Is there a Final Four curse? That's a topic for ESPN talking heads to debate in a "cursing" family feud although Bill Simmons might know just a mite more about basketball than concussion-ravaged Mike Golic. Meanwhile, many attendees will label the Final Four "a religious experience" while cursing about PC-police progressives descending upon Indy over a religious-freedom issue having virtually nothing to do with the event. Let's be protest-like blunt amid the army of offended people: If Jason Collins wanted to have a Final Four impact, he should have played better for Stanford and gotten the Cardinal there in 2000 and/or 2001 before gayly leaving college early for the NBA.
Ranging from famous military battles to freak circumstances to mysterious disappearances to nuclear bombs to CIA activity to suicides, the existence of a Final Four curse is debatable although there is no denying a striking number of prominent national semifinal players and coaches died prematurely. For instance, Sid Tanenbaum, the second-leading scorer for NYU's 1945 national runner-up, was murdered on September 4, 1986, at the age of 60 when stabbed to death by a local woman in his Queens machine shop. According to police reports, Tanenbaum was assaulted because he chose to stop lending money to his attacker after previously assisting her numerous times.
Any tribute isn't enough when a man is buried before his time. The following lengthy list of additional Final Four players (cited chronologically) passed away early (60 and younger), but the deceased left lasting memories:
Three of Oregon's starting five on the first NCAA championship team in 1939 - guards Bobby Anet and Wally Johansen and center Slim Wintermute - all died in their 40s. Wintermute disappeared in Lake Washington in 1977, a case that never has been solved.
Center Bill Menke, the third-leading scorer for Indiana's 1940 NCAA champion who supplied a team-high 10 points in the Hoosiers' national semifinal victory over Duquesne, later became a Navy pilot and served in World War II. In January 1945, he was declared missing in action (and presumed dead) when he didn't return from a flight in the Caribbean.
Thomas P. Hunter, a three-year letterman who was a sophomore member of Kansas' 1940 runner-up, was killed in action against the Japanese on Guam, July 21, 1944, while fighting with the Ninth Marines as a first lieutenant. Hunter was elected posthumously as captain of the Jayhawks' 1945-46 squad that compiled a 19-2 record.
Dale Gentry, the fifth-leading scorer for Washington State's 1941 national runner-up, collapsed and died of a heart attack in 1963 at the age of 50 after completing arrangements for his 16-year-old son's funeral following injuries incurred in an auto accident.
All 11 regulars on Pitt's 1941 Final Four team participated in World War II and one of them, guard Bob Artman, was killed in action.
Center Ed Voss, the second-leading scorer for 1942 champion Stanford, died of polio in 1953 at the age of 31, a month after his 7-year-old son also succumbed to the disease. Cardinal teammate Jack Dana's wife, California socialite Renee Cohu, died of a sleeping pill overdose in the winter of 1970 at the age of 42 when the missing daughter of a former TWA president was found in a Miami Beach motel.
Charles "Stubbie" Pearson, captain of Dartmouth's 1942 national runner-up and valedictorian of his class the same year, was killed in action on March 30, 1945, while dive-bombing a Japanese ship off the Palau Islands. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Teammate George Galbraith Jr., a backup forward, died in a training flight over Mississippi.
Three of the top seven scorers for Kentucky's first NCAA Tournament and Final Four team in 1942 died during World War II - Mel Brewer (Army second lieutenant/25 years old in France), Ken England (Army captain of ski troop/23 in Italy) and Jim King (Army second lieutenant and co-pilot/24 in Germany).
Georgetown's Lloyd Potolicchio, who matched DePaul legend George Mikan's 11-point output in the 1943 national semifinals when the Hoyas eliminated the Blue Demons before bowing to Wyoming in title tilt, joined the Air Force. Potolicchio was boom operator Master Sergeant when killed in a refueling mission on January 17, 1966, in a B-52 crash off the coast of southern Spain. His KC-135 tanker was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, resulting in the B-52G breaking apart with B28RI hydrogen weapons falling to earth and plutonium contamination occurring near the fishing village of Palomares. In March 2009, Time magazine identified the Palomares accident as one of the world's "worst nuclear disasters." Teammate Bob Duffey, a backup swingman, was killed on November 13, 1944, in European theater combat.
Frontcourter Frank Oftring, a key contributor for Holy Cross' 1947 champion and 1948 national third-place team, died on October 4, 1982, at the age of 58. Teammate Bob Curran, a regular for both squads, was 56 when he passed away on October 18, 1977.
Forward Tom Hamilton, a regular as a freshman forward with Texas' 1947 national third-place club, died at the age of 48 on November 29, 1973, after suffering a brain hemorrhage prior to officiating a high school football game in Tyler, Tex. Hamilton, a first baseman briefly with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1952 and 1953, served as baseball coach and athletic director for St. Edward's (Tex.) at the time of his death.
Center Bob Harris, the leading scorer for Oklahoma A&M's 1949 national runner-up, died on April 10, 1977 at the age of 50. Teammate Joe Bradley, A&M's second-leading scorer, passed away on June 5, 1987, at the age of 58.
Bill Erickson, a starting guard for Illinois' 1949 national third-place team, died on September 21, 1987, at the age of 59. Teammate Don Sunderlage, the Illini's sixth-leading scorer in 1949 and top point producer for another third-place squad in 1951, died in mid-July 1961 at the age of 31 following an automobile accident in Lake Geneva, Wis.
Don Schlundt, the leading scorer and rebounder for Indiana's 1953 NCAA champion, died of pancreatic cancer in October 1985 at the age of 52. Teammate Dick Farley, the Hoosiers' third-leading scorer, passed away from cancer in early October 1969 at the age of 37.
Forward Bob Ames, who scored a total of eight points in three playoff games in 1955 for La Salle's national runner-up after being a member of the Explorers' 1954 NCAA titlist, was killed in Beirut in 1983 at the age of 49. A truck loaded with TNT on a suicide mission rammed into the facility where Ames, a father of six children, was staying while serving as a liaison trying to allay contacts among the Lebanese, Syrians and Israelis in hopes of calming the escalating discord. He joined the CIA and worked his way up the chain of command to become the Director of the CIA's Office of Analysis of the Near East and South Asia. "The Spy Who Loved Basketball" worked closely with both the Carter and Reagan administrations.
Bucky O'Connor, coach for Iowa's 1955 Final Four club and 1956 runner-up, died in 1958 at the age of 44 in a highway accident near Waterloo. "The boy who has faith in God can look to the future without worry or strain," O'Connor told his players. "I firmly believe that the boys on our team who attend church are more likely to be successful because they can face their problems with hope and encouragement."
Jim Krebs, the leading scorer and rebounder for Southern Methodist's 1956 Final Four squad, was killed in 1965 at the age of 29 in a freak accident. While helping a neighbor clear storm damage, a tree limb fell the wrong way and crushed his skull.
Forward Al Filardi, the third-leading rebounder for NYU's 1960 national fourth-place squad, just turned 60 when he died in early August 1999.
Gary Bradds, a backup to national player of the year Jerry Lucas for Ohio State's 1962 NCAA runner-up before earning the same award himself two years later, died of cancer in July 1983 when he was 40. Bradds was principal of an elementary school in Bowersville, Ohio, at the time of his demise.
Vic Rouse, leading rebounder for Loyola of Chicago's 1963 NCAA champion, died in late May 1999 at the age of 56. He owned an educational consulting firm after earning three masters degrees and an PhD.
Bill Buntin, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer (behind Cazzie Russell) for Michigan's Final Four teams in 1964 and 1965, collapsed and died during an informal workout one day after his 26th birthday in May 1968.
Forward Jamie Thompson, the third-leading scorer for Wichita's 1965 fourth-place team who tallied 36 points when the Shockers were eliminated in the national semifinals by eventual champion UCLA, died in January 2006 at the age of 60.
Guard Rudy Waterman, Dayton's third-leading scorer for 1967 national runner-up, died at 34 in mid-June 1979 after shooting himself and developing bacterial meningitis while hospitalized in New York. He had been fired from his job as a sales representative for a Midwest aluminum company. Flyers coach Don Donoher's son, Gary, died in New York at age 27 in August 1988 from AIDS-related complications.
Ken Spain and Theodis Lee, starting frontcourters with All-American Elvin Hayes for Houston's team that entered the 1968 Final Four with an undefeated record, each died of cancer. Spain, who overcame cancer after he was first diagnosed with it in 1977, died of the disease 13 years later in October 1990 when he was 44. Lee, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters, was 33 when he passed away in March 1979, one week after the illness was diagnosed. Teammate Don Kruse, a center for the Cougars' national third-place team in 1967, died in the spring of 2004 at the age of 59.
Steve Patterson, one of UCLA's top three rebounders for NCAA kingpins in 1970 and 1971 after serving as Lew Alcindor's understudy for another titlist in 1969, died in 2004 at the age of 56 because of lung cancer.
Howard Porter, Villanova's leading scorer and rebounder for 1971 runner-up, was trying to trade money and crack cocaine for sex with a prostitute in St. Paul in May 2007 when the probation officer was beaten to death at the age of 58, according to murder charges filed several months later.
Forward Mike Lawhon, Louisville's third-leading scorer for the Cardinals' 1972 national fourth-place team, died in early April 2004 at the age of 53. Lawhon was an orthopedic surgeon who passed away while attending a medical conference.
Larry Finch, Memphis State's leading scorer for 1973 runner-up, died in early April 2011 at the age of 60. Finch suffered the first of multiple strokes 10 years earlier. In early September 2014, his daughter (Shanae), suffering from Crohn's disease, collapsed and died at the age of 39. Teammate Ronnie Robinson, the Tigers' second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, died in early May 2004 at the age of 53 from congestive heart failure.
Maurice Lucas, leading scorer and rebounder for Marquette's 1974 national runner-up, died in 2010 at the age of 58 from bladder cancer. Teammate Jerry Homan, a backup frontcourter, had a son, Luke, pass away in the fall of 2006 when the UW-LaCrosse student's body was recovered in the Mississippi River after last seen celebrating Oktoberfest (UW-L teammate Austin Scott was charged with two counts of obstructing officers for lying to authorities during the death investigation).
Danny Knight, the leading scorer and rebounder for Kansas' 1974 Final Four team, was 24 when he died in June 1977, three weeks after sustaining injuries in a fall down the steps at his home. Knight had been suffering headaches for some time and doctors attributed his death to an aneurysm in the brain. Teammate Norm Cook, the Jayhawks' second-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer as a freshman, was 53 in 2008 when he died after suffering from paranoid schizophrenia most of his adult life.
Dan Hall, a frontcourt backup from Kentucky's historic recruiting class as a freshman for UK's 1975 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of an apparent suicide at age 58 the first full week in January 2013. Hall subsequently transferred to Marshall, where he averaged 10.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg in 1976-77 and 1977-78. UK teammate G.J. Smith, a reserve forward, died in late summer 2012 at the age of 59 because of a heart attack.
The remains of former UCLA forward Gavin Smith, who scored 14 points for the third-place Bruins at the 1976 Final Four, were found in a rural desert area of Southern California in early November 2014. Police had been probing Smith's mysterious disappearance 2 1/2 years earlier. Smith, a 57-year-old movie executive for Fox, was driving a black 2000 four-door Mercedes E Class when he vanished at night. Most media outlets focus on Smith's connection to UCLA but he actually made a hoop name for himself playing with Hawaii, where he finished 16th in the nation in scoring in 1976-77 by setting a Rainbows' single-season record (23.4 points per game).
Center Jerome Whitehead, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Marquette's 1977 NCAA titlist, was 56 in mid-December 2012 when he was found dead because of chronic alcohol abuse. Teammate Gary Rosenberger, a guard who was the fourth-leading scorer in coach Al McGuire's swan song, passed away in the fall of 2013 at the age of 57 due to complications from a heart attack and stroke.
Forward Glen Gondrezick, the leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for UNLV's 1977 third-place club, died in late April 2009 at the age of 53 due to complications stemming from a heart transplant he received the previous September. Teammate Lewis Brown, the third-leading rebounder and sixth-leading scorer for UNLV, spent more than 10 years homeless on the streets of Santa Monica, Calif., before passing away in mid-September 2011 at the age of 56. According to the New York Times, family members said the 6-11 center used cocaine with the Rebels. "Drugs were his downfall," said his sister. Murray State transfer Larry Moffett, UNLV's second-leading rebounder, passed away in early May 2011 in Shreveport, La., at the age of 56. He previously was a cab driver in Las Vegas.
Guard Chad Kinch, the third-leading scorer for UNC Charlotte's 1977 national fourth-place team as a freshman, died at his parents' home in Cartaret, N.J., from complications caused by AIDS. He passed away on April 3, 1994, the day between the Final Four semifinals and final in Charlotte. The host school happened to be UNC Charlotte. It was the second time Kinch's parents lost a son. Sixteen years earlier, Ray Kinch, a Rutgers football player, was killed in a house fire. UNCC teammate Lew Massey, the 49ers' runner-up in scoring and rebounding, died in mid-January 2014 at the age of 57.
Orlando Woolridge, a backup freshman in 1978 when Notre Dame made its lone Final Four appearance before he became a scoring specialist in 13 NBA seasons, died at the end of May 2012 at the age of 52 because of a chronic heart condition.
Matt White, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Penn's 1979 Final Four squad as a senior, was fatally stabbed in mid-February 2013 by his wife, who told police she had caught him looking at child pornography. White, the Quakers' all-time leader in field-goal shooting (59.1%), was 55.
Derek Smith, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer as a sophomore forward for Louisville's 1980 NCAA champion, died of a heart ailment at age 34 on August 9, 1996, while on a cruise with his family. He was the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder for the Cardinals' 1982 Final Four team before averaging 12.8 ppg and 3.2 rpg in the NBA with five different franchises. His son, Nolan, became a starting guard for Duke's 2010 NCAA titlist.
Rob Williams, leading scorer for Houston's 1982 Final Four team, died of congestive heart failure at the age of 52 in March 2014 after suffering a stroke 15 years earlier that left him blind in his left eye and partially paralyzed on his left side. Williams denied rumors he was too high on cocaine to play up to par against North Carolina in the national semifinals (0-for-8 field-goal shooting). But Williams admitted he used drugs. "Cocaine came later but I started out smoking weed (in junior high)," Williams said. "I was always a curious type of fellow, so I wanted to see what cocaine was about. So I tried it. And to tell you the truth, I liked it."
Lorenzo Charles, the second-leading rebounder for N.C. State's 1983 champion, provided one of the tourney's most memorable moments with a game-winning dunk against heavily-favored Houston in the final. Working for a limousine and bus company based in Apex, N.C., he was killed in June 2011 when the charter bus the 47-year-old was driving with no passengers aboard crashed along Interstate 40 in Raleigh. Wolfpack coach Jim Valvano also was 47 in the spring of 1993 when he passed away because of cancer. Backup forward Quinton Leonard died of a heart attack in the spring of 2006 at the age of 44.
Melvin Turpin, the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder as a senior for Kentucky's 1984 Final Four team (29-5 record), was 49 and battling diabetes in July 2010 when he committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest.
Baskerville Holmes, a starting forward who averaged 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for Memphis State's 1985 Final Four team, and his girlfriend were found shot to death on March 18, 1997 in an apparent murder-suicide in Memphis. He was 32.
Mike Masucci, a freshman backup center for Kansas' eventual 1988 champion dismissed from the Jayhawks before the tourney commenced and his subsequent transfer, died in January 2005 at the age of 36 from a heart attack.
Guard Phil Henderson, the leading scorer and senior captain of Duke's 1990 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of cardiac arrest in mid-February 2013 at his home in the Philippines at the age of 44. He was the Blue Devils' second-leading scorer as a junior and sixth-leading scorer as a sophomore for two more Final Four squads.
Larry Marks, a backup forward for Arkansas' 1990 Final Four squad after being a starter the previous season, died of an apparent heart attack in mid-June 2000 after playing some recreational basketball. He was 33.
Sean Tunstall, a reserve guard for Kansas' 1991 NCAA Tournament runner-up was shot and killed at age 28 in the parking lot of a recreation center in his native St. Louis on October 16, 1997, in a drug deal gone bad. Tunstall, recruited to KU when Larry Brown was the Jayhawks' coach, had received a prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of selling cocaine in 1993. "He was one of the few kids I never thought I completely reached," then KU coach Roy Williams said. Power forward Chris Lindley, who signed with Kansas and would have been a freshman for the 1991 squad before having his right foot amputated in January 1990 after a train accident, died at 34 in mid-February 2007.
Peter Sauer, a captain and third-leading rebounder for Stanford's 1998 Final Four squad, was 35 when he collapsed during a recreation game in White Plains, N.Y., hit his head and never was revived. His father, Mark Sauer, is a former president of two pro franchises - the NHL's St. Louis Blues and MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates.
A 32-year-old brother of defensive stopper Byron Mouton, Maryland's fourth-leading scorer and rebounder for a 2001 Final Four team, was shot and killed in an apparent carjacking incident in Houston about one month into the next season. The Terrapins went on to capture the 2002 NCAA championship as the Tulane transfer finished as their third-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer.
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.
A significant number of schools turn sheepish at the mention of recent NCAA Tournament success. Among Division I institutions making at least 10 NCAA playoff appearances, eight former Final Four participants - Holy Cross, Houston, New Mexico State, Oregon State, Princeton, San Francisco, Southern Methodist and Texas-El Paso - combined to go winless in the past 17 years.
DePaul, Oregon State and San Francisco each have won more than 20 NCAA tourney games but collaborated for only one win in the last 26 years (DePaul over Dayton in double overtime in 2004). With B.B. King "The Thrill is Gone" lyrics in the background, following is an alphabetical list of schools with at least 10 NCAA playoff appearances for which Sweet 16 is a distant memory:
School (Playoff Appearances) Recent NCAA Tournament Travails Boston College (18) winless last eight years with only one appearance Charlotte (11) no appearance last 10 years; winless last 14 years Clemson (11) one victory last 18 years DePaul (22) appeared once last 15 years; one victory last 26 years George Washington (11) one victory last 21 years Georgia (12) one victory last 19 years Holy Cross (12) winless since 1953 Houston (19) winless last 31 years Idaho State (11) winless last 38 years Iowa (24) two victories last 16 years Minnesota (12) one victory last 18 years New Mexico State (20) winless last 22 years Old Dominion (11) one victory last 20 years Oregon State (16) winless last 33 years Penn (23) one victory last 35 years Pepperdine (13) one victory last 33 years Princeton (24) winless last 17 years San Francisco (16) appeared once last 33 years Santa Clara (11) no appearance last 19 years Seattle (11) winless since 1964 Southern Methodist (11) winless last 27 years Texas-El Paso (17) winless last 23 years Utah State (20) one victory last 45 years Weber State (14) winless last 16 years Wyoming (15) one victory last 28 years
Chris Mullin, who won more than 3/4 of his games with St. John's in the mid-1980s (98-30, .766), and Mark Price, who won more than 2/3 of his games with Georgia Tech in the same time frame (85-41, .675), each assume control of coaching positions with impressive player pedigrees as three-time All-Americans.
But the odds are overwhelmingly against Mullin (St. John's) and Price (Charlotte) compiling a higher winning percentage as a coach than he did as a premium player. Indiana's Branch McCracken is the only one of the first 50 All-Americans who became major-college mentors to compile a higher winning percentage as a coach. Consider the following alphabetical list:
For those observers who revel in recruiting rhetoric and reviews, the world stopped revolving a couple of years ago when the Harrison twins (Aaron and Andrew) announced their intention to attend Kentucky. There were all sorts of Harrison Hysteria questions regarding how the guards would impact the Wildcats and their staunch supporters. After struggling somewhat during the regular season in 2013-14, they helped UK advance to the NCAA Tournament championship game. In the short term, Big Blue Nation expected them to guide the Cats' to the 2015 title tilt before Wisconsin left them 38-and-done in the national semifinals. They are unquestionably the best set of twins to participate in the Final Four. But combining to average a modest 20.2 points per game, the biggest long-term question is how will the Harrisons rank among the most touted twins in college basketball history; especially after platooning reduced their impact and Andrew couldn't control his tongue. Aren't you glad some of UK's players came back to college to gain more maturity such as refusing to shake hands following a lone loss (didn't want to take risk of transmission of some dreaded disease from Upper Midwest)?
Sharing headlines with other regal recruits, the Harrisons may not crack the Top 10 of the most influential sets of twins at the same school - 1. Van Arsdale (Indiana); 2. O'Brien (Seattle); 3. Lopez (Stanford); 4. Morris (Kansas); 5. Collins (Stanford); 6. Graham (UCF/Oklahoma State); 7. Hughes (Wisconsin); 8. Holmes (VMI); 9. Hayes (Western Carolina/Georgia); 10. Williams (VMI); 11. Kerr (Colorado State); 12. Stanley (Texas A&M); 13. Nelson (Duquesne).
Following is a chronological look at them plus many of the nation's most outstanding sets of twins who played together at least one season on the same team:
- George and Francis Coakley were members of Clemson's 1939 Southern Conference Tournament championship team. It is the Tigers' only league tourney title.
- Clifford and Beauford Minx combined for 10.9 ppg for Missouri's 1944 NCAA Tournament team.
- Forwards John and Rupe Ricksen combined to average 9.7 ppg for California in 1950-51, 15.9 ppg in 1951-52 and 18.4 ppg in 1952-53. The Bears won at least 16 games each of their seasons together. They were co-captains as seniors when Cal captured the PCC South Division title and John earned first-team all-conference status.
- Bantam-sized Johnny and Eddie O'Brien were the top two scorers for Seattle (26-3 record) when it reached the 1953 NCAA Tournament in the Chieftains' first season at the major-college level. They also were infielders for the Pittsburgh Pirates the same year. Johnny O'Brien, a 5-8 unanimous first-team All-American who played center on offense, is the only player to score more than 40 points in his first NCAA Tournament game (42 in an 88-77 victory against Idaho State). Eddie contributed 21 in the same playoff contest.
- Bob (8.6 ppg in 63 games) and Bill (7.5 ppg in 40 games) Gaines played together for Furman from 1954-55 through 1956-57. Each of them averaged 10.3 ppg as a senior.
- Don and Pat Stanley combined for 17.3 ppg and 10.2 rpg in 1959-60 and 24.8 ppg and 11.7 rpg in 1960-61 for Texas A&M. They earlier played at Kilgore when it won a national J.C. title.
- Don and Doug Clemetson combined for 9.5 ppg with Stanford in 1960-61 and 11 ppg in 1961-62. The 16-6 Cardinal finished AAWU runner-up to UCLA, which wound up at the 1962 Final Four.
- Tom and Dick Van Arsdale ranked sixth and seventh on Indiana's list of all-time leading scorers when they graduated in 1965. They were among the nation's top 60 point producers as juniors in 1963-64 and combined for 76 points in a 108-102 neutral court victory against Notre Dame. The Hoosiers went 19-5 their senior campaign. They each played 12 seasons in the NBA, where they both scored more than 14,200 points.
- Lloyd and Floyd Kerr were swingmen who combined to average 25.3 ppg and 10.7 rpg for Colorado State from 1966-67 through 1968-69. Brothers Kerr each scored more than 10 points in all three NCAA playoff games when the Rams reached the Midwest Regional final their senior season (17-7 record) before becoming NBA third-round draft choices.
- Barry and Garry Nelson combined for 21.7 ppg and 16.9 rpg for Duquesne teams compiling a 59-16 record from 1968-69 through 1970-71. Garry led the team in field-goal percentage all three seasons and in rebounding as a sophomore and junior.
- In 1974, seniors Kim and Kerry Hughes carried Wisconsin to its only winning record in Big Ten Conference competition (8-6; 16-8 overall) in a 34-year span from 1963 through 1996. Kim was the Badgers' top rebounder as a sophomore. The 6-11 identical twins combined for 27 ppg and 22 rpg in their junior season and 26 ppg and 20.3 rpg in their final year. Kerry had 21 points and Kim contributed 20 in a home game versus Northwestern their senior year.
- Billy and Bobby Martin excelled for UNC-Wilmington in 1976-77 and 1977-78 after transferring from junior college. Bobby and Billy still rank among the school's all-time leaders in assists.
- Harvey and Horace Grant combined for 16.4 ppg and 11.1 rpg as sophomores for Clemson's 16-13 NIT team in 1984-85. Harvey transferred after the season to a junior college before enrolling at Oklahoma. Each of them had long NBA careers.
- Wichita State's Dwayne and Dwight Praylow combined for 16.3 ppg in 1987-88 (20-10 record) and 20.1 ppg and 8.8 rpg in 1988-89 (19-11 record).
- Victor and Vincent Lee played for Northeast Louisiana from 1986-87 through 1988-89. Their best season was 1988-89 when they were juniors (9.1 ppg and 4.7 rpg).
- Terry and Perry Dozier combined for 9.1 ppg and 3.5 rpg with South Carolina from 1986-87 through 1988-89.
- Damon and Ramon Williams combined for 28.9 ppg in their four-year VMI careers from 1986-87 through 1989-90. They were All-Southern Conference Tournament first-team selections as sophomores in 1988. Ramon was an all-league first-team pick as a junior and Damon achieved the feat as a senior. They rank among the school's all-time top scorers.
- Carl and Charles Thomas were among the top 40 scorers in Eastern Michigan history when they finished their careers following the 1990-91 campaign. They combined to average 16.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg in college before making brief stints in the NBA.
- Sean and Shawn Wightman played together with Western Michigan for three years (1990-91 through 1992-93) after transferring from Illinois State. They combined for 17.9 ppg as juniors. Sean was the nation's top three-point marksman as a junior and led the Mid-American Conference in free-throw shooting as a senior.
- Joe and Jon Ross played together with Notre Dame from 1990-91 through 1993-94. They combined for more than eight rebounds per game their last two seasons.
- Sammie and Simeon Haley combined for 12.5 ppg and 8.8 rpg with Missouri's NCAA Tournament team in 1994-95 (20-9 record) and 14.6 ppg and 9.2 rpg for an NIT team in 1995-96 (18-15 record) after transferring from junior college.
- Jim and David Jackson combined for 7.7 ppg and 3.6 rpg with Virginia Tech's NCAA Tournament team in 1995-96 (23-6 record) and 13.4 ppg and 4.8 rpg in 1996-97 (15-16).
- Bill and Bob Jenkins combined for 14.9 ppg and 12.5 rpg with Valparaiso's NCAA playoff Sweet 16 team in 1997-98 (23-10 record).
- Stanford's Jarron and Jason Collins combined for 19.3 ppg and 12.6 rpg in 1999-2000 before powering the Cardinal to a 31-3 record in 2000-01 with 27.3 ppg and 14.5 rpg.
- Jarvis and Jonas Hayes combined for 25.1 ppg as freshmen with Western Carolina in 1999-2000. They transferred to Georgia after Jarvis led the Southern Conference in scoring with 17.1 ppg. With the Bulldogs, the twins teamed for 25.8 ppg and 10.3 rpg in 2001-02 and 25 ppg and 8.8 rpg in 2002-03.
- Joey and Stevie Graham combined for 25.3 ppg and 9.5 rpg as sophomores with Central Florida in 2001-02 before transferring to Oklahoma State. They collaborated for 15.2 ppg and 6.6 rpg in 2003-04 and 24.2 ppg and 9.4 rpg in 2004-05 for two OSU NCAA playoff teams.
- Errick and Derrick Craven combined for 17.6 ppg and 7.5 rpg with Southern California in 2002-03, 17.2 ppg and 5.2 rpg in 2003-04 and 10.4 ppg and 4.5 rpg in 2004-05.
- Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart combined for 13 ppg and 4.8 rpg with Southern California in 2003-04 before Rodrick transferred to Kansas.
- Yale swingmen Caleb and Nick Holmes combined for 12.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 3.2 apg from 2004-05 through 2007-08.
- Travis and Chavis Holmes combined for 18.7 ppg with VMI in 2005-06, 34.2 ppg in 2006-07 and 34 ppg in 2007-08. They colloborated for 57 points in a 156-95 victory against Virginia Intermont in 2006-07 when they each ranked among the nation's top five in steals (placed 1-2 in the Big South Conference). Finished 1-2 nationally in thefts their senior season.
- Centers Brook and Robin Lopez combined for 20.2 ppg, 11.5 rpg and 4.1 bpg with Stanford as freshmen in 2006-07 and 29.4 ppg, 13.8 rpg and 4.4 bpg as sophomores in 2007-08 before they both left school early and became NBA first-round draft choices.
- La Salle's Jerrell and Terrell Williams combined for 12.3 ppg and 8.5 rpg from 2007-08 to 2009-10.
- Charles and Philip Tabet combined for 7.2 ppg and 3 rpg with South Alabama in 2008-09 before falling off to 2.8 ppg with 4.5 rpg in 2009-10.
- Philadelphia natives Markieff and Marcus Morris combined for 12 ppg and 9.2 rpg with Kansas in 2008-09, 19.5 ppg and 11.4 rpg in 2009-10 and 30.8 ppg and 15.9 rpg as All-Big 12 Conference selections in 2010-11 before they both left school early and became NBA first-round draft choices. Marcus was KU's leading scorer (17.2) and Markieff its leading rebounder (8.3) for the Jayhawks' 2011 Big 12 champion.
- David and Travis Wear combined for 6.5 ppg and 3.8 rpg as freshmen for North Carolina in 2009-10 before transferring to UCLA, where they collaborated for 18 ppg and 10.2 rpg in 2012-13 and 13.8 ppg and 7 rpg in 2013-14.
- Charlie (freshman RS in 2009-10) and Colin Reddick combined for 7.7 ppg and 6.1 rpg with Furman in 2010-11, 14.8 ppg and 8.1 rpg in 2011-12 and 22.1 ppg and 11.5 rpg in 2012-13.
Although there is a disenchantment stigma attached to transfers, it shouldn't be considered a crime. The performance of transfer Bryn Forbes (14.1 ppg for Cleveland State in 2012-13 and 2013-14) could determine any success Michigan State may enjoy at Final Four. Including injured Kentucky star Derek Anderson in 1997, 28 of the last 32 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 32 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.
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.
For the fifth straight season, at least one 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. Duke and Kentucky were able to reload this year after each lost a pair of NBA 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 12 times in the last 14 years. This season marked the second time in eight years that three national semifinalists were in this category. Following is a list of the 29 squads unfazed by the early loss of key player(s) who left college with eligibility still remaining:
Final Four Team Prominent Undergraduate Defection Previous Year Marquette '74 Larry McNeill (25th pick overall in 1973 NBA draft) Louisiana State '81 DeWayne Scales (36th pick in 1980 draft) Georgia '83 Dominique Wilkins (3rd pick in 1982 draft) Houston '83 Rob Williams (19th pick in 1982 draft) Houston '84 Clyde Drexler (14th pick in 1983 draft) Louisiana State '86 Jerry Reynolds (22nd pick in 1985 draft) Syracuse '87 Pearl Washington (13th pick in 1986 draft) Kentucky '97 Antoine Walker (6th pick in 1996 draft) North Carolina '97 Jeff McInnis (37th pick in 1996 draft) Kentucky '98 Ron Mercer (6th pick in 1997 draft) Indiana '02 Kirk Haston (16th pick in 2001 draft) Kansas '03 Drew Gooden (4th pick in 2002 draft) Georgia Tech '04 Chris Bosh (4th pick in 2003 draft) Louisiana State '06 Brandon Bass (33rd pick in 2005 draft) UCLA '07 Jordan Farmar (26th pick in 2006 draft) North Carolina '08 Brandan Wright (8th pick in 2007 draft) Kansas '08 Julian Wright (13th pick in 2007 draft) UCLA '08 Arron Afflalo (27th pick in 2007 draft) Duke '10 Gerald Henderson (12th pick in 2009 draft) Kentucky '11 John Wall (1st pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 DeMarcus Cousins (5th pick in 2010 draft) Butler '11 Gordon Hayward (9th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Patrick Patterson (14th pick in 2010 draft) Virginia Commonwealth '11 Larry Sanders (15th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Eric Bledsoe (18th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Daniel Orton (29th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '12 Brandon Knight (8th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Markieff Morris (13th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Marcus Morris (14th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Josh Selby (49th pick in 2011 draft) Syracuse '13 Dion Waiters (4th pick in 2012 draft) Syracuse '13 Fab Melo (22nd pick in 2012 draft) Kentucky '14 Nerlens Noel (6th pick in 2013 draft) Kentucky '14 Archie Goodwin (29th pick in 2013 draft) Michigan State '15 Gary Harris (19th pick in 2014 draft) Duke '15 Rodney Hood (23rd pick in 2014 draft) Duke '15 Jabari Parker (2nd pick in 2014 draft) Kentucky '15 Julius Randle (7th pick in 2014 draft) Kentucky '15 James Young (17th pick in 2014 draft)
This year marks only the sixth occasion when all four coaches converged on the national semifinals with previous Final Four experience. John Calipari is among four different Kentucky mentors represented in these return "religious-experience" engagements. Hope PC-police progressives descending upon Indy, resembling POTUS by being more skeptical of Christians than Muslims, allow the hoop-religious liberty to acknowledge the following six years when coaches got back to business at the Final Four:
Wisconsin and Michigan State, which ushered in the 21st Century by appearing at the Final Four, have returned to the national semifinals at the same time again. The Big Ten Conference has achieved the feat on eight occasions. 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.|
|2015||Big Ten members Michigan State (T3rd) and Wisconsin (1st) were on opposite sides of the bracket in Indianapolis. Wisconsin reached title game and MSU was eliminated by Duke.|
Sean Miller has won more than two-thirds of his NCAA playoff games (17-8 mark). He has four regional final appearances in the last eight years, including three with Arizona in last five seasons. How in the world can Miller already be considered the best coach never to reach a Final Four while Notre Dame's Mike Brey is given a pass despite participating in 50% more tourneys and compiling a losing playoff record? Ditto Gonzaga's Mark Few, who has appeared in twice as many NCAA tourneys as Miller.
Actually, Miller doesn't even meet the minimum standards to be on such a list and is justified in telling any willfully-ignorant critics where they can go. Have misguided observers addressing such a topic ever heard of all-time great coaches such as John Chaney, Lefty Driesell, Gene Keady and Norm Stewart? None of these four luminaries advanced to the national semifinals in a total of 64 NCAA Tournament appearances. "It's so difficult not being able to make that final step," said Chaney, who lost five regional finals with Temple.
Driesell made 11 NCAA playoff appearances with Davidson and Maryland from 1966 through 1986. "I always wanted to get to the Final Four, but not as much as some people think," said Driesell, who lost four regional finals. "I'm not obsessed with it."
Only four schools - North Carolina, Duke, Georgetown and Syracuse - supplied more NCAA consensus first- and second-team All-Americans from 1982 through 1992 than Stewart-coached Missouri (seven). It must have been particularly frustrating for Mizzou fans when the Tigers compiled a 4-8 NCAA tourney worksheet in that span.
But some mentors never will receive the accolades they deserve because of failing to reach the Promised Land, including maligned Dave Bliss, who recently resurfaced as coach of an NAIA school in Texas. This year, North Carolina State's Mark Gottfried joined the following list of prominent coaches without a Final Four berth on their resume despite more than 10 NCAA Tournament appearances:
|Coach||NCAA Tourneys||Playoff Record (Pct.)||Closest to Reaching Final Four|
|Gene Keady||18||19-18 (.514)||regional runner-up with Purdue in 1994 and 2000|
|John Chaney||17||23-17 (.575)||regional runner-up with Temple five times (1988-91-93-99-01)|
|Mark Few||16||19-16 (.543)||regional runner-up with Gonzaga in 2015|
|Norm Stewart||16||12-16 (.429)||regional runner-up with Missouri in 1976 and 1994|
|Fran Dunphy||15||3-15 (.167)||won three opening-round games with Penn and Temple (1994, 2011 and 2013)|
|Lefty Driesell||13||16-14 (.533)||regional runner-up four times with Davidson and Maryland (1968-69-73-75)|
|Mike Brey||12||9-12 (.429)||regional runner-up with Notre Dame in 2015|
|Dana Altman||11||6-11 (.353)||regional semifinals with Oregon in 2013|
|Dave Bliss||11||8-11 (.421)||regional semifinals with Oklahoma in 1979|
|Pete Carril||11||4-11 (.267)||won two games with Princeton in 1983|
|Gale Catlett||11||7-11 (.389)||regional semifinals with West Virginia in 1998|
|Tom Davis||11||18-11 (.621)||regional runner-up with Boston College in 1982 and Iowa in 1987|
|Mark Gottfried||11||10-11 (.476)||regional final with Alabama in 2004|
|Tom Penders||11||12-11 (.522)||regional final with Texas in 1990|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 15 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 individual to play for two NCAA champions, play for more than two NBA champions and coach two NBA champions. Hint: He was the first of four players to be a member of an NCAA championship team one year and an NBA titlist the next season as a rookie. He won the high jump in the West Coast Relays his senior year.
2. Who is the only individual to average fewer than four points per game as a freshman and then be selected Final Four Most Outstanding Player the next season as a sophomore. Hint: He had more three-point baskets in two Final Four games than he managed his entire freshman season.
3. Who is the only player named to an All-NCAA Tournament team not to score a total of more than 10 points in two Final Four games? Hint: He had the same point total in each Final Four game for a team whose star had the same last name.
4. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to later coach his alma mater in the NCAA Tournament? Hint: The guard was named Most Outstanding Player although he was his team's fourth-leading scorer at the Final Four that year.
5. Name the only school to have two of the six eligible teams ranked among the top five in the AP and/or UPI final polls to not participate in either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT in the days before teams other than the conference champion could be chosen to the NCAA playoffs as at-large entrants. Hint: The school lost three regional finals in one four-year span and hasn't reached the Final Four in the last 50 years.
6. Who is the only coach to lose more than five regional final games? Hint: His regional final defeats were by an average margin of 10 points and his biggest nemesis was the Big Ten Conference.
7. Who is the only individual to become NBA Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player to participate in the NCAA Tournament but never win an NCAA playoff game? Hint: He shared the NBA Rookie of the Year award with another player who was on the losing end in his only NCAA Tournament appearance. Two years later, he was NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player the same season he was named league MVP.
8. Of the more than 40 different players to be named NBA Most Valuable Player, score more than 20,000 points in the pros or be selected to an All-NBA team at least five times after participating in the NCAA Tournament, who is the only one to average fewer than 10 points per game in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: He is believed to be the youngest Hall of Famer to appear in an NCAA championship game at the tender age of 16 and was later named to 12 consecutive All-NBA teams.
9. Who is the only guard to score more than 35 points in an NCAA final? Hint: He led his team in scoring in back-to-back Final Fours but wasn't named Final Four Most Outstanding Player either year. He is the only championship team player to have a two-game total of at least 70 points at the Final Four and is the shortest undergraduate to average more than 20 points per game for an NCAA titlist.
10. Who is the only player to have as many as 20 field goals in an NCAA championship game? Hint: He scored fewer than seven points in both his tourney debut and final playoff appearance.
Wisconsin center-forward Frank Kaminsky, making incredible strides since an inauspicious freshman season three years ago, appears be the consensus choice as national player of the year. Kaminsky, a native of Lisle, Ill., was anything but the country's most dominant player in 2011-12 when he averaged an anemic 1.8 points per game with the Badgers. If Kaminsky emerges as national player of the year, he will have posted the lowest first-year scoring average for any such honoree since the initial POY award by UPI in 1955.
Kaminsky is a textbook example why fans shouldn't put too much stock in freshman statistics. But Kaminsky is in plenty of good company among players who endured growing pains before blossoming into stars. He would be on the low end of the following list of first 10 national players of the year averaging fewer than eight points per game in their first varsity campaign:
Shane Battier, F, Duke (7.6 ppg as freshman in 1997-98)
David Robinson, C, Navy (7.6 ppg as freshman in 1983-84)
*Sidney Wicks, F-C, UCLA (7.5 ppg as sophomore in 1968-69)
Marques Johnson, F, UCLA (7.2 ppg as freshman in 1973-74)
Jimmer Fredette, G, Brigham Young (7 ppg as freshman in 2007-08)
Danny Ferry, F-C, Duke (5.9 ppg as freshman in 1985-86)
Gary Bradds, C, Ohio State (4.7 ppg as sophomore in 1961-62)
Ed O'Bannon, F, UCLA (3.6 ppg as freshman in 1991-92)
Draymond Green, F, Michigan State (3.3 ppg as freshman in 2008-09)
Kenyon Martin, C, Cincinnati (2.8 ppg as freshman in 1996-97)
- Junior college recruit.
Has there ever been a coach in an elite "Power 6" league with a consistent track record for dramatic player development anywhere close to duplicating Wisconsin's Bo Ryan? A UW player became an All-Big Ten Conference selection each of the previous five campaigns and seven of previous eight after averaging fewer than three points per game as a freshman. If not for missing half of this season because of a broken foot, point guard Traevon Jackson (1.1 in 2011-12) might have joined the following chronological list of Badgers becoming an all-league choice under Ryan after averaging fewer than 3 ppg as a freshman (all but one of them fewer than 2 ppg):
G Kammron Taylor (1.2 ppg in 2003-04 to 13.3 ppg in 2006-07)
G Michael Flowers (1.2 ppg in 2004-05 to 9.6 ppg in 2007-08)
G Trevon Hughes (1.4 ppg in 2006-07 to 15.3 ppg in 2009-10)
F Jon Leuer (2.9 ppg in 2007-08 to 18.3 ppg in 2010-11)
G Jordan Taylor (1.6 ppg in 2008-09 to 18.1 ppg in 2010-11 and 14.8 ppg in 2011-12)
C Jared Berggren (1.1 ppg in 2009-10 to 11 ppg in 2012-13)
C Frank Kaminsky (1.8 ppg in 2011-12 to 14.1 ppg in 2013-14 and 18.4 ppg in 2014-15)
"Saving" his program time and time again by turning scars into stars, it is no wonder Wisconsin won 50 consecutive contests under "General" Ryan in one stretch when the Badgers were ahead or tied with five minutes remaining in regulation. They never finished lower than fourth place in the Big Ten standings in his first 14 years at their helm. Kaminsky scored a school-record 43 points early in the 2013-14 campaign en route to pacing the team in scoring average. It is time to right "Ryan's Wrong." There is no satisfactory explanation why Ryan never has been named national coach of the year. Adding insult to injury, George Raveling (2-6 NCAA playoff mark with Washington State, Iowa and USC) became an inductee to Basketball Hall of Fame over Ryan.
Despite reaching the Elite Eight, the odds were against newer ACC members Louisville and Notre Dame advancing to the NCAA Tournament championship game to oppose each other in the playoffs for the first time. What other powerhouses never have battled each other in the NCAA tourney?
Although the event is in its eighth decade, there are attractive power school match-ups never to have occurred. Notre Dame also has never met another new ACC member (Syracuse) in the tourney. Among the potentially entertaining intra-sectional playoff contests between storied programs never to take place in the NCAAs include:
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 14 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only school to compile a losing record in a season it won on the road against a conference rival later capturing the NCAA championship. Hint: The school is a former national titlist itself, but had just one winning league mark in 12 years from 1977-78 through 1988-89.
2. Name the only school to compile a conference record of more than 10 games below .500 in a season it defeated a league rival becoming NCAA champion. Hint: The school, which finished in first or second place in league competition four consecutive seasons in the early 1930s, has 44 consecutive non-winning records in conference play.
3. Name the only school to trail by at least 10 points at halftime of a tournament game and end up winning the contest by more than 20. Hint: A prominent network broadcaster played for the team. The next year, the school became the only one in tourney history to win back-to-back overtime games by double-digit margins.
4. Who is the only coach to lose in back-to-back seasons to teams seeded 14th or worse? Hint: He captured an NCAA championship later that decade.
5. Name the only double-digit seeded team to reach the Final Four until Virginia Commonwealth achieved the feat last year. Hint: It's the worst-seeded school to defeat a #1 seed, a conference rival that defeated the team a total of three times that year during the regular season and postseason league tournament. The next year, the university became the only school to reach back-to-back regional finals as a double-digit seed.
6. Name the only school to win a regional final game it trailed by more than 15 points at halftime. Hint: The school lost its next game at the Final Four to a team that dropped a conference game against the regional final opponent by a double-figure margin. Three years later, it became the only school to score more than 100 points in a championship game and win a national final by more than 21 points.
7. Who is the only team-leading scorer to be held more than 25 points under his season average in a Final Four game? Hint: He scored 39 points against the same opponent earlier in the season to help end the third-longest winning streak in major-college history. He is the only player to lead the playoffs in scoring and rebounding in back-to-back seasons although he wasn't named to the All-Tournament team one of those years despite becoming the only player to lead a tourney in scoring by more than 60 points. In addition, he is the only player in tournament history to collect more than 40 points and 25 rebounds in the same game.
8. Name the only school to lead the nation in scoring offense and win the NCAA title in the same season. Hint: The top four scorers were undergraduates for the only titlist to win all of its NCAA Tournament games by more than 15 points.
9. Name the only school to play in as many as three overtime games in a single tournament. Hint: One of the three overtime affairs was a national third-place game.
10. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to go scoreless in two NCAA Tournament games in a previous year? Hint: His NBA scoring average decreased each of his last nine seasons in the league after becoming Rookie of the Year.
It doesn't take a genius to deduce All-American players are all-important to teams. Since the national tourney expanded to at least 32 teams in 1975, only two consensus first-team All-Americans never appeared in the NCAA playoffs - Houston guard Otis Birdsong (1977) and Minnesota center Mychal Thompson (1978).
Terry Dischinger averaged 28.3 points per game in his three-year varsity career with Purdue in the early 1960s, but he is the only two-time consensus first-team All-American since World War II never to compete in the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Dischinger also endured a star-scorned nine-year NBA career without playing on a squad winning a playoff series. He was named NBA Rookie of the Year as a member of the Chicago Zephyrs in 1962-63 despite playing in only 57 games as he skipped many of the road contests to continue his education. His dedication to the classroom paid off as he became an orthodontist.
Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham averaged 24.8 points per game in his three-year varsity career with North Carolina in the mid-1960s, but he also never appeared in the NCAA tourney or NIT. How good were the players in that era if Cunningham never was a consensus first-team All-American? Auburn's Charles Barkley was an All-American but lost his only NCAA playoff game in 1984. Following is a look at Dischinger and three other multiple-year NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans since the mid-1950s never to participate in the NCAA Tournament:
|Two- or Three-Time NCAA Consensus First-Team A-A||School||Years 1st-Team A-A||NIT Mark|
|Terry Dischinger||Purdue||1961 and 1962||DNP|
|Sihugo Green||Duquesne||1955 and 1956||6-2|
|Pete Maravich||Louisiana State||1968 through 1970||2-2|
|Chet Walker||Bradley||1961 and 1962||3-1|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 13 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only team-leading scorer of a Final Four team to go scoreless when the school was eliminated from championship contention at the national semifinals? Hint: He was a center who along with four teammates averaged between 11 and 12.5 points per game.
2. Who is the only player to twice lead the nation in scoring average while playing for teams advancing to the Final Four? Hint: He is the only team-leading scorer to twice be more than 10 points below his season scoring mark when his school was eliminated at the Final Four.
3. Name the only school to lose two national championship games by at least 18 points after leading the finals at halftime. Hint: The two opponents, 17 years apart, combined to win 66 of 68 games those seasons.
4. Name the only school to make as many as eight consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from the year it participated in the event for the first time. Hint: The school's last playoff victory wasn't during this streak, but it later handed UCLA its first West Regional defeat in 14 years.
5. Name the only school to lose as many as 15 opening-round games in the NCAA Tournament. Hint: The university also lost a first-round game in 1984 after winning a qualifying round contest when the playoff field was 53 teams.
6. Who is the only athlete to collect more than 3,000 major league hits, including 465 homers, after playing the entire basketball game for a school when it appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Hint: The outfielder appeared in 12 All-Star Games and two World Series after never playing in the minors.
7. Who is the only player to have a single-digit point total in a national semifinal game and then increase his output by more than 20 points in the championship game? Hint: The center for two years between two three-time consensus first-team All-Americans shot just over 40% from the floor for the season entering the title game where he had a game-high and career-high point total.
8. Who is the only player to have a decrease of more than 25 points from his national semifinal game scoring total to his championship game output? Hint: He was a member of the first undefeated NCAA champion and subsequently became an NBA first-round draft choice.
9. Name the only school to defeat two eventual Final Four teams by double-digit margins in their conference tournament. Hint: The school was handily eliminated in the NCAA playoffs by one of the two Final Four teams it decisively defeated in their league tourney.
10. Name the only school to reach the NCAA championship game in back-to-back seasons it was defeated by double-digit margins in its conference tournament. Hint: The school swept its home-and-home series in regular-season conference competition against the teams defeating it in the league tourney.
Weep On It/Think On It/Sleep On It/Drink On It. That could be the motto for Xavier and Brigham Young after they remained "Susan Lucci" schools in Division I after losing in the NCAA Tournament this year. The tandem and Missouri are the only three schools participating in at least 25 NCAA Tournaments but never advancing to a Final Four.
Missouri has reached a regional final four times but fell short in advancing to the Promised Land. Boston College is another bridesmaid on multiple occasions, losing three regional finals (1967, 1982 and 1994) in 18 tourney appearances (22-19 record) since the field expanded beyond eight teams in 1950.
Alabama (20-20) is the only school with a non-losing NCAA playoff record among the following list of five frustrated institutions in a quagmire because they've made a minimum of 20 appearances without reaching the Final Four:
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 12 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only championship team player to have a season scoring average of less than six points per game entering a Final Four but tally more than 30 points in the national semifinals and final? Hint: He is the only player with a single-digit season scoring average to score more than 25 points in an NCAA championship game.
2. Who is the only player to score at least 25 points in eight consecutive NCAA playoff games? Hint: He is the only player to rank among the top five in scoring average in both the NCAA Tournament and NBA playoffs. He was denied a championship ring in his only Final Four appearance when a player who would become an NBA teammate tipped in a decisive basket in the closing seconds.
3. Name the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player who wasn't among the top five scorers on his team. Hint: The only other player to earn the award who wasn't among the top four scorers on his team attended the same university.
5. Who is the only U.S. Congressman to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee after playing in the NCAA Tournament championship game? Hint: Starting out as a Democrat, he became a 12-term Republican Congressman from Illinois.
6. Who is the only individual to be named Final Four Most Outstanding Player and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in back-to-back seasons? Hint: He holds the NBA Finals single-game record for most points by a rookie.
7. Name the freshman who had the highest season scoring average for a team to reach the NCAA Tournament championship game until Carmelo Anthony achieved the feat for 2003 champion Syracuse. Hint: The word "Boss" is tattooed to his chest for a good reason because he also led his team in assists as a freshman.
8. Who is the only freshman to score more than 30 points in a national semifinal or championship game before failing to score more than half that total in his next four playoff outings? Hint: He didn't score more than 15 points in any of his next four NCAA playoff games, all defeats, and he averaged a modest 8.2 points per game in an eight-year NBA career with an all-time pro season high of 11.4 ppg and game high of 28.
9. Who is the only freshman on a Final Four team to score more than 20 points in as many as four tournament games? Hint: He did not play in the national championship game and his school lost in the NCAA playoffs to opponents with double-digit seeds each of the four seasons before he arrived.
10. Name the only season-leading scorer of a titlist to be held more than 14 points below his average in the NCAA championship game. Hint: He was named national player of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. He is one of four Final Four Most Outstanding Players held scoreless in their NCAA Tournament debuts in a previous season. He is also the only individual to become a member of three NCAA titlists after playing one season in junior college.
Steve Alford, an All-American for Indiana in 1986 and 1987, is the only active coach to have been an All-American player before coaching an All-American (New Mexico's Darington Hobson in 2010 and UCLA's Kyle Anderson in 2014). Alford joined Indiana native John Wooden as the only All-American players to coach All-Americans for two different universities (Indiana State and UCLA) with neither of them being his alma mater (Purdue).
Alford and Wooden joined Howie Dallmar (Penn and Stanford), Jim O'Brien (Boston College and Ohio State) plus John Oldham (Tennessee Tech and Western Kentucky) as former All-Americans who coached comparable players for two different schools. Dallmar, O'Brien and Oldham each coached an All-American with his alma mater.
Indiana's Branch McCracken, the only one of nearly 50 All-Americans who became major-college mentors to compile a higher winning percentage as a coach than as a player, coached 14 All-Americans with his alma mater. He is among the following alphabetical list of 15 major-college All-Americans who went on to coach major-college All-Americans:
|Coach||Alma Mater||A-A Year as Player||All-American(s) Coached|
|Steve Alford||Indiana||1986 and 1987||New Mexico's Darington Hobson (2010) and UCLA's Kyle Anderson (2014)|
|Henry Bibby||UCLA||1972||Southern California's Sam Clancy (2002)|
|Bob Cousy||Holy Cross||1948 through 1950||Boston College's John Austin (1965 and 1966) and Terry Driscoll (1969)|
|Howie Dallmar||Penn||1945||Penn's Ernie Beck (1951 and 1953) and Stanford's Paul Neumann (1959) and Rich Kelley (1975)|
|Larry Finch||Memphis State||1973||Memphis State's Anfernee Hardaway (1993) and Lorenzen Wright (1996)|
|Tom Gola||La Salle||1952 through 1955||La Salle's Larry Cannon (1969)|
|Jack Gray||Texas||1934 and 1935||Texas' John Hargis (1947)|
|Clem Haskins||Western Kentucky||1966 and 1967||Minnesota's Bobby Jackson (1997) and Quincy Lewis (1999)|
|Moose Krause||Notre Dame||1932 through 1934||Notre Dame's Leo Barnhorst (1949), Leo Klier (1944) and Kevin O'Shea (1947 through 1950)|
|Branch McCracken||Indiana||1930||Indiana's Ernie Andres (1939), Walt Bellamy (1960), Archie Dees (1957 and 1958), Bill Garrett (1951), Ralph Hamilton (1947), Marv Huffman (1940), Slick Leonard (1953 and 1954), Bill Menke (1940), Jimmy Rayl (1962 and 1963), Don Schlundt (1953 through 1955), Dick Van Arsdale (1965), Tom Van Arsdale (1965), Lou Watson (1950) and Andy Zimmer (1942)|
|Jim O'Brien||Boston College||1971||Boston College's Bill Curley (1994) and Ohio State's Scoonie Penn (1999 and 2000)|
|John Oldham||Western Kentucky||1949||Tennessee Tech's Jimmy Hagan (1959) and Western Kentucky's Clem Haskins (1966 and 1967) and Jim McDaniels (1970 and 1971)|
|Harv Schmidt||Illinois||1957||Illinois' Dave Scholz (1969)|
|John Thompson Jr.||Providence||1964||Georgetown's Patrick Ewing (1982 through 1985), Sleepy Floyd (1981 and 1982), Allen Iverson (1996), Alonzo Mourning (1989 through 1992), Dikembe Mutombo (1991), Charles Smith (1989) and Reggie Williams (1987)|
|John Wooden||Purdue||1932||Indiana State's Duane Klueh (1948) and UCLA's Lew Alcindor (1967 through 1969), Lucius Allen (1968), Henry Bibby (1972), Keith Erickson (1965), Gail Goodrich (1964 and 1965), John Green (1962), Walt Hazzard (1963 and 1964), Dave Meyers (1975), Willie Naulls (1956), Curtis Rowe (1970 and 1971), George Stanich (1950), Walt Torrence (1959), John Vallely (1970), Bill Walton (1972 through 1974), Mike Warren (1967 and 1968), Richard Washington (1975), Sidney Wicks (1970 and 1971) and Keith Wilkes (1973 and 1974)|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 11 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only one of the 60 or so two-time consensus first-team All-Americans since 1946 never to participate in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT? Hint: His school was a total of 10 games over .500 in Big Ten Conference competition in his junior and senior seasons. He never played on a team to win a playoff series in his nine-year NBA career.
2. Who is the only player to score more than 20,000 pro points yet never reach the conference finals in the NBA playoffs after playing at least two seasons of varsity basketball at a major college and never participating in the NCAA Division I playoffs? Hint: The college he attended made its NCAA Tournament debut the first year after he left school early to become the third pick overall in the NBA draft.
3. Who is the only coach since the tourney field expanded to at least 48 teams to take two different universities to the playoffs when the schools appeared in the tournament for the first time? Hint: His last name begins with a "F" and he no longer is a Division I head coach.
4. Name the only school with a losing record to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs by winning a regular-season conference title. Hint: The league started a postseason tournament two years later and the school in question has lost all six times it reached the conference tourney championship game.
5. Name the only major university to have two graduates score more than 17,000 points in the NBA after playing at least three varsity seasons in college and failing to appear in the NCAA Tournament. Hint: The school has had three other players score more than 10,000 points in the NBA after never appearing in the NCAA playoffs.
6. Name the only former titlist to have an all-time playoff record 10 games below the .500 mark. Hint: Longtime network broadcaster Curt Gowdy played in the tournament for the school.
7. Name the only state with three schools to compile tournament records at least nine games below .500. Hint: The three institutions from the same state are members of different conferences.
8. Who was the only player shorter than Bobby Hurley, Duke's 6-0 guard, to play for a championship team and be selected as the Final Four Most Outstanding Player? Hint: There was another Final Four MOP who was also shorter than 6-0, but he played for a national third-place finisher in the mid-1950s.
9. Who is the only individual to play in an NCAA Tournament championship game and later coach his alma mater to a final? Hint: He served as an assistant to the coach with the most NCAA playoff victories and a college teammate is one of the winningest coaches of all time.
10. Name the only one of the schools with multiple national titles to have two teams participate in the NCAA playoffs as defending champions but lose their opening-round game. Hint: Both of the opening-round setbacks for the school when it was defending champion occurred in the East Regional.
NCAA Tournament matchups between members from the same league are relatively rare. When ACC rivals Louisville and North Carolina State met in the East Regional semifinals, it was the 23rd such confrontation but only the third in the last 13 years. It was the first time for an intra-conference confrontation as early as the regional semifinals in the NCAA playoffs since 1986.
The Big Ten Conference accounted for seven of the first 18 NCAA Tournament games pitting league members against each other. Florida coach Billy Donovan played in one of the playoff intraconference matchups in 1987 when he scored 20 points for Providence in an 88-73 triumph over Georgetown in the Southeast Regional final.
|Year||Conference||Playoff Round||NCAA Tourney Result Between Members of Same League|
|1976||Big Ten||national championship||Indiana 86 (May scored team-high 26 points), Michigan 68 (Green 18)|
|1980||Big Ten||regional semifinals||Purdue 76 (Edmonson/Morris 20), Indiana 69 (I. Thomas 30)|
|1980||Big Ten||national third-place||Purdue 75 (Carroll 35), Iowa 58 (Arnold 19)|
|1981||ACC||national semifinals||North Carolina 78 (Wood 39), Virginia 65 (Lamp 18)|
|1983||ACC||regional final||North Carolina State 63 (Whittenburg 24), Virginia 62 (Sampson 23)|
|1985||Big East||national semifinals||Georgetown 77 (Williams 20), St. John's 59 (Glass 13)|
|1985||Big East||national championship||Villanova 66 (McClain 17), Georgetown 64 (Wingate 16)|
|1986||SEC||regional semifinals||Kentucky 68 (Walker 22), Alabama 63 (Coner 20)|
|1986||SEC||regional final||Louisiana State 59 (Williams 16), Kentucky 57 (Walker 20)|
|1987||Big East||regional final||Providence 88 (Donovan/D. Wright 20), Georgetown 73 (Williams 25)|
|1987||Big East||national semifinals||Syracuse 77 (Monroe 17), Providence 63 (Screen 18)|
|1988||Big Eight||regional final||Kansas 71 (Manning 20), Kansas State 58 (Scott 18)|
|1988||Big Eight||national championship||Kansas 83 (Manning 31), Oklahoma 79 (Sieger 22)|
|1989||Big Ten||national semifinals||Michigan 83 (Rice 28), Illinois 81 (Battle 29)|
|1992||Big Ten||regional final||Michigan 75 (Webber 23), Ohio State 71 (Jackson 20)|
|1992||Great Midwest||regional final||Cincinnati 88 (Jones 23), Memphis State 57 (Hardaway 12)|
|2000||Big Ten||regional final||Wisconsin 64 (Bryant 18), Purdue 60 (Cardinal/Cunningham 13)|
|2000||Big Ten||national semifinals||Michigan State 53 (Peterson 20), Wisconsin 41 (Boone 18)|
|2001||ACC||national semifinals||Duke 95 (Battier 25), Maryland 84 (Dixon 19)|
|2002||Big 12||regional final||Oklahoma 81 (Price 18), Missouri 75 (Paulding 22)|
|2009||Big East||regional final||Villanova 78 (Anderson 17), Pittsburgh 76 (Young 28)|
|2013||Big East||regional final||Syracuse 55 (Southerland 16), Marquette 39 (Blue 14)|
|2015||ACC||regional semifinals||Louisville 75 (Harrell 24), North Carolina State 65 (Lacey 18)|
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 10 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only All-American to coach three different schools in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: He was the leading scorer for an NCAA champion.
2. Who is the only coach to take three different schools to a regional final in a 10-year span? Hint: He is the only individual to meet two different schools in the playoffs he had previously coached to the Final Four. He had a chance to become the first coach to guide three different universities to the national semifinals, but retired and turned the reins over to his son.
3. Who is the only seven-foot player to lead a Final Four in scoring and win a conference high jump title in the same year? Hint: He is the only player to lead the NBA in rebounds and assists in the same season.
4. Of the total of 10 different teams in the 1980s to defeat a school twice in a season the opponent eventually won the national title, name the only one of the 10 to fail to win its NCAA Tournament opener. Hint: The team had the misfortune of opening the playoffs on the home court of its opponent.
5. Of the Final Four teams in the last several decades to have standouts whose high school coach was reunited with a star player as a college assistant, name the only school to win a national championship. Hint: The high school coach who tagged along with his prep All-American as a college assistant was also the first minority player to play for his alma mater.
6. Who is the only coach to take a team more than two games below .500 one season to the national title the next year? Hint: He is the only championship team coach to finish his college career with a losing record. He is also the only major-college coach to stay at a school at least 25 seasons and finish with a losing career record at that institution.
7. Who is the only coach to reach the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament and NIT at least five times apiece? Hint: Of the coaches to win basketball championships at every major level (the NCAA, NIT and Summer Olympics), he is the only one to capture the "Triple Crown" in a span of less than 10 years.
8. Of the players to score more than 225 points in the playoffs and/or average in excess of 25 points per tournament game (minimum of six games), who is the only individual to score more than 22 points in every postseason contest? Hint: He is the only player from the group to have a single-digit differential between his highest-scoring game and his lowest-scoring game.
9. Who is the only one of the first 20 players to accumulate at least 235 points in NCAA playoff competition to fail to score at least 25 points in a tournament game? Hint: He is the only one of the more recent Most Outstanding Players to score fewer than 28 points in two Final Four games and his highest-scoring playoff performance couldn't avert a defeat in the only one of his four years he didn't participate in the Final Four.
10. Among the all-time leading scorers in NCAA Tournament history, who is the only player in this group to go scoreless in a playoff game? Hint: He scored less than 10 points in six consecutive tournament games before averaging 20 points per game in his last 11 playoff outings.
At least 10 of the 37 schools appearing in excess of 50 NCAA payoff games failed to participate in the tourney each year since the field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985, including 11 former Final Four schools this season.
Nearly half of the "star schools" stayed home in 2004, including Houston being in the midst of a 17-year drought from 1993 through 2009. Following is a chronological list of big-name universities who were tourney outcasts since 1985:
1985 (14) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Indiana, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
1986 (12) - Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Kansas State, Marquette, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, Wake Forest
1987 (13) - Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis State, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Texas, Utah, Villanova, Wake Forest
1988 (12) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Marquette, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
1989 (15) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Kansas, Kentucky, Marquette, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, Utah, Wake Forest
1990 (12) - Cincinnati, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis State, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
1991 (14) - Cincinnati, Florida, Illinois, Houston, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, West Virginia
1992 (11) - Florida, Illinois, Kansas State, Marquette, Maryland, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Purdue, UNLV, Utah, Villanova
1993 (15) - Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Texas, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
1994 (13) - Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Memphis, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, St. John's, UNLV, Utah, Villanova, West Virginia
1995 (11) - Duke, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Marquette, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, St. John's, UNLV, West Virginia
1996 (11) - Florida, Houston, Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, UNLV, West Virginia
1997 (16) - Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Kansas State, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Syracuse, UNLV, West Virginia
1998 (14) - Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Memhis, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas, Villanova, Wake Forest
1999 (12) - Georgetown, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, UNLV, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2000 (12) - Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Villanova, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2001 (14) - Connecticut, Houston, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina State, Purdue, St. John's, UNLV, Utah, Villanova, West Virginia
2002 (15) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, Purdue, Syracuse, Temple, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
2003 (14) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, St. John's, Temple, UCLA, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
2004 (18) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Marquette, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UCLA, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
2005 (15) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Indiana, Kansas State, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UNLV
2006 (14) - Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas State, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UNLV, Utah, Wake Forest
2007 (15) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Syracuse, Temple, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2008 (14) - Cincinnati, Florida, Houston, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Syracuse, Utah, Wake Forest
2009 (13) - Arkansas, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, St. John's, UNLV
2010 (15) - Arizona, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, St. John's, UCLA, Utah
2011 (10) - Arkansas, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Utah, Wake Forest
2012 (13) - Arizona, Arkansas, Houston, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, St. John's, UCLA, Utah, Villanova, Wake Forest
2013 (11) - Arkansas, Connecticut, Houston, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Purdue, St. John's, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2014 (15) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Illinois, Indiana, Marquette, Maryland, Notre Dame, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UNLV, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2015 (11) - Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, Temple, UNLV, Wake Forest