Which cliche is most accurate? If a team is on a winning streak entering the NCAA Tournament, it has momentum on its side and is peaking at the right time. On the other hand, some observers contend a loss before the start of the playoffs is deemed as a wake-up call. All four of Connecticut's champions in the last 16 years entered the tourney with fewer than six straight triumphs.
Since the last undefeated team in Division I (Indiana was 32-0 in 1975-76), there have been 38 national champions. Twenty-two of those teams entered the tourney with a victory; 16 entered with a defeat after UConn bowed against Louisville in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. The longest winning streak of a champion-to-be in that span was by UCLA, which won 13 in a row in 1995 before posting six more triumphs in the playoffs. Louisville accounted for two of the other double-digit victory streaks for champions-to-be entering the playoffs.
Of the 22 aforementioned squads entering on a winning note, the average winning streak was six in a row. Following in reverse order is how those 38 post-unbeaten IU titlists entered the NCAA playoffs (including conference tournaments):
Although three of Connecticut's top five scorers were in their final season of eligibility, a senior-laden lineup is not a prerequisite for capturing a national championship. An average of only two seniors were among the top seven scorers for NCAA Tournament titlists since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985.
Eight of the 16 NCAA champions from 1991 through 2006 boasted no more than one senior among its top seven scorers, which is what Louisville had this year. Only three NCAA champions since Indiana '87 - UCLA (1995), Michigan (2000) and Maryland (2002) - featured seniors as their top two scorers. Following is a look at the vital seniors for the last 30 basically youthful championship teams (in reverse order):
2014 - Connecticut (four of top 10 scorers were seniors/Shabazz Napier was leading scorer, Niels Giffey was fourth, Lasan Kromah was fifth and Tyler Olander was 10th).
2013 - Louisville (one of top eight scorers was a senior/Peyton Siva was second-leading scorer).
2012 - Kentucky (one of top seven scorers was a senior/Darius Miller was fifth-leading scorer).
2011 - Connecticut (none of top six scorers was a senior).
2010 - Duke (three of nine-man rotation were seniors/Jon Scheyer was leading scorer, Brian Zoubek was fourth and Lance Thomas was sixth).
2009 - North Carolina (two of top eight in scoring average were seniors/Tyler Hansbrough was leading scorer and Danny Green was fourth).
2008 - Kansas (one of top six scorers was a senior/Darnell Jackson was fourth-leading scorer).
2007 - Florida (two of nine-man rotation were seniors/Lee Humphrey was fifth and Chris Richard was sixth).
2006 - Florida (none of top seven scorers was a senior).
2005 - North Carolina (one of top five scorers was a senior/Jawad Williams was third).
2004 - Connecticut (one of top eight scorers was a senior/Taliek Brown was sixth).
2003 - Syracuse (one of top eight scorers was a senior/Keith Duany was fourth).
2002 - Maryland (three of top eight regulars were seniors/Juan Dixon was top scorer, Lonny Baxter was second and Byron Mouton was fourth).
2001 - Duke (two of top nine scorers were seniors/Shane Battier was second and Nate James was fifth).
2000 - Michigan State (three of top 11 scorers were seniors/Morris Peterson was first, Mateen Cleaves was second and A.J. Granger was fifth).
1999 - Connecticut (one of top seven scorers was a senior/Ricky Moore was fifth).
1998 - Kentucky (two of top seven scorers were seniors/Jeff Sheppard was first and Allen Edwards was fifth).
1997 - Arizona (none of top seven scorers was a senior).
1996 - Kentucky (three of top 10 scorers were seniors/Tony Delk was first, Walter McCarty was third and Mark Pope was sixth).
1995 - UCLA (three of top seven scorers were seniors/Ed O'Bannon was first, Tyus Edney was second and George Zidek was fourth).
1994 - Arkansas (one of top 10 scorers was a senior/Roger Crawford was eighth).
1993 - North Carolina (one of top seven scorers was a senior/George Lynch was second).
1992 - Duke (two of top 10 scorers were seniors/Christian Laettner was first and Brian Davis was fifth).
1991 - Duke (one of top 10 scorers was a senior/Greg Koubek was seventh).
1990 - UNLV (two of top eight scorers were seniors/David Butler was third and Moses Scurry was sixth).
1989 - Michigan (two of top 11 scorers were seniors/Glen Rice was first and Mark Hughes was sixth).
1988 - Kansas (two of top 11 scorers were seniors/Danny Manning was first and Chris Piper was fourth).
1987 - Indiana (two of top eight scorers were seniors/Steve Alford was first and Daryl Thomas was second).
1986 - Louisville (three of top nine scorers were seniors/Billy Thompson was first, Milt Wagner was second and Jeff Hall was fifth).
1985 - Villanova (three of top eight scorers were seniors/Ed Pinckney was first, Dwayne McClain was second and Gary McLain was fourth).
There has been some smooth sailing, but it is usually a rugged road en route to becoming NCAA kingpin such as Connecticut after the Huskies needed to go into overtime against Saint Joseph's in their playoff opener. Talk of the Kentucky squad two years ago being one of the all-time greatest teams was somewhat silly insofar as intra-state rival Louisville, erasing 12-point deficits in both the semifinals and final last year, became the 42nd NCAA champion posting higher average victory margins than UK in the tournament.
North Carolina '09 became the 12th NCAA Tournament champion to win all of its playoff games by double-digit margins. The first nine champions in this category came before the NCAA field was expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985.
A total of 49 champions won a minimum of one playoff game by four points or less, including 22 titlists to win at least one contest by just one point. Wyoming '43 would have become the only champion to trail at halftime in every tournament game if the Cowboys didn't score the last three baskets of the first half in the national final to lead Georgetown at intermission (18-16). Four titlists trailed at intermission in both of their Final Four games - Kentucky '51, Louisville '86, Duke '92 and Kentucky '98.
UCLA '67, the first varsity season for Lew Alcindor (became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), set the record for largest average margin of victory for a champion when the Bruins started a dazzling streak of 10 consecutive Final Four appearances. They won their 12 NCAA playoff games with Alcindor manning the middle by an amazing average margin of 21.5 points.
Which of John Wooden's 10 national champion UCLA teams did the Wizard of Westwood perceive as his best?
"I've never come out and said it," Wooden said before passing away two years ago, "but it would be hard to pick a team over the 1968 team. I will say it would be the most difficult team to prepare for and play against offensively and defensively. It created so many problems. It had such great balance. We had the big center (Alcindor) who is the most valuable player of all time. Mike Warren was a three-year starter who may have been the most intelligent floor leader ever, going eight complete games once without a turnover. Lucius Allen was a very physical, talented individual who was extremely quick. Lynn Shackleford was a great shooter out of the corner who didn't allow defenses to sag on Jabbar. Mike Lynn didn't have power, but he had as fine a pair of hands around the boards as I have ever seen."
The roster for UCLA's 1968 national champion included six players with double-digit season scoring averages, but senior forward Edgar Lacey dropped off the team with an 11.9-point average following a dispute with Wooden after a ballyhooed mid-season defeat against Houston before 52,693 fans at the Astrodome. Lacey, assigned to defend Cougars star Elvin Hayes early in the game, was annoyed with Wooden for singling him out following Hayes' 29-point first-half outburst. Lacey, the leading rebounder for the Bruins' 1965 NCAA titlist when he was an All-Tournament team selection, missed the 1966-67 campaign because of a fractured left kneecap.
The three Lew-CLA teams rank among the seven NCAA champions with average margins of victory in a tournament of more than 19 points per game. It's no wonder a perceptive scribe wrote the acronym NCAA took on a new meaning during the plunderous Alcindor Era - "No Chance Against Alcindor."
"Bill Walton might have been a better all-around player (than Alcindor)," Wooden said. "If you were grading a player for every fundamental skill, Walton would rank the highest of any center who ever played. But Alcindor is the most valuable, owing to the pressure he put on the other team at both ends of the court."
North Carolina won all six of its playoff contests by double digits in 2009 but the only titlist to win all of its tournament games by more than 15 points was Ohio State '60. Center Jerry Lucas, a first-team All-American as a sophomore, averaged 24 points and 16 rebounds in four playoff contests for the Buckeyes. He collected 36 points and 25 rebounds to help them erase a six-point halftime deficit in their Mideast Regional opener against Western Kentucky.
Connecticut became the 13th NCAA titlist with an average winning margin of fewer than eight points per playoff game. Following is a breakdown of the point differential and average margin of victory in the NCAA playoffs for the first 76 national champions:
*All-time tournament record (111-42 first-round victory over Tennessee Tech).
NOTE: Fifteen teams participated in a total of 21 overtime games en route to national titles - Utah (1944), North Carolina (two triple overtime Final Four games in 1957), Cincinnati (1961), Loyola of Chicago (1963), Texas Western (two in 1966, including a double overtime), North Carolina State (double overtime in 1974), UCLA (two in 1975), Louisville (two in 1980), North Carolina State (double overtime in 1983), Michigan (1989), Duke (1992), North Carolina (1993), Arizona (two in 1997), Kentucky (1998), Kansas (2008) and Connecticut (2014).
CollegeHoopedia.com hopes the rigors of our daily Q&A didn't give you an inferiority complex. Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, this is final of 23 days featuring a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from (10 per day from Selection Sunday until a grand finale added value of 20 on the day of the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only automatic qualifier to enter the NCAA playoffs with an overall losing record despite compiling a winning conference mark. Hint: The school lost in the first round to the nation's top-ranked team, an opponent the school succumbed to four seasons earlier when eventual NBA guard Lindsey Hunter scored a then school-record 48 points.
2. Name the only one of the different teams to twice defeat an eventual NCAA champion in their title season to not appear in the NCAA Tournament that year. Hint: A former NBA coach guided the school to its only NCAA playoff victory against an opponent whose coach also later coached in the NBA.
3. Name the only team since seeding started to reach the Final Four without meeting a top eight seed. Hint: The team was eliminated in the national semifinals.
4. Name the only school to twice be denied an at-large bid in a 10-year span despite going undefeated in regular-season conference competition. Hint: The school reached a regional final the next time it went unbeaten in league play.
5. Name the only school in the 20th Century to compete for the national championship in both football and basketball in the same academic school year. Hint: The school lost both games.
6. Who is the only individual to win tournament games while coaching schools from the three conferences with the top winning percentages in NCAA Tournament competition reflecting actual membership (ACC, Big East and Big Ten)? Hint: He is the only coach to win playoff games with as many as three different schools when they were seeded ninth or worse.
8. Who is the only leading scorer in an NCAA Tournament championship game to subsequently serve as an admiral in the U.S. Navy? Hint: He was an NCAA consensus first-team All-America the next season before eventually commanding the aircraft carrier Saratoga for two years.
9. Who is the only championship game starter in the 20th Century to be the son of a former NCAA consensus All-American? Hint: The father was a U.S. Olympic team member and the star player for the first black coach at a predominantly white Division I school.
10. Name the only teammate twosome to each score more than 25 points in an NCAA final. Hint: They combined for 53 points to lead their school to its first of multiple NCAA Tournament titles.
11. Name the only starting backcourt to combine for more than 50 points in a Final Four game. Hint: They combined to shoot 39 percent from the floor in the two Final Four games that year.
12. Who is the only individual to coach teams in the NAIA Tournament, NCAA Division III Tournament, NCAA Division II Tournament, National Invitation Tournament and NCAA Division I Tournament? Hint: He took two different schools to the five levels of national postseason competition in a 13-year span beginning with an appearance as an interim head coach.
13. Who is the only individual to be the team-high scorer for both winning and losing teams in NCAA championship games although his season scoring average was less than half of the team leader each year? Hint: He played in the shadow of an All-American whose total of points and rebounds (4,663) is the highest in NCAA history.
14. Who is the only coach to guide teams from the same school to the football Rose Bowl and basketball Final Four? Hint: The Rose Bowl and Final Four appearances were 17 years apart.
15. Name the only son of a member of one of the first classes of baseball Hall of Fame selections to start for a school in its first NCAA Tournament appearance. Hint: The son pitched for four major league teams before becoming a prominent executive. His father was a first baseman.
16. Name the only school to reach the Final Four and College World Series championship game in the same year. Hint: The school advanced to the Final Four again the next season.
17. Who is the only coach to win three first-round games with teams seeded 12th or worse? Hint: The former coach was 4-1 in tournament games decided by fewer than five points. He played basketball at Fordham when NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi was the Rams' freshman basketball coach.
18. Name the school that won all four of its first-round games despite being seeded eighth or worse each time. Hint: The four victories came in the first five tournaments after the NCAA introduced seeding.
19. Name the only school to appear in at least three NCAA Tournaments in the 20th Century and reach a regional final each time. Hint: The school's playoff appearances were in successive years.
20. Who is the only player to obtain NCAA and NBA championship rings without participating in postseason competition for either the college or pro title teams? Hint: The 7-0 center was in his first year with both of the championship squads.
The departure of Danny Manning to Wake Forest enabled Tulsa to join Idaho, Kansas State and Penn as schools losing the most head coaches, seven, over the years to other major colleges or the NBA. Montana followed suit when Wayne Tinkle left his alma mater to align with Oregon State.
Incredibly, Tulsa lost four coaches in a seven-year span from 1995 to 2001. If Frank Haith is successful at all as coach with the Golden Hurricane after leaving Missouri's program in disarray, the prospect of such an opportunist living up to the obligations of his original seven-year deal is remote. The following list shows Idaho (11 years from 1983 to 1993) and Penn (15 years from 1971 to 1985) losing four coaches in comparable short spans:
Idaho - Dave MacMillan (left for Minnesota/1927), Dave Strack (Michigan/1960), Joe Cipriano (Nebraska/1963), Don Monson (Oregon/1983), Tim Floyd (New Orleans/1988), Kermit Davis (Texas A&M/1990), Larry Eustachy (Utah State/1993)
Kansas State - Jack Gardner (Utah/1953), Tex Winter (Washington/1968), Cotton Fitzsimmons (Phoenix Suns/1970), Lon Kruger (Florida/1990), Dana Altman (Creighton/1994), Bob Huggins (West Virginia/2008), Frank Martin (South Carolina/2012)
Montana - Jud Heathcote (Michigan State/1976), Jim Brandenburg (Wyoming/1978), Mike Montgomery (Stanford/1986), Stew Morrill (Colorado State/1991), Pat Kennedy (Towson/2004), Larry Krystkowiak (assistant with Milwaukee Bucks/2006), Wayne Tinkle (Oregon State/2014)
Penn - Howie Dallmar (Stanford/1954), Jack McCloskey (Wake Forest/1966), Dick Harter (Oregon/1971), Chuck Daly (assistant with Philadelphia 76ers/1977), Bob Weinhauer (Arizona State/1982), Craig Littlepage (Rutgers/1985), Fran Dunphy (Temple/2006)
Tulsa - Ken Hayes (New Mexico State/1975), Nolan Richardson Jr. (Arkansas/1985), Tubby Smith (Georgia/1995), Steve Robinson (Florida State/1997), Bill Self (Illinois/2000), Buzz Peterson (Tennessee/2001), Danny Manning (Wake Forest/2014)
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 22 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only player to lead an NCAA Tournament team in season scoring and rebounding before becoming the only NCAA playoff participant to subsequently appear in both the NBA Finals and World Series. Hint: He became his alma mater's athletic director.
2. Name the only championship team to have two guards be its top two scorers for the season. Hint: It's the only school to win an NCAA title the year after losing an NCAA Tournament opener by a double-digit margin.
3. Who is the only individual to play for an NCAA champion, NBA champion and ABA champion? Hint: The 6-2 swingman averaged almost three times as many rebounds per game for back-to-back NCAA titlists as he did points per game in his pro career.
4. Name the only school to lose an NCAA Tournament game in which it connected on at least three-fourths of its field-goal attempts. Hint: The school's leading scorer in that game was a freshman who went on to average at least 22 points per game in four tourneys, including first-round games against No. 3 and No. 4 seeds his last three years.
5. Who is the only player to hit a game-winning basket in an NCAA final one year and become a consensus All-American for another university the next season? Hint: He was a second-team All-American the same season a former teammate was first-team All-American one year after being named Final Four Most Outstanding Player as a freshman.
6. Name the only team to defeat three #1 seeds in a single tourney. Hint: The three #1 seeds were the three winningest schools in the history of major-college basketball. The champion is the only team needing at least four games to win the NCAA title to have all of its playoff games decided by single-digit margins. It is also the only titlist to finish as low as fifth place in its conference standings.
7. Name the only NCAA championship team to have four freshman starters. Hint: Two of the freshmen were among three starters who also excelled in a sport other than basketball.
8. Who is the only Final Four coach to previously lead the nation in a statistical category as a major-college player? Hint: He coached his alma mater to the NCAA Tournament six years later before guiding another school to the Final Four twice in a four-year span.
9. Name the only school to appear in the NCAA Tournament under two coaches who subsequently became NBA coach of the year. Hint: The school participated in the NCAA playoffs under these individuals in back-to-back seasons before they earned their NBA awards in a five-year span.
10. Who is the only player to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds for an NIT semifinalist one year and an NCAA semifinalist the next season? Hint: After earning an NIT Most Valuable Player award, he helped his school become the first member of a first-year conference to reach the NCAA Final Four.
There is a clear and present danger for pole sitters such as Florida. Two years ago, Kentucky became only the fourth of 31 schools atop the national rankings entering the NCAA playoffs since 1983 to capture the national championship.
In 2006, Duke became the ninth No. 1 team in 17 years to fail to advance to a regional final when the Blue Devils were eliminated by LSU. In 1992, Duke defied a trend by becoming the first top-ranked team in 10 years entering the NCAA Tournament to win a national title. The previous five top-ranked teams failed to reach the championship game. UNLV lost twice in the national semifinals (1987 and 1991) and Temple '88, Arizona '89 and Oklahoma '90 failed to reach the Final Four.
Temple, a 63-53 loser against Duke in the 1988 East Regional final, and Kansas State, an 85-75 loser against Cincinnati in the 1959 Midwest Regional final, are the only teams ranked No. 1 by both AP and UPI entering the tourney to lose by a double-digit margin before the Final Four.
The school gaining the sweetest revenge against a top-ranked team was St. John's in 1952. Defending NCAA champion Kentucky humiliated the Redmen by 41 points (81-40) early in the season when the Catholic institution became the first to have a black player on the floor at Lexington, Ky. The player, Solly Walker, played only a few minutes before he took a hit sidelining him for three weeks. But St. John's, sparked by center Bob Zawoluk's 32 points, avenged the rout by eliminating the Wildcats (64-57) in the East Regional, ending their 23-game winning streak. The Redmen, who then defeated second-ranked Illinois in the national semifinals, lost against Kansas in the NCAA final.
In the 1982 championship game, North Carolina needed a basket with 16 seconds remaining from freshman Michael Jordan to nip Georgetown, 63-62, and become the only top-ranked team in 13 years from 1979 through 1991 to capture the NCAA title. It was a particularly bitter pill to swallow for seven of the 11 top-ranked teams to lose in the NCAA championship game in overtime or by two or three points in regulation.
Florida is the latest #1 to learn it's win or go home as the Gators became the eighth top-ranked team to be eliminated in the national semifinals. Less than one-third of them captured the NCAA crown. Following is analysis sizing up how the No. 1 teams fared in the NCAA playoffs since the Associated Press introduced national rankings in 1949:
20 - Won national title (Kentucky '49; Kentucky '51; Indiana '53; San Francisco '56; North Carolina '57; UCLA '64; UCLA '67; UCLA '69; UCLA '71; UCLA '72; UCLA '73; North Carolina State '74; UCLA '75; Indiana '76; Kentucky '78; North Carolina '82; Duke '92; UCLA '95, Duke '01, and Kentucky '12.
13 - Finished as national runner-up (Bradley '50/defeated by CCNY; Ohio State '61/Cincinnati; Ohio State '62/Cincinnati; Cincinnati '63/Loyola of Chicago; Michigan '65/UCLA; Kentucky '66/Texas Western; Indiana State '79/Michigan State; Houston '83/North Carolina State; Georgetown '85/Villanova; Duke '86/Louisville; Duke '99/Connecticut; Illinois '05/North Carolina, and Ohio State '07/Florida).
8 - Lost in national semifinals (Cincinnati '60/defeated by California; Houston '68/UCLA; UNLV '87/Indiana; UNLV '91/Duke; Massachusetts '96/Kentucky; North Carolina '98/Utah; North Carolina '08/Kansas, and Florida '14/Connecticut.
8 - Lost in regional finals (Kentucky '52/defeated by St. John's; Kansas State '59/Cincinnati; Kentucky '70/Jacksonville; Michigan '77/UNC Charlotte; Temple '88/Duke; Indiana '93/Kansas; Kentucky '03/Marquette, and Louisville '09/Michigan State).
7 - Lost in regional semifinals (North Carolina '84/defeated by Indiana; Arizona '89/UNLV; Kansas '97/Arizona; Duke '00/Florida; Duke '02/Indiana); [Duke] '06/Louisiana State, and Ohio State '11/Kentucky).
7 - Lost in second round (DePaul '80/defeated by UCLA; DePaul '81/St. Joseph's; Oklahoma '90/North Carolina; North Carolina '94/Boston College; Stanford '04/Alabama; Kansas '10/Northern Iowa), and Gonzaga '13/Wichita State).
1 - Lost in first round (West Virginia '58/defeated by Manhattan).
1 - Declined a berth (Kentucky '54).
NOTE: After United Press International started ranking teams in 1951, UPI had just three different No. 1 teams entering the national playoffs than AP - Indiana lost in 1954 East Regional semifinals against Notre Dame, California finished as 1960 national runner-up to Ohio State and Indiana lost in 1975 Mideast Regional final against Kentucky.
Eddie Jordan, a member of the New Jersey Nets among the four NBA franchises he played for during his seven-year NBA playing career, returned to his alma mater (Rutgers '77) as head coach. Jordan didn't have a diploma but joined LSU's Johnny Jones and UNLV's Dave Rice as the only active coaches to have played for their alma mater in a Final Four. Perhaps Rutgers can meet Manhattan (Steve Masiello) in a Coaches vs. Graduation Tip-Off Classic next season to draw attention to the APR disease.
Jordan also has NBA head coaching experience (three different franchises a total of nine years) but he may need to be more like Connecticut's Kevin Ollie and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg to make a more successful transition from the NBA to the college game. Ollie and Hoiberg had significantly less coaching experience than Jordan among the following alphabetical list of six active Division I head coaches detailing the first season they coached their alma mater after playing in the NBA:
|Active Coach||Alma Mater||1st Year||Summary of NBA Playing Career|
|Jerome Allen||Pennsylvania '95||2009-10||Averaged 2.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg and 1.7 apg with three NBA teams in two seasons in 1995-96 and 1996-97|
|Bryce Drew||Valparaiso '98||2011-12||Averaged 4.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg and 2.2 apg with three NBA teams in six seasons from 1998-99 through 2003-04|
|Fred Hoiberg||Iowa State '95||2010-11||Averaged 5.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg and 1.7 apg with the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls in eight seasons from 1995-96 through 2002-03|
|Eddie Jordan||Rutgers '77||2013-14||Averaged 8.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg and 3.8 apg with four NBA teams in seven seasons from 1977-78 through 1983-84|
|Kevin Ollie||Connecticut '95||2012-13||Averaged 3.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg and 2.3 apg with 12 NBA teams in 13 seasons from 1997-98 through 2009-10|
|Lorenzo Romar||Washington '80||2002-03||Averaged 5.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg and 3.5 apg with three NBA teams in five seasons from 1980-81 through 1984-85|
Close likely will determine who gets to smoke the victory cigar. Kentucky, after disappointing by losing eight of its first 10 games decided by fewer than six points, turned things around this season and reached the NCAA championship game by winning five playoff games by a total of only 18 points. Kevin Ollie's sterling start as UConn's coach stems from winning 13 of his first 19 games decided by fewer than six points in his first two campaigns. Florida's Billy Donovan, despite prevailing in seven of eight outings decided by fewer than six points this season, probably would already be in the Naismith Hall of Fame if he had a better career record in close contests, winning only 42% of his first 97 games decided by fewer than four points. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan has one of the five best marks among active coaches in tight tilts decided by fewer than six points.
Ask Arizona fans if close doesn't count after the Wildcats lost four regional finals from 2003 through 2014 by a total of seven points. Following is how the 2014 Final Four coaches have fared at the major-college level in games decided by fewer than six points:
|Final Four Coach||School||DI Seasons||1||2||3||4||5||Total||Pct.|
|Kevin Ollie||Connecticut||2013 and 2014||3-1||2-1||1-0||2-2||5-2||13-6||.684|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 21 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only player to post the highest-scoring game in a single tournament the same year he also played major league baseball? Hint: He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
2. Who is the only Final Four player to become AAU national champion in the decathlon in the same year? Hint: The Final Four team's third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder finished third in the decathlon the previous year.
3. Who is the only Final Four player to finish among the top two high jumpers in four NCAA national track meets? Hint: The starting center for a national championship team is the first athlete to place in the NCAA high jump four consecutive years.
4. Name the only coach in NCAA history to reach an NCAA Division I Tournament regional final in back-to-back years with different schools. Hint: He also reached a regional final in his first season at his next coaching outpost.
5. Name the only top-ranked team entering the tournament to be eliminated by an opponent it defeated by more than 40 points during the regular season. Hint: The school that avenged the embarrassing defeat upended the nation's second-ranked team in its next playoff game.
6. Who is the only individual to play in the NCAA Tournament before setting several major league fielding records for a second baseman? Hint: He was the second-leading scorer for his school's playoff team and one of his teammates has been a prominent college basketball coach for more than 20 years.
7. Who is the only member of the College Football Hall of Fame to participate in back-to-back Final Fours? Hint: He is one of the few athletes to earn consensus football All-American honors at two positions.
8. Who is the only individual to lead a school in scoring in an NCAA Tournament before leading a major league in doubles as a player and manage a team in a World Series? Hint: The outfielder drove in six runs in one inning of an American League game.
9. Name the only university to win a minimum of two games in four different postseason national tournaments - NAIA, NCAA Division II, NIT and NCAA Division I. Hint: Of the schools to win at least one game in all four national tourneys, it is the only one with an overall losing record in postseason competition.
10. Name the only school to win back-to-back basketball championships the same academic school years it participated in New Year's Day football bowl games. Hint: One of the two basketball title teams is the only school to have as many as 26 different players appear in its games in a season it won an NCAA crown. The two titlists helped the school become the only university to reach the NCAA championship game in its first three playoff appearances.
Sports Illustrated supplied one of the best Final Four features focusing on the 25th anniversary of when Seton Hall's Ramon Ramos and Michigan's Rumeal Robinson played prominent roles before encountering extreme difficulties. Ramos has brain damage stemming from an auto accident in mid-December 1989 when he hit a patch of ice speeding in a borrowed Nissan 300ZX. Meanwhile, Robinson joined the "bad boys of basketball" by being imprisoned for shady real estate deals.
But at least Ramos and Robinson are alive. The existence of a Final Four curse is debatable although there is no denying that a striking number of prominent national semifinal players died prematurely. Any tribute isn't enough when a man is buried before his time. The following list of Final Four players (cited chronologically) passed away early, but the deceased left lasting memories:
Three of Oregon's starting five on the first NCAA championship team in 1939 - guards Bobby Anet and Wally Johansen and center Slim Wintermute - all died in their 40s. Wintermute disappeared in Lake Washington in 1977, a case that never has been solved.
Center Bill Menke, the third-leading scorer for Indiana's 1940 NCAA champion who supplied a team-high 10 points in the Hoosiers' national semifinal victory over Duquesne, later became a Navy pilot and served in World War II. In January 1945, he was declared missing in action (and presumed dead) when he didn't return from a flight in the Caribbean.
Thomas P. Hunter, a three-year letterman who was a sophomore member of Kansas' 1940 runner-up, was killed in action against the Japanese on Guam, July 21, 1944, while fighting with the Ninth Marines as a first lieutenant. Hunter was elected posthumously as captain of the Jayhawks' 1945-46 squad that compiled a 19-2 record.
All 11 regulars on Pitt's 1941 Final Four team participated in World War II and one of them, guard Bob Artman, was killed in action.
Three of the top seven scorers for Kentucky's first NCAA Tournament and Final Four team in 1942 died during World War II - Mel Brewer (Army second lieutenant/25 years old in France), Ken England (Army captain of ski troop/23 in Italy) and Jim King (Army second lieutenant and co-pilot/24 in Germany).
Jim Krebs, the leading scorer and rebounder for Southern Methodist's 1956 Final Four squad, was killed in 1965 at the age of 30 in a freak accident. While helping a neighbor clear storm damage, a tree limb fell the wrong way and crushed his skull.
Gary Bradds, a backup to national player of the year Jerry Lucas for Ohio State's 1962 NCAA runner-up before earning the same award himself two years later, died of cancer in July 1983 when he was 40. Bradds was principal of an elementary school in Bowersville, Ohio, at the time of his death.
Bill Buntin, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer (behind Cazzie Russell) for Michigan's Final Four teams in 1964 and 1965, collapsed and died during an informal workout one day after his 26th birthday in May 1968.
Ken Spain and Theodis Lee, starting frontcourters with All-America Elvin Hayes for Houston's team that entered the 1968 Final Four with an undefeated record, died of cancer. Spain, who overcame cancer after he was first diagnosed with it in 1977, died of the disease 13 years later in October 1990 when he was 44. Lee, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters, was 33 when he passed away in March 1979, one week after the illness was diagnosed.
Steve Patterson, one of UCLA's top three rebounders for NCAA kingpins in 1970 and 1971 after serving as Lew Alcindor's understudy for another titlist in 1969, died in 2004 at the age of 56 because of lung cancer.
Danny Knight, the leading scorer and rebounder for Kansas' 1974 Final Four team, was 24 when he died in June 1977, three weeks after sustaining injuries in a fall down the steps at his home. Knight had been suffering headaches for some time and doctors attributed his death to an aneurysm in the brain. Teammate Norm Cook, the Jayhawks' second-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer as a freshman, was 53 in 2008 when he died after suffering from paranoid schizophrenia most of his adult life.
Dan Hall, a frontcourt backup from Kentucky's historic recruiting class as a freshman for UK's 1975 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of an apparent suicide at age 58 the first full week in January 2013. Hall subsequently transferred to Marshall, where he averaged 10.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg in 1976-77 and 1977-78.
Center Jerome Whitehead, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Marquette's 1977 NCAA titlist, was 56 in mid-December 2012 when he was found dead because of chronic alcohol abuse. Teammate Gary Rosenberger, a guard who was the fourth-leading scorer in coach Al McGuire's swan song, passed away in the fall of 2013 at the age of 57 due to complications from a heart attack and stroke.
Guard Chad Kinch, the third-leading scorer for UNC Charlotte's 1977 Final Four team as a freshman, died at his parents' home in Cartaret, N.J., from complications caused by AIDS. He passed away on April 3, 1994, the day between the Final Four semifinals and final in Charlotte. The host school happened to be UNC Charlotte. It was the second time Kinch's parents lost a son. Sixteen years earlier, Ray Kinch, a Rutgers football player, was killed in a house fire.
Forward Glen Gondrezick, the leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for UNLV's 1977 third-place club, died in late April 2009 at the age of 53 due to complications stemming from a heart transplant he received the previous September.
Center Lewis Brown, the third-leading rebounder and sixth-leading scorer for UNLV's 1977 national third-place team, spent more than 10 years homeless on the streets of Santa Monica, Calif., before passing away in mid-September 2011 at the age of 56. According to the New York Times, family members said he used cocaine with the Rebels. "drugs were his downfall," said his sister.
Murray State transfer Larry Moffett, the second-leading rebounder for UNLV's 1977 national third-place team, passed away in early May 2011 in Shreveport, La., at the age of 56. He previously was a cab driver in Las Vegas.
Orlando Woolridge, a backup freshman in 1978 when Notre Dame made its lone Final Four appearance before he became a scoring specialist in 13 NBA seasons, died at the end of May 2012 at the age of 52 because of a chronic heart condition.
Matt White, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Penn's 1979 Final Four squad as a senior, was fatally stabbed in mid-February 2013 by his wife, who told police she had caught him looking at child pornography. White, the Quakers' all-time leader in field-goal shooting (59.1%), was 55.
Derek Smith, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer as a sophomore forward for Louisville's 1980 NCAA champion, died of a heart ailment at age 34 on August 9, 1996, while on a cruise with his family. He was the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder for the Cardinals' 1982 Final Four team before averaging 12.8 ppg and 3.2 rpg in the NBA with five different franchises. His son, Nolan, became a starting guard for Duke's 2010 NCAA titlist.
Rob Williams, leading scorer for Houston's 1982 Final Four team, died of congestive heart failure at the age of 52 in March 2014 after suffering a stroke 15 years earlier that left him blind in his left eye and partially paralyzed on his left side. Williams denied rumors he was too high on cocaine to play against North Carolina in the national semifinals (0-for-8 field-goal shooting). But Williams admitted he used drugs. "Cocaine came later but I started out smoking weed (in junior high)," Williams said. "I was always a curious type of fellow, so I wanted to see what cocaine was about. So I tried it. And to tell you the truth, I like it."
Lorenzo Charles, the second-leading rebounder for N.C. State's 1983 champion, provided one of the tourney's most memorable moments with a game-winning dunk against heavily-favored Houston in the final. Working for a limousine and bus company based in Apex, N.C., he was killed in June 2011 when the charter bus the 47-year-old was driving with no passengers aboard crashed along Interstate 40 in Raleigh.
Melvin Turpin, the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder as a senior for Kentucky's 1984 Final Four team (29-5 record), was 49 and battling diabetes in July 2010 when he committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest.
Baskerville Holmes, a starting forward who averaged 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for Memphis State's 1985 Final Four team, and his girlfriend were found shot to death on March 18, 1997 in an apparent murder-suicide in Memphis. He was 32.
Guard Phil Henderson, the leading scorer and senior captain of Duke's 1990 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of cardiac arrest in mid-February 2013 at his home in the Philippines at the age of 44. He was the Blue Devils' second-leading scorer as a junior and sixth-leading scorer as a sophomore for two more Final Four squads.
Larry Marks, a backup forward for Arkansas' 1990 Final Four squad after being a starter the previous season, died of an apparent heart attack in mid-June 2000 after playing some recreational basketball. He was 33.
Sean Tunstall, a reserve guard for Kansas' 1991 NCAA Tournament runner-up was shot and killed at age 28 in the parking lot of a recreation center in his native St. Louis on October 16, 1997, in a drug deal gone bad. Tunstall, recruited to KU when Larry Brown was the Jayhawks' coach, had received a prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of selling cocaine in 1993. "He was one of the few kids I never thought I completely reached," KU coach Roy Williams said.
Peter Sauer, a captain and third-leading rebounder for Stanford's 1998 Final Four squad, was 35 when he collapsed during a recreation game in White Plains, N.Y., hit his head and never was revived. His father, Mark Sauer, is a former president of two pro franchises - the NHL's St. Louis Blues and MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates.
An average of four coaches per year leave NCAA playoff teams since seeding started in 1979. The first tournament mentor to depart this season was Danny Manning, who abandoned Tulsa to return to his home state (North Carolina) trying to help Wake Forest return to the first division of the ACC.
In every year since 1968, directing a team to the NCAA Tournament has been a springboard to bigger and better things at a "poach-a-coach" school. Following are head coaches since the field expanded to at least 64 entrants in 1985 who had a change of heart and accepted a similar job at a different major college promptly after directing a team to the NCAA playoffs:
1985 (six) - J.D. Barnett (Virginia Commonwealth to Tulsa), Craig Littlepage (Penn to Rutgers), Nolan Richardson Jr. (Tulsa to Arkansas), Andy Russo (Louisiana Tech to Washington), Tom Schneider (Lehigh to Penn), Eddie Sutton (Arkansas to Kentucky)
1987 (two) - Jim Brandenburg (Wyoming to San Diego State), Benny Dees (New Orleans to Wyoming)
1990 (five) - Kermit Davis Jr. (Idaho to Texas A&M), Mike Jarvis (Boston University to George Washington), Lon Kruger (Kansas State to Florida), Mike Newell (UALR to Lamar), Les Robinson (East Tennessee State to North Carolina State)
1992 (one) - Charlie Spoonhour (Southwest Missouri State to Saint Louis)
1993 (one) - Eddie Fogler (Vanderbilt to South Carolina)
1994 (eight) - Tom Asbury (Pepperdine to Kansas State), Rick Barnes (Providence to Clemson), Jeff Capel Jr. (North Carolina A&T to Old Dominion), Kevin O'Neill (Marquette to Tennessee), Skip Prosser (Loyola, Md. to Xavier), Kelvin Sampson (Washington State to Oklahoma), Ralph Willard (Western Kentucky to Pittsburgh), Jim Wooldridge (Southwest Texas State to Louisiana Tech)
1995 (three) - Dick Bennett (Wisconsin-Green Bay to Wisconsin), Scott Edgar (Murray State to Duquesne), Tubby Smith (Tulsa to Georgia)
1996 (one) - Ben Braun (Eastern Michigan to California)
1997 (five) - Ernie Kent (Saint Mary's to Oregon), Mack McCarthy (UT-Chattanooga to Virginia Commonwealth), Jim O'Brien (Boston College to Ohio State), Steve Robinson (Tulsa to Florida State), Al Skinner (Rhode Island to Boston College), Tubby Smith (Georgia to Kentucky)
1998 (seven) - Rick Barnes (Clemson to Texas), Larry Eustachy (Utah State to Iowa State), Rob Evans (Mississippi to Arizona State), Mark Gottfried (Murray State to Alabama), Mike Jarvis (George Washington to St. John's), Melvin Watkins (UNC Charlotte to Texas A&M), Tim Welsh (Iona to Providence)
2002 (three) - Stan Heath (Kent State to Arkansas), Steve Merfeld (Hampton to Evansville), Jerry Wainwright (UNC Wilmington to Richmond)
2003 (eight) - Cy Alexander (South Carolina State to Tennessee State), Ed DeChellis (East Tennessee State to Penn State), Dennis Felton (Western Kentucky to Georgia), Ben Howland (Pittsburgh to UCLA), Oliver Purnell (Dayton to Clemson), Bill Self (Illinois to Kansas), Dereck Whittenburg (Wagner to Fordham), Roy Williams (Kansas to North Carolina)
2004 (eight) - Jessie Evans (Louisiana-Lafayette to San Francisco), Ray Giacoletti (Eastern Washington to Utah), Billy Gillispie (Texas-El Paso to Texas A&M), Trent Johnson (Nevada to Stanford), Thad Matta (Xavier to Ohio State), Matt Painter (Southern Illinois to Purdue), Joe Scott (Air Force to Princeton), John Thompson III (Princeton to Georgetown)
2006 (eight) - Mike Anderson (UAB to Missouri), Brad Brownell (UNC Wilmington to Wright State), Mick Cronin (Murray State to Cincinnati), Mike Davis (Indiana to UAB), Fran Dunphy (Penn to Temple), Greg McDermott (Northern Iowa to Iowa State), Kelvin Sampson (Oklahoma to Indiana), Herb Sendek (North Carolina State to Arizona State)
2008 (five) - Jim Christian (Kent State to Texas Christian), Tom Crean (Marquette to Indiana), Keno Davis (Drake to Providence), Darrin Horn (Western Kentucky to South Carolina), Trent Johnson (Stanford to Louisiana State)
2010 (five) - Tony Barbee (Texas-El Paso to Auburn), Steve Donahue (Cornell to Boston College), Bob Marlin (Sam Houston State to Louisiana-Lafayette), Fran McCaffery (Siena to Iowa), Oliver Purnell (Clemson to DePaul).
2011 (seven) - Mike Anderson (Missouri to Arkansas), Patrick Chambers (Boston University to Penn State), Ed DeChellis (Penn State to Navy), Sydney Johnson (Princeton to Fairfield), Lon Kruger (UNLV to Oklahoma), Jim Larranaga (George Mason to Miami, Fla.), Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M to Maryland)
2012 (six) - Larry Eustachy (Southern Mississippi to Colorado State), Jim Ferry (Long Island to Duquesne), John Groce (Ohio University to Illinois), Frank Martin (Kansas State to South Carolina), Tim Miles (Colorado State to Nebraska), Sean Woods (Mississippi Valley State to Morehead State)
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 20 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only athlete to rank among the top five in scoring average in an NCAA Tournament and later start for an NFL champion? Hint: He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection who played in back-to-back Super Bowls. His brother was the first black player for the major leagues' last integrated team.
2. Who is the only player to lead an NCAA championship game in scoring while playing for his father? Hint: The son has the lowest game-high point total in NCAA final history.
4. Who is the only active coach to have played in the NCAA Tournament and College World Series in the same year? Hint: He served as captain on the baseball and basketball teams as a college senior. After graduation, he played minor league baseball before becoming an outstanding fast-pitch softball player who was named to a couple of national All-Star teams.
5. Name the only school to have a single coach guide the same group of players to victories in the NAIA Tournament, NIT and NCAA Tournament. Hint: It's the only school in the last 60 years to enter the NIT with an undefeated record. One of the five regulars from the three national postseason tournament winners was one of the NBA's premier rebounders before becoming an assistant coach in the league and head coach of his alma mater.
6. Who is the only coach to guide teams to the championship game in both the Division I and Division II Tournaments? Hint: He is the only coach to have a career NCAA Division I Tournament record as many as eight games below the .500 mark, only title team coach to compile a non-winning career playoff mark and only coach to lose three consecutive regional final games.
7. Who is the only player to score more than 60% of his team's points in an NCAA Tournament game and be on the losing end of the score? Hint: It was a first-round contest and the individual was national player of the year.
8. Who is the only player to score more than two-thirds of his team's points in an NCAA Tournament game? Hint: He scored more than 50% of his squad's points over three playoff outings.
9. Name the only school to win a small college national postseason tournament before capturing at least one NCAA Division I title. Hint: The school opposed the same coach in the championship game of the small college tournament and the NCAA Final Four. The school also supplied the only team to win an NCAA crown after setting or tying an existing school record for most defeats the previous season.
10. Who is the only individual to participate in the Final Four before playing and coaching in the NFL at least five seasons apiece? Hint: He was a member of an NFL team that moved to another city the year after capturing the league title.
If history means anything, a National Invitation Tournament crown won't serve as a springboard to NCAA playoff success for Minnesota. Defending NIT champions combined for a 12-17 NCAA Tournament record from 1986 through 2014.
The NIT titlists from 1985 through 2004 combined for a losing national postseason tournament record (15-17) the year after capturing an NIT championship - NCAA (8-13) and NIT (7-4) - with three of them not reaching national postseason play. Two more NIT champions in the last eight years - South Carolina '06 and Penn State '09 - also failed to appear in national postseason competition the next season. West Virginia '08, Ohio State '09 and Wichita State '12 combined for a 2-3 NCAA playoff mark the years after winning an NIT title.
This season, Baylor became only the third school in the last 30 years to reach an NCAA regional semifinal the year after capturing an NIT title, joining (Virginia '93 and West Virginia '08). Following is a breakdown of how the NIT champions fared the next season since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985:
Year NIT Champion Season Summary the Following Campaign 1985 UCLA 15-14 record in 1985-86; 9-9 in Pacific-10 (4th place); no postseason 1986 Ohio State 20-13 in 1986-87; 9-9 in Big Ten (6th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1987 Southern Mississippi 19-11 in 1987-88; 5-7 in Metro (7th); lost in NIT 2nd round 1988 Connecticut 18-13 in 1988-89; 6-10 in Big East (T7th); lost in NIT 3rd round 1989 St. John's 24-10 in 1989-90; 10-6 in Big East (4th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1990 Vanderbilt 17-13 in 1990-91; 11-7 in SEC (4th); lost in NCAA 1st round 1991 Stanford 18-11 in 1991-92; 10-8 in Pacific-10 (4th); lost in NCAA 1st round 1992 Virginia 21-10 in 1992-93; 9-7 in ACC (5th); lost in NCAA regional semifinal 1993 Minnesota 21-12 in 1993-94; 10-8 in Big Ten (T4th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1994 Villanova 25-8 in 1994-95; 14-4 in Big East (2nd); lost in NCAA 1st round 1995 Virginia Tech 23-6 in 1995-96; 13-3 in Atlantic 10 (T1st/W); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1996 Nebraska 19-14 in 1996-97; 7-9 in Big 12 (4th/N); lost in NIT 3rd round 1997 Michigan 25-9 in 1997-98; 11-5 in Big Ten (4th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1998 Minnesota 17-11 in 1998-99; 8-8 in Big Ten (6th); lost in NCAA 1st round 1999 California 18-15 in 1999-00; 7-11 in Pacific-10 (7th); lost in NIT 3rd round 2000 Wake Forest 19-11 in 2000-01; 8-8 in ACC (T5th); lost in NCAA 1st round 2001 Tulsa 27-7 in 2001-02; 15-3 in WAC (T1st); lost in NCAA 2nd round 2002 Memphis 23-7 in 2002-03; 13-3 in C-USA (1st/National); lost in NCAA 1st round 2003 St. John's 6-21 in 2003-04; 1-15 in Big East (14th); no postseason 2004 Michigan 13-18 in 2004-05; 4-12 in Big Ten (9th); no postseason 2005 South Carolina 23-15 in 2005-06; 6-10 in SEC (5th/East); won NIT championship 2006 South Carolina 14-16 in 2006-07; 4-12 in SEC (6th/Eastern); no postseason 2007 West Virginia 26-11 in 2007-08; 11-7 in Big East (T5th); lost in NCAA regional semifinals 2008 Ohio State 22-11 in 2008-09; 10-8 in Big Ten (T4th); lost in NCAA 1st round 2009 Penn State 11-20 in 2009-10; 3-15 in Big Ten (11th); no postseason 2010 Dayton 22-14 in 2010-11; 7-9 in Atlantic 10 (T8th); lost in NIT 1st round 2011 Wichita State 27-6 in 2011-12; 16-2 in Missouri Valley (1st); lost in NCAA 1st round 2012 Stanford 19-15 in 2012-13; 9-9 in Pac-12 (T6th); lost in NIT 2nd round 2013 Baylor 26-12 in 2013-14; 9-9 in Big 12; lost in NCAA regional semifinals 2014 Minnesota To be determined in 2014-15
Two teams from the same conference reached the Final Four eight consecutive years from 1999 through 2006. Teams from the same league have met in the national championship game on three occasions - 1976 (champion Indiana and runner-up Michigan/from Big Ten), 1985 (Villanova and Georgetown/Big East) and 1988 (Kansas and Oklahoma/Big Eight).
At least one of the two members from the same league participated in the national championship game in 18 of the first 22 years two teams from the same alliance advanced to the Final Four.
|Year||Final Four Results of Two Teams From the Same Conference|
|1976||Indiana (1st in regular-season competition) defeated fellow Big Ten Conference member Michigan (2nd) in championship game.|
|1980||Purdue (3rd) defeated fellow Big Ten member Iowa (T4th) in national third-place game.|
|1981||North Carolina (2nd) defeated fellow ACC member Virginia (1st) in national semifinals before the Tar Heels bowed against Indiana in final.|
|1985||Villanova (T3rd) defeated fellow Big East member Georgetown (2nd) in national final after the Hoyas defeated St. John's (1st) in national semifinals.|
|1987||Syracuse (T1st) was runner-up to Indiana after defeating fellow Big East member Providence (T4th) in national semifinals.|
|1988||Kansas (3rd) defeated fellow Big Eight member Oklahoma (1st) in championship game.|
|1989||Michigan (3rd) won championship game against Seton Hall after the Wolverines defeated fellow Big Ten member Illinois (2nd) in national semifinals.|
|1990||UNLV defeated ACC members Georgia Tech (T3rd) in national semifinals and Duke (2nd) in championship game.|
|1991||Kansas split two games with ACC members, defeating North Carolina (2nd) in national semifinals before losing against Duke (1st) in championship game.|
|1992||Duke defeated Big Ten members Indiana (2nd) in national semifinals and Michigan (T3rd) in championship game.|
|1994||Arkansas (1st in West Division) won championship game against Duke after the Blue Devils defeated the Hogs' fellow SEC member Florida (T1st in East) in national semifinals.|
|1996||Kentucky (1st in East Division) won championship game against Syracuse after the Orangemen defeated the Wildcats' fellow SEC member Mississippi State (1st in West Division) in national semifinals.|
|1999||Michigan State (1st) and fellow Big Ten member Ohio State (2nd) lost against Duke and Connecticut, respectively, in national semifinals.|
|2000||Michigan State (T1st) won national championship after defeating fellow Big Ten member Wisconsin (6th) in national semifinals.|
|2001||Duke (T1st) won national championship after defeating fellow ACC member Maryland (3rd) in national semifinals.|
|2002||Kansas (1st) and Big 12 rival Oklahoma (2nd) lost against Maryland and Indiana, respectively, in national semifinals.|
|2003||Kansas (1st) finished national runner-up and Big 12 rival Texas (2nd) lost against eventual champion Syracuse in national semifinals.|
|2004||Georgia Tech (T3rd) finished national runner-up and ACC rival Duke (1st) lost against eventual champion Connecticut in national semifinals.|
|2005||Illinois (1st) finished national runner-up and Big Ten rival Michigan State (2nd) lost against eventual champion North Carolina in national semifinals.|
|2006||Florida (2nd in Eastern Division) won national championship and SEC rival LSU (1st in Western Division) lost against UCLA in national semifinals.|
|2009||Big East rivals Connecticut (T2nd) and Villanova (4th) each lost in national semifinals.|
|2013||Louisville (T1st) won national championship against Michigan after the Wolverines defeated Syracuse (T5th) in national semifinals in their Big East swan songs.|
|2014||SEC members Florida (1st) and Kentucky (T2nd) were on opposite sides of the bracket in Arlington, TX. Connecticut defeated top-ranked Florida in national semifinals and preseason #1 UK in national final.|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 19 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only Final Four team to have a trio all average more than 20 points per game in the same season. Hint: The school won its conference tournament that year although none of the threesome shot better than 50% from the floor over the three games.
2. Name the only duo to twice reach the Final Four and both players average more than 20 points per game each season. Hint: Their team lost each year at the Final Four by the same score. One of the pair is the only player to score more than 25 points in Final Four defeats in back-to-back years.
3. Who is the only one of UCLA's eight first-team All-Americans from 1964 through 1975 to fail to earn a spot on an All-NCAA Tournament team when the Bruins won 10 national titles? Hint: He averaged more than 15 points per game in two of his three varsity seasons and went on to coach the Bruins' crosstown rival to a regional final.
4. Who is the only NCAA baseball championship coach to direct a basketball team from the same school to the Final Four? Hint: He is the school's all-time winningest basketball coach.
5. Who is the only championship team senior to average seven points per game or less entering the national semifinals before seizing the moment and averaging double digits in scoring in his last two games with an increase of at least six points per game from his pre-Final Four scoring mark? Hint: He was the seventh-leading scorer for the season on a team with just two seniors among its top eight point producers.
6. Who is the only player to score more than half of a championship team's points in a single NCAA Tournament? Hint: He was the team's only player to compile a double-digit season scoring average and no teammate scored more than seven points in either of the two Final Four games.
7. Name the only school to lose three national championship games in a city where it enjoyed a distinct homecourt advantage. Hint: The school lost two of the three title games by one point before capturing the title there in a season it became the only NCAA champion to lose four consecutive conference contests.
8. Name the only team to fail to have at least one player score in double figures in the championship game. Hint: It was the school's only NCAA Tournament appearance until the university started appearing regularly in the tourney since 1975.
9. Name the only Division II school to have three of its former head coaches go on to direct major-college teams to the NCAA Division I Tournament championship game. Hint: None of the three coaches compiled a losing record in any of the total of 11 seasons they coached at the small school, which won the Division II Tournament in 1984 and captured the first two NAIA Tournament titles.
10. Who is the only one of the individuals named NBA Most Valuable Player, score more than 20,000 pro points or be selected to at least five All-NBA teams after participating in more than six NCAA Division I Tournament games and not compile a winning tourney record? Hint: He left college with eligibility remaining, but was involved in two NCAA playoff defeats when the tournament conducted regional third-place games.
One of the biggest questions heading into next season will be who succeeds Steve Wojciechowski with Duke at the halftime fielding of blah lack-of-info babe questions. Let's face it! Candid Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski almost always dispatches one of his minions to endure such aimless interrogation torture apparently in order to reduce risk of reinjuring his back wincing at their incurable futility.
Coaching community shills have immediately proclaimed success for Wojciechowski after accepting the head coaching position with Marquette. But the overall impact of Coach K's 12 disciples in the aftermath of serving under the all-time winningest major-college mentor has been anything but special. They've combined for a losing mark in the NCAA playoffs (59 fewer tourney triumphs than Coach K's all-time high of 82) and only one regional final appearance (Quin Snyder with Missouri in 2002). Reserving judgment at this stage regarding any WoJo mojo, following is an alphabetical list summarizing the impact of Krzyzewski's assistants after they left his incubator and became a DI bench boss on their own:
|Coach K Assistant||NCAA Tourney Mark||Biggest Flaw of DI Head Coaching Career|
|Tommy Amaker||4-4||14 games below .500 in power conference competition in 10 years with Seton Hall and Michigan|
|Bob Bender||2-3||36 games below .500 in power conference competition in nine seasons with Washington|
|Mike Brey||6-11||no NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances in last 11 seasons with Notre Dame|
|Jeff Capel III||4-3||losing power conference record in five seasons with Oklahoma|
|Chris Collins||DNP||losing records overall (14-19) and in Big Ten Conference play (6-12) in first season with Northwestern|
|Johnny Dawkins||2-1||only one NCAA playoff appearance and 10 games below .500 in Pac-10/12 Conference play in first six seasons with Stanford|
|Mike Dement||0-1||losing conference mark in SWC and WAC in nine seasons with Southern Methodist|
|David Henderson||DNP||losing overall record in six seasons with Delaware|
|Tim O'Toole||DNP||losing overall record in eight seasons with Fairfield|
|Quin Snyder||5-4||never finished among undisputed top five in Big 12 Conference and compiled cumulative losing mark in last three of seven seasons with Missouri|
|Chuck Swenson||DNP||lost more than 2/3 of his games in seven seasons with William & Mary|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 18 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only major-college coach to finish his career with more than 500 victories and never participate in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: The coach spent his entire four-year school coaching career at one institution and had nine consecutive winning seasons at the Division I level from 1972-73 through 1980-81.
2. Who is the only player to average more than 26 points per game for an undefeated NCAA champion before averaging less than five points per game in his NBA career? Hint: He averaged the same number of points in the NCAA Tournament as he did for the entire season.
3. Who is the only coach to win three national third-place games? Hint: No coach accumulated as many different All-Americans as he did (16) in his first 20 campaigns at a single school.
4. Who is the only former major-college player to score more than 23,000 points in the NBA after never participating in the NCAA Tournament or NIT? Hint: His alma mater returned to small-college status after being at the Division I level for more than 50 years but never appearing in the NCAA playoffs or NIT.
5. Of the 10 different players to compile season scoring averages of more than 23 points per game for a national champion, who is the only individual in this group to tally fewer than 40 points in two games at the Final Four? Hint: His team won both Final Four games that year by a minimum of 20 points.
6. Who is the only individual to coach a team to the Final Four after becoming an NCAA consensus first-team All-American and NBA first-round draft choice? Hint: He joined Chet Walker and Bob Love as 20-points-per-game scorers for the Chicago Bulls in 1969-70 after becoming the first African-American to earn a league MVP while attending a Southern school.
7. Who is the only national player of the year to score less than 10 points when his school was eliminated in a Final Four contest the same season? Hint: He averaged more than 25 points per game in his four previous playoff contests that year.
8. Name the only Final Four team to have as many as six players still on its roster with double-digit season scoring averages. Hint: All six individuals played in the NBA as did another player on the squad who averaged eight points per game.
9. Who is the only All-Tournament selection to finish his college playing career at another major university? Hint: His brother was a wide receiver for a Super Bowl champion.
10. Who is the only leading scorer for a Final Four team to also play for the school's football squad in a New Year's Day bowl game and win a silver medal in the Olympics as a high jumper? Hint: The Olympics climaxed a superb academic school year for the versatile athlete who won the NCAA high jump crown and led his school's football and basketball teams in scoring. He also appeared in the first two NBA All-Star Games.
Extra! Extra! As a new season commences, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history. Did you know that outfielder "Sweet" Lou Johnson, an ex-Kentucky State hoopster, was traded three times the first nine days in April in deals involving Los Angeles-based teams?
The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series 50 years ago with a roster featuring six former college basketball players - Roger Craig, Bob Gibson, Dick Groat, Bobby Humphreys, Ray Washburn and Bill White. The Cards defeated the New York Yankees, a club boasting three pitchers with college hoops connections - Al Downing, Steve Hamilton and Rollie Sheldon.
In the minors, all-time basketball great Michael Jordan made his Organized Baseball debut on April 9, 1994, when the Chicago White Sox farmhand went hitless as an outfielder for the Birmingham Barons (Southern League). What in the world was Jordan thinking? Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only four percent of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
1 - OF Larry Doby (reserve guard for Virginia Union's 1943 CIAA basketball titlist) traded by the Baltimore Orioles to the Cleveland Indians in 1958. . . . LF Lou Johnson (Kentucky State teammate of legendary HBCU coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Los Angeles Angels in 1961. . . . OF-1B Len Matuszek (starter for Toledo's 18-7 team in 1975-76) traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985. . . . INF Paul Popovich (averaged 3.3 ppg for West Virginia's 1960 NCAA playoff team) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Tom Dettore (averaged 14.1 ppg and 9 rpg for Juniata PA in 1965-66) and cash in 1974.
2 - In 2001, San Diego Padres OF Tony Gwynn (All-WAC second-team selection with San Diego State in 1979-80 and 1980-81) became the fifth player in N.L. history to spend 20-plus years playing his entire career with one franchise. . . . New York Mets manager Gil Hodges (played for Oakland City IN in 1947 and 1948), two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffered a fatal heart attack in 1972 after playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday. . . . P Bobby Humphreys (four-year letterman for Hampden-Sydney VA in mid-1950s) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Washington Senators in 1966. . . . OF David Justice (led Thomas More KY in assists in 1984-85), debuting with the Cleveland Indians, whacked a tie-breaking two-run homer in the seventh inning in a 9-7 decision over the Oakland A's in 1997.
3 - 1B Donn Clendenon (played for Morehouse GA) ended his retirement and reported to the Montreal Expos in 1969. . . . 1B Bill White (played two years with Hiram OH in early 1950s) traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969. . . . P Chris Young (All-Ivy League first-team selection for Princeton in 1999-00) traded by the Montreal Expos to the Texas Rangers in 2004.
4 - LF Lou Johnson (Kentucky State teammate of legendary HBCU coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52) traded in 1969 by the Cleveland Indians to the California Angels for OF-INF Chuck Hinton (played multiple sports for Shaw NC before serving two years in U.S. Army in mid-1950s).
5 - INF Frank Baker (Southern Mississippi letterman in 1965-66 and 1966-67) traded by the New York Yankees to the Baltimore Orioles in 1973. . . . P Fred Kipp (two-time all-conference selection for Emporia State KS in early 1950s) traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the New York Yankees in 1960. . . . P Roger Mason (multiple-year letterman for Saginaw Valley State MI in late 1970s) traded by the Detroit Tigers to the San Francisco Giants in 1985. . . . OF Ted Savage (led Lincoln MO in scoring average in 1955-56) purchased from the Cincinnati Reds by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970. . . . OF Ken Singleton (Hofstra freshman squad in mid-1960s) traded with Tim Foli and Mike Jorgensen by the New York Mets to the Montreal Expos for Rusty Staub. . . . Atlanta Braves reliever Cecil Upshaw (led Centenary in scoring as a junior while averaging 13.7 ppg and 6 rpg from 1961-62 through 1963-64) registered the victory in a season-opening 7-4 success at Cincinnati in 1971. Upshaw missed the previous campaign after almost losing the ring finger on his right hand when it go entangled in a net while dunking a basketball. . . . Chris Young (All-Ivy League first-team selection for Princeton in 1999-00) became the first pitcher in New York Mets history to collect two hits in an inning (pair of singles in third against the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011). Young contributed a third single in the fifth in his first start with the Mets.
6 - Oakland A's P Mark Acre (played in 1990 NCAA Tournament with New Mexico State) earned his second relief victory in three days against the New York Yankees in 1997. . . . Baltimore Orioles CF Al Bumbry (Virginia State's runner-up in scoring with 16.7 ppg as freshman in 1964-65) scored four runs against the Kansas City Royals in 1983. . . . Detroit Tigers 1B Tony Clark (San Diego State's leading scorer in WAC games in 1991-92) contributed two sixth-inning hits, including a grand slam, in a 10-inning, 10-9 win over the Chicago White Sox in 2001. . . . In 2006, P Mark Hendrickson (two-time All-Pacific-10 Conference selection paced Washington State four straight seasons in rebounding 1992-93 through 1995-96) hurled first complete-game shutout for the Tampa Devil Rays in a span of 349 contests (three-hit, 2-0 whitewash against the Baltimore Orioles). . . . P Joe Niekro (averaged 8.9 ppg and 3.8 rpg for West Liberty WV from 1963-64 through 1965-66) purchased from the Atlanta Braves by the Houston Astros for $35,000 in 1975. . . . P Darrell Sutherland (averaged 8.1 ppg and 2.2 rpg for Stanford from 1960-61 through 1962-63) awarded on waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies to the New York Mets as a first-year waiver selection in 1964. . . . P Jim Todd (played for Parsons IA before averaging 16 ppg with Millersville PA in 1968-69) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics for a player to be designated and cash in 1975. . . . After 159 MLB starts, Seattle Mariners P Chris Young (All-Ivy League first-team selection for Princeton in 1999-00) made his debut with the Seattle Mariners as a reliever (two hitless innings against the Oakland Athletics in 2014).
7 - Minnesota Twins OF Brant Alyea (Hofstra's leading scorer and rebounder in 1960-61 after being runner-up in both categories the previous season) amassed seven RBI, a major league record for opening day, against the Chicago White Sox in 1970. Alyea drove in 19 runs in P Jim Perry's first four starts that year. . . . P Bobby Humphreys (four-year letterman for Hampden-Sydney VA in mid-1950s) traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs in 1965. . . . P Dave Madison (letterman for LSU from 1939-40 through 1942-43) purchased from the New York Yankees by the St. Louis Browns in 1952. . . . Boston Red Sox P Gary Peters (played basketball for Grove City PA in mid-1950s), after allowing no earned runs in 32 spring training innings, secured a 4-3 season-opening win at New York in 1970.
8 - OF Babe Barna (two-year West Virginia letterman in mid-1930s) purchased from the Philadelphia Athletics by the Washington Senators in 1939. . . . Los Angeles Dodgers P Al Downing (attended Muhlenberg PA on hoop scholarship but left before playing) yielded Hank Aaron's 715th homer bypassing Babe Ruth. . . . P Mark Freeman (averaged 3.6 ppg for LSU as a senior in 1950-51) traded by the New York Yankees to the Kansas City Athletics in 1959. Returned to Yankees a month later. . . . P Pete Sivess (played for Dickinson PA in 1935-36) traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with cash to the New York Yankees in 1939.
9 - RF George Altman (appeared in 1953 and 1954 NAIA Tournament with Tennessee State) stroked four hits against the New York Mets on Opening Day 1963 in his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals. . . . 1B George Crowe (four-year letterman from 1939-40 through 1942-43 for Indiana Central after becoming the first high school player named the state's "Mr. Basketball") traded by the Milwaukee Braves to the Cincinnati Reds in 1956. . . . LF Lou Johnson (Kentucky State teammate of legendary HBCU coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52) traded by the Detroit Tigers with $10,000 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for P Larry Sherry in 1964. . . . In his first start of the 1992 campaign, Baltimore Orioles P Ben McDonald (started six times as freshman forward for LSU in 1986-87 under coach Dale Brown) tossed a two-hit shutout against the Cleveland Indians. . . . Detroit Tigers 2B Gary Sutherland (averaged 7.4 ppg with USC in 1963-64) went 4-for-4 against the New York Yankees in 1974.
10 - Baltimore Orioles 2B Jerry Adair (one of Oklahoma State's top three scorers in 1956-57 and 1957-58) went 3-for-3 on Opening Day against the New York Yankees in 1962. . . . In 1947, 1B Jackie Robinson (highest scoring average in Pacific Coast Conference both of his seasons with UCLA in 1939-40 and 1940-41) became the first black player of the 20th Century to sign a MLB contract (with the Brooklyn Dodgers). . . . OF Wally Roettger (Illinois letterman in 1921-22 and 1922-23) traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the New York Giants in 1930. . . . Atlanta Braves P George Stone (averaged 14.7 ppg and 6.5 rpg for Louisiana Tech in 1964-65 and 1965-66) tossed a six-hit shutout against the Houston Astros in his first start of the 1970 campaign. . . . A pinch-hit grand slam by OF Champ Summers (led SIUE in scoring in 1969-70 after doing same with Nicholls State in 1964-65) propelled the San Diego Padres to a 7-3 win against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1984. . . . P Billy Wynne (one of prime hoopsters in mid-1960s for Pfeiffer NC) returned by the Cleveland Indians to the New York Mets in 1967 after he was selected during the winter in the Rule 5 draft.
11 - P Roger Craig (forward with North Carolina State's 1949-50 freshman team) released by the Cincinnati Reds and promptly signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1966. . . . P Dallas Green (Delaware's runner-up in scoring and rebounding in 1954-55) purchased from the Philadelphia Phillies by the Washington Senators in 1965. Returned to the Phillies a month later. . . . In 1932, utilityman Harvey Hendrick (Vanderbilt letterman in 1918) is traded with P Benny Frey and cash by the Cincinnati Reds to the St. Louis Cardinals for holdout OF Chick Hafey, the previous year's N.L. batting champion. . . . 1B Gil Hodges (played for Oakland City IN in 1947 and 1948) hit the first homer in New York Mets history (at St. Louis in 1962). . . . In his second MLB game, Boston Red Sox RF Joe Lahoud (New Haven CT letterman in mid-1960s) socked a homer off the Detroit Tigers' Denny McLain in 1968. . . . Chicago Cubs CF Jerry Martin (1971 Southern Conference MVP after he was Furman's runner-up in scoring the previous season) whacked two homers against the New York Mets in 1980. . . . In 1961, Hall of Fame P Robin Roberts (one of Michigan State's top three scorers each season from 1944-45 through 1946-47) tied Grover Cleveland Alexander's N.L. record with a 12th straight Opening Day start for the Philadelphia Phillies. . . . San Diego Padres OF Will Venable (All-Ivy League first-team selection as a junior and second-team choice as a senior averaged 9.3 ppg under Princeton coach John Thompson III from 2001-02 through 2004-05) posted his first five-RBI game (against the Atlanta Braves in 2010). . . . OF Bill Virdon (played for Drury MO in 1949) traded by the New York Yankees to the St. Louis Cardinals in a deal involving OF Enos Slaughter in 1954. Seven years later, Virdon socked a two-out, three-run homer to give the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory at San Francisco.
12 - P Rich Beck (listed on Gonzaga's roster in 1961-62) purchased from the Philadelphia Phillies by the New York Yankees in 1965. . . . P Dick Hall (averaged 13.5 ppg from 1948-49 through 1950-51 for Swarthmore PA Middle Atlantic States Conference Southern Division champions) traded by the Kansas City Athletics to the Baltimore Orioles in 1961. . . . A pinch-hit homer by OF Lynn Jones (averaged 10.4 ppg for Thiel PA from 1970-71 through 1973-74) accounted for the Detroit Tigers' only runs in a 6-2 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981. . . . Detroit Tigers P Jeff Robinson (two-time NAIA All-District 3 honoree in early 1980s left Azusa Pacific CA as school's No. 9 all-time scorer) won his MLB debut, allowing only one run in seven innings in a 7-1 victory against the Chicago White Sox in 1987. . . . After a pair of rainouts, 1B-OF Norm Siebern (member of Southwest Missouri State's back-to-back NAIA Tournament titlists in 1952 and 1953) socked a decisive eighth-inning HR to give the New York Yankees a season-opening 3-2 win over the visiting Boston Red Sox in 1959. . . . Pittsburgh Pirates P Bob Veale (scored 1,160 points from 1955-56 through 1957-58 with Benedictine KS) outdueled San Francisco Giants P Juan Marichal, 1-0, in 1965.
13 - Montreal Expos SS Bill Almon (averaged 2.5 ppg in half a season for Brown's 1972-73 team ending school's streak of 12 straight losing records) stroked four hits in a 5-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980. . . . In his first MLB game in 1954, Detroit Tigers 2B Frank Bolling (averaged 7.3 ppg for Spring Hill AL in 1950-51) belted a homer off Baltimore Orioles P Don Larsen. . . . San Diego Padres OF Tony Gwynn (All-WAC second-team selection with San Diego State in 1979-80 and 1980-81) and two teammates establish a MLB record by each hitting a homer as the first three batters in the bottom of the first inning of their 1987 home opener against the San Francisco Giants. . . . 1B Tony Lupien (Harvard captain in 1938-39) awarded on waivers from the Boston Red Sox to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1944. . . . In 1987, the San Diego Padres set a MLB mark when their first three batters of the game each homer off San Francisco Giants P Roger Mason (multiple-year letterman in late 1970s for Saginaw Valley State MI). . . . St. Louis Cardinals CF Wally Moon (averaged 4.3 ppg with Texas A&M in 1948-49 and 1949-50) swats a homer against the Chicago Cubs in his first at-bat en route to becoming 1954 N.L. Rookie of the Year. . . . Detroit Tigers P Jeff Robinson (two-time NAIA All-District 3 honoree in early 1980s left Azusa Pacific CA as school's No. 9 all-time scorer) hurled a four-hit shutout against the Minnesota Twins in 1989. . . . St. Louis Cardinals closer Lee Smith (averaged 3.4 ppg and 1.9 rpg with Northwestern State in 1976-77) set MLB record for most career saves in 1993 (mark subsequently broken). . . . P Jim Wilson (letterman for San Diego State's 1942 NAIA Tournament participant) purchased from the Milwaukee Braves by the Baltimore Orioles in 1955. . . . California Angels OF Dave Winfield (starting forward with Minnesota's first NCAA playoff team in 1972) collected 15 total bases and six RBI on three homers, a double and single in a 15-9 verdict over the Minnesota Twins in 1991.
14 - Los Angeles Dodgers P Sandy Koufax (Cincinnati's freshman squad in 1953-54) threw the ninth complete game without permitting a walk in his career by blanking the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0, in 1964 in his only Opening Day start. . . . Atlanta Braves OF Kenny Lofton (Arizona's leader in steals for 1988 Final Four team compiling a 35-3 record) contributed five hits and five runs scored in a 14-5 rout of the Cincinnati Reds in 1997. . . . New York Yankees 3B Graig Nettles (shot 87.8% from free-throw line for San Diego State in 1963-64), en route to tying a MLB record with 11 homers in the month of April, collected four round-trippers - two in each game - during a 1974 doubleheader split with his former team (the Cleveland Indians). . . . P Ed Wells (multi-sport athlete graduated in 1924 from Bethany WV) purchased from the New York Yankees by the St. Louis Browns in 1933.
15 - New York Giants 2B Andy Cohen (Alabama letterman in 1924 and 1925) went 3-for-4 for the second time in the first three games of the 1928 campaign. . . . P Bob Gibson (Creighton's leading scorer in 1955-56 and 1956-57) made his St. Louis Cardinals debut at Los Angeles in 1959, hurling the final two innings in a 5-0 setback against the Dodgers. He became the first future Hall of Famer to yield a homer to first batter he faced in the majors (3B Jim Baxes went downtown in seventh inning). . . . First appearance and start in 1961 for Philadelphia Phillies P Dallas Green (Delaware's second-leading scorer and rebounder in 1954-55) was a five-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants. . . . INF Gene Handley (Bradley letterman in 1932-33 and 1933-34) purchased from the Pittsburgh Pirates by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1940. . . . 1B Jackie Robinson (highest scoring average in Pacific Coast Conference both of his seasons with UCLA in 1939-40 and 1940-41) debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, becoming the first black player to appear in a MLB game. Before being replaced by Howie Schultz (played for Hamline MN in early 1940s), he went hitless in three at-bats against the Boston Braves a year before President Truman desegregated the military. . . . San Diego Padres P Chris Young (All-Ivy League first-team selection for Princeton in 1999-00) tied a MLB record with 25 straight starts on the road without a defeat before bowing at Los Angeles against the Dodgers in 2007.
16 - Detroit Tigers 2B Frank Bolling (averaged 7.3 ppg for Spring Hill AL in 1950-51), en route to hitting .632 through first five games of the 1958 campaign, banged out four hits in a 5-4 win against the Chicago White Sox. . . . 1B Kerby Farrell (key player for a couple of strong Freed-Hardeman TN squads in mid-1930s) purchased from the Boston Braves by the Chicago White Sox in 1945. . . . Philadelphia Athletics RF Walt French (letterman for Rutgers and Army) had four hits against the Washington Senators in 1926. . . . Debut with San Francisco Giants for P Rich Gale (led New Hampshire with 7.2 rpg in 1975-76) was a success, hurling a three-hit, 6-1 victory against the Cincinnati Reds in 1982. . . . St. Louis Cardinals P Bob Gibson (Creighton's leading scorer in 1955-56 and 1956-57) and Philadelphia Phillies P Cal McLish both fail to finish the first inning when each starter allowed six runs in the Cards' 12-6 win at Philly in 1962. . . . Chicago White Sox C Frank Grube (Lafayette starting guard as senior in 1926-27) went 4-for-4 against the Cleveland Indians in 1932. . . . Milwaukee Braves SS Johnny Logan (played for Binghamton in 1948-49) went 5-for-5 against the Cincinnati Reds in 1955. . . . P Roy Parmelee (letterman for Eastern Michigan in 1924-25 and 1925-26) purchased from the Chicago Cubs by the Boston Red Sox in 1938. . . . In 1931, Cincinnati Reds RF Wally Roettger (Illinois letterman in 1921-22 and 1922-23) went 5-for-5 against his original team (St. Louis Cardinals).
17 - Milwaukee Braves 1B Joe Adcock (Louisiana State's leading scorer in 1945-46) contributed four hits against the Cincinnati Reds in the nightcap of a 1955 twinbill. . . . Milwaukee Braves 2B Frank Bolling (averaged 7.3 ppg for Spring Hill AL in 1950-51) smacked two homers in a 5-2 win against the Houston Colt .45s in 1964. . . . Baltimore Orioles CF Al Bumbry (Virginia State's runner-up in scoring with 16.7 ppg as freshman in 1964-65) stroked four hits against the Kansas City Royals in 1981. . . . Cincinnati Reds CF Harry Craft (four-sport letterman with Mississippi College in early 1930s) had four hits and five RBI in a 7-6 setback against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1941. . . . Chicago White Sox P Eddie Fisher (played for Oklahoma's 1954-55 freshman squad) hurled his first complete game in 10 years. Fisher also won his next three starts by yielding only one earned run covering 18 innings. . . . Kansas City Royals P Dave Frost (averaged 10.5 ppg and 4 rpg for Stanford from 1971-72 through 1973-74) registered his third relief victory in four games early in 1982. . . . Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Joe Gibbon (two-time All-SEC forward for Ole Miss was the nation's second-leading scorer as a senior in 1956-57), making his MLB debut in the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds in 1960, threw two scoreless innings and emerged as the winner when the Bucs erupted for six runs in the ninth. . . . Utilityman Chuck Harmon (freshman starter was Toledo's second-leading scorer for 1943 NIT runner-up) became the second black to play for the Cincinnati Reds when he pinch-hit against the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. . . . Chicago White Sox P Bob Keegan (Bucknell letterman in 1941-42 and 1942-43) toiled at least eight innings for the first of 10 straight starts in 1954, including a pair of shutouts. . . . Detroit Tigers SS Harvey Kuenn (played briefly for Wisconsin in 1951-52 after competing on JV squad previous season) stroked three doubles among his four hits against the Kansas City Athletics in 1955. . . . Milwaukee Braves SS Johnny Logan (played for Binghamton in 1948-49) jacked two homers in a 5-1 win against the Cincinnati Reds in 1954. . . . Pittsburgh Pirates P Elmer Ponder (Oklahoma letterman in 1913-14 and 1915-16) tossed a 13-inning shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1920. . . . Jackie Robinson (highest scoring average in Pacific Coast Conference both of his seasons with UCLA in 1939-40 and 1940-41) got his first hit with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. It was one of 19 bunt hits as a rookie. . . . Chicago Cubs LF Riggs Stephenson (Alabama letterman in 1920) provided three extra-base hits, including a homer, in a six-inning, 3-0 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1930. . . . Detroit Tigers RF Champ Summers (led SIUE in scoring in 1969-70 after doing same with Nicholls State in 1964-65) contributed four hits against the Boston Red Sox, igniting a career-high 17-game hitting streak in 1980. . . . In 1989, Cincinnati Reds P Kent Tekulve (played as freshman in mid-1960s for Marietta OH) passed Hoyt Wilhelm as MLB's all-time leader in relief appearances.
18 - P Jim Konstanty (Syracuse player in late 1930s) was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with cash to the Boston Braves in 1946. . . . Los Angeles Dodgers P Sandy Koufax (Cincinnati's freshman squad in 1953-54) threw the second of two immaculate innings in his career when he struck out the side on nine pitches against the Cincinnati Reds in the third frame in 1964. . . . Atlanta Braves OF Kenny Lofton (Arizona's leader in steals for 1988 Final Four team compiling a 35-3 record) had a homer among his five hits in a 14-0 romp over the Colorado Rockies in 1997. . . . Davey Lopes (NAIA All-District 15 selection for Iowa Wesleyan averaged 16.9 ppg and 3.4 rpg as a freshman in 1964-65 and 12.1 ppg as a sophomore in 1965-66) fired as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002. . . . San Francisco Giants CF Billy North (played briefly for Central Washington in 1967-68) stole three bases against the Atlanta Braves in 1981. . . . Hall of Fame P Robin Roberts (one of Michigan State's top three scorers each season from 1944-45 through 1946-47) surrendered the first hit on artificial turf in 1966 when Los Angeles Dodgers SS Maury Wills singled to center at Houston's Astrodome. . . . Jackie Robinson (highest scoring average in Pacific Coast Conference both of his seasons with UCLA in 1939-40 and 1940-41) hit his first homer for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 (against the New York Giants). . . . New York Yankees P Roy Sherid (Albright PA center in 1926-27 and 1927-28) toiled 15 innings but lost, 5-4, against the Boston Red Sox in 1931.
19 - Toronto Blue Jays LF Danny Ainge (three-time Brigham Young All-American and national player of year as senior in 1980-81) went 3-for-3 in an 8-1 setback against the Cleveland Indians in 1980. . . . Only MLB decision for P Steve Barber (J.C. starter under coach Jerry Tarkanian before attending La Verne CA) was a 9-8 victory for the Minnesota Twins against the Kansas City Royals in 1971. . . . 3B Bosey Berger (Maryland's first basketball All-American in 1931-32) awarded on waivers from the Cleveland Indians to the Chicago White Sox in 1937. . . . St. Louis Cardinals P Walt Huntzinger (All-Ivy League forward with Penn in 1921-22) toiled 14 innings but lost, 5-4, against the Chicago Cubs in 1926. He was waived to the Cubbies two months later. . . . St. Louis Cardinals 1B George Kernek (Oklahoma letterman in 1959-60 and 1960-61) contributed three hits for the second time in four games in 1966. . . . Five hits by OF Bake McBride (averaged 12.7 ppg and 8.1 rpg in 21 games for Westminster MO in 1968-69 and 1969-70) were in vain as the St. Louis Cardinals incurred a 17-inning, 4-3 loss against the New York Mets. . . . In 1942, Chicago Cubs P Claude Passeau (played for Millsaps MS in late 1920s and early 1930s) didn't yield a hit until there was one out in the eighth inning when Harry Craft (played for Mississippi College first half of 1930s) singled for the Cincinnati Reds. . . . P Sonny Siebert (team-high 16.7 ppg for Missouri in 1957-58 as an All-Big Eight Conference second-team selection) traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Boston Red Sox in a six-player swap in 1969.
20 - Cincinnati Reds LF Joe Adcock (Louisiana State's leading scorer in 1945-46) jacked two homers against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the nightcap of a 1952 twinbill. . . . Cincinnati Reds RF Frankie Baumholtz (MVP in 1941 NIT and first player in Ohio University history to score 1,000 career points) contributed four hits against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1948. . . . Boston Red Sox 1B Dick Gernert (Temple letterman in 1948-49) smashed three homers in a doubleheader sweep of the Washington Senators in 1953. . . . Washington Senators RF Chuck Hinton (played multiple sports for Shaw NC before serving two years in U.S. Army in mid-1950s) went 4-for-4 against the New York Yankees in 1963. . . . New York Giants P Walt Huntzinger (All-Ivy League forward with Penn in 1921-22) didn't allow an earned run in 8 1/3 innings en route to registering his first MLB victory (2-1 against the Boston Braves in 1924). . . . A single by Kansas City Royals OF Jerry Martin (Furman's second-leading scorer in 1969-70 and third-leading scorer in 1970-71) was the only hit Detroit Tigers P Milt Wilcox surrendered in an 8-0 shutout in 1980. . . . Chicago Cubs OF Bill Nicholson (played for Washington College MD in the mid-1930s) blasted two homers, including a grand slam, in a 7-4 win at St. Louis in 1947. . . . In 1961, 2B Mel Roach (averaged 9.3 ppg for Virginia in 1952-53) tied the score with the Philadelphia Phillies by ripping a two-out, three-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Braves went on to prevail, 7-6, in 11 frames. . . . Cleveland Indians 2B Riggs Stephenson (Alabama letterman in 1920) accounted for multiple hits in each of first six MLB outings in 1921. . . . Relief P Kent Tekulve (played as freshman for Marietta, OH, in mid-1960s) traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1985. . . . 2B Wayne Terwilliger (two-year letterman for Western Michigan averaged 5.6 ppg in his final season in 1947-48) collected an eighth-inning single for the Washington Senators' lone safety in a 7-0 loss against the Philadelphia Athletics in 1954.
21 - Lone MLB RBI for 3B Ernie Andres (NCAA consensus first-team All-American with Indiana in 1939) helped the Boston Red Sox outlast the Philadelphia Athletics, 12-11, in the opener of a 1946 doubleheader. . . . St. Louis Browns rookie RF Beau Bell (two-year letterman for Texas A&M in early 1930s) contributed four hits and four RBI against the Chicago White Sox in 1935. . . . Baltimore Orioles CF Al Bumbry (Virginia State's runner-up in scoring with 16.7 ppg as freshman in 1964-65) supplied four hits against the Boston Red Sox in 1982. . . . P Steve Hamilton (All-OVC selection was Morehead State's leading scorer and rebounder in 1956-57 and 1957-58) traded by the Washington Senators to the New York Yankees for P Jim Coates in 1963. . . . Chicago White Sox P Howie Judson (Illinois' third-leading scorer with 8.5 ppg as sophomore in 1944-45) won his 1949 season debut (5-2 against the Detroit Tigers) before dropping next 14 decisions through August. . . . California Angels C Art Kusnyer (led Kent State in field-goal percentage in 1965-66 as team's third-leading scorer and rebounder) contributed a career-high three hits against the Texas Rangers in 1972. . . . Oakland Athletics CF Billy North (played briefly for Central Washington in 1967-68) went 4-for-4 against the Detroit Tigers in 1976.
22 - Cincinnati Reds OF Ethan Allen (Cincinnati letterman in 1924-25 and 1925-26) provided four hits in a 9-4 triumph against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1929. . . . Seattle Mariners 1B Bruce Bochte (starting forward for Santa Clara's NCAA playoff team in 1969-70 hit safely in first 14 games of 1979 campaign until his streak was snapped by the Minnesota Twins. . . . Milwaukee Braves 2B Jack Dittmer (played for Iowa in 1949-50) hit a homer in his third consecutive contest in 1953. . . . In 1953, New York Giants P Jim Hearn (Georgia Tech letterman in 1941-42) posted his 12th consecutive win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. . . . Chicago Cubs SS Don Kessinger (three-time All-SEC selection for Mississippi from 1961-62 through 1963-64 while finishing among nation's top 45 scorers each year) contributed three hits, including an inside-the-park HR, in a 7-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in 1970, snapping P Mike Torrez's 11-game winning streak dating back to previous season. . . . Chicago Cubs CF Jerry Martin (1971 Southern Conference MVP after he was Furman's runner-up in scoring the previous season) scored four runs in a 16-12 triumph against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1980. . . . OF Lyle Mouton (starter in LSU's backcourt with All-American Chris Jackson for 1989 NCAA playoff team) shipped by the New York Yankees to the Chicago White Sox in 1995 to complete an earlier deal involving P Jack McDowell. . . . Reliever Cecil Upshaw (led Centenary in scoring as a junior while averaging 13.7 ppg and 6 rpg from 1961-62 through 1963-64) traded by the Atlanta Braves to the Houston Astros in 1973.
23 - New York Giants OF Ethan Allen (Cincinnati letterman in 1924-25 and 1925-26) went 4-for-4 in a 7-2 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1932. . . . Seattle Mariners LF Bruce Bochte (starting forward for Santa Clara's NCAA playoff team in 1969-70 went 4-for-4 against the Minnesota Twins in 1982. . . . In a celebrated fracas, New York Giants SS Alvin Dark (letterman for LSU and USL during World War II) confronted Jackie Robinson (Pacific Coast Conference leading scorer both seasons with UCLA in 1939-40 and 1940-41) after the Brooklyn Dodgers' INF bowled over a Giants pitcher covering first base on a bunt in 1955. The previous year, Robinson swiped second, third and home in the sixth inning before doubling in the winning run in the 13th in a 6-5 decision over the Pittsburgh Pirates. . . . Milwaukee Braves RF John DeMerit (Wisconsin letterman in 1956-57 when averaging 2.2 ppg and 2.1 rpg) contributed a career-high three hits in a 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1961. . . . P Jay Hook (Northwestern's third-leading scorer as a sophomore with 10.7 ppg in 1955-56) posted the expansion New York Mets' first-ever victory (9-1 at Pittsburgh in 1962) after they dropped their initial nine contests. . . . Detroit Tigers rookie SS Harvey Kuenn (played briefly for Wisconsin in 1951-52 after competing on JV squad previous season) supplied his fourth three-hit game in first nine outings of the 1953 campaign. . . . St. Louis Cardinals SS Doc Lavan (played for Hope MI from 1908 through 1910) had four hits against the Cincinnati Reds in 1922. . . . St. Louis Cardinals rookie CF Wally Moon (averaged 4.3 ppg with Texas A&M in 1948-49 and 1949-50) went 5-for-5 but the Milwaukee Braves won, 7-5, in 14 innings in 1954 when Hank Aaron hammered his first of 755 MLB homers. . . . First MLB homer for C Cal Neeman (Illinois Wesleyan's leading scorer in 1947-48 and 1948-49), a 10th-inning blast off the Milwaukee Braves' Lew Burdette, was the difference in a 3-2 win for the Chicago Cubs in 1957. . . . OF Ted Savage (led Lincoln MO in scoring average in 1955-56) involved in four-player swap going from the Chicago Cubs to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968. . . . Chicago Cubs LF Riggs Stephenson (Alabama letterman in 1920) went 4-for-4 against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1929.
24 - San Diego Padres SS Bill Almon (averaged 2.5 ppg in half a season for Brown's 1972-73 team ending school's streak of 12 straight losing records) contributed four hits for the second time in four days in 1978. . . . Philadelphia Phillies LF Morrie Arnovich (played for Wisconsin-Superior in early 1930s) went 4-for-4, including three doubles, in a 7-3 win against Brooklyn in 1937. . . . Baltimore Orioles rookie 2B Marv Breeding (played for Samford in mid-1950s) went hitless for the only time in his first 12 MLB games. . . . Boston Braves SS Dick Culler (#9 jersey retired by High Point for Little All-American in 1935 and 1936) went 4-for-4 in an 8-6 win against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945. . . . Brooklyn Dodgers rookie SS Ben Geraghty (Villanova letterman from 1933-34 through 1935-36) had his fourth straight multiple-hit game in 1936. . . . Oakland Athletics rookie 3B Wayne Gross (led Cal Poly Pomona in assists in 1974-75) went 4-for-4 with four RBI against the Chicago White Sox in the nightcap of a 1977 doubleheader. . . . Los Angeles Dodgers P Sandy Koufax (Cincinnati's freshman basketball squad in 1953-54) tied a MLB record by striking out 18 batters in a nine-inning game at Chicago in 1962. . . . Toronto Blue Jays P Dave Lemanczyk (averaged 4.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg for Hartwick NY teams compiling 51-21 record from 1969-70 through 1971-72) tossed a one-hitter against the Texas Rangers. It was one of three shutouts for him in 1979. . . . OF Danny Litwhiler (member of JV team with Bloomsburg, PA, three years in mid-1930s) collected four of 22 hits by the Boston Braves in a 14-5 victory over the New York Giants in 1947. Johnny Mize, who later had a basketball arena named after him at Piedmont College GA, socked three successive homers for the Giants. . . . San Diego Padres P Roger Mason (multiple-year letterman in late 1970s for Saginaw Valley State MI) didn't allow an earned run through his first nine relief appearances in 1993. . . . New York Yankees SS Gene Michael (led Kent State in scoring with 14 ppg in 1957-58) contributed a career-high four RBI against the Minnesota Twins in 1971. . . . Oakland Athletics CF Billy North (played briefly for Central Washington in 1967-68) stole three bases against the Chicago White Sox in the nightcap of a 1977 twinbill. . . . John Pyecha (led Appalachian State in scoring, rebounding and field-goal shooting in 1951-52 and 1954-55) lost his only MLB pitching appearance with the Chicago Cubs in 1954. . . . Chicago Cubs LF Riggs Stephenson (Alabama letterman in 1920) clubbed three doubles for the second time in a six-game span in 1932. . . . Chicago White Sox P Matt Thornton (averaged 5.8 ppg and 2.4 rpg for Grand Valley State MI from 1995-96 through 1997-98) yielded his only run in 12 relief appearances during the month in 2012.
25 - New York Yankees P Jim Beattie (Dartmouth's top rebounder in 1974-75 when selected team MVP and honorable mention All-Ivy League) won his MLB debut in 1978 (4-3 against the Baltimore Orioles). . . . Chicago Cubs 2B Glenn Beckert (three-year letterman for Allegheny PA) banged out four hits against the Houston Astros in 1970. . . . Texas Rangers P Jim Bibby (Fayetteville State NC backup player and brother of UCLA All-American Henry Bibby) tossed a four-hit shutout against the Boston Red Sox in 1974. . . . Detroit Tigers 2B Frank Bolling (averaged 7.3 ppg for Spring Hill AL in 1950-51) collected four hits and four RBI against the Cleveland Indians in 1954. . . . Two weeks after helping the Boston Celtics capture the 1961 NBA title, P Gene Conley (All-PCC first-team selection led the North Division in scoring in 1949-50 as a Washington State sophomore) earned his first A.L. victory (6-1 for the Boston Red Sox over the Washington Senators). . . . Cleveland Indians RF Larry Doby (reserve guard for Virginia Union team that won 1943 CIAA title) tied MLB record by striking out five times in a single game (at Detroit in 1948). . . . OF David Justice (led Thomas More KY in assists in 1984-85) went deep twice for the Cleveland Indians as they hit a team-record eight homers in an 11-4 triumph over the Milwaukee Brewers in 1997. . . . Los Angeles Dodgers P Fred Kipp (two-time all-league selection in early 1950s for Emporia State KS) won his first MLB start (5-3 against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1958). . . . Only 14 games into the 1982 season, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner fired manager Bob Lemon and replaced him with Gene Michael (Kent State's leading scorer with 14 ppg in 1957-58), the man Lemon succeeded the previous September. . . . 3B Graig Nettles (shot 87.8% from free-throw line for San Diego State in 1963-64) put the Minnesota Twins ahead with a three-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning but they wound up losing at Chicago, 6-5, in 1969. . . . P Joe Niekro (averaged 8.9 ppg and 3.8 rpg for West Liberty WV from 1963-64 through 1965-66) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the San Diego Padres in 1969. . . . En route to hitting safely in seven of his first nine pinch-hit appearances with the San Diego Padres, utilityman Gary Sutherland (averaged 7.4 ppg with USC in 1963-64) socked a homer against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977. . . . Atlanta Braves P Cecil Upshaw (Centenary's leading scorer as junior in 1962-63) contributed his fifth relief victory in the first month of the 1971 campaign.
26 - Milwaukee Braves 1B Joe Adcock (Louisiana State's leading scorer in 1945-46) collected two homers and five RBI against the Cincinnati Reds in 1957. . . . Cleveland Indians player-manager Lou Boudreau (leading scorer for Illinois' 1937 Big Ten Conference co-champion) banged out five hits, including a pair of doubles and pair of triples, in a 12-11, 14-inning victory against the Chicago White Sox in 1948. . . . Cleveland Indians rookie P Wynn Hawkins (Little All-American was all-time leading scorer for Baldwin-Wallace OH upon graduation in 1957) toiled 11 innings in outdueling Jim Bunning in a 2-1 win against the Detroit Tigers in 1960. . . . Cleveland Indians P Oral Hildebrand (Butler All-American in 1928-29 and 1929-30) fired a one-hitter against the St. Louis Browns in 1933, giving him back-to-back shutouts. . . . Detroit Tigers CF Harvey Kuenn (played briefly for Wisconsin in 1951-52 after competing on JV squad previous season) collected four hits against the Kansas City Athletics in 1959. . . . First appearance of the 1933 campaign for New York Giants P Roy Parmelee (Eastern Michigan letterman in 1924-25 and 1925-26) resulted in a one-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies. . . . OF Curtis Pride (led William & Mary in steals three times and assists twice from 1986-87 through 1989-90) shipped by the New York Mets to the Boston Red Sox as part of a conditional deal in 2000. . . . Montreal Expos 2B Gary Sutherland (averaged 7.4 ppg with USC in 1963-64) went 4-for-4 against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1969. . . . Reliever Cecil Upshaw (led Centenary in scoring as a junior while averaging 13.7 ppg and 6 rpg from 1961-62 through 1963-64) traded by the Cleveland Indians to the New York Yankees in 1974.
27 - Pittsburgh Pirates SS Bill Almon (averaged 2.5 ppg in half a season for Brown's 1972-73 team ending school's streak of 12 straight losing records) supplied three extra-base hits in a 13-5 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1986. . . . Cleveland Indians SS Lou Boudreau (leading scorer for Illinois' 1937 Big Ten Conference co-champion) blasted two homers in a 4-2 victory against the Detroit Tigers in 1940. . . . Two NBA players - Gene Conley of the Boston Celtics and Dave DeBusschere of the New York Knicks - oppose each other as pitchers in 1963. Conley (All-PCC first-team selection led the North Division in scoring in 1949-50 as a Washington State sophomore) hurled 4-plus innings as starter for the Boston Red Sox while DeBusschere (three-time All-American for Detroit from 1959-60 through 1961-62) relieved for 2/3 of the fourth inning with the Chicago White Sox. . . . 1B Mike Hargrove (Northwestern Oklahoma State letterman) hit a bases-loaded double in the top of the 19th inning to spark the Cleveland Indians to an 8-4 win over the Detroit Tigers in 1984. . . . Minnesota Twins P Bill Krueger (led WCAC in free-throw percentage as freshman en route to averaging 5.1 ppg for Portland from 1975-76 through 1979-80) won for the fourth time in as many starts this month in 1992, compiling an 0.84 ERA in first 32 innings. . . . C Hugh Poland (Western Kentucky letterman from 1931-32 through 1933-34) traded by the New York Giants to the Boston Braves in 1943. . . . Cleveland Indians 2B Riggs Stephenson (Alabama letterman in 1920) assembled three straight three-hit games against the Chicago White Sox in 1922. . . . P John Stuper (two-time all-conference junior college player in mid-1970s with Butler County PA) tossed his lone complete game with the Cincinnati Reds (two-hit, 2-1 win against the San Francisco Giants in 1985). . . . Boston Braves rookie RF Chuck Workman (two-time All-MIAA first-five selection was leading scorer when Central Missouri won inaugural NAIA Tournament in 1937) went 8-for-11 against the New York Giants in his first three games of the 1943 campaign.
28 - In 1966, OF Billy Cowan (co-captain of Utah's 1960 NCAA playoff team) traded by the Atlanta Braves to the Chicago Cubs for cash and 3B Bobby Cox, who went on to become one of MLB's all-time winningest managers with the Braves. . . . Cincinnati Reds 1B George Crowe (four-year letterman from 1939-40 through 1942-43 for Indiana Central after becoming first high school player named state's Mr. Basketball) collected two homers and five RBI against the Chicago Cubs in 1956. . . . In 1928, St. Louis Cardinals CF Taylor Douthit (California letterman from 1922 through 1924) collected four hits against the Chicago Cubs, giving him 13 safeties over the last four games. . . . California Angels P Dave Frost (averaged 10.5 ppg and 4 rpg for Stanford from 1971-72 through 1973-74) fired a six-hit shutout against the Boston Red Sox in 1979. . . . San Diego Padres OF Tony Gwynn (All-WAC second-team selection with San Diego State in 1979-80 and 1980-81) collected five hits in a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs in 1998, registering the ninth game of at least five hits in his career. . . . INF Tim Nordbrook (letterman in 1968-69 for Loyola, LA) traded by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1978. . . . P Sonny Siebert (team-high 16.7 ppg for Mizzou in 1957-58 as an All-Big Eight Conference second-team selection) defeated the Angels, 2-1, as the Cleveland Indians tied a MLB record by winning their first 10 contests of the 1966 season. . . . Baltimore Orioles OF Ken Singleton (Hofstra freshman team in mid-1960s) grounded into a double play against the Chicago White Sox to snap his streak of 10 consecutive safeties in 1981. . . . Washington Senators P Dick Such (averaged 8.9 ppg and 7.4 rpg in 1964-65 and 10.5 ppg and 6.9 rpg in 1965-66 for Elon) posted his lone MLB victory (against the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970).
29 - In 1953, Milwaukee Braves 1B Joe Adcock (LSU's leading scorer in 1945-46) hit a homer into the center-field bleachers against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, a feat that had never been done before and would only be achieved twice more (by Hank Aaron and Lou Brock). . . . Detroit Tigers rookie 1B Dale Alexander (starting center for Milligan TN in mid-1920s) hit safely in his first 12 MLB games in 1929 before he was held hitless by the St. Louis Browns. . . . Cleveland Indians SS Lou Boudreau (leading scorer for Illinois' 1937 Big Ten Conference co-champion) banged out four hits against the St. Louis Browns in 1948. . . . OF Taylor Douthit (California letterman from 1922 through 1924) awarded on waivers from the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago Cubs in 1933. . . . In 1930, Pittsburgh Pirates P Ralph Erickson (played for Idaho State in mid-1920s) won his lone MLB decision. . . . Brooklyn Robins 2B Jake Flowers (member of 1923 "Flying Pentagon" basketball championship squad for Washington College MD) provided four hits, including three doubles, in a 19-15 win against the New York Giants in 1930. It was one of five games that month where he had at least three safeties. . . . Oakland Athletics rookie 3B Wayne Gross (led Cal Poly Pomona in assists in 1974-75) whacked two homers against the Boston Red Sox in 1977. . . . Detroit Tigers rookie OF Lynn Jones (averaged 10.4 ppg for Thiel PA from 1970-71 through 1973-74) finished his first month with a .389 batting average after notching fourth straight two-hit game in 1979. . . . Toronto Blue Jays P Dave Lemanczyk (averaged 4.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg for Hartwick NY teams compiling 51-21 record from 1969-70 through 1971-72) sustained his fifth setback of the month in as many starts in 1978. . . . P Roger Mason (multiple-year letterman for Saginaw Valley State MI in late 1970s) purchased from the Philadelphia Phillies by the New York Mets in 1994. . . . 2B Dutch Meyer (letterman for TCU in 1934-35 and 1935-36) traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Cleveland Indians in 1945. . . . In a 17-inning marathon where both starting pitchers went the distance, St. Louis Cardinals P Roy Parmelee (Eastern Michigan letterman in 1924-25 and 1925-26) outdueled New York Giants Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell, 2-1, in 1936. . . . Washington Senators C Les Peden (Texas A&M letterman in 1941-42 and 1942-43) provided his lone MLB homer (against the Chicago White Sox in 1953). . . . Cleveland tied a MLB record by winning its first 10 games of the 1966 campaign before the Indians lost, 4-1, to Chicago White Sox P Gary Peters (played basketball for Grove City PA in mid-1950s). . . . In 1975, OF Champ Summers (team-high scoring averages of 15.7 ppg for Nicholls State in 1964-65 and 22.5 ppg for SIUE in 1969-70) shipped by the Oakland Athletics to the Chicago Cubs to complete a deal made earlier in the month.
30 - California Angels 1B Joe Adcock (Louisiana State's leading scorer in 1945-46) contributed four hits against the Boston Red Sox in 1966. . . . Detroit Tigers 1B Dale Alexander (starting center for Milligan TN in mid-1920s) supplied his sixth straight multiple-hit game and 10th in last 17 contests to finish the first month of the 1931 season with a .519 batting average. . . . Philadelphia Phillies OF Ethan Allen (Cincinnati letterman in 1924-25 and 1925-26) went 4-for-4 in a 5-4 win against the Boston Braves in 1934. . . . Detroit Tigers SS Harvey Kuenn (played briefly for Wisconsin in 1951-52 after competing on JV squad previous season) went 5-for-5 against the Washington Senators in 1955. . . . In 1937, Philadelphia Athletics INF Clarence "Ace" Parker (letterman for Duke in 1935-36) became the first A.L. player to hit a pinch-hit homer in his MLB debut (against Wes Ferrell of the Boston Red Sox). . . . INF 1B Jack Phillips (leading scorer for 14-1 Clarkson NY in 1942-43) traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Boston Red Sox in 1957. . . . OF Richie Scheinblum (averaged 6.1 ppg and 3.6 rpg for C.W. Post NY in 1962-63 and 1963-64) traded by the California Angels to the Kansas City Royals in 1974. . . . SS Roy Smalley Jr. (one of top scorers for Drury, MO, in 1942-43 and 1943-44) purchased from the Milwaukee Braves by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1955. . . . RF Dave Winfield (starting forward with Minnesota's first NCAA playoff team in 1972), who was on base at least once in every game this month, tied a MLB record for RBI in April with 29 for the New York Yankees in 1988.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 17 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Which school had the only trio to each score at least 20 points in two Final Four games? Hint: All three players finished their college careers with more than 2,000 points and were on the roster the next year when the school lost its playoff opener. The school is the only national runner-up to score more than 85 points in an NCAA final.
2. Name the only school to have three players score more than 20 points in a Final Four game. Hint: The school lost the championship game that year by more than 20 points although the score was tied at halftime.
3. Who is the only player to score 40 or more points in a Final Four game and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: He was held under 10 points in his other Final Four game that year.
4. Who is the only coach to go more than 40 years from his first to his last appearance in the playoffs? Hint: He and his son, who succeeded him, both compiled a losing tourney record.
5. Who is the only player to compile an NBA playoff scoring average more than 15 points per game higher than his NCAA Tournament average? Hint: He scored just six points in his NCAA playoff debut against a school participating in the tourney for just the second time.
6. Who is the only player to lead an NCAA tournament in scoring with more than 120 points and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: He averaged 32.3 points per game in his three-year college career.
7. Who is the only player from 1957 through 1996 to lead a tournament in rebounding and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: His school was making just its second tourney appearance the year he led in rebounding.
8. Who is the only non-guard to be the undisputed leading scorer of an NCAA Tournament and not participate in the Final Four? Hint: He never played in the NBA.
9. Who is the first coach to make more than a dozen NCAA playoff appearances before reaching the Final Four? Hint: He was coach of the first team to win the national championship in its first Final Four appearance since Texas Western in 1966.
10. Who is the only player to take more than 40 field-goal attempts in a playoff game his team lost? Hint: The guard was the nation's leading scorer with more than 36 points per game for the only school to reach the national semifinals of a small-college tournament one year and participate in the NCAA Tournament the next season.
Although there is a disenchantment stigma attached to transfers, it shouldn't be considered a crime. The performance of transfer forwards Dorian Finney-Smith (Florida from Virginia Tech) and Lasan Kromah (Connecticut from George Washington) could determine which of those teams advances to the NCAA final. Including injured Kentucky star Derek Anderson in 1997, 27 of the last 31 Final Fours featured teams with at least one starter or key reserve who began his college career at another four-year Division I school.
Vanderbilt guard Billy McCaffrey, a transfer from Duke, is the only All-Tournament selection to finish his college playing career attending another major university. There was no All-Tournament team in 1942 when Stanford guard Howie Dallmar was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player before completing his undergraduate work at Penn toward the end of World War II. McCaffrey earned a spot on the 1991 All-Tournament team by scoring 16 points to help Duke defeat Kansas (72-65) in the championship game.
"What I really wanted was consistency; not playing a key factor in some games, very minimal in others," McCaffrey said. "My role probably would have been the same if I had stayed. I felt I could do more. I needed to enjoy the game more. I think a player likes to know that he can be counted on for certain things every night. That's how I get pleasure from the games. Your college career is too short to spend somewhere you're not happy.
"I don't regret leaving. I cherish those memories. I was happy for them (when the Blue Devils repeated in 1992). I knew when I left that they had a good chance to win (again). I took that into consideration when I made my decision to leave. I'd already been a part of a national championship. Maybe that made it easier."
Following is a chronological look at how transfers have impacted the Final Four in the last 31 years (in reverse order):
2012 - Ohio State F Evan Ravenel (Boston College), Louisville G Chris Smith (Manhattan), Kentucky C Eloy Vargas* (Florida), Kansas F Justin Wesley (Lamar), Kansas C Jeff Withey (Arizona) and Kansas F Kevin Young (Loyola Marymount)
2010 - None
2009 - None
2006 - None
2004 - Oklahoma State G Daniel Bobik (Brigham Young), Georgia Tech G Will Bynum (Arizona), Oklahoma State G-F Joey Graham (Central Florida), Oklahoma State F Stephen Graham (Central Florida), Oklahoma State G John Lucas III (Baylor) and Oklahoma State F Jason Miller (North Texas)
1994 - None
*Played for a junior college between four-year schools.
College basketball has taken on an increasingly international flavor with an average of more than 400 foreign athletes competing for NCAA Division I men's teams over the last 11 seasons. A classic example is Connecticut's bench boasting several foreign players - center Amida Brimah (Ghana), forward Kentan Facey (Jamaica) and swingman Niels Giffey (Germany).
You've heard of a trade deficit. How about the trade surplus the national semifinals have enjoyed of late? All but one Final Four since 1993 had an international flavor with at least one player from outside North America in the regular rotation of a team reaching the national semifinals.
"If communism hadn't fallen, I would have had to make the most difficult decision in my life," said UCLA center George Zidek, the starting center for UCLA's 1995 national champion who once was yelped at by dogs and arrested during a riot in Prague. "I would have had to leave to play basketball and never come back to my country or my family. I don't know if I could have done that."
An old adage claimed that fans couldn't tell the players without a roster. Now, it's at the point where fans can't pronounce the names on rosters without taking a couple of Berlitz language courses. Following is a chronological look at Final Four foreigners in the last 22 years coming from 25 different nations (in reverse order):
2010 - West Virginia F Deniz Kilicli (Turkey)
2008 - UCLA F-C Alfred Aboya (Cameroon), F Nikola Dragovic (Serbia) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)
2007 - UCLA F-C Alfred Aboya (Cameroon) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)
2006 - Florida G Walter Hodge (Puerto Rico), F-C Al Horford (Dominican Republic) and G David Huertas (Puerto Rico), Louisiana State F Magnum Rolle (Bahamas) and UCLA F-C Alfred Aboya (Cameroon) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)
2003 - Texas G Sydmill Harris (The Netherlands)
2002 - Oklahoma C Jabahri Brown (Virgin Islands) and C Jozsef Szendrei (Hungary)
2001 - None
2000 - Wisconsin G Kirk Penney (New Zealand)
1997 - North Carolina F Ademola Okulaja (Germany) and C Serge Zwikker (Netherlands)
1993 - North Carolina G Henrik Rodl (Germany)
For the fourth straight season, a team reached the Final Four after losing multiple players who defected following the previous season to make themselves available for the NBA draft, where they were selected in the first round. Kentucky reloaded after losing Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin early to the NBA as first-round choices.
Among schools losing a prominent undergraduate early, Kentucky was the only school to capture a crown (1998 without Ron Mercer) until Duke achieved the feat (2010 without Gerald Henderson) and UK secured another title two years ago sans Brandon Knight. In a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, UK returned to the national semifinals in 2011 after losing five undergraduates who became NBA first-round draft choices.
The Final Four has had at least one team arrive after losing a prominent undergraduate to the NBA draft 11 times in the last 13 years. Following is a list of the 26 squads unfazed by the early loss of key player(s) who left college with eligibility still remaining:
Final Four Team Prominent Undergraduate Defection Previous Year Marquette '74 Larry McNeill (25th pick overall in 1973 NBA draft) Louisiana State '81 DeWayne Scales (36th pick in 1980 draft) Georgia '83 Dominique Wilkins (3rd pick in 1982 draft) Houston '83 Rob Williams (19th pick in 1982 draft) Houston '84 Clyde Drexler (14th pick in 1983 draft) Louisiana State '86 Jerry Reynolds (22nd pick in 1985 draft) Syracuse '87 Pearl Washington (13th pick in 1986 draft) Kentucky '97 Antoine Walker (6th pick in 1996 draft) North Carolina '97 Jeff McInnis (37th pick in 1996 draft) Kentucky '98 Ron Mercer (6th pick in 1997 draft) Indiana '02 Kirk Haston (16th pick in 2001 draft) Kansas '03 Drew Gooden (4th pick in 2002 draft) Georgia Tech '04 Chris Bosh (4th pick in 2003 draft) Louisiana State '06 Brandon Bass (33rd pick in 2005 draft) UCLA '07 Jordan Farmar (26th pick in 2006 draft) North Carolina '08 Brandan Wright (8th pick in 2007 draft) Kansas '08 Julian Wright (13th pick in 2007 draft) UCLA '08 Arron Afflalo (27th pick in 2007 draft) Duke '10 Gerald Henderson (12th pick in 2009 draft) Kentucky '11 John Wall (1st pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 DeMarcus Cousins (5th pick in 2010 draft) Butler '11 Gordon Hayward (9th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Patrick Patterson (14th pick in 2010 draft) Virginia Commonwealth '11 Larry Sanders (15th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Eric Bledsoe (18th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Daniel Orton (29th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '12 Brandon Knight (8th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Markieff Morris (13th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Marcus Morris (14th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Josh Selby (49th pick in 2011 draft) Syracuse '13 Dion Waiters (4th pick in 2012 draft) Syracuse '13 Fab Melo (22nd pick in 2012 draft) Kentucky '14 Nerlens Noel (6th pick in 2013 draft) Kentucky '14 Archie Goodwin (29th pick in 2013 draft)
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 16 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only school to have four players score more than 14,000 points in the pros after never participating in national postseason competition (NCAA playoffs and NIT). Hint: One member of the foursome left college early after just one season of eligibility when he averaged 30 points per game and another is the highest scorer in NBA history to never participate in the NBA playoffs.
2. Name the only father-son combination to be on the rosters of two teams from the same school to win NCAA Tournament championships. Hint: Both of them were underclassmen when their teams captured NCAA titles.
3. Who is the only player never to appear in the NBA or ABA after averaging more than 20 points per game for a team reaching an NCAA Tournament final? Hint: A college teammate was a member of the NBA championship team that drafted him.
4. Who is the only undergraduate non-center to average more than 23 points per game for a national champion? Hint: He is the last player to score the most points in a single game of an NCAA Tournament and play for the championship team.
6. Who is the only coach to win an NBA championship after directing a college to the Final Four? Hint: His college squad was implicated in a game-fixing scandal.
7. Who is the only player to grab more than 41 rebounds at a single Final Four? Hint: He is the only player to retrieve more than 21 missed shots in a championship game and the only player to score more than 20 points and grab more than 20 rebounds in back-to-back NCAA finals.
8. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to later coach a school other than his alma mater to the playoffs? Hint: He coached for more than 20 years in the same conference against UCLA legend John Wooden. He is also the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to complete his college playing career attending another university.
9. Who is the only junior college player to later be selected Final Four Most Outstanding Player? Hint: He won the award when the Final Four was held in his home state and eventually became an NBA head coach.
10. Name the only school with a losing league record to defeat a conference rival by more than 20 points in a season the opponent wound up winning the national championship. Hint: The school with a losing league mark participated in the NCAA playoffs the next season for the first time since reaching the Final Four more than 20 years earlier when a consensus first-team All-American became the only player in school history to average more than 25 points in a season.
No. 7 Connecticut and No. 8 Kentucky, both of whom lost a conference road game by more than 20 points, became the first set of seeds seventh or worse to reach the Final Four in the same year. The only school to win a Final Four game in this category is No. 8 Villanova, which captured the 1985 NCAA championship after dropping a Big East Conference road contest by more than 20 points.
There was a 19-year span from 1987 through 2005 when no team advanced to the national semifinals with a seed seventh or worse. UConn and UK became the seventh and eighth Final Four participant on the following list seeded #7 or worse:
|Year||Seed||Final Four Team||Coach||Worst Regular-Season Defeat|
|1984||#7||Virginia||Terry Holland||85-72 vs. North Carolina|
|1985||#8||Villanova||Rollie Massimino||85-62 at Pittsburgh|
|1986||#11||Louisiana State||Dale Brown||at Alabama and Georgia by 16|
|2006||#11||George Mason||Jim Larranaga||72-52 vs. Creighton|
|2011||#11||Virginia Commonwealth||Shaka Smart||71-51 vs. George Mason|
|2013||#9||Wichita State||Gregg Marshall||68-55 vs. Indiana State|
|2014||#7||Connecticut||Kevin Ollie||81-48 at Louisville|
|2014||#8||Kentucky||John Calipari||85-64 at Florida|