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.
There is a tendency to overindulge at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Anyone digesting the following assortment of incisive facts on the remaining 16 NCAA Tournament coaches should find that variety is the spice of CollegeHoopedia's smorgasbord. Remember: If a morsel isn't appetizing, don't be a glutton for punishment in trying to comprehend what makes the Sweet 16 coaching community tick. Just proceed directly to the next tidbit. Sooner or later, there's bound to be a factoid you can savor en route to the Final Four in Texas.
ARIZONA: Sean Miller was Big East Conference Freshman of the Year in 1987-88 with Pittsburgh (9.3 ppg, 5.8 apg, 85.1 FT%). He delivered the assist for teammate Jerome Lane's backboard-shattering dunk ("Send It In, Jerome!").
CONNECTICUT: Kevin Ollie compiled the best won-loss record of any first-year DI head coach last season with a 20-10 mark.
DAYTON: Ryan "Archie" Miller played high school basketball in Pennsylvania under his father, John, who compiled 657 victories in 35 years.
FLORIDA: Billy Donovan, a third-round pick from Providence in the 1987 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz, was selected ahead of Yale center Chris Dudley. Donovan averaged 2.8 points per game his first two seasons with the Friars before averaging 18 ppg his last two campaigns. Donovan's teammates with the New York Knicks in 1987-88 included eventual Division I head coaches Sidney Green and Louis Orr. His high school coach (St. Agnes, N.Y.), Frank Morris, coached former Gators starting guard Teddy Dupay in high school (Ft. Myers, Fla.). Donovan was an assistant with Herb Sendek, Tubby Smith and Ralph Willard on Rick Pitino's coaching staff at Kentucky in 1989-90 after working with an investment banking firm on Wall Street. Donovan, who led the Big East Conference in steals in 1986-87 with 1.9 per game, is the son of William Donovan, Boston College's captain as a senior in 1961-62.
IOWA STATE: Fred Hoiberg, an Ames, Iowa, product nicknamed "The Mayor," served as Vice President of Basketball Operations with the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves.
KENTUCKY: John Calipari lettered two in basketball for UNC Wilmington before transferring to Clarion (Pa.) State.
LOUISVILLE: Rick Pitino averaged more assists per game (5.6) than points (4.7) in his two-year playing career with Massachusetts. Al Skinner, Boston College's all-time winningest coach, was captain of the 1973-74 UMass squad that was led in assists by Pitino for the second straight season.
MICHIGAN: John Beilein is the only active mentor in the country to register 20-win seasons at the junior college, NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division I levels. A 22-7 record in 1993-94 in his second year at the major-college level with Canisius was the winningest in school history at the time and came only two seasons after the Golden Griffins suffered an all-time high in defeats (8-22 mark in 1991-92). His uncle, Joe Niland, coached Canisius for five seasons from 1948-49 through 1952-53.
MICHIGAN STATE: Tom Izzo was a teammate in high school (Iron Mountain, Mich.) and college (Northern Michigan) of former Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci. Izzo, a running back, and Mariucci, a quarterback, were the best men in their respective weddings.
STANFORD: Johnny Dawkins was the leading scorer for Duke's 1986 NCAA Tournament runner-up. The fourth-leading scorer and rebounder for the Blue Devils that season was ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, who paced the team in field-goal shooting (59.4%).
TENNESSEE: Cuonzo Martin was an East St. Louis, Ill., high school teammate of Notre Dame and NBA forward LaPhonso Ellis.
UCLA: Steve Alford amassed the fourth-best free-throw percentage in DI history (89.8% with Indiana from 1983-84 through 1986-87). His father, Sam, led the NAIA in free-throw shooting in 1963-64 with a mark of 91.2% for Franklin (Ind.).
Nearly everyone in the state of Kentucky had a chance to celebrate the previous two years after back-to-back NCAA titles by Kentucky and Louisville. Which school will be left standing striving to secure another national championship after they meet in the Midwest Regional?
The only time two different schools from the same state captured three consecutive NCAA titles was from 1960 through 1962 when Ohio State and Cincinnati reigned supreme. North Carolina was twice involved in back-to-back crowns with an in-state counterpart - 1982 and 1983 (N.C. State) plus 2009 and 2010 (Duke).
California is the only state with as many as four different universities win an NCAA Division I Tournament championship. Eight different states have had more than one school capture the NCAA DI Tournament title.
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.
Stephen F. Austin's Brad Underwood (32-3) posted the most first-year victories for an NCAA Division I coaching newcomer since Bill Hodges was at the helm when Larry Bird-led Indiana State (33-1) advanced to the 1979 NCAA Tournament title tilt. Since Hodges' debut, only three coaches from power six leagues compiled the nation's best first-year mark - Oregon State's Jim Anderson in 1989-90, North Carolina's Bill Guthridge in 1997-98 and Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon in 2003-04 - until Connecticut's Kevin Ollie joined the list last year with a 20-10 mark.
Hodges succeeded Bob King, who earlier in the decade gave Norm Ellenberger a quality team on a silver platter in 1972-73. Joining King in the category of twice being the predecessor for coaches who compiled the best first-year mark are Gene Bartow (Memphis State '75 and UCLA '78) and Tim Floyd (Idaho '89 and New Orleans '95). Following are first-year NCAA Division I head coaches with the best winning percentages going back to 1963-64:
|Season||First-Year Head Coach||School||W-L||Pct.||Predecessor|
|1963-64||Tates Locke||Army||19-7||.731||George Hunter|
|1964-65||Gary Thompson||Wichita State||21-9||.700||Ralph Miller|
|1965-66||Lou Carnesecca||St. John's||18-8||.692||Joe Lapchick|
|1965-66||Bob Knight||Army||18-8||.692||Tates Locke|
|1966-67||Tommy Bartlett||Florida||21-4||.840||Norman Sloan|
|1967-68||John Dromo||Louisville||21-7||.750||Peck Hickman|
|1968-69||Tom Gola||La Salle||23-1||.958||Jim Harding|
|1969-70||Terry Holland||Davidson||22-5||.815||Lefty Driesell|
|1970-71||Richard "Digger" Phelps||Fordham||26-3||.897||Ed Conlin|
|1971-72||Chuck Daly||Penn||25-3||.893||Dick Harter|
|1972-73||Norm Ellenberger||New Mexico||21-6||.778||Bob King|
|1973-74||Lute Olson||Long Beach State||24-2||.923||Jerry Tarkanian|
|1974-75||Tom Apke||Creighton||20-7||.741||Eddie Sutton|
|1974-75||Wayne Yates||Memphis State||20-7||.741||Gene Bartow|
|1975-76||Bill Blakeley||North Texas State||22-4||.846||Gene Robbins|
|1976-77||Jim Boeheim||Syracuse||26-4||.867||Roy Danforth|
|1976-77||Charlie Schmaus||Virginia Military||26-4||.867||Bill Blair|
|1977-78||Gary Cunningham||UCLA||25-3||.893||Gene Bartow|
|1978-79||Bill Hodges||Indiana State||33-1||.971||Bob King|
|1979-80||Bob Dukiet||St. Peter's||22-9||.710||Bob Kelly|
|1979-80||Dave "Lefty" Ervin||La Salle||22-9||.710||Paul Westhead|
|1980-81||Pat Foster||Lamar||25-5||.833||Billy Tubbs|
|1981-82||Jim Boyle||St. Joseph's||25-5||.833||Jim Lynam|
|1982-83||Ed Tapscott||American University||20-10||.667||Gary Williams|
|1983-84||Rick Huckabay||Marshall||25-6||.806||Bob Zuffelato|
|1984-85||Newton Chelette||Southeastern Louisiana||18-9||.667||Ken Fortenberry|
|1985-86||Pete Gillen||Xavier||25-5||.833||Bob Staak|
|1986-87||Pete Herrmann||Navy||26-6||.813||Paul Evans|
|1987-88||Rick Barnes||George Mason||20-10||.667||Joe Harrington|
|1988-89||Kermit Davis||Idaho||25-6||.806||Tim Floyd|
|1989-90||Jim Anderson||Oregon State||22-7||.759||Ralph Miller|
|1990-91||Alan LeForce||East Tennessee State||28-5||.848||Les Robinson|
|1991-92||Blaine Taylor||Montana||27-4||.871||Stew Morrill|
|1992-93||Fran Fraschilla||Manhattan||23-7||.767||Steve Lappas|
|1993-94||Kirk Speraw||Central Florida||21-9||.700||Joe Dean Jr.|
|1994-95||George "Tic" Price||New Orleans||20-11||.645||Tim Floyd|
|1995-96||Mike Heideman||Wisconsin-Green Bay||25-4||.862||Dick Bennett|
|1996-97||Bill Carmody||Princeton||24-4||.857||Pete Carril|
|1997-98||Bill Guthridge||North Carolina||34-4||.895||Dean Smith|
|1998-99||Tevester Anderson||Murray State||27-6||.818||Mark Gottfried|
|1999-00||Mark Few||Gonzaga||26-9||.743||Dan Monson|
|2000-01||Thad Matta||Butler||24-8||.750||Barry Collier|
|2001-02||Stan Heath||Kent State||29-6||.829||Gary Waters|
|2002-03||Brad Brownell||UNC Wilmington||24-7||.774||Jerry Wainwright|
|2003-04||Jamie Dixon||Pittsburgh||31-5||.861||Ben Howland|
|2004-05||Mark Fox||Nevada||25-7||.781||Trent Johnson|
|2005-06||Rob Jeter||Wisconsin-Milwaukee||22-9||.710||Bruce Pearl|
|2006-07||Anthony Grant||Virginia Commonwealth||28-7||.800||Jeff Capel III|
|2007-08||Brad Stevens||Butler||30-4||.882||Todd Lickliter|
|2008-09||Ken McDonald||Western Kentucky||25-9||.735||Darrin Horn|
|2009-10||Shaka Smart||Virginia Commonwealth||27-9||.750||Anthony Grant|
|2010-11||B.J. Hill||Northern Colorado||21-11||.656||Tad Boyle|
|2011-12||Steve Prohm||Murray State||31-2||.939||Billy Kennedy|
|2012-13||Kevin Ollie||Connecticut||20-10||.667||Jim Calhoun|
|2013-14||Brad Underwood||Stephen F. Austin||32-3||.914||Danny Kaspar|
Seth Greenberg missed out on a couple of sizzling scorers for Virginia Tech when he failed to successfully recruit the sons of Gobblers great Dell Curry. Stephen Curry (Davidson) and Seth Curry (Liberty/Duke) went on to become the highest-scoring brother tandem in NCAA Division I history. But amid the fizzling program Greenberg left behind for ACC cellar dweller VT when he was fired as coach was guard Erick Green.
Green, who averaged only 2.6 ppg with the Hokies as a freshman in 2009-10, became the first player in 19 years from a power six conference to lead the nation in scoring. Glenn Robinson Jr. (30.3 ppg for Purdue in 1993-94) had been the only player from a power six league to pace the country in scoring in the previous 41 campaigns.
When Creighton's Doug McDermott paced the country in scoring this season, the Big East Conference's MVP combined with Green to become the first players from power leagues to lead the nation in scoring in back-to-back campaigns since Louisiana State's Pete Maravich (1969-70) and Ole Miss' Johnny Neumann (1970-71) from the SEC. The scoring leaders among power leagues between Robinson and Green included (in reverse order):
Season Leader Among Power Leagues School Avg. NCAA Ranking 2011-12 Terrell Stoglin Maryland 21.6 sixth 2010-11 Marshon Brooks Providence 24.6 second 2009-10 Devan Downey South Carolina 22.5 fourth 2008-09 Jodie Meeks Kentucky 23.7 seventh 2007-08 Michael Beasley Kansas State 26.2 third 2006-07 Kevin Durant Texas 25.8 fourth 2005-06 J.J. Redick Duke 26.8 second 2004-05 Ike Diogu Arizona State 22.6 sixth 2003-04 Ike Diogu Arizona State 22.8 ninth 2002-03 Troy Bell Boston College 25.2 fifth 2001-02 Casey Jacobsen Stanford 21.9 14th 2000-01 Troy Murphy Notre Dame 21.8 13th 1999-00 Eddie House Arizona State 23 fifth 1998-99 Quincy Lewis Minnesota 23.1 sixth 1997-98 Cory Carr Texas Tech 23.3 sixth 1996-97 Ed Gray California 24.8 second 1995-96 Allen Iverson Georgetown 25 seventh 1994-95 Shawn Respert Michigan State 25.6 eighth
Green (25 ppg) finished with the lowest average for the national scoring leader since Yale's Tony Lavelli posted 22.4 points per game in 1948-49. Following is a list citing the high and low games for players during the season when they led NCAA Division I in scoring average:
NOTE: Leaders are unofficial from 1935-36 through 1946-47.
Syracuse's upset loss against Dayton ended the possibility of the Orange meeting UCLA in the championship game of the South Regional. The two powerhouses never have opposed each other in the NCAA playoffs.
Although the NCAA tourney is in its eighth decade, there are attractive power school match-ups that never have occurred. 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 9 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who was the only athlete to lead his championship team in scoring in two Final Four games and pitch in the major leagues the same year? Hint: He was a guard for three consecutive Final Four teams and was selected to the All-NCAA Tournament team as a senior.
2. Name the only school with more than 1,300 victories in the 20th Century never to reach the Final Four. Hint: The school participated in the NCAA playoffs just once (1992) in the last 40-plus years.
3. Name the only school to defeat a team three times in a season the opponent captured the NCAA title. Hint: The school also defeated the same conference foe three times the next season as defending national champion.
4. Name the only champion to win its two Final Four games by a total of more than 50 points. Hint: The titlist suffered its only loss that season against one of the Final Four victims.
5. Of the 35 Final Four Most Outstanding Players selected from 1946 through 1981 when there was a national third-place game, who was the only honoree to play for a fourth-place team? Hint: He never averaged as many as nine points per game in four NBA seasons.
6. Name the only school to lose in back-to-back years in the first round to different institutions going on to capture national titles those years. Hint: The school won a total of 47 games in the two seasons. The two defeats were in the middle of six consecutive playoff appearances for the school after it appeared in the playoffs just once from 1939 through 1982.
7. Name the only year four teams arrived at the national semifinals with a composite winning percentage of less than 75 percent. Hint: The two schools that met in the national third-place game are traditional football powers. The college losing both of its Final Four games that year is the only national semifinalist to finish a season with as many as 14 defeats.
8. Who is the only player to score more than 60 points in a single playoff game and to score more than 43 points at least twice? Hint: Of the players who scored more than 235 playoff points and/or averaged more than 25 points per tournament game (minimum of three games), he is the only individual from the select group to have a losing playoff record. He is the only one of the top 25 playoff scorers never to reach the Final Four.
9. Who is the only male player to score more than 44 points in a single Final Four game? Hint: He is the only player to twice convert more than 12 free throws without a miss in a playoff game.
10. Who is the only player to score more than 400 points in his playoff career? Hint: The only individual to start in four straight Final Fours hit two last-second shots to help his team win East Regional final overtime games and is the only player with at least 10 championship game free-throw attempts to convert all of them.
A storybook ending for three-time NCAA consensus first-team All-American forward Doug McDermott failed to materialize. McDermott appeared in three NCAA tournaments with Creighton but never reached a Sweet 16. He may have been hampered by a curse as the lone player leading the nation in scoring average while playing for a team reaching the NCAA title tilt is Clyde Lovellette, who carried Kansas to the championship by supplying four of the five highest-scoring games in the 1952 playoffs.
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).
At least McDermott participated in national postseason competition. 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|
Associated Press voters should profusely apologize to Virginia for not having the Cavaliers ranked among its preseason Top 20. After capturing their first Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship in 31 years, the Cavaliers (24th in the PS) were the 16th team to earn a #1 seed despite failing to be included among the Top 20 in the AP's preseason poll since seeding was introduced in 1979.
Virginia's NCAA championship aspirations were dim, however. After exceeding expectations, the schools in this category run out of steam as none of these #1 seeds went on to capture an NCAA title and only two of them (Indiana State '79 and Minnesota '97) advanced to the Final Four.
Year School Coach Regional (NCAA Performance) 1979 Indiana State Bill Hodges Midwest (lost championship game) 1985 Michigan Bill Frieder Southeast (lost in second round) 1986 St. John's Lou Carnesecca West (lost in second round) 1990 Connecticut Jim Calhoun East (lost regional final) 1990 Michigan State Jud Heathcote Southeast (lost regional semifinal) 1994 Missouri Norm Stewart West (lost regional final) 1994 Purdue Gene Keady Southeast (lost regional final) 1995 Wake Forest Dave Odom East (lost regional semifinal) 1996 Purdue Gene Keady West (lost in second round) 1997 Minnesota Clem Haskins Midwest (lost national semifinal) 1999 Auburn Cliff Ellis South (lost regional semifinal) 2002 Cincinnati Bob Huggins West (lost in second round) 2005 Washington Lorenzo Romar West (lost regional semifinal) 2012 Michigan State Tom Izzo West (lost regional semifinal) 2013 Gonzaga Mark Few West (lost in second round) 2014 Virginia Tony Bennett East (lost regional semifinal)
For all the bitter disappointment experienced by fans of a highly-ranked team bowing out of the provocative NCAA Tournament (Wichita State), there is an equal amount of euphoria emanating from supporters of the victor (Kentucky). The range of disparate emotions is one of the reasons there is such a fascination with upsets because nothing is guaranteed when a traditional power opposes a darkhorse.
The ultimate in March Madness materialized in 1993 when Arizona, ranked fifth by AP, was stunned in the first round of the West Regional by Santa Clara (64-61). In terms of point spreads, it was the biggest upset in NCAA playoff history because Santa Clara was a 20-point underdog. The next largest point spread to not hold up occurred in 1986 when 17 1/2-point underdog Arkansas-Little Rock shocked Notre Dame in the Midwest Regional (90-83). Was Branch colleague Digger Phelps' Irish squad unworthy of a #3 seed in 1986?
A total of 21 No. 1 seeds, including DePaul three straight years from 1980 through 1982, failed to reach the regional semifinals since seeding was introduced in 1979. Wichita State joined Gonzaga last year as the first two mid-majors in this category featuring the following crestfallen #1 seeded teams:
|Year||No. 1 Seed||Regional||Loss in Second Round||Score|
|1979||North Carolina||East||#9 seed Penn||72-71|
|1981||DePaul||Mideast||#9 St. Joseph's||49-48|
|1981||Oregon State||West||#8 Kansas State||50-48|
|1982||DePaul||Midwest||#8 Boston College||82-75|
|1986||St. John's||West||#8 Auburn||81-65|
|1990||Oklahoma||Midwest||#8 North Carolina||79-77|
|1992||Kansas||Midwest||#9 Texas-El Paso||66-60|
|1994||North Carolina||East||#9 Boston College||75-72|
|1998||Kansas||Midwest||#8 Rhode Island||80-75|
|2000||Stanford||South||#8 North Carolina||60-53|
|2002||Cincinnati||West||#8 UCLA||105-101 (2OT)|
|2004||Kentucky||St. Louis/Midwest||#9 UAB||76-75|
|2010||Kansas||Midwest||#9 Northern Iowa||69-67|
|2013||Gonzaga||West||#9 Wichita State||76-70|
|2014||Wichita State||Midwest||#8 Kentucky||78-76|
If the upper-crust elite smugly look down their noses, they might find their opponents boast the upper hand by looking down the barrel of a gun such as Ohio State against Dayton. Duke, which was embarrassed by Mercer, is one of 18 former national champions to lose multiple times in the tourney against members of lower-profile conferences seeded five or more places worse than the major university currently a member of one of the consensus power six leagues. Kansas has a high of six setbacks as a total of 12 former NCAA titlists have lost three or more such contests.
A total of 80 different lower-profile schools (after Mercer and North Dakota State) and current members of 24 different mid-major conferences (all but Northeast) have won such games since seeding was introduced in 1979. The mid-major school with the most "David vs. Goliath" victories among the following list is Richmond with six.
ACC (29 defeats against mid-major opponents seeded five or more places worse) - Boston College (lost to #12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005); Clemson (#13 Southwest Missouri State in 1987 and #11 Western Michigan in 1998); Duke (#11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2007, #15 Lehigh in 2012 and #14 Mercer in 2014); Florida State (#13 Middle Tennessee State in 1989); Georgia Tech (#13 Richmond in 1988 and #13 Southern in 1993); Louisville (#12 Ball State in 1990, #12 Butler in 2003 and #13 Morehead State in 2011); North Carolina (#9 Penn in 1979, #14 Weber State in 1999 and #11 George Mason in 2006); North Carolina State (#14 Murray State in 1988); Notre Dame (#14 UALR in 1986, #11 Winthrop in 2007 and #11 Old Dominion in 2010); Pittsburgh (#10 Kent State in 2002, #13 Bradley in 2006 and #8 Butler in 2011); Syracuse (#7 Navy in 1986, #11 Rhode Island in 1988, #15 Richmond in 1991 and #13 Vermont in 2005); Virginia (#12 Wyoming in 1987 and #12 Gonzaga in 2001); Wake Forest (#13 Cleveland State in 2009)
BIG EAST/including new AAC members UC and UConn from previous version (15) - Cincinnati (lost to #12 Harvard in 2014); Connecticut (#11 George Mason in 2006 and #13 San Diego in 2008); DePaul (#12 New Mexico State in 1992); Georgetown (#10 Davidson in 2008, #14 Ohio University in 2010, #11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011 and #15 Florida Gulf Coast in 2013); Marquette (#12 Tulsa in 2002); Providence (#12 Pacific in 2004); St. John's (#10 Gonzaga in 2000 and #11 Gonzaga in 2011); Seton Hall (#7 Western Kentucky in 1993); Villanova (#14 Old Dominion in 1995 and #10 Saint Mary's in 2010)
BIG TEN (25) - Illinois (lost to #14 Austin Peay State in 1987, #12 Dayton in 1990, #14 Chattanooga in 1997 and Western Kentucky in 2009); Indiana (#14 Cleveland State in 1986, #13 Richmond in 1988, #11 Pepperdine in 2000 and #13 Kent State in 2001); Iowa (#14 Northwestern State in 2006); Maryland (lost to #12 College of Charleston in 1997); Michigan (#11 Loyola Marymount in 1990 and #13 Ohio University in 2012); Michigan State (#14 Weber State in 1995 and #11 George Mason in 2006); Nebraska (#14 Xavier in 1991 and #11 Penn in 1994); Ohio State (#12 Utah State in 2001, #9 Wichita State in 2013 and #11 Dayton in 2014); Purdue (#11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011); Wisconsin (#12 Southwest Missouri State in 1999, #11 Georgia State in 2001, #7 UNLV in 2007, #10 Davidson in 2008 and #12 Cornell in 2010)
BIG 12 (18) - Iowa State (lost to #15 Hampton in 2001); Kansas (#9 Texas-El Paso in 1992, #8 Rhode Island in 1998, #14 Bucknell in 2005, #13 Bradley in 2006, #9 Northern Iowa in 2010 and #11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011); Kansas State (#11 Tulane in 1993 and #13 La Salle in 2013); Oklahoma (#13 Southwestern Louisiana in 1992, #13 Manhattan in 1995, #13 Indiana State in 2001, #11 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2006 and #12 North Dakota State in 2014); Oklahoma State (#12 Princeton in 1983, #10 Temple in 1991 and #12 Tulsa in 1994); Texas Tech (#11 Southern Illinois in 2002)
PACIFIC-12 (17) - Arizona (lost to #14 East Tennessee State in 1992, #15 Santa Clara in 1993 and #12 Miami of Ohio in 1995); California (#12 Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1994); Oregon State (#10 Lamar in 1980, #11 Evansville in 1989 and #12 Ball State in 1990); Southern California (#13 UNC Wilmington in 2002); Stanford (#14 Siena in 1989 and #10 Gonzaga in 1999); UCLA (#12 Wyoming in 1987, #13 Penn State in 1991, #12 Tulsa in 1994, #13 Princeton in 1996 and #12 Detroit in 1999); Utah (#10 Miami of Ohio in 1999); Washington State (#12 Penn in 1980)
SEC (30) - Alabama (lost to #11 Lamar in 1983, #11 South Alabama in 1989, #10 Kent State in 2002 and #12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005); Auburn (#12 Richmond in 1984); Florida (#12 Creighton in 2002, #12 Manhattan in 2003 and #8 Butler in 2011); Georgia (#14 Chattanooga in 1997 and #11 Southern Illinois in 2002); Kentucky (#7 UAB in 1981, #11 Middle Tennessee State in 1982 and #9 UAB in 2004); Louisiana State (#13 Navy in 1985 and #11 UAB in 2005); Mississippi (#13 Valparaiso in 1998); Mississippi State (#12 Eastern Michigan in 1991, #12 Butler in 2003 and #7 Xavier in 2004); Missouri (#13 Xavier in 1987, #11 Rhode Island in 1988, #14 Northern Iowa in 1990 and #15 Norfolk State in 2012); South Carolina (#15 Coppin State in 1997 and #14 Richmond in 1998); Tennessee (#12 Southwest Missouri State in 1999 and #7 Wichita State in 2006); Vanderbilt (#13 Siena in 2008, #13 Murray State in 2010 and #12 Richmond in 2011)
NOTES: Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were members of the Big Eight until 1997. Mizzou left the Big 12 for SEC in 2013. . . . Notre Dame was an independent in 1986. . . . Florida State, Louisville and Tulane were members of the Metro Conference in 1989, 1990 and 1993, respectively. . . . Dayton was a member of the Midwestern Collegiate in 1990. . . . DePaul was a member of the Great Midwest in 1992. . . . Texas-El Paso and Utah were members of the WAC in 1992 and 1999, respectively. . . . Marquette and Louisville were members of Conference USA in 2002 and 2004, respectively. . . . Tulsa was a member of Missouri Valley in 1994 and 2002. . . . Boston College was a member of the Big East in 2005. . . . Defeats for Maryland (ACC), Louisville (Big East), Pittsburgh (Big East) and Syracuse (Big East) came when they were members of another power league.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 8 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only school to reach the Final Four three consecutive years on two separate occasions in the 20th Century. Hint: In the first three-year stretch, it became the only school to lose three straight national semifinal games. In the second three-year stretch, the school was involved in the only times two teams from the same state met each other in the championship game.
2. What was the only year two undefeated teams reached the Final Four? Hint: One of the squads had a perfect ending after winning in the national semifinals and championship game by an average of 16 points, while the other club that was unbeaten lost in the national semifinals and third-place game by an average of 15 points.
3. Who is the shortest player to lead an NCAA champion in scoring average? Hint: He was part of a three-guard starting lineup, averaging under 5-10 in height, that played the entire championship game for the only current Division I school to capture an NCAA title despite never having an NCAA consensus first- or second-team All-America.
4. Who is the only U.S. Olympic basketball coach to win the NCAA and NIT titles with different schools? Hint: He never participated in a national postseason tournament with the third university he coached (Michigan State).
5. Who was the only coach to direct two different schools to the Final Four twice apiece in the 20th Century? Hint: He is the only coach to compile a record of more than four games under .500 in Final Four contests and the only coach to guide three teams to national fourth-place finishes.
6. Who is the only coach of a championship team other than Rick Pitino to subsequently coach another university and compile a winning NCAA playoff record at his last major-college job? Hint: He is the only coach to win a national title at a school where he stayed less than five seasons.
7. Of the coaches to reach the national semifinals at least twice, who is the only one to compile an undefeated Final Four record? Hint: He won both of his championship games against the same school. He is also the only NCAA consensus first-team All-American to later coach his alma mater to an NCAA title.
8. Name the only school to lead UCLA at halftime in the 22 Final Four games for the Bruins' 11 titlists. Hint: The school that led one of the 11 UCLA champions at intermission of a Final Four game was coached by a John Wooden protege.
9. Of the coaches hired by NBA teams after winning an NCAA championship, who is the only one to compile a non-losing NBA playoff record? Hint: He is one of four different men to coach an undefeated NCAA championship team.
10. Name the only school to defeat a team by as many as 27 points in a season the opponent wound up winning the national title. Hint: The school is also the only one to defeat an eventual national titlist twice in the same season by at least 12 points.
After an average of four mid-level schools reached the Sweet 16 in a six-year span from 2006 through 2011, the last three seasons could have cemented the premise about mid-major schools deserving additional at-large consideration.
But that was before eight mid-level schools - Gonzaga, New Mexico, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis, Saint Mary's, Southern Mississippi, UNLV and Virginia Commonwealth - were eliminated in games against power six conference members by an average of only four points in 2012, the Mountain West Conference flopped in 2013 and only two mid-majors reached the Sweet 16 this year.
Wichita State advancing to the Final Four plus victories by Lehigh, Norfolk State and Florida Gulf Coast the previous three years were invigorating but the mid-major community missed out on a potential bonanza. Wichita State was eliminated early this season but Dayton and San Diego State were able to advance with at least two victories. Following is a look at how at least one mid-major conference member advanced to a regional semifinal or beyond since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985:
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 7 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only coach to grace the NCAA playoffs in five decades. Hint: He achieved the feat with four different universities.
2. Who is the only player to score a team-high point total in his prominent school's first NCAA Tournament victory the same year he earned All-American honors as a quarterback for a national football champion? Hint: He later became executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame after coaching two different universities when they participated in the Rose Bowl.
3. Who is the only individual to be more than 10 games below .500 in his initial campaign as a major-college head coach and subsequently guide a team to a national championship? Hint: He won his last 10 NCAA Tournament games decided by fewer than five points. In his last two playoff appearances with the former titlist, it became the only school to receive at-large bids in back-to-back years with as many as 14 defeats entering the tourney.
4. Name the only school to be denied three NCAA Tournament berths because it was on probation. Hint: The three times the school didn't participate in the national playoffs because of NCAA probation were from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s.
5. Who was the only player to score more than 40 points in his first tournament game? Hint: The university left the Division I level for 28 years and was UCLA's first victim when the Bruins started a 38-game winning streak in the playoffs. He and his twin brother were infielders together with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
6. Name the only school to deploy just five players in an entire championship game. Hint: The school, participating in the playoffs for the first time that year, set a record for largest winning margin with a 69-point victory in its first-round game. The school is the only former NCAA champion never to compete against legendary coaches Bob Knight and Dean Smith.
7. Who is the only individual to go as many as 25 years between coaching teams in the NCAA Tournament? Hint: His first two playoff teams were eliminated in their tourney openers by eventual championship game participants.
8. Name the only school to have more than one two-time first-team All-American never reach the Final Four. Hint: One of the players is the only three-time first-team All-America to fail to appear in the NCAA playoffs. The school is the only top four seed to lose a first-round game by more than 20 points.
9. Who is the only player to have season scoring averages of fewer than 10 points per game in back-to-back years he was named to the All-NCAA Tournament team? Hint: His school reached the national championship game each season and had two different centers named Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Also, he is part of the only set of brothers to play together in two NCAA title games. One of their teammates became a marquee coach.
10. Who is the only individual to play for an NCAA basketball champion and in a major league baseball World Series? Hint: He was primarily a relief pitcher for six different teams in 13 big league seasons from 1975 through 1989.
It's not dumping on Duke, but is double-digit NCAA defeats trending for Mike Krzyzewski, who was eliminated from the national tournament for the third time in the last eight years by a double-digit seeded opponent? At least none of the three were against an Atlantic 10 Conference member at the time. Similarly, new ACC member Syracuse bowed out against #11 Dayton, making Jim Boeheim the first coach ever to lose six games against double-digit seeded foes.
Last year, Georgetown coach John Thompson III joined Bobby Cremins as the only coaches in NCAA Tournament history to be eliminated four straight seasons from the playoffs by opponents with double-digit seeds. Granted, seedings can be very misleading after the process was introduced in 1979. With more parity and balance than ever before, there isn't much difference between a No. 4 seed and a No. 13 seed. Just ask Kansas' Bill Self after the Jayhawks exited at the hands of #10 Stanford.
But Boeheim, Krzyzewski, Self and Thompson might need inoculation against teams with worse seeds. Following is an alphabetical list of prominent coaches absorbing at least three NCAA Tournament defeats in a span of 10 years or fewer with the same school against opponents with double-digit seeds:
|Marquee Coach||School||Three or More Losses vs. Double-Digit Seeded Opponents in Fewer Than 10 Years|
|Jim Boeheim||Syracuse||2005/#13 Vermont, 2006/#12 Texas A&M, 2011/#11 Marquette and 2014/#11 Dayton|
|Dale Brown||Louisiana State||1984/#10 Dayton, 1985/#13 Navy, and 1991/#11 Connecticut|
|Bobby Cremins||Georgia Tech||1986/#11 LSU, 1987/#10 LSU, 1988/#13 Richmond, 1989/#11 Texas and 1993/#13 Southern|
|Lou Henson||Illinois||1983/#10 Utah, 1987/#14 Austin Peay State and 1990/#12 Dayton|
|Gene Keady||Purdue||1985/#11 Auburn, 1986/#11 Louisiana State, 1990/#10 Texas, 1991/#10 Temple and 1995/#14 Wisconsin-Green Bay|
|Mike Krzyzewski||Duke||2007/#11 Virginia Commonwealth, 2012/#15 Lehigh and 2014/#14 Mercer|
|Ralph Miller||Oregon State||1980/#10 Lamar, 1984/#11 West Virginia and 1989/#11 Evansville|
|Lute Olson||Arizona||1992/#14 East Tennessee State, 1993/#15 Santa Clara and 1995/#12 Ball State|
|Bo Ryan||Wisconsin||2008/#10 Davidson, 2010/#12 Cornell and 2013/#12 Ole Miss|
|Wimp Sanderson||Alabama||1983/#11 Lamar, 1989/#11 South Alabama, and 1990/#11 Loyola Marymount|
|Bill Self||Kansas||2005/#14 Bucknell, 2006/#13 Bradley, 2011/#11 Virginia Commonwealth and 2014/#10 Stanford|
|Kevin Stallings||Vanderbilt||2008/#13 Siena, 2010/#13 Murray State and 2011/#12 Richmond|
|Norm Stewart||Missouri||1987/#13 Xavier, 1988/#11 Rhode Island and 1990/#14 Northern Iowa|
|John Thompson III||Georgetown||2008/#10 Davidson, 2010/#14 Ohio University, 2011/#11 Virginia Commonwealth, 2012/#11 North Carolina State and 2013/#15 Florida Gulf Coast|
|Billy Tubbs||Oklahoma||1984/#10 Dayton, 1986/#12 DePaul and 1992/#13 Southwestern Louisiana|
Ten power league members always classified as major colleges - with majority of them from the South - finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll at least twice although they didn't make their initial NCAA appearance until after 1970. Two of the four #1 seeds this year - Florida and Virginia - were late arrivals to the NCAA party. Among the late-bloomer group, Nebraska is winless in the NCAA playoffs while Florida is a two-time NCAA champion.
Major School (Power League) 1st NCAA Tourney Star Player(s) in Debut Alabama (SEC) 1975 (0-1) Leon Douglas and T.R. Dunn Auburn (SEC) 1984 (0-1) Charles Barkley and Chuck Person Clemson (ACC) 1980 (3-1) Larry Nance Florida (SEC) 1987 (2-1) Vernon Maxwell and Dwayne Schintzius Georgia (SEC) 1983 (3-1) James Banks, Terry Fair and Vern Fleming Minnesota (Big Ten) 1972 (1-1) Jim Brewer, Clyde Turner and Dave Winfield Nebraska (Big Eight) 1986 (0-1) Brian Carr and Bernard Day Seton Hall (Big East) 1988 (1-1) Mark Bryant and John Morton South Carolina (ACC) 1971 (0-2) Kevin Joyce, Tom Owens, Tom Riker and John Roche Virginia (ACC) 1976 (0-1) Wally Walker
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, bombs, government work and drive-in movies. A No. 16 seed never has defeated a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 120 such match-ups since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985.
But when Coastal Carolina grabbed a five-point halftime lead against Virginia, hope sprung eternal that somehow/somewhere/someway/someday a #16 seed will prevail and become the ultimate giant killer. A superior second-half performance enabled UVA to win by a double-digit margin. If history means anything, a single-digit result would have revealed a chink in the Cavaliers' armor. None of the first 12 #1 seeds in the following "shaky-start" category went on to capture the NCAA championship and only three of them - Duke '86, Illinois '89 and North Carolina '97 - advanced to the Final Four:
Year Margin Regional Single-Digit Outcome Between #1 and #16 NCAA Playoff Seeds 1989 1 East Georgetown 50 (Mourning team-high 21 points), Princeton 49 (Scrabis 15) 1989 1 Southeast Oklahoma 72 (King 28), East Tennessee State 71 (Dennis 20) 1996 2 West Purdue 73 (Austin 18), Western Carolina 71 (McCollum 21) 1985 4 Southeast Michigan 59 (Tarpley 15), Fairleigh Dickinson 55 (Wilson 12) 1990 4 Southeast Michigan State 75 (Smith 22), Murray State 71 (Jones 37)* 1989 6 Midwest Illinois 77 (Battle 18), McNeese State 71 (Cutright 28) 2013 6 West Gonzaga 64 (Olynyk 21), Southern 58 (Beltran 21) 1986 7 East Duke 85 (Dawkins 27), Mississippi Valley State 78 (Coleman 24) 2012 7 East Syracuse 72 (Southerland 15), UNC Asheville 65 (Primm 18) 2013 7 South Kansas 64 (Withey 17), Western Kentucky 57 (Crook 13) 1997 8 East North Carolina 82 (Carter 22), Fairfield 74 (Francis 26) 1986 9 West St. John's 83 (Berry 31), Montana State 74 (Hampton 21) 1990 9 Midwest Oklahoma 77 (Jones 19), Towson State 68 (Lee 30) 1996 9 Southeast Connecticut 68 (Allen 24), Colgate 59 (Foyle 21)
It might not end up on his tombstone but Stephen F. Austin's Brad Underwood achieved something NCAA championship coaches Jim Calhoun, Billy Donovan, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, Bill Self, Tubby Smith and Roy Williams failed to do - win NCAA playoff debut in their first season as an NCAA Division I head coach.
Krzyzewski (Duke) and Calhoun (Connecticut) were eliminated in the first round in back-to-back years by Anthony Grant (Virginia Commonwealth in 2007) and Bill Grier (San Diego in 2008). Following is an alphabetical list of active coaches guiding teams to an NCAA Tournament triumph in their career in first full season at the DI level:
NOTE: Barnes (Cal State Bakersfield), Bennett (Virginia), Fisher (San Diego State), Fox (Georgia), Grant (Alabama), Hunsaker (Utah Valley), Lavin (St. John's), Martin (South Carolina) and Matta (Ohio State) coached different schools this season. Fisher was interim coach in 1989 when he directed Michigan to the NCAA title.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 6 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who was the only player to lead the nation in scoring average in the same season he played for a team reaching the NCAA Tournament championship game? Hint: He was the first player to score more than 30 points in a Final Four game and the only individual to crack the 30-point plateau in the national semifinals and final in the same season. He was also the only Big Eight Conference player to lead the nation in scoring.
2. Of the 60 or so different players to score at least 2,500 points and/or rank among the top 25 in career scoring average, who was the only one to have a winning NCAA playoff record in his career plus post higher scoring, rebounding and field-goal shooting playoff averages than he compiled in the regular season? Hint: The player scored at least 17 points in all 10 of his NCAA playoff games.
3. Who was the only football Heisman Trophy winner to play in the basketball Final Four? Hint: He won the Most Outstanding Player Award in a Liberty Bowl after setting a school record for longest run from scrimmage.
4. What was the only Final Four match-up to have both coaches opposing his alma mater? Hint: It's happened twice. The protege was an assistant at his alma mater for 10 years.
5. Who is the only coach to oppose his alma mater more than twice at the Final Four? Hint: He is also the only coach in the 20th Century to twice win conference and NCAA tournaments in the same year.
6. Who is the only unbeaten coach in NCAA playoff history? Hint: He is the only NCAA basketball championship coach to also be baseball coach at the same school when it won a College World Series game.
7. Who was the only coach with more than 30 NCAA Tournament victories to earn those wins at more than one school until Lute Olson (Iowa and Arizona) joined him in 1998? Hint: Three schools for the first coach were slapped with an NCAA probation during his stints there.
8. Who is the only coach in back-to-back years to win at least one NCAA playoff game in his first season with two different schools? He coached Butler the previous campaign. Hint: He was an assistant under three coaches who directed two different schools to the NCAA Tournament (Charlie Coles, Tates Locke and Herb Sendek).
9. Name the only school to gain an at-large invitation despite losing all of its conference road games. Hint: Three years earlier, the school received an at-large bid despite losing four league road games by at least 25 points.
10. Of the individuals to both play and coach in the NCAA Tournament, who leads that group in both scoring and rebounding totals? Hint: He was the leading scorer in the biggest blowout in regional final history.
Should I stay or should I go? It's a good thing some universities play in mammoth arenas because the egos of their "Pompous Pilots" wouldn't fit any other place. It wasn't exactly "Christian Living" when Jim Christian, leaving Ohio University for Boston College, departed a school for the third time in the last seven years with at least three seasons remaining on his contract.
Much of the excess in the canonization of coaches is perpetrated by coaches-turned-television commentators who shamelessly fawn over their former colleagues. The analysts should be more concerned about encouraging coaches to spare fans the pious blather about the sanctity of a contract or agreement. Granted, it's survival of the fittest amid the offer-you-can't-refuse backdrop. But in a great many cases, schools have been little more than convenient steppingstones for "larger-than-life" coaches along their one-way street to success. It's understandable in many instances that mercenaries are leaving the minute they're appointed because coaches are in a distasteful "hired-to-be-fired" vocation, where a pink slip is only one losing season or poor recruiting year away.
Nevertheless, loyalty has become too much of a one-way street with the latest example being Buzz Williams departing for seven-year Virginia Tech deal despite having a rollover contract reportedly at least six seasons with Marquette. After all, the private school, only paying him millions of dollars annually, wanted his assistants to comport themselves properly, had personnel changes in the athletic department and their league switched to a different cable network. Meanwhile, players considering their options occasionally are grilled by coaches and commentators for contemplating transfers or leaving early for the NBA. There are countless examples of schools holding a player's eligibility hostage out of sheer vindictiveness. How much more one-sided can it be when that lame double standard exists?
After all, the value systems for high-profile coaches are sufficiently open-minded to permit running out on contracts when more lucrative jobs come open. Contracts are understood to be for the protection of the coach, not the team, whose players are somehow indentured to the schools for as many as four years of eligibility unless of course a coach chooses not to renew their scholarships. Perhaps that's why many believe incoming recruits should be allowed out of their letter-of-intent to seek another destination if the coach they signed with departs before they even get to campus.
Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but that's most definitely the way it is as contracts don't appear to mean squat to a striking number of meandering mentors who abandon ship like so many rats at high tide. Lon Kruger departed three different schools with at least four years remaining on pacts before leaving UNLV with two seasons left.
Many "leveraged" coaches have been preoccupied of late with attempting to virtually extort raises and extensions on already hefty packages. But in recent years, administrations at Boston College, Kent State, Marist, Miami (Fla.), St. John's and Wyoming seemed to be guinea pigs of sorts by fighting back via adherence to buyout clauses in trying to regain control of the situation in this big business atmosphere.
In mid-July 2010, a New York State Supreme Court Justice made a possible precedent-setting ruling in favor of Marist, which contended that coach Matt Brady's contract required him to secure written consent before negotiating with another school and forbade him from offering "a scholarship to current Marist players or to persons that he or his staff recruited to play at Marist" if he ever took a comparable job.
Brady clearly negotiated with James Madison in 2008 without "written" consent and Marist compiled a list of 19 prospects Brady recruited on behalf of Marist that it believed he should have been unable to recruit to JMU per the details of his contract. Four players on that "off-limits" list - Trevon Flores, Devon Moore, Andrey Semenov and Julius Wells - ultimately signed with JMU.
The judge ruled in favor of Marist's claims that Brady had an enforceable contract when he discussed leaving Marist with JMU, that JMU knew of the contract's existence, that JMU intentionally induced Brady to violate his fiduciary obligations under the contract, and that Marist incurred damages as a result of the breach of those obligations. Marist also filed a separate civil suit against Brady. In mid-May 2011, Kent State sued Geno Ford for more than $1.2 million in damages stemming from his departure for Bradley.
Six of Tulsa's previous eight coaches - Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith, Steve Robinson, Bill Self, Buzz Peterson and Danny Manning - left the school for more prestigious positions despite each of them having at least three years remaining on their contracts before Frank Haith downgraded by departing Missouri for Tulsa with three years remaining on his Mizzou pact. Half of the Golden Hurricane defectors went on to capture NCAA championships. Tulsa is one of three universities from which Self has bailed. He signed a five-year extension with Illinois in December, 2002, that included a bump in salary to $900,000 and payout of $500,000 if he stayed the life of the contract. There also was a buyout of $100,000 per year remaining on the pact.
Deal or no deal? The length of contracts doesn't seem to carry any weight as a factor in the equation. Although precise information on terms of contracts frequently is akin to Swiss bank account material, following is an alphabetical list detailing coaches such as Buzz Williams who reportedly still had contractual obligations to schools of more than five seasons when they left for greener pastures at some point in their careers:
- Steve Alford (10 years remaining on contract) - left New Mexico/hired by UCLA
- Rick Barnes (6) - Clemson/Texas
- John Beilein (6) - Richmond/West Virginia
- Tony Bennett (6) - Washington State/Virginia
- Dave Bliss (6) - New Mexico/Baylor
- Mike Brey (7) - Delaware/Notre Dame
- John Calipari (10) - Massachusetts/New Jersey Nets
- Jeff Capel III (6) - Virginia Commonwealth/Oklahoma
- Tom Crean (9) - Marquette/Indiana
- Matt Doherty (6) - Florida Atlantic/Southern Methodist
- Larry Eustachy (6) - Utah State/Iowa State
- Dennis Felton (6) - Western Kentucky/Georgia
- Tim Floyd (6) - New Orleans/Iowa State
- Tim Floyd (8) - Iowa State/Chicago Bulls
- Travis Ford (7) - Massachusetts/Oklahoma State
- Billy Gillispie (8) - Texas A&M/Kentucky
- Brian Gregory (7) - Dayton/Georgia Tech
- Leonard Hamilton (7) - Miami (Fla.)/Washington Wizards
- Ben Howland (6) - Pittsburgh/UCLA
- Jeff Lebo (8) - Chattanooga/Auburn
- Gregg Marshall (8) - Winthrop/Wichita State
- Thad Matta (9) - Xavier/Ohio State
- Fran McCaffery (7) - Siena/Iowa
- Sean Miller (9) - Xavier/Arizona
- Dan Monson (10) - Gonzaga/Minnesota
- Lute Olson (7) - Iowa/Arizona
- Buzz Peterson (9) - Appalachian State/Tulsa
- Skip Prosser (6) - Xavier/Wake Forest
- Oliver Purnell (6) - Clemson/DePaul
- Mike Rice Jr. (7) - Robert Morris/Rutgers
- Steve Robinson (7) - Tulsa/Florida State
- Kelvin Sampson (6) - Washington State/Oklahoma
- Tubby Smith (6) - Georgia/Kentucky
- Mark Turgeon (9) - Wichita State/Texas A&M
In the first six years of the NCAA Tournament seeding process from 1979 through 1984 when the playoff field ranged from 40 to 53 teams, a total of 13 No. 1 and 2 seeds lost their openers. The NCAA tourney hasn't been saturated with authentic upsets since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985, but there has been only four years without a first-round shocker from the bottom of the bracket (1994, 2000, 2004 and 2007).
Teams seeded 13th or worse defeated teams seeded among the top four in a regional a total of 49 times in the last 30 years after #14 Mercer upset #3 Duke. It was really ugly a couple of times for SEC members when Navy overwhelmed LSU by 23 points in 1985 and Siena smothered Vanderbilt by 21 in 2008.
Thirty-six of the first 49 poignant surprises were decided by fewer than seven points or in overtime. Arizona's stunning defeat against Santa Clara in 1993 materialized despite the Wildcats reeling off 25 unanswered points in a stretch bridging the last five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half.
A #16 seed never has defeated a #1. But following is a rundown of the first 49 first-round knockouts by the bottom of the bracket (#13, #14 and #15 seeds) since the NCAA field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985:
#15 seed (7 victories)
|Year||#15 Seed Winner||#2 Seed Loser||Score|
|1997||Coppin State||South Carolina||78-65|
|2013||Florida Gulf Coast||Georgetown||78-68|
#14 seed (17 victories)
|Year||#14 Seed Winner||#3 Seed Loser||Score|
|1986||Arkansas-Little Rock||Notre Dame||90-83|
|1987||Austin Peay State||Illinois||68-67|
|1988||Murray State||North Carolina State||78-75|
|1992||East Tennessee State||Arizona||87-80|
|1995||Weber State||Michigan State||79-72|
|1995||Old Dominion||Villanova||89-81 (3OT)|
|1999||Weber State||North Carolina||76-74|
#13 seed (25 victories)
|Year||#13 Seed Winner||#4 Seed Loser||Score|
|1987||Southwest Missouri State||Clemson||65-60|
|1989||Middle Tennessee State||Florida State||97-83|
|1993||Southern (La.)||Georgia Tech||93-78|
|2001||Indiana State||Oklahoma||70-68 (OT)|
|2002||UNC Wilmington||Southern California||93-89 (OT)|
|2008||San Diego||Connecticut||70-69 (OT)|
|2009||Cleveland State||Wake Forest||84-69|
|2013||La Salle||Kansas State||63-61|
North Carolina A&T State appeared in the NCAA playoffs the most times (nine) without winning a tournament game until prevailing in a First Four outing last year. But N.C. A&T still has a long way to go to join the ranks of the "quick exit" schools with more than a dozen opening-round defeats.
Connecticut, after absorbing nine opening-round losses in 17 years from 1951 through 1967, had the most opening-round setbacks for years. But the Huskies didn't incur an opening-round reversal for 28 years until suffering two in a recent five-year span. Similarly, St. John's suffered eight opening-round losses in a 20-year stretch from 1973 through 1992.
Maryland was the first school to incur at least 10 NCAA Tournament defeats but never absorb an opening-round setback until the Terrapins lost to Santa Clara in 1996. BYU showed this year with its seventh first-round reversal in the 21st Century why the Cougars are atop the following list of schools most prone to sustaining an opening-round defeat:
School (Playoff Losses) NCAA Tournament Opening-Round Defeats Brigham Young (31) 18 (1950-57-65-69-72-79-80-87-90-92-95-01-03-04-07-08-09-14) Princeton (28) 16 (1952-55-60-63-69-76-77-81-89-90-91-92-97-01-04-11) Utah State (20) 16 (1939-63-71-75-79-80-83-88-98-00-03-05-06-09-10-11) Missouri (26) 14 (1944-78-81-83-86-87-88-90-93-99-00-11-12-13) Temple (31) 14 (1944-64-67-70-72-79-90-92-95-98-08-09-10-12) St. John's (30) 13 (1961-68-73-76-77-78-80-84-88-92-98-02-11) West Virginia (26) 13 (1955-56-57-58-62-65-67-83-86-87-92-09-12)
Now we know why Ohio State seeks to avoid Dayton year upon year after the Flyers beat the Buckeyes in the opening round of the South Regional. For the second time in three years, the NCAA bracket enabled Ohio fans to witness games they should enjoy every year in non-league competition. Cincinnati's ballyhooed intrastate clash with Ohio State in the 2012 East Regional, resurrected title-game memories of their memorable match-ups five decades ago, showing again why some major schools should be ashamed of themselves for ducking nearby quality opponents. Why in the world did they have to resort to a national tournament assignment hundreds of miles from their fan base to oppose each other?
In a "Days of Whine and Hoses" era when many cash-strapped athletic departments are begging for revenue, they still schedule numerous poorly-attended home games against inferior opponents. It defies logic as to why tradition-rich schools forsake entertaining non-conference contests with natural rivals while scheduling more than their share of meaningless "rout-a-matics" at home. Fans shouldn't have to wait for an entertaining contest such as Morehead State upsetting Louisville, 62-61, in the opening round of the 2011 playoffs.
The normal intensity of an NCAA Tournament tilt escalates even more in "bragging rights" games between neighboring opponents that rarely if ever tangle on the same floor unless forced to compete against each other by a postseason bracket. For instance, it is a sad state of affairs for fans in Kansas to need to hope KU and Wichita State advance to the NCAA championship game for them to finally meet on the hardwood again.
A classic example of the scheduling neglect was an intense 2001 West Regional matchup between Maryland and Georgetown. Of course, the Washington, D.C., area isn't the only region with a scheduling complex. As emotional as it was, the Hoya Paranoia-Terrapin Trepidation confrontation didn't stack up among the following top dozen intrastate contests in NCAA playoff history including a couple of Kentucky/Louisville duels before they started meeting on a regular basis:
1. 1961 NCAA Championship Game (Cincinnati 70, Ohio State 65 in OT)
Paul Hogue, a 6-9 center who hit just 51.8% of his free-throw attempts during the season, sank only two of 10 foul shots in his two previous contests before putting Cincinnati ahead to stay with a pair of pivotal free throws in overtime in a victory over previously undefeated Ohio State.
2. 1998 East Regional second round (North Carolina 93, UNCC 83 in OT)
UNC Charlotte forward DeMarco Johnson outplayed national player of the year Antawn Jamison of the Tar Heels, but Carolina got a total of 55 points from Shammond Williams and Vince Carter to withstand the 49ers' bid for an upset.
3. 1983 Mideast Regional final (Louisville 80, Kentucky 68 in OT)
The first meeting between in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville in more than 24 years was memorable as the Cardinals outscored the Wildcats 18-6 in overtime to reach the Final Four.
4. 1981 Midwest Regional semifinals (Wichita State 66, Kansas 65)
Mike Jones hit two long-range baskets in the last 50 seconds for Wichita State in the first game between the intrastate rivals in 36 years.
5. 1989 Southeast Regional first round (South Alabama 86, Alabama 84)
In an exciting intrastate battle, South Alabama erased a 16-point halftime deficit. Jeff Hodge and Gabe Estaba combined for 55 points for USA.
6. 1971 West Regional final (UCLA 57, Long Beach State 55)
The closest result for UCLA during the Bruins' 38-game playoff winning streak from 1967 to 1973 came when they had to erase an 11-point deficit despite 29 percent field-goal shooting to edge Jerry Tarkanian-coached Long Beach State.
7. 1971 Mideast Regional semifinals (Western Kentucky 107, Kentucky 83)
This year's game wasn't anything like when WKU, long regarded as poor country cousins by Kentucky, whipped the Wildcats in their first-ever meeting when All-American Jim McDaniels poured in 35 points for the Hilltoppers.
8. 1959 Mideast Regional semifinals (Louisville 76, Kentucky 61)
Second-ranked Kentucky (24-3) hit less than one-third of its field-goal attempts in blowing a 15-point lead against intrastate rival Louisville (19-12). The Cardinals had lost to Georgetown (KY) earlier in the season.
10. 1962 NCAA Championship Game (Cincinnati 71, Ohio State 59)
Ohio State All-American center Jerry Lucas wrenched his left knee in the national semifinals against Wake Forest, limiting his effectiveness against Cincinnati counterpart Paul Hogue in the Bearcats' 71-59 triumph in the final.
11. 1963 Mideast Regional final (Loyola of Chicago 79, Illinois 64)
Sparked by All-American Jerry Harkness' 33 points, Loyola's only meeting against the Illini in a 24-year span from 1955-56 through 1978-79 represented the Ramblers' lone win in their irregular series until 1984-85.
12. 1974 East Regional first round (Furman 75, South Carolina 67)
Furman's Clyde Mayes collected 21 points and 16 rebounds to upend the Gamecocks' star-studded roster featuring Mike Dunleavy Sr., Alex English and Brian Winters.
"No, you never get any fun out of the things you haven't done." - Ogden Nash
Nobody said it was going to be easy. The preceding quote definitely rings true for schools such as Eastern Kentucky and Nebraska because they still have never won an NCAA Tournament game after dropping opening-round contests this year. Following are universities competing in the NCAA playoffs the most but still possessing a defect because they are winless: