reach the Final Four until Virginia Commonwealth achieved the feat last year. Hint: It's the worst-seeded school to defeat a #1 seed, a conference rival that defeated the team a total of three times that year during the regular season and postseason league tournament. The next year, the university became the only school to reach back-to-back regional finals as a double-digit seed.
6. Name the only school to win a regional final game it trailed by more than 15 points at halftime. Hint: The school lost its next game at the Final Four to a team that dropped a conference game against the regional final opponent by a double-figure margin. Three years later, it became the only school to score more than 100 points in a championship game and win a national final by more than 21 points.
7. Who is the only team-leading scorer to be held more than 25 points under his season average in a Final Four game? Hint: He scored 39 points against the same opponent earlier in the season to help end the third-longest winning streak in major-college history. He is the only player to lead the playoffs in scoring and rebounding in back-to-back seasons although he wasn't named to the All-Tournament team one of those years despite becoming the only player to lead a tourney in scoring by more than 60 points. In addition, he is the only player in tournament history to collect more than 40 points and 25 rebounds in the same game.
8. Name the only school to lead the nation in scoring offense and win the NCAA title in the same season. Hint: The top four scorers were undergraduates for the only titlist to win all of its NCAA Tournament games by more than 15 points.
9. Name the only school to play in as many as three overtime games in a single tournament. Hint: One of the three overtime affairs was a national third-place game.
10. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to go scoreless in two NCAA Tournament games in a previous year? Hint: His NBA scoring average decreased each of his last nine seasons in the league after becoming Rookie of the Year.
Lon Kruger is frequently overlooked in his profession despite status as only coach ever to direct five different schools in the NCAA Tournament. This year, he added to his credentials by becoming only the fifth mentor in playoff history guiding three different schools to an Elite Eight before earning acclaim as the 13th coach taking two different institutions to the Final Four.
Gene Bartow achieved the feat in a 10-year span from 1973 through 1982. Three of the five coaches advanced to a regional final piloting Kentucky. John Calipari is the only individual on the following list to be bench boss for three different schools reaching a regional final multiple times:
|Elite Eight Coach||First School||Second School||Third School|
|Gene Bartow||Memphis State (1973)||UCLA (1976)||UAB (1982)|
|John Calipari||Massachusetts (1995 and 1996)||Memphis (2006 through 2008)||Kentucky (2010 through 2012, 2014 and 2015)|
|Lon Kruger||Kansas State (1988)||Florida (1994)||Oklahoma (2016)|
|Rick Pitino||Providence (1987)||Kentucky (1992, 1993 and 1995 through 1997)||Louisville (2005, 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2015)|
|Eddie Sutton||Arkansas (1978 and 1979)||Kentucky (1986)||Oklahoma State (1995, 2000 and 2004)|
Need an example showing how scoring is down in college basketball beyond the freak set of circumstances in 2008-09 when eventual NBA MVP Stephen Curry went scoreless against Loyola (Md.)? Unsure if it is a byproduct of doomed civilization stemming from eco-fascist climate change, but no NCAA Division I player has averaged 30 points per game thus far in the 21st Century (since LIU's Charles Jones in 1996-97 with 30.1 ppg).
Last year, Eastern Washington's Tyler Harvey (23.1 ppg) finished with the lowest average for the national scoring leader since Yale's Tony Lavelli posted 22.4 ppg in 1948-49. As a means of comparison to an era when scorers flourished, an average of 36 players annually posted higher scoring marks than Harvey in a six-season span from 1967-68 through 1972-73, including a high of 44 in 1969-70 when LSU's Pete Maravich nearly doubled Harvey with 44.5 ppg despite the absence of the three-point field goal.
Glenn Robinson Jr. (30.3 ppg for Purdue in 1993-94) was the only player from a power six league to pace the country in scoring in a 41-year span from 1971-72 through 2011-12 (South Carolina was independent in 1980-81 and TCU was SWC member in 1994-95). Following is a look at the high and low games for players during the season when they led DI in scoring average:
NOTE: Leaders are unofficial from 1935-36 through 1946-47.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 13 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 team-leading scorer of a Final Four team to go scoreless when the school was eliminated from championship contention at the national semifinals? Hint: He was a center who along with four teammates averaged between 11 and 12.5 points per game.
2. Who is the only player to twice lead the nation in scoring average while playing for teams advancing to the Final Four? Hint: He is the only team-leading scorer to twice be more than 10 points below his season scoring mark when his school was eliminated at the Final Four.
3. Name the only school to lose two national championship games by at least 18 points after leading the finals at halftime. Hint: The two opponents, 17 years apart, combined to win 66 of 68 games those seasons.
4. Name the only school to make as many as eight consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from the year it participated in the event for the first time. Hint: The school's last playoff victory wasn't during this streak, but it later handed UCLA its first West Regional defeat in 14 years.
5. Name the only school to lose as many as 15 opening-round games in the NCAA Tournament. Hint: The university also lost a first-round game in 1984 after winning a qualifying round contest when the playoff field was 53 teams.
6. Who is the only athlete to collect more than 3,000 major league hits, including 465 homers, after playing the entire basketball game for a school when it appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Hint: The outfielder appeared in 12 All-Star Games and two World Series after never playing in the minors.
7. Who is the only player to have a single-digit point total in a national semifinal game and then increase his output by more than 20 points in the championship game? Hint: The center for two years between two three-time consensus first-team All-Americans shot just over 40% from the floor for the season entering the title game where he had a game-high and career-high point total.
8. Who is the only player to have a decrease of more than 25 points from his national semifinal game scoring total to his championship game output? Hint: He was a member of the first undefeated NCAA champion and subsequently became an NBA first-round draft choice.
9. Name the only school to defeat two eventual Final Four teams by double-digit margins in their conference tournament. Hint: The school was handily eliminated in the NCAA playoffs by one of the two Final Four teams it decisively defeated in their league tourney.
10. Name the only school to reach the NCAA championship game in back-to-back seasons it was defeated by double-digit margins in its conference tournament. Hint: The school swept its home-and-home series in regular-season conference competition against the teams defeating it in the league tourney.
Last year, Wisconsin center-forward Frank Kaminsky became the national player of the year posting the lowest first-year scoring average for any such honoree since the initial POY award by UPI in 1955. This season, Oklahoma's Buddy Hield became another "growing-pains" example why fans shouldn't put too much stock in freshman statistics. Kaminsky and Hield are on both ends of the following list of first 12 national players of the year averaging fewer than eight points per game in their first varsity campaign:
Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma (7.8 ppg as freshman in 2012-13)
Shane Battier, F, Duke (7.6 ppg as freshman in 1997-98)
David Robinson, C, Navy (7.6 ppg as freshman in 1983-84)
*Sidney Wicks, F-C, UCLA (7.5 ppg as sophomore in 1968-69)
Marques Johnson, F, UCLA (7.2 ppg as freshman in 1973-74)
Jimmer Fredette, G, Brigham Young (7 ppg as freshman in 2007-08)
Danny Ferry, F-C, Duke (5.9 ppg as freshman in 1985-86)
Gary Bradds, C, Ohio State (4.7 ppg as sophomore in 1961-62)
Ed O'Bannon, F, UCLA (3.6 ppg as freshman in 1991-92)
Draymond Green, F, Michigan State (3.3 ppg as freshman in 2008-09)
Kenyon Martin, C, Cincinnati (2.8 ppg as freshman in 1996-97)
Frank Kaminsky, F-C, Wisconsin (1.8 ppg as freshman in 2011-12)
- Junior college recruit.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 12 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 championship team player to have a season scoring average of less than six points per game entering a Final Four but tally more than 30 points in the national semifinals and final? Hint: He is the only player with a single-digit season scoring average to score more than 25 points in an NCAA championship game.
2. Who is the only player to score at least 25 points in eight consecutive NCAA playoff games? Hint: He is the only player to rank among the top five in scoring average in both the NCAA Tournament and NBA playoffs. He was denied a championship ring in his only Final Four appearance when a player who would become an NBA teammate tipped in a decisive basket in the closing seconds.
3. Name the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player who wasn't among the top five scorers on his team. Hint: The only other player to earn the award who wasn't among the top four scorers on his team attended the same university.
5. Who is the only U.S. Congressman to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee after playing in the NCAA Tournament championship game? Hint: Starting out as a Democrat, he became a 12-term Republican Congressman from Illinois.
6. Who is the only individual to be named Final Four Most Outstanding Player and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in back-to-back seasons? Hint: He holds the NBA Finals single-game record for most points by a rookie.
7. Name the freshman who had the highest season scoring average for a team to reach the NCAA Tournament championship game until Carmelo Anthony achieved the feat for 2003 champion Syracuse. Hint: The word "Boss" is tattooed to his chest for a good reason because he also led his team in assists as a freshman.
8. Who is the only freshman to score more than 30 points in a national semifinal or championship game before failing to score more than half that total in his next four playoff outings? Hint: He didn't score more than 15 points in any of his next four NCAA playoff games, all defeats, and he averaged a modest 8.2 points per game in an eight-year NBA career with an all-time pro season high of 11.4 ppg and game high of 28.
9. Who is the only freshman on a Final Four team to score more than 20 points in as many as four tournament games? Hint: He did not play in the national championship game and his school lost in the NCAA playoffs to opponents with double-digit seeds each of the four seasons before he arrived.
10. Name the only season-leading scorer of a titlist to be held more than 14 points below his average in the NCAA championship game. Hint: He was named national player of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. He is one of four Final Four Most Outstanding Players held scoreless in their NCAA Tournament debuts in a previous season. He is also the only individual to become a member of three NCAA titlists after playing one season in junior college.
CAA Player of the Year Juan'ya Green became only the fourth performer in NCAA history scoring more than 1,000 points for two Division I schools (Niagara and Hofstra). Green, the only player to tally more than 1,100 for two different DI institutions, also averaged 5.8 assists per game in his college career. Following is the short list of individuals surpassing the 1,000-point plateau with two major colleges:
|Player||First School Scoring Output (Seasons)||Second School Scoring Output (Seasons)|
|Jon Manning||1,039 with Oklahoma City (1974-75 & 1975-76)||1,090 with North Texas State (1977-78 & 1978-79)|
|Kenny Battle||1,072 with Northern Illinois (1984-85 & 1985-86)||1,112 with Illinois (1987-88 & 1988-89)|
|Gary Neal||1,041 with La Salle (2002-03 & 2003-04)||1,254 with Towson (2005-06 & 2006-07)|
|Juan'ya Green||1,131 with Niagara (2011-12 & 2012-13)||1,186 with Hofstra (2014-15 & 2015-16)|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 11 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 one of the 60 or so two-time consensus first-team All-Americans since 1946 never to participate in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT? Hint: His school was a total of 10 games over .500 in Big Ten Conference competition in his junior and senior seasons. He never played on a team to win a playoff series in his nine-year NBA career.
2. Who is the only player to score more than 20,000 pro points yet never reach the conference finals in the NBA playoffs after playing at least two seasons of varsity basketball at a major college and never participating in the NCAA Division I playoffs? Hint: The college he attended made its NCAA Tournament debut the first year after he left school early to become the third pick overall in the NBA draft.
3. Who is the only coach since the tourney field expanded to at least 48 teams to take two different universities to the playoffs when the schools appeared in the tournament for the first time? Hint: His last name begins with a "F" and he no longer is a Division I head coach.
4. Name the only school with a losing record to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs by winning a regular-season conference title. Hint: The league started a postseason tournament two years later and the school in question has lost all six times it reached the conference tourney championship game.
5. Name the only major university to have two graduates score more than 17,000 points in the NBA after playing at least three varsity seasons in college and failing to appear in the NCAA Tournament. Hint: The school has had three other players score more than 10,000 points in the NBA after never appearing in the NCAA playoffs.
6. Name the only former titlist to have an all-time playoff record 10 games below the .500 mark. Hint: Longtime network broadcaster Curt Gowdy played in the tournament for the school.
7. Name the only state with three schools to compile tournament records at least nine games below .500. Hint: The three institutions from the same state are members of different conferences.
8. Who was the only player shorter than Bobby Hurley, Duke's 6-0 guard, to play for a championship team and be selected as the Final Four Most Outstanding Player? Hint: There was another Final Four MOP who was also shorter than 6-0, but he played for a national third-place finisher in the mid-1950s.
9. Who is the only individual to play in an NCAA Tournament championship game and later coach his alma mater to a final? Hint: He served as an assistant to the coach with the most NCAA playoff victories and a college teammate is one of the winningest coaches of all time.
10. Name the only one of the schools with multiple national titles to have two teams participate in the NCAA playoffs as defending champions but lose their opening-round game. Hint: Both of the opening-round setbacks for the school when it was defending champion occurred in the East Regional.
After an average of four mid-level schools reached the Sweet 16 in a six-year span from 2006 through 2011, the last five 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, only two mid-majors reached the Sweet 16 in 2014 and 2015 plus Northern Iowa and Stephen F. Austin squandering last-minute leads against power-league opponents.
Butler, Virginia Commonwealth and Wichita State advancing to the Final Four this decade was invigorating but the mid-major community missed out on a potential bonanza. Following is a look at how at least one mid-major conference member advanced to a regional semifinal or beyond since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985:
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 10 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 All-American to coach three different schools in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: He was the leading scorer for an NCAA champion.
2. Who is the only coach to take three different schools to a regional final in a 10-year span? Hint: He is the only individual to meet two different schools in the playoffs he had previously coached to the Final Four. He had a chance to become the first coach to guide three different universities to the national semifinals, but retired and turned the reins over to his son.
3. Who is the only seven-foot player to lead a Final Four in scoring and win a conference high jump title in the same year? Hint: He is the only player to lead the NBA in rebounds and assists in the same season.
4. Of the total of 10 different teams in the 1980s to defeat a school twice in a season the opponent eventually won the national title, name the only one of the 10 to fail to win its NCAA Tournament opener. Hint: The team had the misfortune of opening the playoffs on the home court of its opponent.
5. Of the Final Four teams in the last several decades to have standouts whose high school coach was reunited with a star player as a college assistant, name the only school to win a national championship. Hint: The high school coach who tagged along with his prep All-American as a college assistant was also the first minority player to play for his alma mater.
6. Who is the only coach to take a team more than two games below .500 one season to the national title the next year? Hint: He is the only championship team coach to finish his college career with a losing record. He is also the only major-college coach to stay at a school at least 25 seasons and finish with a losing career record at that institution.
7. Who is the only coach to reach the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament and NIT at least five times apiece? Hint: Of the coaches to win basketball championships at every major level (the NCAA, NIT and Summer Olympics), he is the only one to capture the "Triple Crown" in a span of less than 10 years.
8. Of the players to score more than 225 points in the playoffs and/or average in excess of 25 points per tournament game (minimum of six games), who is the only individual to score more than 22 points in every postseason contest? Hint: He is the only player from the group to have a single-digit differential between his highest-scoring game and his lowest-scoring game.
9. Who is the only one of the first 20 players to accumulate at least 235 points in NCAA playoff competition to fail to score at least 25 points in a tournament game? Hint: He is the only one of the more recent Most Outstanding Players to score fewer than 28 points in two Final Four games and his highest-scoring playoff performance couldn't avert a defeat in the only one of his four years he didn't participate in the Final Four.
10. Among the all-time leading scorers in NCAA Tournament history, who is the only player in this group to go scoreless in a playoff game? Hint: He scored less than 10 points in six consecutive tournament games before averaging 20 points per game in his last 11 playoff outings.
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 16 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, Memphis, 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 (12) - Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, Syracuse, Temple, UNLV, Wake Forest
2016 (16) - Arkansas, Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, UCLA, UNLV, Wake Forest
Should I stay or should I go? It's a good thing some universities play in mammoth arenas because the egos of their "Pompous Pilots" wouldn't fit any other place. Much of the excess in the canonization of coaches is perpetrated by coaches-turned-television commentators who shamelessly fawn over their former colleagues. The analysts should be more concerned about encouraging coaches to spare fans the pious blather about the sanctity of a contract or agreement. Granted, it's survival of the fittest amid the offer-you-can't-refuse backdrop. But in a great many cases, schools have been little more than convenient steppingstones for "larger-than-life" coaches along their one-way street to success. It's understandable in many instances that mercenaries are leaving the minute they're appointed because coaches are in a distasteful "hired-to-be-fired" vocation, where a pink slip is only one losing season or poor recruiting year away.
Nevertheless, loyalty has become too much of a one-way street with the latest examples including Jamie Dixon departing for his alma mater (Texas Christian) despite having seven seasons remaining on his contract with Pittsburgh, Bryce Drew abandoning his alma mater (Valparaiso) with seven campaigns left on his deal for Vanderbilt and Brad Underwood leaving Stephen F. Austin for Oklahoma State with six years left on his pact. Meanwhile, players considering their options occasionally are grilled by coaches and commentators for contemplating transfers or leaving early for the NBA. There are countless examples of schools holding a player's eligibility hostage out of sheer vindictiveness. How much more one-sided can it be when such a lame double standard exists?
After all, the value systems for high-profile coaches are sufficiently open-minded to permit running out on contracts when more lucrative jobs come open. Contracts are understood to be for the protection of the coach, not the team, whose players are somehow indentured to the schools for as many as four years of eligibility unless of course a coach chooses not to renew their scholarships. Perhaps that's why many believe incoming recruits should be allowed out of their letter-of-intent to seek another destination if the coach they signed with departs before they even get to campus.
Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but that's most definitely the way it is as contracts don't appear to mean squat to a striking number of meandering mentors who abandon ship like so many rats at high tide. Oklahoma's Lon Kruger departed three different schools with at least four years remaining on pacts before leaving UNLV with two seasons left.
Many "leveraged" coaches have been preoccupied of late with attempting to virtually extort raises and extensions on already hefty packages. But in recent years, administrations at Boston College, Kent State, Marist, Miami (Fla.), St. John's and Wyoming seemed to be guinea pigs of sorts by fighting back via adherence to buyout clauses in trying to regain control of the situation in this big business atmosphere.
In mid-July 2010, a New York State Supreme Court Justice made a possible precedent-setting ruling in favor of Marist, which contended that coach Matt Brady's contract required him to secure written consent before negotiating with another school and forbade him from offering "a scholarship to current Marist players or to persons that he or his staff recruited to play at Marist" if he ever took a comparable job.
Brady clearly negotiated with James Madison in 2008 without "written" consent and Marist compiled a list of 19 prospects Brady recruited on behalf of Marist that it believed he should have been unable to recruit to JMU per the details of his contract. Four players on that "off-limits" list - Trevon Flores, Devon Moore, Andrey Semenov and Julius Wells - ultimately signed with JMU.
The judge ruled in favor of Marist's claims that Brady had an enforceable contract when he discussed leaving Marist with JMU, that JMU knew of the contract's existence, that JMU intentionally induced Brady to violate his fiduciary obligations under the contract, and that Marist incurred damages as a result of the breach of those obligations. Marist also filed a separate civil suit against Brady, who was canned by JMU despite reaching the 20-win plateau in 2015-16. In mid-May 2011, Kent State sued Geno Ford for more than $1.2 million in damages stemming from his departure for Bradley, where Ford has already been cast adrift.
Six of Tulsa's previous eight coaches - Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith, Steve Robinson, Bill Self, Buzz Peterson and Danny Manning - left the school for more prestigious positions despite each of them having at least three years remaining on their contracts before Frank Haith downgraded by departing Missouri for Tulsa with three years remaining on his Mizzou pact. Half of the Golden Hurricane defectors went on to capture NCAA championships. Tulsa is one of three universities from which Self has bailed. He signed a five-year extension with Illinois in December, 2002, that included a bump in salary to $900,000 and payout of $500,000 if he stayed the life of the contract. There also was a buyout of $100,000 per year remaining on the pact.
Lengthy agreements with guarantees can restrict an institution's options. Oklahoma State probably would have pursued a new coach a year ago except the Cowboys were shackled by obligations stemming from the remaining four years of a 10-year extension signed by Travis Ford, who previously departed Massachusetts with seven seasons left on his contract to align with OSU.
Deal or no deal? The length of contracts doesn't seem to carry any weight as a factor in the equation. Smart said it was a "no-brainer" hooking up with the Horns and that statement is true if your brain cells or ethical standards don't put any stock into length of an existing pact. Following is an alphabetical list detailing coaches such as Dixon and Underwood reportedly still having contractual obligations to schools of more than five seasons when they left for greener pastures at some point in their careers:
- Steve Alford (10 years remaining on contract) - left New Mexico/hired by UCLA
- Rick Barnes (6) - Clemson/Texas
- John Beilein (6) - Richmond/West Virginia
- Tony Bennett (6) - Washington State/Virginia
- Dave Bliss (6) - New Mexico/Baylor
- Mike Brey (7) - Delaware/Notre Dame
- John Calipari (10) - Massachusetts/New Jersey Nets
- Jeff Capel III (6) - Virginia Commonwealth/Oklahoma
- Tom Crean (9) - Marquette/Indiana
- Jamie Dixon (7) - Pittsburgh/Texas Christian
- Matt Doherty (6) - Florida Atlantic/Southern Methodist
- Bryce Drew (7) - Valparaiso/Vanderbilt
- Larry Eustachy (6) - Utah State/Iowa State
- Dennis Felton (6) - Western Kentucky/Georgia
- Tim Floyd (6) - New Orleans/Iowa State
- Tim Floyd (8) - Iowa State/Chicago Bulls
- Travis Ford (7) - Massachusetts/Oklahoma State
- Billy Gillispie (8) - Texas A&M/Kentucky
- Brian Gregory (7) - Dayton/Georgia Tech
- Leonard Hamilton (7) - Miami (Fla.)/Washington Wizards
- Fred Hoiberg (8) - Iowa State/Chicago Bulls
- Ben Howland (6) - Pittsburgh/UCLA
- Jeff Lebo (8) - Chattanooga/Auburn
- Gregg Marshall (8) - Winthrop/Wichita State
- Thad Matta (9) - Xavier/Ohio State
- Fran McCaffery (7) - Siena/Iowa
- Sean Miller (9) - Xavier/Arizona
- Dan Monson (10) - Gonzaga/Minnesota
- Lute Olson (7) - Iowa/Arizona
- Buzz Peterson (9) - Appalachian State/Tulsa
- Skip Prosser (6) - Xavier/Wake Forest
- Oliver Purnell (6) - Clemson/DePaul
- Mike Rice Jr. (7) - Robert Morris/Rutgers
- Steve Robinson (7) - Tulsa/Florida State
- Kelvin Sampson (6) - Washington State/Oklahoma
- Shaka Smart (8) - Virginia Commonwealth/Texas
- Tubby Smith (6) - Georgia/Kentucky
- Mark Turgeon (9) - Wichita State/Texas A&M
- Brad Underwood (6) - Stephen F. Austin/Oklahoma State
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.
Weep On It/Think On It/Sleep On It/Drink On It. That could be the motto for Xavier after the Musketeers remained a "Susan Lucci" school in Division I after another loss in the NCAA Tournament preventing them from reaching the Promised Land. Brigham Young, Missouri and Xavier are the only three schools participating in more than 25 NCAA Tournaments but never advancing to a Final Four. X exhibited traits where it showed potential of marking a spot at the national semifinals this year but the #2 seed in the East Regional was blindsided twice by Wisconsin three-point specialist Bronson "Mr. Big Shot" Koenig in the last 13 seconds.
Missouri has reached a regional final on four occasions but fell short in advancing to the Final Four. Boston College is another bridesmaid multiple times, losing three regional finals (1967, 1982 and 1994) in 18 tourney appearances (22-19 record) since the field expanded beyond eight teams in 1950.
Alabama (20-20) is the only school with a non-losing NCAA playoff record among the following list of five frustrated institutions in a quagmire because they've made a minimum of 20 appearances without reaching the Final Four:
The Atlantic Coast Conference, reinvigorated with the additions of Notre Dame and Syracuse, provided more than three teams among the Sweet 16 for the first time in 20 years last season. This campaign, the ACC continued on an upward path by setting an NCAA Tournament record with six Sweet 16 participants. Newcomer Louisville might have been a seventh ACC squad but the banished Cardinals apparently were more interested in sex ed independent study raining dollar bills in their dormitory.
In 2009, the Big East became the first conference to boast five playoff teams reaching the regional semifinals in the same year until the ACC duplicated the feat last year. The ACC boasted four members advancing that far on eight occasions in a 12-year stretch from 1984 through 1995.
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 26 times when thoroughbred leagues supplied at least four Sweet 16 participants 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||x-Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame|
|2016||ACC||Duke, Miami (Fla.), y-North Carolina, Notre Dame, z-Syracuse, Virginia|
x-Won NCAA championship
y-Finished national runner-up
z-Reached Final Four
Kentucky and Duke faced the same dilemma. UK, after multiple undergraduate members of its regular rotation departed a Final Four team four times in a five-year span to display their wares in the NBA, and defending champion Duke, after losing three undergrads who became NBA first-round selections.
Each Final Four since 1995 had at least one school promptly lose a minimum of one player early to the NBA, including all four participants in 2007 (Florida, Georgetown, Ohio State and UCLA). But what happened to those national semifinal schools with multiple players declaring early for the NBA?
The first 15 "star light" schools with multiple defectors failed to reach an NCAA regional final the next season until Kentucky reversed the trend with a national championship in 2012 after losing Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins in 2011. But UK, after freshmen Julius Randle and James Young were among the top 17 NBA draft choices in 2014, couldn't duplicate that feat last year. It would have been one of the greatest achievements in college basketball history if UK returned to the 2013 Final Four after losing five undergraduates from the 38-2 NCAA titlist although two of them (Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague) have had virtually no NBA impact. The perils of losing so much young talent was reflected in the Wildcats' failure to reach the NCAA playoffs and losing in the opening round of the NIT against Robert Morris.
The only team in this category other than UK to lose fewer than seven games was Duke (29-5 in 1999-00). After the first 13 squads thus far this century suffered an average of nine defeats in the wake of multiple pro defections, Kentucky won 38 in a row last season before bowing against Wisconsin in the national semifinals, which was a significant departure from the following chronological look at how Final Four schools fared the year after having multiple players renounce their college eligibility:
|Year||Final Four Team||Multiple Undergraduates Declaring For NBA Draft||Record||Postseason Outcome Next Season|
|1995||Arkansas (2)||Scotty Thurman (undrafted), Corliss Williamson (13th pick overall)||20-13||Lost regional semifinal|
|1995||North Carolina (2)||Jerry Stackhouse (3rd), Rasheed Wallace (4th)||21-11||Lost in second round|
|1996||Mississippi State (2)||Erick Dampier (10th), Dontae' Jones (21st)||12-18||Did not qualify|
|1998||North Carolina (2)||Vince Carter (5th), Antawn Jamison (4th)||24-10||Lost in first round|
|1999||Duke (3)||William Avery (14th), Elton Brand (1st), Corey Maggette (13th)||29-5||Lost regional semifinal|
|2000||Florida (2)||Donnell Harvey (22nd), Mike Miller (5th)||24-7||Lost in second round|
|2001||Arizona (3)||Gilbert Arenas (31st), Richard Jefferson (13th), Michael Wright (39th)||24-10||Lost regional semifinal|
|2001||Michigan State (2)||Zach Randolph (19th), Jason Richardson (5th)||19-12||Lost in first round|
|2004||Connecticut (2)||Ben Gordon (3rd), Emeka Okafor (2nd)||23-8||Lost in second round|
|2005||Illinois (2)||Dee Brown (undrafted), Deron Williams (3rd)||26-7||Lost in second round|
|2005||North Carolina (4)||Raymond Felton (5th), Sean May (13th), Rashad McCants (14th), Marvin Williams (2nd)||23-8||Lost in second round|
|2007||Florida (4)||Corey Brewer (7th), Taurean Green (52nd), Al Horford (3rd), Joakim Noah (9th)||24-12||Reached NIT semifinals|
|2007||Ohio State (3)||Mike Conley Jr. (4th), Daequan Cook (21st), Greg Oden (1st)||24-13||Won NIT|
|2008||Kansas (3)||Darrell Arthur (27th), Mario Chalmers (34th), Brandon Rush (13th)||27-8||Lost regional semifinal|
|2008||UCLA (3)||Kevin Love (5th), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (37th), Russell Westbrook (4th)||26-9||Lost in second round|
|2011||Kentucky (2)||Brandon Knight (8th), DeAndre Liggins (53rd)||38-2||Won national title|
|2012||Kentucky (5)||Anthony Davis (1st), Terrence Jones (18th), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2nd), Doron Lamb (42nd), Marquis Teague (29th)||21-12||Lost in NIT first round|
|2013||Michigan (2)||Trey Burke (9th), Tim Hardaway Jr. (24th)||28-9||Lost regional final|
|2014||Kentucky (2)||Julius Randle (7th), James Young (17th)||38-1||Lost in national semifinals|
|2015||Duke (3)||Tyus Jones (24th), Jahlil Okafor (3rd), Justise Winslow (10th)||25-11||Lost regional semifinal|
|2015||Kentucky (6)||Devin Booker (13th), Willie Cauley-Stein (6th), Andrew Harrison (44th), Dakari Johnson (48th), Trey Lyles (12th), Karl-Anthony Towns (1st)||27-9||Lost in second round|
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.
A game-winning bank shot from half-court by Northern Iowa's Paul Jesperson against Texas enabled him to join the striking list of storybook moments in NCAA playoff lore, making it time to shine light on many of those who previously made history. UNI also had a stimulating three-pointer when Maurice Newby connected from beyond the arc to defeat Missouri in 1990. But Jesperson's heroics had to give way in the "one-shining-moment" spotlight department to Villanova's Kris Jenkins when he canned a game-winning three-pointer against North Carolina in the championship game.
Typified by Jenkins and Bronson Koenig's three-pointer giving Wisconsin a second-round victory over #2 seed Xavier, more than one-fourth of the NCAA Tournament's games were determined in overtime or in regulation by fewer than four points since the field expanded to at least 32 teams in 1975. Four riveting national finals in an eight-year span from 1982 through 1989 furnished memories etched indelibly in our minds because clutch players appeared impervious to pressure by producing in last-second situations.
Videos help us remember the buzzer beaters far beyond the actual moment. Butler's Gordon Hayward almost joined this group but his heave from near half-court rimmed out in 2010 national final against Duke. Hayward learned close only counts in hand grenades, horseshoes and drive-in movies. Pushing for rebound basket (Iowa) and capitalizing on poor defense on in-bounds play for layup (PC) won't get you on the following alphabetical list of numerous individuals who supplied a memorable field goal as time expired in an NCAA tourney tilt:
|Player||School||Description of Decisive Last-Second Basket|
|Danny Ainge||Brigham Young||Coast-to-coast drive and scoop shot edged #2 seed Notre Dame, 51-50, in 1981 East Regional semifinals.|
|Rolando Blackman||Kansas State||Jumper from 17 feet from right baseline was the difference in 50-48 verdict against #1 seed Oregon State in second round of 1981 West Regional.|
|Nathaniel Burton||Georgetown||Driving layup was final margin in 63-61 nod over Arkansas in first round of 2001 West Regional.|
|Lorenzo Charles||North Carolina State||Sophomore forward, averaging a modest 8 ppg, converted guard Dereck Whittenburg's off-line desperation shot from well beyond the three-point arc into decisive dunk in 54-52 triumph against Houston in 1983 championship game.|
|Cameron Dollar||UCLA||Short jumper with less than two seconds remaining after length-of-the-court drive in overtime upended Iowa State, 74-73, in 1997 Midwest Regional semifinals.|
|Bryce Drew||Valparaiso||Signature three-pointer after three-quarter court pass to teammate gave #13 seed a 70-69 victory against Ole Miss in first round of 1998 Midwest Regional.|
|Tyus Edney||UCLA||Length-of-the-court drive and layup gave #1 seed a 75-74 triumph against Missouri in second round of 1995 West Regional.|
|James Forrest||Georgia Tech||Freshman forward, who didn't attempt a three-pointer all year, nailed a desperation shot from beyond the arc for a 79-78 win against Southern California in second round of 1992 Midwest Regional.|
|Rick Fox||North Carolina||Drive along right baseline for leaning bank shot in 79-77 upset of top-ranked Oklahoma in second round of 1990 Midwest Regional.|
|Kevin Gamble||Iowa||Straight-away three-pointer with one second remaining in overtime against Oklahoma provided 93-91 triumph in 1987 West Regional semifinals.|
|Tate George||Connecticut||Turnaround jumper from right baseline after length-of-the-court pass from eventual MLB first-round draft choice Scott Burrell clipped Clemson, 71-70, in 1990 East Regional semifinals.|
|Clarence Gilbert||Missouri||Jumper from 15 feet helped withstand furious Georgia rally, 70-68, in first round of 2001 East Regional.|
|Demetri Goodson||Gonzaga||Short running bank shot lifted Zags to 83-81 triumph against Western Kentucky in second round of 2009 South Regional.|
|Richard Hamilton||Connecticut||Off-balance fall-away in lane gave Huskies a 75-74 win against Washington in 1998 East Regional semifinals.|
|Jeff Hodge||South Alabama||Desperation three-pointer off broken play in waning moments gave USA an 86-84 victory against Alabama in opening round of 1989 Southeast Regional.|
|Shaheen Holloway||Seton Hall||Mercurial point guard drove length of the court through and around a double team to score on an underhanded layup high off the glass with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime to frustrate Oregon, 72-71, in first round of 2000 East Regional.|
|Jeff Hornacek||Iowa State||Fall-away 25-footer off an out-of-bounds play commencing with two seconds remaining in overtime gave the Cyclones their first NCAA playoff victory in 42 years - 81-79 against Miami (Ohio) in opening round of 1986 Midwest Regional.|
|De'Jon Jackson||San Diego||Fade-away 18-footer from right side with 1.2 seconds remaining in overtime for 13 seed accounted for 70-69 decision over UConn in 2008 West Regional.|
|Kris Jenkins||Villanova||Responding to miracle off-balance three-pointer by North Carolina's Marcus Paige tying the score at 74-74 with fewer than five seconds remaining, Jenkins responding by drilling a game-winning trey from the right side.|
|Paul Jesperson||Northern Iowa||Half-court bank shot after several dribbles crossing from right sideline to middle of hardwood propelled #11 seed to a 75-72 nod over Texas in opening round of 2016 West Regional.|
|Bronson Koenig||Wisconsin||Swished three-pointer from right corner off sideline out-of-bounds play in 66-63 triumph against #2 seed Xavier in second round of 2016 East Regional. His decisive basket left him 16-of-31 from beyond the arc in the last five minutes of games during the season.|
|Christian Laettner (1)||Duke||After in-bounding ball with 2.6 seconds remaining in overtime, he received it back and converted a contorted leaner from left side for 79-78 win against UConn in 1990 East Regional final.|
|Christian Laettner (2)||Duke||In perhaps most memorable shot in NCAA playoff history, he received pass from opposite baseline from Grant Hill and sank turnaround jumper near top of the key for 104-103 overtime victory against Kentucky in 1992 East Regional final.|
|Gabe Lewullis||Princeton||Layup off a back-door cut in closing seconds proved decisive for #13 seed in 43-41 triumph against UCLA in first round of 1996 Southeast Regional.|
|Chris Lofton||Tennessee||Jumper from 19 feet for #2 seed in 63-61 win against upstart Winthrop in first round of 2006 Washington/East Regional.|
|Brook Lopez||Stanford||Dropped in right-baseline leaner with 1.3 seconds remaining to outlast Marquette in overtime, 82-81, in second round of 2008 South Regional.|
|Korie Lucious||Michigan State||Three-pointer from top of key in 85-83 decision over Maryland in second round of 2010 Midwest Regional.|
|Mike Miller||Florida||Driving layup in overtime gave eventual national runner-up a 69-68 nod over Butler in first round of 2000 East Regional.|
|Maurice Newby||Northern Iowa||Three-point basket with four seconds remaining in 74-71 triumph against #3 seed Missouri in first round of 1990 Southeast Regional.|
|Drew Nicholas||Maryland||Drove much of length of court before firing three-pointer from right side to nip UNC Wilmington, 75-73, in first round of 2003 South Regional.|
|Freddie Owens||Wisconsin||Three-pointer from left corner capped comeback from 13-point deficit in 61-60 success against Tulsa in second round of 2003 Midwest Regional.|
|Kenton Paulino||Texas||Three-pointer propelled #2 seed to 74-71 victory against West Virginia in Sweet 16 of 2006 Atlanta/South Regional.|
|Quincy Pondexter||Washington||Driving short bank shot from left side with 1.7 seconds remaining in 80-78 win against Marquette in opening round of 2010 East Regional.|
|Ken Pryor||Oklahoma||Backup's only basket in 1947 tourney, a long jumper in closing seconds, gave OU a 55-54 success against Texas in national semifinals.|
|U.S. Reed||Arkansas||In aftermath of clutch field goal by Louisville's Derek Smith, a criss-crossing drive to right side of mid-court resulted in heave giving Hogs a 74-73 win in second round of 1981 Midwest Regional.|
|Don Reid||Georgetown||Grabbed Allen Iverson's three-pointer falling short and flipped it back over his head for basket in 53-51 victory against Weber State in second round of 1995 Southeast Regional.|
|Scottie Reynolds||Villanova||Length-of-the-court drive and short jumper against #1 seed Pittsburgh for 78-76 triumph in 2009 East Regional final.|
|Ty Rogers||Western Kentucky||Desperation 30-foot three-pointer in overtime against Drake lifted WKU to 101-99 first-round victory in 2008 West Regional.|
|Vic Rouse||Loyola of Chicago||Junior forward jumped high to redirect center Les Hunter's shot from free-throw line into the basket to climax Ramblers' first year in playoffs with 60-58 overtime success against Cincinnati in 1963 championship game.|
|Keith Smart||Indiana||Junior college recruit, IU's fifth-leading scorer, tallied 12 of the Hoosiers' final 15 points, including 15-foot jumper from left baseline to give them a 74-73 victory against Syracuse in 1987 championship game.|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||Jumper from right side with less than two seconds remaining capped comeback from eight-point deficit in overtime in 81-80 win against Texas in opening round of 2010 East Regional.|
|John Smith||Saint Joseph's||Converted layup with three seconds remaining in 49-48 decision over top-ranked DePaul in second round of 1981 Mideast Regional.|
|Steve Smith||Michigan State||Three-pointer with one tick remaining beat Wisconsin-Green Bay, 61-58, in 1991 West Regional opener.|
|Dave Sorenson||Ohio State||Banked in shot with three seconds remaining to give OSU an 82-81 victory against Kentucky in 1968 Mideast Regional final at Lexington, Ky., where fifth-ranked UK failed to lose all season.|
|Terence Stansbury||Temple||Swished 25-footer for 65-63 win against St. John's in first round of 1984 East Regional.|
|Terrell Taylor||Creighton||His eighth three-pointer of game gave Bluejays an 83-82 double-overtime win against Florida in first round of 2002 Midwest Regional.|
|Danero Thomas||Murray State||Fall-away jumper from right side just inside three-point arc for #13 seed secured 66-65 verdict over Vanderbilt in 2010 West Regional.|
|Andre Turner||Memphis State||"Little General" contributed back-to-back game-winning shots in Midwest Regional (67-66 vs. UAB in overtime and 59-57 vs. Boston College) to carry Tigers to 1985 Final Four.|
|Jermaine Wallace||Northwestern State||Step-back three-pointer from left corner upset #3 seed Iowa, 64-63, in first round of 2006 Atlanta/South Regional.|
|John Wallace||Syracuse||Lean-in three-pointer with less than three seconds remaining in overtime for 83-81 win against Georgia in 1996 West Regional semifinals.|
|Jarrod West||West Virginia||Banked in three-pointer with less than one second remaining for 75-74 victory against #2 seed Cincinnati in second round of 1998 West Regional.|
|Herb Wilkinson||Utah||Freshman swingman connected from beyond head of the key with three seconds remaining to give Utes a 42-40 overtime win against Dartmouth in 1944 championship game.|
|Danny Young||Wake Forest||Drove to hoop for basket and 73-71 triumph in overtime against #1 seed DePaul in 1984 Midwest Regional semifinals, spoiling legendary coach Ray Meyer's swan song.|
An average of four coaches per year leave NCAA playoff teams since seeding started in 1979. The first tournament mentor to depart this season was Steve Pikiell, who abandoned Stony Brook for Rutgers to try to end a Scarlet-fever, Knight-mare start as member of the Big Ten Conference. It might be a move up financially for Pikiell, but it's debatable as to whether he'll ever direct the over-matched Scarlet Knights to respectability in the Big Ten. It didn't take long for this year to surpass the average of four such mentors in this category.
Only three of the 13 coaches in the previous four years in this category - Steve Alford (UCLA), Larry Eustachy (Colorado State) and John Groce (Illinois) - have gone on to win an NCAA playoff game at their latest outpost. In fact, Alford and Groce already are on shaky ground.
In every year since 1968, directing a team to the NCAA Tournament has been a springboard to what many believed was bigger-and-better things at a "poach-a-coach" school. Following are head coaches since the tourney field expanded to at least 64 entrants in 1985 who had a change of heart and accepted similar job at a different major college promptly after directing team to the NCAA playoffs:
1985 (six) - J.D. Barnett (Virginia Commonwealth to Tulsa), Craig Littlepage (Penn to Rutgers), Nolan Richardson Jr. (Tulsa to Arkansas), Andy Russo (Louisiana Tech to Washington), Tom Schneider (Lehigh to Penn), Eddie Sutton (Arkansas to Kentucky)
1990 (five) - Kermit Davis Jr. (Idaho to Texas A&M), Mike Jarvis (Boston University to George Washington), Lon Kruger (Kansas State to Florida), Mike Newell (UALR to Lamar), Les Robinson (East Tennessee State to North Carolina State)
1994 (eight) - Tom Asbury (Pepperdine to Kansas State), Rick Barnes (Providence to Clemson), Jeff Capel Jr. (North Carolina A&T to Old Dominion), Kevin O'Neill (Marquette to Tennessee), Skip Prosser (Loyola MD to Xavier), Kelvin Sampson (Washington State to Oklahoma), Ralph Willard (Western Kentucky to Pittsburgh), Jim Wooldridge (Southwest Texas State to Louisiana Tech)
1997 (five) - Ernie Kent (Saint Mary's to Oregon), Mack McCarthy (UT-Chattanooga to Virginia Commonwealth), Jim O'Brien (Boston College to Ohio State), Steve Robinson (Tulsa to Florida State), Al Skinner (Rhode Island to Boston College), Tubby Smith (Georgia to Kentucky)
1998 (seven) - Rick Barnes (Clemson to Texas), Larry Eustachy (Utah State to Iowa State), Rob Evans (Mississippi to Arizona State), Mark Gottfried (Murray State to Alabama), Mike Jarvis (George Washington to St. John's), Melvin Watkins (UNC Charlotte to Texas A&M), Tim Welsh (Iona to Providence)
2003 (eight) - Cy Alexander (South Carolina State to Tennessee State), Ed DeChellis (East Tennessee State to Penn State), Dennis Felton (Western Kentucky to Georgia), Ben Howland (Pittsburgh to UCLA), Oliver Purnell (Dayton to Clemson), Bill Self (Illinois to Kansas), Dereck Whittenburg (Wagner to Fordham), Roy Williams (Kansas to North Carolina)
2004 (eight) - Jessie Evans (Louisiana-Lafayette to San Francisco), Ray Giacoletti (Eastern Washington to Utah), Billy Gillispie (Texas-El Paso to Texas A&M, Trent Johnson (Nevada to Stanford), Thad Matta (Xavier to Ohio State), Matt Painter (Southern Illinois to Purdue), Joe Scott (Air Force to Princeton), John Thompson III (Princeton to Georgetown)
2006 (eight) - Mike Anderson (UAB to Missouri), Brad Brownell (UNC Wilmington to Wright State), Mick Cronin (Murray State to Cincinnati), Mike Davis (Indiana to UAB), Fran Dunphy (Penn to Temple), Greg McDermott (Northern Iowa to Iowa State), Kelvin Sampson (Oklahoma to Indiana), Herb Sendek (North Carolina State to Arizona State)
2008 (five) - Jim Christian (Kent State to Texas Christian), Tom Crean (Marquette to Indiana), Keno Davis (Drake to Providence), Darrin Horn (Western Kentucky to South Carolina), Trent Johnson (Stanford to Louisiana State)
2010 (five) - Tony Barbee (Texas-El Paso to Auburn), Steve Donahue (Cornell to Boston College), Bob Marlin (Sam Houston State to Louisiana-Lafayette), Fran McCaffery (Siena to Iowa), Oliver Purnell (Clemson to DePaul).
2011 (seven) - Mike Anderson (Missouri to Arkansas), Patrick Chambers (Boston University to Penn State), Ed DeChellis (Penn State to Navy), Sydney Johnson (Princeton to Fairfield), Lon Kruger (UNLV to Oklahoma), Jim Larranaga (George Mason to Miami FL), Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M to Maryland)
2012 (six) - Larry Eustachy (Southern Mississippi to Colorado State), Jim Ferry (Long Island to Duquesne), John Groce (Ohio University to Illinois), Frank Martin (Kansas State to South Carolina), Tim Miles (Colorado State to Nebraska), Sean Woods (Mississippi Valley State to Morehead State)
2016 (seven) - Chris Beard (UALR to UNLV to Texas Tech), Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh to Texas Christian), Scott Nagy (South Dakota State to Wright State), Steve Pikiell (Stony Brook to Rutgers), Tubby Smith (Texas Tech to Memphis), Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt to Pittsburgh), Brad Underwood (Stephen F. Austin to Oklahoma State)
Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Jaylen Brown flamed out in what will be his lone NCAA Tournament appearance if he declares early for the NBA draft. Brown had more turnovers (seven) than his total of points (four) and rebounds (two) for California when the Bears were humbled by Hawaii in a South Regional opening-round contest. Elsewhere, Seton Hall standout guard Isaiah Whitehead, who had three games of at least 20 points against NCAA champion-to-be Villanova, hit only 4-of-24 field-goal attempts (0-for-10 from three-point range) in an opening-round defeat against Gonzaga.
Generally, sizzling scorers such as Brown and Whitehead have learned it's not always a day at the beach in postseason play. For instance, former NBA sensation Clyde Drexler averaged more than 17 points per game each of his last 13 NBA seasons, but he scored more than 17 points in just one of 11 NCAA Tournament games for the University of Houston from 1981 through 1983. Premier playmaker Steve Nash managed only one field goal in three of five playoff contests in the mid-1990s, shooting a paltry 29.2% from the floor. Two-time NBA slam-dunk champion Jason Richardson (5th pick overall in 2001) was grounded by the NCAA playoffs, going scoreless in three consecutive contests as a Michigan State freshman in 2000.
All-Americans-to-be Thomas Robinson (Kansas) and Tyler Zeller (North Carolina) each went scoreless in two NCAA playoff games. Eventual All-Americans Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Danny Ferry (Duke), Ben Gordon (Connecticut), Marcus Morris (Kansas) and Terrence Williams (Louisville) also went scoreless in a tourney game. Ferry scored fewer than 10 points in six straight tourney tilts before averaging 20 ppg in his last 11 playoff outings and Syracuse All-American Kris Joseph never scored more than 12 points in 11 NCAA playoff contests from 2009 through 2012.
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.