Although it appears the case, the Final Four hasn't eternally been the final word in national postseason competition. The 68-team NCAA playoffs, which played second fiddle to the National Invitation Tournament in their formative years, seemed to haughtily look down upon the NIT as little more than an acronym contest for derisive entries such as National Insignificant Tournament, Not Influential Tournament, Nominally Important Tournament, No Interest Tournament, Nearly Ignominious Tournament, Naturally Impaired Tournament, Never Impressionable Tournament, etc.
The NIT champion can proclaim, "We're No. 69!" But in an earlier era, the NIT was superior to the NCAA at a time when airplanes didn't dominate the transportation industry, television was in its infancy and New York's Madison Square Garden was the place to be if a team wanted extensive national exposure. If ever there was a concept whose time had arrived, it was the NIT in 1938. If ever there was a location to conduct a national tourney at a time when the sports page was the principal place to digest sports news, it was in New York because of Gotham's 20 or so daily newspapers.
As competition for this year's NIT unfolds, here are top 40 hits for the event, citing nuggets you should know about the history of the nation's oldest national postseason tournament:
2. The 1939 NIT final featured two unbeaten teams when Long Island University defeated Loyola of Chicago, 44-32, marking the only matchup in major-college history when two undefeated major colleges met in a national postseason tournament. LIU finished with a 23-0 record and Loyola 21-1.
3. Frankie Baumholtz capped his Ohio University college basketball career by earning MVP honors in the 1941 NIT when he led the tourney in scoring with 53 points in three games for the second-place Bobcats, including a game-high 19 in the final. He went on to become a major-league outfielder who led the National League in pinch hits in 1955 and 1956.
5. Long before Michigan's "Fab Five" made headlines as a freshman-dominated team reaching the 1992 NCAA Tournament final, Toledo's similar squad finished runner-up to St. John's in the 1943 NIT. The Rockets were dubbed "Friddle's Freshmen" because first-year coach Berle Friddle had an all-freshman starting lineup. Toledo's roster included Emlen Tunnell, who went on to become a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame after playing in nine Pro Bowls as a defensive back.
7. In the early years of national postseason competition, the NCAA playoffs were scheduled after the NIT, which was clearly basketball's showcase event. For instance, NIT runner-up Rhode Island State upended Bowling Green in overtime in their NIT opener in 1946 after the Rams' Ernie Calverley swished a shot from beyond halfcourt at the end of regulation in perhaps the most exciting moment in NIT history.
8. Many observers think the 1948 NIT, starting the tourney's second decade, was the best from a strength standpoint. If there had been a national poll at the time, it is believed that five of the nation's top seven teams were in the NIT, which was won that year by Ed Macauley-led St. Louis University.
14. The final year teams participated in both national tournaments was 1952, when Dayton, Duquesne, St. John's and St. Louis doubled up on postseason participation. St. John's was runner-up to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament that year after the Redmen lost their opener in the NIT against La Salle (51-45).
15. In 1954, the last four NIT survivors (Holy Cross, Duquesne, Niagara and Western Kentucky) combined to win 91% of their games entering the semifinals, while their NCAA Final Four counterparts (La Salle, Bradley, Penn State and Southern California) combined to win barely over 70% of their games. Niagara, the third-place finisher in the NIT, defeated 1954 NCAA champion La Salle twice during the regular season by a total of 27 points.
16. Dave Ricketts, a sophomore starter for Duquesne's 1955 NIT champion, went on to become a major-league catcher who played with the Cardinals in the 1967 and 1968 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.
17. NIT champion-to-be Louisville was ranked 4th in the nation by AP in mid-February of 1956 when it lost by 40 points at Xavier (99-59). Two years later, Xavier lost 10 of its final 15 regular-season games after a 10-1 start and the NIT asked the Musketeers to give back its NIT bid. Xavier, however, said "no" and went on to win the 1958 NIT title despite being seeded last under first-year head coach Jim McCafferty.
18. Garry Roggenburk, the leading scorer for Dayton's 1962 NIT titlist, went on to become a lefthanded pitcher for five seasons later in the decade with three American League teams - the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Pilots.
19. The prestigious ACC, prior to its inaugural season in 1953-54, instituted a rule that no member could participate in the NIT. The ban remained in place until Duke was eliminated by Southern Illinois in the  quarterfinals. The final NIT at the old Garden in 1967 belonged to SIU, a so-called "small" school sparked by a smooth swingman named Walt Frazier. He wasn't Clyde yet, but the future Knick was well on his way.
20. One of the most bizarre incidents in NIT history was halftime of a game in 1968 when Oklahoma City coach Abe Lemons, annoyed with his team after playing poorly in the first half against Duke, ordered the Chiefs back to the court during intermission to scrimmage rather than to the dressing room to rest and regroup. Announcer Howard Cosell rattled off several questions to Lemons: "Coach, are you crazy? Won't your boys be too tired to play the second half? Where did you learn this coaching tactic? Did you do this to amuse the crowd?" Lemons, as determined not to respond to the questions as Cosell was at getting an answer, fired back, "Listen mister, you may be big stuff in New York, but you ain't nothin' in Walters, Okla. (Lemons' humble hometown)."
21. The issue of "choice" came to a head in 1970 when Marquette, an independent school coached by fiesty Al McGuire, won the NIT after rejecting an NCAA at-large invitation because the Warriors were going to be placed in the NCAA Midwest Regional (Fort Worth, Tex.) instead of closer to home in the Mideast Regional (Dayton, Ohio). McGuire's snub led the NCAA to decree any school offered an NCAA bid must accept it or be prohibited from participating in postseason competition.
22. SEC rival Tennessee was the only school to hold Pete Maravich under 30 points until Georgetown and Marquette achieved the feat in the 1970 NIT. Maravich, the highest scorer in NCAA history, ended his career at the NIT sitting on the bench in civilian clothes because of ankle and hip injuries, watching his father's LSU team finish fourth by losing to Bob Knight-coached Army. Pistol Pete had, for him, endured a suspect tourney in the brightest postseason spotlight ever focused on his extraordinary abilities. He averaged 25.7 points per game in three NIT assignments (18.5 ppg lower than his career average).
23. Julius Erving's final college game with Massachusetts was a 90-49 loss to eventual NIT champion North Carolina in the first round in 1971. The Tar Heels captured the crown although their leading scorer, junior forward Dennis Wuycik (18.4 ppg), suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Minutemen.
24. The competitive NIT, boasting three double overtime games in 1971, was a stark contrast in than period to the NCAA Tournament otherwise known as the "UCLA Invitational." Seemingly invincible UCLA captured seven consecutive NCAA titles from 1967 through 1973 by winning 28 tournament games by an average of almost 18 points per contest. In 1973, the Bruins' four tournament victories were by an average of 16 points, including a 21-point triumph over Memphis State in the championship game. Meanwhile, NIT champion Virginia Tech won four exciting postseason games that year by a total of five points, including a game-winning basket at the buzzer in overtime in the final against Notre Dame. The next year, seven of the total of 12 NIT games in the first round and quarterfinals were decided by four points or less.
27. Anthony Roberts' NIT single-game standard of 65 points accounted for 73 percent of Oral Roberts' output in a 90-89 loss to Oregon in the 1977 first round. Roberts' outburst is even more impressive because the Ducks ranked fifth in the nation in team defense (60.9 points per game).
28. NIT attendance slipped to an all-time low in 1976 although national power Kentucky won the title. In 1977, former executive director Pete Carlesimo, the father of former Seton Hall coach P.J. Carlesimo, saved the NIT by implementing a plan whereby early-round games were played at campus sites and locations across the country before the four semifinalists advanced to New York.
29. In a five-year span from 1980 through 1984 when the NCAA field ranged from 48 to 52 teams, Virginia (1980 NIT champion), DePaul (1983 runner-up) and Michigan (1984 champion) became NCAA regional No. 1 seeds the year after reaching an NIT final.
31. In 1985, the NIT started a preseason tournament, which evolved into the nation's premier in-season tourney and carried as much clout, if not more, than the postseason NIT. Coaches were fond of the preseason NIT because those games were exempt from counting against their regular-season limit of contests.
32. The NCAA postseason record of 14 three-point field goals was set by Kansas State guard Askia Jones in a 115-77 victory over Fresno State in the 1994 NIT quarterfinals. Jones, the son of former Villanova standout guard Wali Jones, poured in 28 of his Big Eight Conference-record 45 second-half points in the first 7:12 after intermission. His final total of 62 points, spurred by nine consecutive successful three-point shots bridging the first and second halves, was the second-highest scoring output in major-college postseason history.
33. The NIT's first nine champions lost a total of 25 games, but its 15 titlists from 1986 through 2000 combined to go 32 games below .500 in conference competition, including a 4-12 league mark compiled by 1988 Big East cellar dweller Connecticut and a 4-10 league record registered by 1996 Big Eight seventh-place team Nebraska.
34. The NIT's "final four" participants have combined to average more than 13 defeats per team since the NCAA field expanded to at least 64 entrants, including a grim 19-18 mark by 1985 NIT fourth-place finisher Louisville.
35. Former St. John's coach Joe Lapchick was the winningest coach in NIT history with a 21-10 record until Dave Odom tied him (21-3). St. John's has made more NIT appearances, won more NIT games and captured more NIT championships (six) than any school.
37. The NIT titlists since 1985 combined for a losing national postseason tournament record the year after capturing an NIT championship.
39. In 2000, Notre Dame forward Troy Murphy became the first consensus first-team All-American to participate in the NIT since forward Larry Bird of Indiana State, a loser at Rutgers in the 1978 quarterfinals.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, following is Day 3 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only coach to lose as many as five games in the 20th Century to teams with double-digit seeds? Hint: Four of the defeats in this category were in consecutive years.
2. Name the only historically black college and university to win multiple NCAA Tournament games. Hint: It posted the first three HBCU victories in the early 1980s.
3. Who was the coach of the only University of Detroit team to win an NCAA playoff game until the Titans defeated St. John's in 1998? Hint: Detroit lost to an in-state rival in a regional semifinal four days after posting its first tournament victory. The coach of that squad is the only Seton Hall graduate to win an NCAA tourney game.
4. Name the only school with more than 30 NCAA Tournament appearances to compile a losing playoff record and never appear in the national championship game. Hint: It's the only school to finish more than 10 seasons ranked in an AP Top 10 since the wire service's first poll in 1949 to never win an NCAA Tournament title.
6. Name the only conference to have three representatives at a single Final Four by winning regional finals against three members from another league. Hint: No player scored more than 20 points in the three Final Four games that year.
7. Who is the only coach with six or more NCAA playoff appearances to reach a regional final every time? Hint: His school is the only one to win back-to-back NCAA championships in its first two appearances in the tournament. His son was coach of a school in the same conference when the institution participated in the tourney for the initial time.
8. Name the only school to win at least one playoff game in a year it entered the tournament with a losing record after suffering 14 consecutive defeats during one stretch of the regular season. Hint: The school participated in the national championship game the previous year and was once runner-up in the NCAA Tournament and NIT in the same season. The school has also won just one playoff game since 1955, the season it finished with its worst overall record in a 53-year span and became the only team ever to enter the playoffs with a record of more than 10 games under .500.
9. Name the only school to have as many as seven different coaches compile losing NCAA playoff records. Hint: The school is more games under .500 in tournament play than any institution, but pulled off a first-round upset of a defending champion behind a star player who subsequently entered the coaching profession and compiled a 6-3 NCAA Tournament record with another university in the same state from 1989-90 through 1991-92.
10. Name the only school to advance to a regional semifinal in three consecutive campaigns despite having a double-digit seed each year. Hint: The school defeated teams from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, C-USA, Pacific-10 and SEC during the NCAA playoffs in that span.
In a caste-like era separating the haves from the have-nots, imperial universities are seeking mega-conferences and, perhaps in the near future, a restrictive upper division. But the socially elite won't ever be able to exclude small schools from making a big impact on the NCAA playoffs.
Smaller colleges, many of them in the hinterlands, have supplied a striking number of the biggest names in coaching. From 1995 through 2000, five of the six NCAA Tournament championship coaches (Jim Calhoun, Jim Harrick, Tom Izzo, Lute Olson and Tubby Smith) graduated from obscure colleges with smaller enrollments. In fact, it is a rarity for a Final Four not to feature at least one coach who graduated from a non-Division I school.
John Calipari, a graduate of Clarion (Pa.) State, guided Kentucky to the 2012 national championship before Michigan's John Beilein (Wheeling Jesuit, NY) and Wichita State's Gregg Marshall (Randolph-Macon VA) directed teams to the Final Four three years ago. Following is an alphabetical list of 2016 NCAA Tournament mentors who worked their way up the ladder after graduating from a small school:
2016 NCAA Playoff Coach School Small-College Alma Mater Dana Altman Oregon Eastern New Mexico '80 John Beilein Michigan Wheeling Jesuit (N.Y.) '75 John Calipari Kentucky Clarion (Pa.) State '82 Bill Carmody Holy Cross Union (N.Y.) '75 Ed Cooley Providence Stonehill (Mass.) '94 Andy Enfield Southern California Johns Hopkins (Md.) '91 Eran Ganot Hawaii Swarthmore (Pa.) '03 Greg Gard Wisconsin Wis.-Platteville '95 Frank Haith Tulsa Elon (N.C.) '88 Greg Herenda Fairleigh Dickinson Merrimack (Mass.) '83 Chris Holtmann Butler Taylor (Ind.) '94 Tom Izzo Michigan State Northern Michigan '77 Ben Jacobson Northern Iowa North Dakota '93 James Jones Yale Albany (N.Y.) '86 Edward Joyner Jr. Hampton Johnson C. Smith (N.C.) '95 Kevin Keatts UNC Wilmington Ferrum (Va.) '95 Gregg Marshall Wichita State Randolph-Macon (Va.) '85 Phil Martelli Saint Joseph's Widener (Pa.) '76 Scott Nagy South Dakota State Delta State (Miss.) '88 Nate Oats Buffalo Maranatha Baptist (Wis.) '97 Randy Rahe Weber State Buena Vista (Colo.) '82 Shaka Smart Texas Kenyon (Ohio) '99 Tubby Smith Texas Tech High Point (N.C.) '73 Rodney Terry Fresno State St. Edward's (Tex.) '90
When Thomas Wolfe penned, "you can never come home again," he didn't have some successful college basketball coaches in mind. Playoff participation must be extra gratifying for the following individuals coaching their alma mater in college basketball's grandest prize - a berth in the NCAA Tournament:
Fans fond of the NCAA playoffs argue that the incredibly popular event is 100% perfection. Whatever your level of expertise, CollegeHoopedia.com guarantees you a 100% score is impossible for any brave soul willing to take our "Who Am I" quiz. With the tourney entering its 78th year, you can occasionally stumble across familiar faces in non-basketball endeavors by browsing through old rosters and tourney box scores. Following is an old game show "What's My Line?" format testing your NCAA Tournament acumen or helping you "Stump a Chump." You'll need a PhD in "Hoopology" to secure a passing grade correctly discerning the following individuals who made a name for themselves elsewhere after appearing in the NCAA Division I Tournament:
- I was a junior college recruit who missed a three-point attempt while playing briefly in a 111-92 defeat against Loyola Marymount in the first round of 1990 NCAA Tournament West Regional.
- One of my New Mexico State teammates was 12-year NBA guard Randy Brown.
- I was a reliever who posted a 9-6 record for the Oakland A's in four seasons from 1994 through 1997 before my contract was sold to a Japanese team.
- I compiled a 5-1 record in the strike-shortened 1994 MLB campaign when I was considered heir apparent to assume Dennis Eckersley's closer role.
Who am I? MARK ACRE
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as pro quarterback Joe Kapp (California).
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against Kansas State All-Americans Bob Boozer and Jack Parr.
- I was a college teammate of Eddie Sutton before he coached four different schools in the NCAA Tournament.
- I was the second-leading scorer for Oklahoma State's NCAA Tournament team that reached the 1958 Midwest Regional final under Hall of Fame coach Hank Iba.
- I hit .254 in 1,165 games in 13 major league seasons from 1958 through 1970 with the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals before playing one year in Japan.
- My teammates with the Orioles included former college basketball players Dick Hall (attended Swarthmore), Robin Roberts (Michigan State) and Norm Siebern (Southwest Missouri State).
- I participated in the 1967 World Series with the Red Sox before leaving them following the next season in the expansion draft.
- I set major league records for highest fielding average (.994) and fewest errors (five) by a second baseman in a season in 1964 and for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman (89 in 1964 and 1965).
Who am I? JERRY ADAIR
- I was an Arkansas hoop teammate of eventual San Francisco 49ers coach Red Hickey.
- I was third-leading scorer with six points when the Hogs lost against Washington State in 1941 NCAA Tournament national semifinals.
- In my NFL debut, I returned an interception 66 yards for the decisive score in the New York Giants' 14-7 win against the Washington Redskins in 1942. Two weeks later, I caught two touchdown passes in a victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.
- I caught 28 passes for 494 yards and five TDs in four years with the Giants through 1945.
Who am I? NEAL ADAMS
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against La Salle All-American Tom Gola.
- I was a teammate of Canisius All-America guard John McCarthy and U.S. Congressman-to-be Hank Nowak.
- I was the third-leading scorer (9.2 points per game) as a senior for Canisius' first NCAA Tournament team in 1955.
- I served in the U.S. Army for 31 years, retiring with the rank of Major General.
- I was appointed Commissioner of the New York State Office of General Services by Governor Mario Cuomo.
- I was listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who of American Business Leaders.
Who am I? ROBERT ADAMS
- I was a pre-law major who scored a total of eight points in three NCAA playoff games in 1955.
- I was a member of Tom Gola-led La Salle teams in 1954 (national champion) and 1955 (runner-up to San Francisco).
- I never got off the bench at the Final Four those two years although I was the only Explorer player to hit more than three-fourths of my free throws the season they won the NCAA title.
- I joined the Central Intelligence Agency and worked my way up the chain of command to become the Director of the CIA's Office of Analysis of the Near East and South Asia, toiling closely with both the Carter and Reagan administrations.
- I was killed in Beirut in 1983 when a truck loaded with TNT on a suicide mission rammed into the facility where I was staying while serving as a liaison trying to allay contacts among the Lebanese, Syrians and Israelis in hopes of calming the escalating discord.
Who am I? BOB AMES
- I was a 6-5 forward who played in the NCAA playoffs against New Mexico State center Sam Lacey and guard Jimmy Collins.
- I was Weber State's leading scorer with 14 points in the Wildcats' NCAA Tournament debut, a 68-57 defeat in the first round of the 1968 West Regional against Lou Henson-coached New Mexico State.
- I was an All-Big Sky Conference second-team selection as a senior.
- I was on the Board of Directors of ITT.
- I was President and Chief Executive Officer of Black & Decker.
Who am I? NOLAN ARCHIBALD
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as Dallas Cowboys defensive back Cornell Green (Utah State) and CBS analyst Billy Packer (Wake Forest).
- I twice played in the NCAA playoffs against Bob Knight (Ohio State).
- I was a Kentucky teammate of All-American Cotton Nash.
- I played for NCAA Tournament regional runner-up teams as a sophomore and junior before pacing UK in assists my final season with 4.3 per game.
- I was mayor of Lexington, Ky., for 10 years before representing Kentucky's Sixth District in the U.S. House of Representatives after getting more than 60 percent of the vote in 1992.
- I am a Democrat who ran for governor in 1994 and narrowly lost against Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning for a Senate seat in 1998.
Who am I? SCOTTY BAESLER
- I was a three-year letterman and Ohio State's second-leading scorer as a starting senior forward for a team that finished runner-up to Oregon in the inaugural NCAA Tournament in 1939.
- I scored a game-high 25 points for the Buckeyes in their tourney opener, a 64-52 victory over Wake Forest.
- I was managing partner and CEO of major accounting firm Ernst and Ernst for 13 years, starting in 1964.
- I was a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame who served on the board of directors of such distinguished enterprises as General Electric, Anheuser-Busch and Hershey Foods.
Who am I? DICK BAKER
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against John Tresvant (Seattle), Ollie Johnson (San Francisco), Joe Caldwell (Arizona State), Ron Bonham (Cincinnati), Tom Thacker (Cincinnati), George Wilson (Cincinnati) and Jeff Mullins (Duke).
- I was an Oregon State teammate of All-American center Mel Counts.
- I was an All-West Regional selection in the NCAA Tournament in 1962 and 1963.
- I was the second-leading scorer for the Beavers' 1963 Final Four team.
- My 99-yard run from scrimmage for a touchdown accounted for the only points in a 6-0 victory against Villanova in the 1962 Liberty Bowl.
- I was a college quarterback who became a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
- I was the first Heisman Trophy winner west of the Mississippi River after rushing 115 times for 538 yards (4.7 per carry), completing 112 of 203 passes for a nation-leading 1,738 yards and 15 touchdowns.
- I was a first-round NFL draft choice who played with the Los Angeles Rams (1963 through 1965) before going to the Canadian Football League with Edmonton (1967).
- Two of my teammates with the Rams were former college basketball standout rebounders Charley Cowan (New Mexico Highlands) and Lamar Lundy (Purdue).
Who am I? TERRY BAKER
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against teams coached by Lou Carnesecca, Bob Knight, Bill Foster, Larry Brown and Lute Olson.
- I was a Purdue teammate of All-American center Joe Barry Carroll for the Boilermakers' 1980 national third-place team.
- My NFL teammates as a rookie included former college basketball player Al "Bubba" Baker (Colorado State) and All-Pro halfback Billy Sims.
- I was a linebacker with the Detroit Lions for four seasons from 1982 through 1985 after being a 10th-round draft pick.
Who am I? ROOSEVELT BARNES
- I declared for the 2005 NBA draft out of high school before withdrawing my name.
- I played in the 2008 NCAA playoffs and grabbed five rebounds in 10 minutes against an eventual Final Four participant (LSU).
- I played under Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie before he accepted a similar position with Kentucky.
- I had a career-high of 133 yards and 2 TDs against Baylor as a sophomore when earning All-Big 12 Conference second-team honors.
- I was an NFL second-round draft choice by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 as an undergraduate (4th tight end selected).
- I was fined $22,000 by the Cowboys in 2009 for an occasionally profane rap video mentioning several teammates and front-office personnel.
- I also played for the New York Giants and Chicago Bears en route to 348 receptions for 3,586 yards and 23 touchdowns in my first eight years from 2008 through 2015 before trade to the New England Patriots.
Who am I? MARTELLUS BENNETT
- I played in NCAA Tournament games against coaches Denny Crum (Louisville), Tom Davis (Iowa), Rick Pitino (Kentucky) and Roy Williams (Kansas).
- I was a Wake Forest teammate of future NBA MVP Tim Duncan.
- I was a swingman who averaged 4.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game in my four-year career with the Demon Deacons before playing professionally for one year in England.
- I co-starred in the romantic comedy "First Daughter" as the guy the college-aged daughter of the President of the United States falls for before discovering things aren't quite what they appear to be on the surface.
- I was a regular on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episodes playing the role of Riley Finn, Buffy's one-time love interest.
- I play the role of Matthew Donnelly in the USA Network show Necessary Roughness.
Who am I? MARC BLUCAS
- I was a Virginia teammate of future NBA players Bryant Stith and John Crotty.
- I averaged 4.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in seven NCAA Tournament games from 1989 through 1991 while battling on the boards in the playoffs against LaPhonso Ellis (Notre Dame), Derrick Coleman (Syracuse) and Billy Owens (Syracuse).
- I appeared in three bowl games--Florida Citrus (vs. Illinois), Sugar (vs. Tennessee) and Gator (vs. Oklahoma)--the same three years I competed in the NCAA playoffs.
- I was named ACC offensive football player of the year as a senior when I threw 224 passes over the entire regular season without incurring a single interception.
- I was a quarterback who became a second-round NFL draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs after passing for 2,696 yards and 25 touchdowns in my college career (including nine 200-yard passing games).
- I was a backup to Joe Montana with the Chiefs.
Who am I? MATT BLUNDIN
- I collected eight rebounds in a loss against Utah State and 10 points in a victory against Jerry Tarkanian-coached Long Beach State in the 1970 NCAA playoffs.
- My Santa Clara teammates included center Dennis Awtrey, who went on to play 12 NBA seasons with six different franchises. * Representing the Mariners the only time Seattle hosted the Midsummer Classic, I knocked in a run with a single off Gaylord Perry in All-Star Game in 1979 when I finished 10th in batting average (career-high .316) and eighth in doubles (career-high 38) along with a career-high 100 RBI.
- I was named team MVP the next year.
- I was a lefthanded first baseman-outfielder who hit .282 with the California Angels, Cleveland Indians, Mariners and Oakland A's in 12 seasons from 1974 through 1986 (missed 1983).
Who am I? BRUCE BOCHTE
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as major league pitcher Dave Sisler (Princeton).
- I participated in the 1952 NCAA Tournament as a freshman for a St. Louis team that was eliminated by champion-to-be Kansas when Jayhawks All-American Clyde Lovellette scored 44 points.
- I was an All-American whose career scoring average of 19.2 points per game is best in SLU history (minimum of three seasons).
- I was a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference first-team selection who earned a gold medal while playing for the 1956 U.S. Olympic team in Melbourne, Australia.
- I was named president of Vickers Petroleum Corporation in 1963 at the age of 29.
- I became the ninth president of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
- In December 2002, I pleaded guilty in federal court in Wichita, Kan., to defrauding a bank of more than $17 million.
Who am I? DICK BOUSHKA
- I hit .315 as the first baseman for Princeton's baseball team my sophomore year.
- Among the coaches I played against in NCAA Tournament East Regionals were Jack Ramsay, Jack Kraft, Press Maravich and Joe Mullaney.
- I was an NCAA unanimous first-team All-American as a junior and senior and ranked among the nation's top five scorers all three of my varsity seasons.
- I hold the NCAA playoff record for most points in a single Final Four game (58 against Wichita State in 1965 national third-place game) en route to becoming Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
- I am a Rhodes Scholar who was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. basketball team in the 1964 Olympic Games.
- I was a three-term U.S. Senator (Democrat-N.J.) until 1995.
- I was a presidential candidate in 2000 who authored two basketball books (Life on the Run in 1976 and Values of the Game in 1998).
Who am I? BILL BRADLEY
- I played in the same NCAA tournament as eventual Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, Massachusetts U.S. Congressman Joe Early and Canadian Football League Hall of Famer Hal Patterson.
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against future All-American Ken Sears.
- I was Hardin-Simmons' second-leading scorer during the season (12.5 ppg as a junior) and the team's #2 scorer with nine points in a first-round loss against eventual West Regional finalist Santa Clara.
- My promising basketball career ended because of a summer job accident when my leg was broken in two places while unloading some sheetrock.
- I was the first participant to earn $1 million in sanctioned poker tournaments.
- I am the author of several poker books, including Super/System and Poker Wisdom of a Champion.
- I am the winner of 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, including the main event in back-to-back years in 1976 and 1977.
Who am I? DOYLE BRUNSON
- I played in the same NCAA tourney as MLB reliever Steve Hamilton (Morehead State) and U.S. Congressman Hank Nowak (Canisius).
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against SMU All-American center Jim Krebs.
- I was a St. Louis University teammate of future NBA center and executive Bob Ferry.
- I was a 6-5, 190-pound forward who led SLU in rebounding with 14.9 per game as a sophomore (19th in nation in rebound percentage) and retrieved a team-high 18 missed shots in two 1957 NCAA playoff games.
- I was listed in Who's Who in America.
- I was president of Coppin State in Baltimore in 1997 when the Eagles upset No. 2 seed South Carolina in the East Regional.
Who am I? DR. CALVIN W. BURNETT
- I participated in the 1982 and 1983 NCAA Tournaments.
- I played briefly in a playoff game against an Oklahoma team featuring first-team All-American freshman Wayman Tisdale.
- My college basketball teammates included Indiana All-Americans Ted Kitchel and Randy Wittman.
- My stepfather, Tom Harp, was the head football coach for Indiana State in the mid-1970s.
- I was an assistant football coach for Michigan under Bo Schembechler before becoming an assistant for three years with the Washington Redskins.
- I played quarterback in college before becoming my alma mater's head football coach for five years from 1997 through 2001.
- I was head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2007 when they posted a franchise-worst 1-15 record between stints as an assistant coach with the San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens.
- I have been LSU's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach since 2013.
Who am I? CAM CAMERON
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as major league baseball executive Larry Lucchino (Princeton) and Dallas Cowboys punter Ron Widby (Tennessee).
- I played in the NCAA Tournament against Pacific All-American center Keith Swagerty.
One of my Texas Western teammates was All-American center David "Big Daddy" Lattin.
- I collected 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds when the defending NCAA champion Miners were eliminated by Pacific, 72-63, in the 1967 West Regional semifinals before contributing eight points and five rebounds in a 69-67 victory over Wyoming in a third-place game.
- I was an NFL first-round draft choice (fifth pick overall) who played 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers (1968 through 1977).
- My fellow linebacker as an NFL rookie was Ray Nitschke.
- I had eight career interceptions (including a touchdown in 1976) and participated in the 1972 NFL playoffs after being selected as the outstanding lineman in the 1971 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.
Who am I? FRED CARR
- I played in the 1953 NCAA Tournament against LSU All-American Bob Pettit.
- Among my Holy Cross teammates were All-American forward Togo Palazzi and U.S. Congressman-to-be Joe Early.
- I authored a book called Fighting for Life.
- I was Pennsylvania's 42nd governor who served from 1987 to 1995 after winning in my fourth attempt for the office.
- I was a heart-and-liver transplant recipient and pro-life candidate in a Democratic presidential primary.
- I am the father of a U.S. Senator with the same name.
Who am I? ROBERT P. CASEY
- I grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds for TCU in 1968 when the Horned Frogs lost to Elvin Hayes-led Houston in the Midwest Regional final.
- I was the first African-American to play in the Southwest Conference.
- I was an All-SWC second-team selection as a junior when TCU won the league championship.
- I became the first black-tenured professor at Harvard in 1976.
- I was named chairman of the Harvard Business School MBA program in 1992.
Who am I? JAMES CASH
- I am my school's all-time leading rebounder who played in the NCAA playoffs in 1981 against North Carolina standouts James Worthy, Sam Perkins and Al Wood.
- I played in two West Regional games for Pittsburgh (game highs of 22 points and 13 rebounds in a 70-69 overtime victory against Idaho and 16 points, six rebounds and game-high five steals in a 74-57 defeat against national runnerup-to-be North Carolina).
- I was a two-time All-Eastern 8 first-team selection.
- I was a third-round draft choice of the Phoenix Suns in the 1981 NBA draft.
- I was a defensive end who had 49 sacks in 11 seasons in pro football with the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts in the NFL and Pittsburgh and Memphis in the USFL.
- My NFL teammates included Eric Dickerson, Steve Largent and Ozzie Newsome and former college basketball players Al "Bubba" Baker (Colorado State), Pete Metzelaars (Wabash) and Brad Van Pelt (Michigan State).
- I was a 6-6 pass rushing specialist who played in two AFC championship games with the Browns.
- I was defensive line coach for the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe when they won the 1997 World Bowl.
- My son with the same name was the leading scorer and rebouder for Southern California's East Regional runner-up in the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
Who am I? SAM CLANCY
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against West Virginia's Gale Catlett.
- I was a Connecticut teammate of future NBA center Toby Kimball.
- I was a 5-9, 150-pound guard who scored as many points (17) as NCAA consensus second-team All-American Rod Thorn in the Huskies' 77-71 first-round setback against West Virginia in 1963.
- I was an All-Yankee Conference second-team selection as a senior when three of my teammates were first-team picks.
- I earned more than $1 million per year as Executive Vice President of ITT, a conglomerate with global sales in excess of $23 billion specializing in diversified products and services in three areas--financial and business, manufactured products and Sheraton Hotels.
Who am I? DALE COMEY
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as Admiral John Dick (Oregon).
- I was a three-year letterman from 1938-39 through 1940-41 on Texas teams that combined for a 51-21 record.
- I saw action in both of the Longhorns' games in the inaugural NCAA Tournament in 1939 after they captured the Southwest Conference championship.
- I am a world famous surgeon based in Houston who has performed in excess of 20,000 open-heart operations.
Who am I? DR. DENTON COOLEY
- I played in the NCAA Tournament against Southern California's Jerry Pimm, who went on to coach my alma mater in the playoffs five times in a seven-year span from 1977 through 1983.
- I scored 25 points in three NCAA playoff games in 1960 as a teammate of All-American Billy McGill.
- I was Utah's co-captain as a senior under coach Jack Gardner.
- I was Pacific Coast League MVP in 1963 with the Salt Lake City Bees.
- I was an outfielder who was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the New York Mets for first baseman George Altman in 1965.
- My only year as a regular was 1964 when I posted career highs of 16 doubles, 19 homers and 50 RBI as the Cubs center fielder and ranked among the National League top 10 in stolen bases with 12.
- I hit .236 with the Cubs, Mets, Milwaukee Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and California Angels in eight seasons (1963 through 1965, 1967 and 1969 through 1972).
Who am I? BILLY COWAN
- I collected 16 points and 10 assists in two NCAA playoff contests in 2001.
- I led my team in assists that season when I directed North Carolina to a No. 1 national ranking and an 18-game winning streak.
- I was Most Outstanding Offensive Player in the 2001 Peach Bowl.
- I was a basketball/football teammate of Julius Peppers, the nation's top defensive lineman in 2001.
- I was a four-year starter in football who set school career records for total offense, passing yards, rushing yards by a quarterback and rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
- I was activated for Super Bowl XXXVII with the Oakland Raiders as a defensive back before becoming a wide receiver for them the next year in 2003.
- I succeeded all-time great Tim Brown as a starter in 2004.
Who am I? RONALD CURRY
- I played in the same NCAA tournament as eventual AFL/NFL players Scott Eaton, Harry Gunner and Lonnie Wright.
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against All-American Dick Snyder.
- I scored 19 points under former Rhode Island All-American Ernie Calverley in a first-round loss against Lefty Driesell-coached Davidson.
- In 1971, my wife and I took over leadership of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, a small struggling congregation of some 30 people gathered in a run-down building in the inner city. It went on to become a megachurch numbering more than 10,000 members from all walks of life.
- I was nominated for a 2002 Dove Award for Musical of the Year (Light of the Year) and had three books on the best-selling list of the national religious clothbound non-fiction books (including Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire).
Who am I? JOE CYMBALA
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as Pro Bowl split end Billy Wilson (San Jose State).
- I played in the 1951 NCAA Tournament against Washington All-American Bob Houbregs when Texas A&M made its first playoff appearance.
- I was a two-time first-five selection on the All-Southwest Conference team and held school season (362 points) and career (952 points) scoring records when I graduated in 1952.
- I was named to the Helms Foundation All-American third team as a junior before becoming a member of two NBA championship teams - Philadelphia Warriors in 1956 and St. Louis Hawks in 1958.
- I won AAU high jump titles in 1952 and 1953.
- I was winner of the gold medal in the 1952 Olympic Games high jump with a leap of 6'-8 1/2".
- I set the then-world high jump record of 6'-11 1/2" in 1953.
Who am I? WALTER "BUDDY" DAVIS
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as open-heart surgeon Denton Cooley (Texas).
- I was a starting junior forward for the first NCAA Tournament champion in 1939 when I led Oregon in scoring in two of three playoff contests, including a game-high 15 points in the final against Ohio State.
- I was an NCAA consensus first-team All-American the next season when I paced the Pacific Coast Conference Northern Division (forerunner of the Pacific-10) in scoring with 183 points in 16 games.
- I retired with the rank of Admiral after 32 years of service in the U.S. Navy.
- I commanded the aircraft carrier Saratoga for two years and served as chief of staff for all carrier forces in the Western Pacific.
Who am I? JOHN DICK
- I played in three consecutive NCAA playoff games against coaches that captured national titles in other seasons (Jim Calhoun, Dean Smith and Steve Fisher).
- I was an Ohio State teammate of All-American Jim Jackson.
- I collected three points and five rebounds in a 78-55 victory over Connecticut in the second round for the Buckeyes' 1992 Southeast Regional runner-up.
- I averaged 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds as a senior in 1994-95 when I led OSU in rebounding and finished third in scoring.
- I was Offensive MVP in the 1996 Florida Citrus Bowl.
- I am a tight end who was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the first round (9th pick overall) of the 1996 NFL draft.
- I caught 29 touchdown passes in five seasons with the Raiders before hooking on with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- I was a member of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl XXXVII champion.
Who am I? RICKEY DUDLEY
- I was a Holy Cross teammate of Pennsylvania governor-to-be Robert Casey.
- I scored six points for the Crusaders in their 81-73 East Regional final loss to Bob Pettit-led LSU in the 1953 NCAA Tournament.
- I was a portly, rumpled cigar smoker who served in the Massachusetts state House from 1963-75.
- I am a Democrat who was a U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts' Third Congressional District (1975-93).
- I lost to Republican Peter Blute in the 1992 election after being tainted by 140 overdrafts in the wake of an ethics committee investigation of members who overdrew their House bank accounts.
- By Massachusetts standards, I was a conservative who prided himself on my independence from any Democratic faction.
I was against abortion and busing and skeptical about foreign aid but when it came to labor and domestic spending, I was a New Deal Democrat.
Who am I? JOE EARLY
- I scored eight points against Seattle in the 1964 NCAA playoffs and a total of 19 points in two West Regional contests in 1966 (vs. Houston and Utah).
- One of my Oregon State teammates in 1964 was All-American center Mel Counts. Two years later when I was the Beavers' third-leading scorer with 9.9 ppg, one of my teammates was eventual NFL defensive end Harry Gunner.
- I shared OSU's Paul Valenti Award with Gunner in 1966, given annually to the player who displays the most desire and determination.
- I was an eighth-round draft choice by the New York Giants in 1967.
- My NFL teammates all five years of my stint with the Giants included Tucker Frederickson, Pete Gogolak, Carl Lockhart and Fran Tarkenton.
- I was a defensive back who intercepted 11 passes.
Who am I? SCOTT EATON
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against Holy Cross All-American guard Bob Cousy.
- I was a second-team pick on the Helms All-American team in 1947-48 when I scored a team-high 15 points in Michigan's first NCAA Tournament victory, a 66-49 decision over Columbia in the Eastern Regional third-place game.
- I earned All-American honors as a senior quarterback for the Wolverines' 1948 national champion before becoming an All-Big Ten second-team selection in basketball.
- I was head football coach at Nebraska (1956), California (1957 through 1959) and Illinois (1960 through 1966) and led Cal and the Illini to Rose Bowl berths.
- I became executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Who am I? PETE ELLIOTT
- I played in the same NCAA tourney as NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens (Tennessee-Chattanooga).
- I played in all four of Virginia's playoff games for the 1995 Midwest Regional finalist that was eliminated by eventual national runner-up Arkansas.
- I was a safety who intercepted future NFL teammate Danny Kanell twice in the Cavaliers' victory over Florida State during my senior season.
- I made the New York Giants' roster as a rookie free agent and became a significant contributor as a part-time starter and in nickel-and-dime packages.
- I had a team-leading and career-high five interceptions for the Giants in 1998.
- I intercepted 20 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns with the Giants and Cleveland Browns in six years from 1996 through 2001.
Who am I? PERCY ELLSWORTH
- I was a four-year basketball letterman for Kansas who was the second-leading scorer for the Jayhawks in the 1942 NCAA Tournament as a teammate of All-American forward Charles Black.
- I was a two-time All-Big Seven Conference first-team selection in basketball.
- I am the only Kansas athlete to earn All-American honors in football and basketball.
- I am a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and had my jersey No. 15 retired in 1997.
- I led the nation's major-college players in passes attempted (200) and completed (101) and interceptions (10) in 1942 for a rare triple crown.
- I paced Kansas to the Big Six championship and a trip to the 1948 Orange Bowl after returning from World War II.
- One of my basketball and football teammates was fellow military veteran Otto Schnellbacher, who went on to become an All-Pro defensive back who led the NFL in interceptions in 1951.
- I was a first-round NFL draft choice (9th pick overall in 1944) who played with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1948 before becoming a prominent Kansas City bank official.
Who am I? RAY EVANS
- I played in the same NCAA tournament as eventual NFL linebacker Fred Carr and punter Ron Widby.
- I scored two points against eventual NCAA champion UCLA in the 1967 West Regional final.
- I was a teammate of Pacific All-American Keith Swagerty.
- I appeared in two World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1974 and 1978).
- I ranked among the National League's top eight in bases on balls in 1973 and 1977.
- I paced the N.L. in sacrifice flies in 1973 with 10 and catchers in fielding average.
- I hit .240 with 122 homers and 445 RBI for the Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros and California Angels in 14 seasons from 1970 through 1983.
Who am I? JOE FERGUSON
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as NFL quarterback Brad Johnson (Florida State) and major league outfielder Kenny Lofton (Arizona).
- I hit two of four field-goal attempts for Baylor in a 75-60 defeat against Memphis State in the opening round of the 1988 Midwest Regional.
- I was an All-American linebacker before becoming an NFL first-round draft choice (12th pick overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Alfred Williams, my fellow LB with the Bengals, also played college basketball (for Colorado). Our teammates included Boomer Esiason and Anthony Munoz.
- I registered 33 sacks and returned three of my 11 interceptions for touchdowns with the Bengals in nine years from 1990 through 1998.
Who am I? JAMES FRANCIS
- I collected eight points and four rebounds against Final Four-bound North Carolina in the 2000 NCAA playoffs.
- I played against NCAA champion-to-be Duke in the 2001 NCAA Tournament, incurring four fouls in seven minutes.
- I was a Missouri teammate of eventual NBA first-round draft choice Kareem Rush.
- After beginning my college football career as a quarterback, I became a wide receiver who caught a then school-record 13 passes vs. Baylor in November 2001 en route to finishing my junior campaign one reception shy of the school single-season mark of 75.
- I set new standards the next year as a senior with 16 catches against Bowling Green and 82 receptions overall for 1,075 yards and nine touchdowns before competing in the East-West Shrine Game.
- I am a two-time first-team All-Big 12 Conference selection who set virtually every Mizzou career receiving record, including receptions (200), receiving yards (2,704), touchdown passes (18) and consecutive games with a reception (34).
- I caught two touchdown passes as a rookie with the Chicago Bears after being their fifth-round pick in the 2003 NFL draft.
- I signed with the Tennessee Titans as a free agent in 2007 and promptly caught a career-high 55 passes before managing a career-high 6 TD receptions the next year.
- I had 10 receptions for 135 yards with the Titans in a 13-10 playoff loss against the Baltimore Ravens following the 2008 season.
Who am I? JUSTIN GAGE
- I was the leader in rebounding and field-goal percentage for the only Mid-American Conference member ever to win three games in a single NCAA Tournament.
- I played against teams in the 2002 NCAA playoffs from elite conferences such as the Big 12 (Oklahoma State), SEC (Alabama), Big East (Pittsburgh) and Big Ten (Indiana).
- I began my college career at Michigan State but never played there before transferring to junior college and subsequently to Kent State.
- I caught two touchdown passes as a rookie free-agent tight end with the San Diego Chargers in 2003 before setting an NFL record for TD receptions by a tight end the next year with 13.
- I was the only unanimous choice to the AP All-Pro team in 2005 when I caught 89 passes for 1,101 yards and 10 TDs.
- I am a seven-time All-Pro (consecutive seasons) who managed a career-high 1,157 receiving yards in 2009 before signing a lucrative five-year, $36 million deal ($20 million guaranteed).
- I became the second TE in NFL history to notch 100 career TD receptions.
Who am I? ANTONIO GATES
- I was a teammate of Washington State All-American center Paul Lindemann.
- I was WSU's fifth-leading scorer as a senior in 1941 when I averaged 5.3 points per game as an all-conference second-team selection for the NCAA Tournament runner-up.
- I was an All-West Coast first-team selection who earned football All-American first-team honors by the New York Sun as an end.
- I played in the annual East-West Shrine Game before earning All-Pro second-team honors my first two years with the Los Angeles Dons.
- Fellow end and former Great Northwest college basketball player Dick Wilkins (Oregon) joined the Dons the year after I left the team.
Who am I? DALE GENTRY
- I played in two NCAA playoff games for Georgia under coach Jim Harrick.
- As a freshman flanker, I became the first Bulldogs football player ever to have four consecutive 100-yard games in receiving.
- I returned a kickoff for 91 yards and a touchdown against Clemson the first time I touched the ball as a sophomore.
- I was the second-leading receiver the next season (43 catches for 758 yards and four TDs) with 2002 team that compiled the Bulldogs' first 13-win season, first SEC title in 20 years, a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida State and a final national ranking of #3 (highest since 1980).
- I caught two first-quarter TD passes against Purdue in a 34-27 overtime victory in the First Capital One Bowl following the 2003 campaign.
- I received All-SEC first-team honors as a senior when I hauled in a career-high 49 receptions.
- I was instrumental in helping Georgia post three straight seasons of 10 or more victories, three consecutive bowl victories and three national top six rankings in a row.
- I was a fourth-round NFL draft choice by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005.
Who am I? FRED GIBSON
- I played in the East Regional against North Carolina standouts Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison.
- I was a teammate of California All-Americans Sharef Abdur-Rahim and Ed Gray.
- I averaged 18 points and shot 61 percent from the floor in the Bears' first two NCAA Tournament games in 1997, including a team-high 23 points in an East Regional second-round victory against Villanova.
- I declared early for the NFL draft after becoming a first-team All-American.
After catching 53 passes for 768 yards and five touchdowns as a junior in 1996 for Cal's Aloha Bowl squad, I was selected in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs.
- I became the Chiefs' all-time leader in pass receptions by a tight end midway through the 2000 season en route to becoming a 12-time All-Pro selection.
- I set an NFL single-season record for most receptions by a tight end with 102 in 2004.
- After being traded to the Atlanta Falcons, I became the NFL's all-time runner-up in receptions behind Jerry Rice.
- I hold the NFL career tight end records for touchdowns and reception yardage.
Who am I? TONY GONZALEZ
- I played against NFL coach-to-be Red Hickey in the 1941 NCAA Tournament.
- I was scoreless in two West Regional defeats (against Arkansas in regional semifinal and Creighton in regional third-place game).
- One of my teammates was eventual All-American Kenny Sailors.
- I played in the NCAA playoffs for my beloved state of Wyoming.
- I was host of American Sportsman and also broadcast the Super Bowl and NCAA Tournament.
- I was a network broadcaster who worked two of the more memorable World Series on NBC (Miracle Mets' upset of Baltimore in 1969 and the seven-game Cincinnati-Boston series in 1975 that is credited with reviving baseball in the American sports consciousness).
Who am I? CURT GOWDY
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as Congressman Scotty Baesler (Kentucky) and CBS analyst Billy Packer (Wake Forest).
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against Arizona State's Joe Caldwell and UCLA's Walt Hazzard.
- I averaged 24.3 points per game in three NCAA Tournament contests and was named to the All-West Regional team.
- I was an all-league first-team selection the last three years of the Mountain States Conference.
- I was held under 10 points only once in college career and scored 46 against New Mexico on March 3, 1962.
- I remain Utah State's all-time leading rebounder and set a single-season record with 403 boards in 1959-60.
- My brother, Pumpsie, was the first black player for the Boston Red Sox, the major leagues' last integrated team.
- My NFL teammates included former college basketball players Mike Ditka (Pittsburgh), Pete Gent (Michigan State), Too Tall Jones (Tennessee State), Roger Staubach (Navy), Ron Widby (Tennessee) and Rayfield Wright (Fort Valley State).
- I intercepted 34 passes as a defensive back with the Dallas Cowboys in 13 years from 1962 through 1974.
- I played in five Pro Bowl games and two Super Bowls (V and VI).
Who am I? CORNELL GREEN
- I grabbed a total of five rebounds in two NCAA playoff games in 1966 against Elvin Hayes-led Houston and Jerry Chambers-led Utah.
- One of my Oregon State teammates was eventual NFL defensive back Scott Eaton.
- I was a junior college transfer who averaged 4.4 ppg and 4.5 rpg with the Beavers in 1965-66 and 1966-67.
- I shared OSU's Paul Valenti Award with Eaton in 1966, given annually to the player who displays the most desire and determination.
- I was an eighth-round draft choice by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968.
- My NFL teammates with the Bengals included Bruce Coslet, Bob Trumpy and Sam Wyche.
- I was a defensive end who recorded a safety as a rookie and returned an interception for 70 yards and a touchdown in 1969.
- My teammates when I played for the Chicago Bears in 1970 included Dick Butkus, Bobby Douglass and Gale Sayers.
Who am I? HARRY GUNNER
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as U.S. Congressman Hank Nowak (Canisius).
- I played in the NCAA Tournament against Marshall's Hal Greer and Pittsburgh All-American guard Don Hennon.
- I grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds against Iowa All-Americans Carl Cain and Bill Logan when my team was eliminated by the national runnerup-to-be in the 1956 Midwest Regional semifinals.
- I was a 6-7, 195-pound forward-center who averaged 18.5 points for Morehead State in four NCAA Tournament games in 1956 and 1957.
- I was an All-Ohio Valley Conference selection as a freshman in 1954-55.
- I am the only athlete to play in a World Series and an NBA Finals (rookie in 1959 when the Lakers were swept by the Boston Celtics) after participating in the NCAA playoffs.
- I was a lefthanded pitcher who compiled a 40-31 record, 3.05 ERA and 42 saves in 421 games during 12 seasons from 1961 through 1972 with the Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.
- I was traded by the Senators to the Yankees for pitcher Jim Coates in April, 1963.
- My teammates with the Yankees included former college basketball players Gene Michael (Kent State) and Rollie Sheldon (Connecticut).
- I was a reliever in the 1963 and 1964 World Series for the Yankees.
Who am I? STEVE HAMILTON
- I played in the same NCAA Tournament as eventual major league second baseman Jerry Adair and NFL quarterback Joe Kapp.
- I collected 7 points and 7 rebounds in Boston College's NCAA playoff debut, an 86-63 defeat against Maryland in the 1958 East Regional.
- I was BC's senior captain in 1957-58, averaging 12.5 ppg and 5.9 rpg.
- I was a Navy SEAL who created the New England Sports Network, which was one of the first successful cable channels.
- I was Executive Director and Trustee of the Yawkey Foundation and Boston Red Sox CEO in January 2002 when spearheading the selling of the Red Sox to a consortium led by former Florida Marlins owner John Henry for $660 million, doubling the previous record price for a pro baseball franchise.
Who am I? JACK HARRINGTON
- I was the leading rebounder for Washington State's team that competed against Boston College in the 1994 East Regional.
- I was the Cougars' leading rebounder each of my four seasons.
- I am a two-time All-Pacific-10 Conference selection who was WSU's second-leading scorer as a junior and senior.
- I finished my college career as my alma mater's all-time second-leading rebounder (927) and third-leading scorer (1,496 points).
- I was a second-round NBA draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996 before playing for the Sixers, Sacramento Kings, New Jersey Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers.
- I was selected six times in baseball's June draft.
- I am a 6-9 lefthanded pitcher who posted a 3-0 record and 2.45 ERA for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002. The next year, I became the first pitcher in Blue Jays' history to hit a home run.
- My best season was 2005 when I went 11-8 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays before being traded the next year to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Who am I? MARK HENDRICKSON
- I had a team-high 14 points in outscoring Illinois guard Derek Harper in my first NCAA playoff game with Utah before the Utes were eliminated in the West Regional by champion-to-be North Carolina State.
- My last college game was in the NCAA tourney against North Carolina coach Dean Smith and eventual first-team All-American Kenny Smith.
- I led the Utes in assists with 5.1 per game as a sophomore before finishing my college basketball career in 1986 as the seventh-leading scorer in school history.
- As a senior, I was an All-WAC second-team selection along with Wyoming sophomores Fennis Dembo and Eric Leckner.
- One of my NFL teammates was former college basketball player Too Tall Jones (Tennessee State).
- I was a defensive back who had two interceptions with the Dallas Cowboys during my six seasons with them from 1986 through 1991.
- I recorded a safety in 1991 before the Cowboys were eliminated in the second round of the NFL playoffs by the Detroit Lions.
Who am I? MANNY HENDRIX
- I played against long-time network broadcaster Curt Gowdy and former All-Pro wide receiver Dale Gentry in the 1941 NCAA Tournament.
- I was a 6-2, 195-pound guard who earned basketball honors as a second-team All-Southwest Conference choice as a sophomore and junior and a first-team selection as a senior.
- I was a member of Arkansas' 1941 team that won the SWC title with a 12-0 record, finished 20-3 overall and reached the Final Four in its NCAA Tournament debut.
- I finished sixth in the NFL in pass receptions as a rookie.
- I was a member of the Rams' 1945 NFL title team and finished my pro career with 75 receptions for 1,378 yards and 16 touchdowns.
- I was coach of the San Francisco 49ers (27-27-1 record from 1959 through 1963) after playing end with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams for five years (1941 and 1945 through 1948).
- Among the players I coached with the 49ers were former college basketball players Billy Kilmer (UCLA), R.C. Owens (College of Idaho) and Billy Wilson (San Jose State).
Who am I? HOWARD "RED" HICKEY
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as major league outfielder Dave Winfield (Minnesota).
- I participated in three consecutive Final Fours for NCAA championship teams under legendary coach John Wooden.
- My UCLA teammates included five All-Americans--Henry Bibby, Curtis Rowe, John Vallely, Bill Walton and Sidney Wicks.
- I scored 10 points as a senior against Weber State in the 1972 West Regional semifinals before scoring six points against Denny Crum-coached Louisville in the national semifinals.
- I am author of a book titled with one of Wooden's most famous quotes: "Be Quick--But Don't Hurry."
- As president of CBS Productions, I was responsible for the development and production of such successful prime time programming as Touched by an Angel, Walker Texas Ranger, Rescue 911, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Dave's World.
Who am I? ANDY HILL
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against All-Americans Dennis DuVal (Syracuse) and Marvin Barnes (Providence).
- I was a Furman teammate of All-American forward Clyde Mayes.
- I scored a total of 14 points in five East Regional games from 1973 through 1975.
- I was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1990, when I narrowly lost to Dan Coats.
- I am a Democratic Congressman who was a member of the Indiana House from 1982 until succeeding retiring Lee Hamilton in the U.S. House of Representatives in a widely-watched open-seat contest in 1998.
- After losing my House seat, I recaptured it in 2006 before losing it again in 2010.
Who am I? BARON HILL
- I scored 12 points in the 1969 NCAA playoffs against coach Lou Henson and All-American-to-be New Mexico State guard Jimmy Collins.
- One of my college teammates, Paul Ruffner, was Collins' teammate with the Chicago Bulls in 1970-71.
- I was a second-team All-WAC guard as a junior and senior when I led Brigham Young in scoring each of those seasons.
- I am a son of BYU Hall of Famer Orin Howard.
- I played in the major leagues with Frank Robinson as a teammate and under him when he was a manager.
- I played five years in the majors as a first baseman-outfielder with the California Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians from 1972 through 1976.
Who am I? DOUG HOWARD
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against teams coached by Joe B. Hall, Al McGuire and Digger Phelps. Among the opposing players were All-Americans Kevin Grevey (Kentucky), Maurice Lucas (Marquette), Adrian Dantley (Notre Dame) and John Shumate (Notre Dame).
- I was a 6-4 forward who averaged seven points and seven rebounds per game in four NCAA Tournament contests in 1973 and 1974 as an Austin Peay teammate of celebrated James "Fly" Williams.
- I was an All-Ohio Valley Conference basketball selection as a senior.
- I became a wide receiver who caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach for their final TD in a 21-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl X.
Who am I? PERCY HOWARD
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against teams coached by Jack Kraft, Jack Ramsay, Fred Taylor and John Wooden.
- I was a 6-6, 245-pound forward for the 1962 Wake Forest squad featuring Len Chappell and Billy Packer that finished third in the NCAA Tournament.
- I was the first athlete in ACC history to start in both football and basketball.
- One of my pro football teammates was Hall of Fame-to-be quarterback Len Dawson, who briefly played basketball for Purdue.
- I was an All-ACC defensive end who became a third-round pick of the NFL's Chicago Bears in 1962, but chose to play with the AFL's Dallas Texans after being their fifth-round selection.
- In my only pro season, I intercepted a pass and returned it 23 yards to help set up the game-winning field goal in overtime of a 20-17 victory over Houston in the AFL championship game.
Who am I? BILL HULL
- I played in the NCAA tourney against future major league outfielder and manager Sam Mele of NYU.
- I was a forward-center for Georgetown's 1943 NCAA Tournament runner-up that compiled a 22-5 record.
- I scored two points in a 53-49 victory over DePaul, a team from my Chicago hometown, and fellow freshman George Mikan in the Eastern Regional final (playoff semifinals) before going scoreless in a championship game loss to Wyoming.
- I started out as a Democrat before becoming a 12-term Republican Congressman from Illinois and eventual chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
- My towering stature as a lawmaker (6-3) made me the ideal GOP pointman to lead an impeachment inquiry of President Clinton, who earned his diploma from my alma mater 21 years after I did.
Who am I? HENRY HYDE
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as NFL linebacker James Francis (Baylor) and major league outfielder Kenny Lofton (Arizona).
- I was a Florida State teammate of All-American George McCloud.
- I hit all three of my three-point field-goal attempts in a 102-98 opening-round loss to B.J. Armstrong-led Iowa in the 1988 NCAA Tournament.
- I am a quarterback who received a four-year, $15 million contract from the Minnesota Vikings in 1996 despite being their ninth-round draft choice in 1992.
- I became a pro starter when Warren Moon was injured and directed Minnesota to the NFL playoffs.
- An injury led me to losing my starting job to Randall Cunningham in 1998 before I was traded by the Vikings to the Washington Redskins, where I set a club single-game record with 471 yards passing at San Francisco on December 26, 1999.
- I guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the NFL playoffs following the 2001 season after signing with them as a free agent.
- I threw a career-high five touchdown passes against the Minnesota Vikings in 2002 before leading the Bucs to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
- I returned to the Vikings in 2005 for two seasons.
Who am I? BRAD JOHNSON
- I scored eight points in 10 minutes in a second-round victory against St. Joseph's in 2001. It was one of four times in six NCAA playoff games that I scored eight points.
- I was a teammate of Stanford All-American Casey Jacobsen when we were eliminated by national champion-to-be Maryland in the 2001 West Regional final and eventual Final Four participant Kansas in the second round of the 2002 Midwest Regional.
- I was an occasional starting forward who had career averages of 4.9 points and 3 rebounds per game with the Cardinal.
- After redshirting in 2000 as a quarterback, I became co-freshman of the year in the Pacific-10 Conference in 2001 when I caught 38 passes for 565 yards and seven touchdowns, including a TD in the Seattle Bowl against Georgia Tech.
- I am a 6-7, 240-pound wide receiver who declared for the NFL draft with two years of eligibility remaining after catching 41 passes for 467 yards and eight TDs in 2002.
- I was a second-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders in 2003.
Who am I? TEYO JOHNSON
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as major league second baseman Jerry Adair (Oklahoma State).
- I was a teammate of California All-American forward Larry Friend.
- I participated as a backup forward in back-to-back West Regional finals in 1957 and 1958.
- I finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1958 when I led Cal to a Rose Bowl berth.
- I coached my alma mater and appeared as a bit actor in a dozen movies.
- I became a member of the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame after quarterbacking Calgary (1959 and 1960) and Vancouver (1961 through 1966).
- I was an NFL Pro Bowl selection following the 1969 season with the Minnesota Vikings.
- I am the only QB to start in the Rose Bowl, Super Bowl and Grey Cup.
- I was the last QB to throw seven touchdown passes in a single NFL game.
- My teammates with the Vikings included former college basketball players Dale Hackbart (Wisconsin), King Hill (Rice) and Art Powell (San Jose State).
Who am I? JOE KAPP
- I was a Virginia teammate of future NBA players Bryant Stith and John Crotty.
- I became the Cavaliers' career rushing record with 3,348 yards on 567 carries, including a total of 14 100-yard games.
- I participated in three football bowls and scored a touchdown against Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl.
- I was scoreless in two 1990 NCAA Tournament games against Notre Dame and Syracuse before becoming a starting running back as a rookie for the Miami Dolphins in 1993.
- I was the Dolphins' leading pass receiver and second-leading rusher after being a third-round pick in the 1993 NFL draft.
- I led the Dolphins in pass receptions with 66 for 618 yards in 1995 and was again the team's second-leading rusher before I was traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
- I played with the Oakland Raiders after previously being in the same backfield with quarterbacks Dan Marino and Steve Young.
- I missed Super Bowl XXXVII because of an injury.
Who am I? TERRY KIRBY
- I was the leading scorer in the Mountain States (Big Seven) Conference with 16.4 points per game for Colorado's 1946 NCAA Tournament team.
- I am reputedly the first player selected in the NBA's first college draft in 1947 after enrolling at Washington and Jefferson (Pa.) to play on a 16-4 team with two of my brothers.
- I never appeared in the then-fledgling NBA, which doesn't have any official draft records prior to 1949. The franchise that selected me, the Pittsburgh Ironmen, folded shortly after the draft, and my rights reverted to the New York Knicks.
- I chose not to play in an uncertain situation for little money after the Knicks mailed a contract offer to me in the mail for just $3,500.
- My son, Chris, coached American University for seven seasons from 1990-91 through 1996-97.
- I was recalled to the military during the Korean War, where I was assigned to intelligence work for the Navy and later embarked on a civilian career that led to a job with the Central Intelligence Agency.
- I was the CIA's deputy director under George Bush in 1976.
Who am I? HANK KNOCHE
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against future college and NBA head coaches Mike Dunleavy (South Carolina), Larry Farmer (UCLA), Lon Kruger (Kansas State) and Brian Winters (South Carolina).
- I was a Memphis State teammate of All-Americans Larry Finch and Larry Kenon.
- I was a 5-10 guard who averaged 3.9 points per game for the Tigers' team that lost to UCLA's Walton Gang in the 1973 NCAA Tournament final.
- I breed and train horses at Crown Center Farms, south of Columbia, Mo.
- I presented Missouri with the largest single, private gift in the school's history - $10 million, which was earmarked as seed money for a new 17,000-seat, $50 million arena.
- My wife, Nancy, is the daughter of the late Bud Walton and niece of the late Sam Walton, the brothers who founded Wal-Mart. My wife and I owned the NHL's St. Louis Blues and the Kiel Center arena in St. Louis.
- I had two deals fall through while trying to purchase NBA franchises (Denver Nuggets and Vancouver Grizzlies) before courting the Charlotte Hornets.
- I was named to the state of Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Who am I? BILL LAURIE
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as NFL linebacker James Francis (Baylor) and NFL quarterback Brad Johnson (Florida State).
- I was an Arizona teammate of All-Americans Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr.
- I was a member of the Wildcats' team that compiled a 35-3 record and reached the 1988 Final Four.
- I outscored Texas-El Paso guard Tim Hardaway, 12-2, in the 1987 West Regional.
- I led the American League in stolen bases in 1992 with 66, a record for an American League rookie.
- I was a Gold Glove outfielder who led the Cleveland Indians with a .325 batting mark (fourth in the A.L.) and paced the majors with 70 stolen bases in 1993.
- I played in the major league All-Star Game in 1994 and 1995, when I led the A.L. in stolen bases with 60 and 54, respectively.
- Considered the premier leadoff hitter of the 1990s, I am a six-time All-Star who hit a career-high .349 in 1994 with the Indians.
- I stole six bases in the 1995 World Series against the Atlanta Braves before hitting .333 for them in 1997 after I was traded in a deal involving former basketball player David Justice (Thomas More).
- I was traded to contending teams (the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs, respectively) midway through the 2002 and 2003 campaigns.
- I tied a major league record by scoring a run in 18 consecutive games with the Giants.
- Longtime standout Bernie Williams became a designated hitter upon my acquisition by the New York Yankees as their center fielder in 2004.
- I finished my 17-year MLB career with a .299 batting average and 622 stolen bases.
Who am I? KENNY LOFTON
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as NFL running back Terry Kirby (Virginia).
- I was a Loyola Marymount teammate of eventual All-Americans Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble in 1988-89 when the Lions (181) and U.S. International (150) competed in the highest-scoring game in NCAA history.
- I scored at least 16 points as a sophomore in each of the last three NCAA playoff outings for Loyola Marymount's 1990 West Regional runner-up (against Michigan, Alabama and UNLV). I had 23 in as many minutes against Michigan (149-115 victory) in the highest-scoring game in NCAA playoff history.
- I was a two-time All-WCC first-team selection and league-leading scorer.
- I scored a career-high 48 points against Idaho State as a junior in 1990-91 when I finished among the top five nationally in scoring (28.5 ppg) and assists (9.1 apg). During that season, I tallied a team-high 34 points when the Lions set an NCAA single-game scoring record in a 186-140 victory over USIU.
- I am an Oakland product who ranked eighth in the country in scoring as a senior with 26 points per game.
- I played in the same major league outfields with Sammy Sosa and Bobby Bonds.
- I hit .282 with the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and San Francisco Giants from 1997 through 2000 after previously being in the farm systems of the Texas Rangers and New York Mets.
- I went 15 for 34 from the plate (.441) with the Giants in 2000.
Who am I? TERRELL LOWERY
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as did Green Bay Packers linebacker Fred Carr (Texas Western) and Dallas Cowboys punter Ron Widby (Tennessee).
- I was a backup guard to eventual Princeton athletic director Gary Walters.
- I was a teammate of All-American Bill Bradley when the presidential candidate-to-be scored a Final Four-record 58 points against Wichita State in the 1965 national third-place game.
- I scored 14 points in three NCAA Tournament games in 1967 against coaches Bucky Waters (West Virginia), Dean Smith (North Carolina) and Lou Carnesecca (St. John's).
- I was employed by the U.S. Congress along with Hillary Clinton as part of a litigation team during the Watergate hearings.
- I survived non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in the 1980s and prostate cancer in the 1990s.
- I was a key major-league baseball executive with the Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox for more than 20 years.
- I was a driving force behind the construction of Camden Yards before becoming a minority owner of the Padres.
- I was instrumental in hiring Theo Epstein in November 2002 as the youngest general manager in baseball history.
Who am I? LARRY LUCCHINO
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as six-year NFL defensive back Manny Hendrix.
- I played in the 1986 NCAA playoffs against All-Americans Rony Seikaly and Pearl Washington.
- I scored seven points for Brown in a first-round loss against Jim Boeheim-coached Syracuse before leading the Bears in scoring the next season with 17.3 ppg.
- I assumed office as Rhode Island's Attorney General in January, 2003. Six weeks later, I oversaw a criminal investigation for the state after a pyrotechnics display burned a nightclub to the ground, killing 99 people and injuring 186.
- After endorsing Barack Obama over Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, I competed for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2010 before bowing out.
Who am I? PATRICK LYNCH
- I was a college teammate of Steve Ehlmann, a state legislator and circuit judge who contemplated running for Congress to fill Jim Tallent's seat when Tallent ran for Governor of Missouri in 2000.
- I was a junior college transfer who played for two different head coaches at Furman (Frank Selvy and Joe Williams).
- I was named MVP in the Southern Conference Tournament before collecting five points and two rebounds for the Paladins in their inaugural NCAA Tournament game, a 105-74 defeat against Digger Phelps-coached Fordham in the 1971 East Regional.
- I was an outfielder who hit .251 in 11 years from 1974 through 1984 with the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals and New York Mets.
- My major league teammates included Dick Allen, George Brett, Steve Carlton, Dave Kingman, Mike Schmidt, Darryl Strawberry and Bruce Sutter.
- I was a valuable backup who hit three pinch homers for the Phillies in 1978 in my last year with three consecutive divisional champions.
- I was involved in an eight-player trade including Ted Sizemore and Manny Trillo between the Phillies and Cubs during the winter before the 1979 season.
- I was a regular with the Cubs, collecting 42 homers and 146 RBI.
- I was a free-swinger who was suspended in 1984 for involvement with drugs.
- I served a three-month sentence in the Fort Worth Correctional Institute with Royals teammate Willie Wilson.
Who am I? JERRY MARTIN
- I participated in four NCAA playoff games, including one where I made all four of my field-goal attempts and dished out a team-high five assists in a first-round loss against Jack Hartman-coached Kansas State in 1981.
- My San Francisco teammates included All-Americans Bill Cartwright and Quintin Dailey.
- I averaged 8.5 points per game during my career with the Dons.
- My NFL teammates during five seasons in the mid-1980s with three different teams included former college basketball players Sam Clancy, Ronnie Lott and Pete Metzelaars.
- I had two interceptions and four sacks as LB-DB for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1984.
Who am I? KEN McALISTER
- I was a member of Maryland's 2002 NCAA titlist before becoming a part-time starter for the Terrapins' defending champion the next season.
- I played in the same 2001 NCAA basketball tourney as NFL defensive end Julius Peppers (North Carolina).
- I participated in two 2000 NCAA Tournament games, including one against UCLA.
- My Maryland teammates included All-ACC first-team selections Lonny Baxter, Juan Dixon and Terence Morris.
- In 1999, I finished No. 2 among Division I-A freshman quarterbacks (behind Virginia Tech's Michael Vick) in passing efficiency and total offense.
Who am I? CALVIN McCALL
- I played in the same NCAA tourney as eventual Indiana football coach Cam Cameron.
- I was a defensive specialist who fouled out when I collected seven points and five rebounds in a 1982 West Regional first-round loss against Wyoming.
- One of my Southern California teammates was Kentucky transfer Dwight Anderson. Another one of my USC teammates was Ken Johnson, who transferred after the season to Michigan State.
- My NFL teammates with the Los Angeles Rams included Eric Dickerson, Dennis Harrah, Jackie Slater, Jack Youngblood and Jim Youngblood.
- I was a tight end who caught 14 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns with the Rams and Detroit Lions in four years from 1983 to 1987.
Who am I? JAMES McDONALD
- I scored two points in two 1996 NCAA Tournament games for the eventual national runner-up.
- One of my Syracuse teammates was NBA first-round draft choice John Wallace.
- I am a former Gator Bowl MVP who was a high school basketball teammate of eventual Boston Celtics star Antoine Walker for Mount Carmel (Ill.), an all-male Catholic institution on the southside of Chicago.
- I participated in bowl games all four years in college - Gator, Liberty, Fiesta and Orange.
- I am a quarterback who completed 58.4% of my college passes with 77 TDs, including one as a freshman for 96 yards to eventual NFL standout Marvin Harrison against West Virginia in 1995.
- I finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting before becoming the second pick overall in the 1999 NFL draft.
- I finished runner-up to Marshall Faulk in voting for MVP in the NFL in 2000.
- A Super Bowl appearance climaxed my leading the Philadelphia Eagles to five consecutive NFL playoff appearances from 2000 through 2004 as a Pro Bowler each year in that span while completing 58 percent of my passes with twice as many touchdowns as interceptions.
- I set an an NFL record with 24 consecutive completions over a two-game span in 2004 when I had five games with at least four touchdown passes and established the Eagles' single-game record with 464 passing yards against Green Bay.
- I am the Eagles' all-time leader in career wins, pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns.
- I finished my career with the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings.
Who am I? DONOVAN McNABB
- I played against Congressman-to-be Henry Hyde (Georgetown) in the NCAA playoffs.
- I was named to the first five on the All-Metropolitan New York team as a sophomore in 1942-43 when I was NYU's leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament (losses against Georgetown and Dartmouth).
- I played for two different major league teams in a single season four times in a seven-year span, including two tours of duty as a teammate of Hall of Famer Ted Williams.
- I was an outfielder who hit .267 in a 10-year playing career from 1947 through 1956 with six teams before becoming manager of the Minnesota Twins for seven years from 1961 through 1967.
- I led the American League with 36 doubles for the Washington Senators in 1951 and drove in six runs in one inning in a 1952 game for the Chicago White Sox.
- I managed the Twins in 1965 when they won the A.L. title.
Who am I? SAM MELE
- I played in the same NCAA tourney as NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens (Tennessee-Chattanooga) and NFL defensive back Percy Ellsworth (Virginia).
- I played in the 1996 NCAA Tournament against Temple coach John Chaney after my team was upset by Manhattan in the playoffs the previous year.
- I hold Oklahoma's record for consecutive successful free throws with 30.
- I was a member of the 1994 College World Series champion before becoming a second-round draft choice of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers in 1996 (32nd pick overall).
- I was a forward who averaged 16.5 points per game en route to finishing my career No. 6 on the Sooners' all-time scoring list (1,946 points).
- I was a two-time All-Big Eight first-team selection and conference player of the year as a junior when I averaged 23.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
- I am a third baseman who replaced Cal Ripken Jr. in the Baltimore Orioles' lineup on September 20, 1998, ending Ripken's major league record of 2,632 consecutive games played.
- I no longer was Ripken's teammate during his final season in 2001 because I was traded to the Montreal Expos.
Who am I? RYAN MINOR
- I appeared in the NCAA playoffs against Notre Dame's Kelly Tripucka, Bill Hanzlik and Bill Laimbeer.
- I played briefly for Houston in the Cougars' 100-77 opening-round setback to the Fighting Irish in the 1978 Midwest Regional after leading the Cougars in QB sacks with eight.
- I was a defensive end who became a first-round NFL draft choice.
- I played seven pro seasons (1981 through 1987) with the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons.
- One of my teammates with the Eagles was former college basketball player Harold Carmichael (Southern).
Who am I? LEONARD MITCHELL
- I appeared in the NCAA Tournament against Texas-El Paso's Tim Hardaway.
- I averaged 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 1988-89 for LSU coach Dale Brown.
- I started in the same backcourt with All-American Chris Jackson in the West Regional of the 1989 NCAA playoffs.
- I was the player to be designated in a trade when pitcher Jack McDowell went from the Chicago White Sox to the New York Mets.
- I was an outfielder who hit .287 for the White Sox from 1995 through 1997 before my contract was sold to a team in Japan.
Who am I? LYLE MOUTON
- I was a 6-0 All-American forward as a junior for Dartmouth.
- I was the leading scorer for the 1942 NCAA Tournament runner-up (22-4 record) and averaged 12.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games from 1941 through 1943.
- I was a trustee and chairman of the Finance Committee of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- I had a 29-year career as an executive (vice president in 1962, president/director in 1966, CEO in 1969 and chair/CEO from 1975-87) with the Phelps Dodge Corp., a Fortune 500 company and the nation's leading copper producer.
Who am I? GEORGE MUNROE
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against Notre Dame (Kelly Tripucka, Orlando Woolridge, Bill Hanzlik and Bill Laimbeer) and Maryland (Albert King and Buck Williams).
- I was a Tennessee teammate of All-Americans Reggie Johnson and Dale Ellis.
- I collected a total of 19 points and 14 rebounds in just 36 minutes in four NCAA Tournament games in 1979 and 1980.
- I am one of the most popular figures in recent wrestling history who quietly began my career in 1990 as a WCW undercard wrestler, including billing as Oz (dressed in green cape and claimed to be "great and powerful") and Vinnie Vegas (wise guy in a pink suit and sunglasses).
- I am a former bouncer who went from a hanger-on to a 6-10, 350-pound hero in about seven months. My pin of Bob Backlund completed an unprecedented trifecta, giving me the WWF World tag team title, International title, and World title in the same calendar year.
- I was known as "Diesel" when I won the World Wrestling Federation championship in a record-setting eight-second bout in 1994.
Who am I? KEVIN NASH
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as major league pitcher Steve Hamilton (Morehead State).
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against North Carolina's undefeated 1957 team and All-Americans Tom Gola (La Salle), Ronnie Shavlik (N.C. State), Guy Rodgers (Temple) and Hot Rod Hundley (West Virginia).
- I was a teammate of Canisius All-America guard John McCarthy.
- I was the leading rebounder for the first three Canisius teams to participate in the NCAA Tournament.
- I was the leading scorer and rebounder for one of the winningest teams in Canisius history (22-6 record in 1956-57).
- I became a two-time NCAA Tournament All-East Regional selection (1956 and 1957) by averaging 19.4 points per game in nine NCAA playoff contests.
- I was selected in the fourth round of the 1957 NBA draft by the St. Louis Hawks.
- I am a Democrat who never received less than 75 percent of the general electorate vote while representing the Buffalo area for nine terms (1975-93) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Who am I? HANK NOWAK
- I played in the same NCAA Tournament as eventual Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, Massachusetts U.S. Congressman Joe Early and World Series of Poker legend Doyle Brunson.
- I averaged 15.3 ppg in three NCAA playoff contests in 1953.
- I was a third-team All-American selection on Converse and United Press All-American squads as a senior when I finished second in the nation in field-goal shooting (54%).
- My twin brother was a basketball All-American who went on to play six seasons of major league baseball.
- I was an infielder-outfielder who played five seasons (1953 and 1955 through 1958) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, hitting .236 in 231 games.
Who am I? EDDIE O'BRIEN
- I played in the same NCAA Tournament as eventual Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, Massachusetts U.S. Congressman Joe Early and World Series of Poker legend Doyle Brunson.
- I was a a two-time NCAA consensus All-American who averaged 32 ppg in three NCAA playoff games in 1953 after scoring 51 points in a regular-season game against Gonzaga.
- I became the first college player to crack the 1,000-point plateau in a single season by scoring 1,051 in 37 games in 1951-52.
- My twin brother was a basketball All-American who went on to play five seasons of major league baseball.
- I was an infielder/pitcher who played 339 games in six seasons (1953 and 1955 through 1959) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Braves, hitting .250 and compiling a 1-3 pitching record.
- I was traded by the Pirates with Gene Freese to the Cardinals for Dick Schofield and cash.
- I was a second baseman for the Pirates on July 3, 1956, when I became the last N.L. position player to earn a victory on the mound until catcher Brent Mayne achieved the feat for the Colorado Rockies against the Atlanta Braves in August 2000.
Who am I? JOHNNY O'BRIEN
- I was scoreless in one minute for Tennessee-Chattanooga against No. 2 seed Connecticut in the 1995 West Regional.
- I played in the Senior Bowl after becoming UTC's all-time leading receiver (143 catches for 2,320 yards and 19 TDs).
- I started more games at receiver (10) than any San Francisco 49ers rookie since Gene Washington in 1969.
- I caught 162 passes for 2,553 yards and 26 touchdowns in my first three NFL seasons after being the 49ers' third-round draft choice in 1996.
- I became the heir apparent to Hall of Fame-bound Jerry Rice as the 49ers' go-to wide receiver after catching 15 touchdown passes in 1998, including at least one in each of the last eight regular-season games.
- My dramatic 25-yard touchdown catch from Steve Young with three seconds remaining lifted the 49ers to a 30-27 victory against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in an NFC wild-card game following the 1998 season.
- I set an NFL single-game record with 20 receptions in 2000 against the Chicago Bears.
- I led the Super Bowl-bound Philadelphia Eagles in receiving in 2004.
- I am a six-time Pro Bowl selection who finished my 15-year NFL career with 1,078 pass receptions for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns.
Who am I? TERRELL OWENS
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as Congressman Scotty Baesler (Kentucky) and Dallas Cowboys defensive back Cornell Green (Utah State).
- I was the second-leading scorer for Wake Forest's only Final Four squad (behind All-American Len Chappell).
- I outscored Ohio State's Bob Knight 17-0 and UCLA All-American Walt Hazzard 22-15 at the 1962 Final Four.
- After earning a spot on the All-East Regional team, I scored a total of 39 points in two Final Four games for the national third-place Demon Deacons to finish the season with a 14.1-point scoring average.
- I hit just 1 of 10 field-goal attempts in a 97-74 victory over St. John's in the first round although Wake still became the only team to ever trail by as many as 10 points at halftime of a tournament game (46-36) and then win the contest by more than 20.
- I was an All-ACC first-team selection as a junior in 1960-61 with Chappell and three other All-Americans--Art Heyman, York Larese and Doug Moe.
- I was the color commentator at the Final Four for two broadcast networks.
Who am I? BILLY PACKER
- I played in the NCAA Tournament against All-Americans Arnold Short (Oklahoma City), Bob Mattick (Oklahoma A&M), Bob Houbregs (Washington) and Don Schlundt (Indiana).
- I was a football/basketball teammate of All-American defensive back Gil Reich.
- I was a starting forward and second-leading rebounder for Kansas' 1953 national runner-up.
- I was named to the NJCAA All-Tournament team in 1952 when I averaged 20 points per game for Garden City (Kan.) before enrolling with the Jayhawks.
- I was an All-Big Seven Conference first-team basketball selection as a senior.
- I scored 54 touchdowns in my 14-year CFL career and had 34 games with at least 100 yards in pass receptions.
- I became a member of the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame after averaging 20.6 yards per pass reception with 460 catches for 9,473 yards and 64 touchdowns.
Who am I? HAL PATTERSON
- I was a member of a 2000 Final Four squad.
- I made 13 of 15 shots from the floor in NCAA playoff competition en route to leading North Carolina in field-goal shooting in 2000-01 (64.3%).
- I started both of my NCAA Tournament games in 2001, including my first double-double (10 rebounds and career-high 21 points against Penn State).
- I was a basketball/football teammate of Ronald Curry, a four-year starting quarterback.
- I was a first-team All-American as a defensive end who led the nation in sacks with 15 in 2000.
- I won the Lombardi Award as the nation's top lineman and Chuck Bednarik Trophy as the nation's top defensive player in 2001 before becoming the second pick overall in the NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers.
- I was named NFL defensive rookie of the year in 2002 after registering 54 tackles and 12 sacks (including a pair of three-sack games) in 12 contests in 2002.
- The next year, I played in Super Bowl XXXVIII for Charlotte.
- I am an eight-time NFL Pro Bowl selection who signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the Chicago Bears in 2010 and Green Bay Packers in 2014. Most recent Pro Bowl appearance was this year in my 14th NFL season.
Who am I? JULIUS PEPPERS
- I collected six points and a team-high nine rebounds for Texas Tech in a 1961 Midwest Regional semifinal loss against eventual NCAA Tournament champion Cincinnati.
- I averaged 12.1 ppg and 10.5 rpg as a junior as part of Tech's first SWC championship team in a major sport.
- I averaged 8 ppg for the Red Raiders in five NCAA playoff contests in 1961 and 1962.
- My NFL teammates included standouts such as Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers and Roger Staubach.
- I was a placekicker who scored 466 points with the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys in eight years from 1967 through 1974.
- I led the NFL with 25 field goals for the Bears in 1968 when I tied for third place in the league in scoring with 100 points.
Who am I? MAC PERCIVAL
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as major league pitcher Rollie Sheldon.
- I was a West Virginia teammate of All-American Jerry West.
- I was a backup guard for the Mountaineers in 1960 when they lost to NYU, 82-81, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament despite my five of six field-goal shooting.
- I was an infielder who hit .233 in 11 seasons (1964 and 1966 through 1975) with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
- My major league teammates included Ernie Banks, Don Drysdale, Dave Parker, Willie Stargell, Don Sutton and Billy Williams.
- I was traded with Ron Fairly by the Dodgers to the Montreal Expos for Maury Wills and Manny Mota during the 1969 campaign.
- I went three-for-three in pinch-hitting appearances for the Pirates in the 1974 N.L. Championship Series.
Who am I? PAUL POPOVICH
- I played in the 1999 NCAA playoffs against St. John's All-American Ron Artest.
- I was a backcourt teammate of Indiana basketball All-American A.J. Guyton.
- I was 1998 Big Ten Conference freshman of the year in football before becoming the first league football player to accumulate 5,000 total yards the next season as a sophomore.
- I was a 5-11 college quarterback who compiled 3,000 passing yards and 1,500 yards rushing through my first 19 games, which is faster than anyone in NCAA Division I-A history.
- I became the first player in NCAA Division I-A history to pass for 6,000 yards and rush for 3,000.
- I became the only "40-40 Man" in major-college history (more than 40 passing touchdowns and more than 40 rushing/receiving touchdowns).
- I was a regular wide receiver as a rookie for the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002 after being their second-round draft choice. The next year, I caught 37 passes for 364 yards and returned two punts for touchdowns.
- I signed a seven-year, $31 million contract with the Washington Redskins as an unrestricted free agent entering the 2006 campaign before being cast adrift by Mike Shanahan in 2010 and returning to the Steelers.
- I made a two-point conversion on a run for the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV.
Who am I? ANTWAAN RANDLE EL
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against Seattle All-American Elgin Baylor.
- I was a California teammate of future pro quarterback Joe Kapp.
- I averaged 15.5 points in four NCAA Tournament games in 1957 and 1958 under coach Pete Newell, leading the Bears in scoring in two of the four playoff contests.
- I was a three-time all-conference second-team basketball selection.
- I was an outfielder who hit .268 in four seasons from 1958 to 1964 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles.
- I was purchased by the Orioles from the Dodgers during the winter of 1960.
- My major league teammates included former college basketball players Jerry Adair (Oklahoma State), Dick Hall (Swarthmore), Gil Hodges (Oakland City), Sandy Koufax (Cincinnati), Robin Roberts (Michigan State) and Norm Siebern (Southwest Missouri State).
Who am I? EARL ROBINSON
- I played in the same NCAA tourney as 1996 volleyball Olympian Mike Whitmarsh.
- I was a Washington teammate of All-American forward Detlef Schrempf.
- I was a 6-6, 260-pounder when I hit four of five field-goal attempts in the Huskies' 80-78 second-round victory over Duke in 1984 in Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski's first NCAA playoff game.
- I was a first-team All-American defensive lineman who became a first-round draft choice of the Detroit Lions in 1987 (seventh pick overall).
- Placekicker Eddie Murray was my teammate on two NFL teams. Among my other NFL teammates were QB Jim Kelly, LB Chris Spielman, DE Bruce Smith, QB Vinny Testaverde and RB Thurman Thomas.
- I also played with the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a six-year NFL career.
- My older brother, Don, an outstanding safety for UCLA, was a starting defensive back for the Cleveland Browns when he died tragically.
Who am I? REGGIE ROGERS
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as major league infielder Paul Popovich.
- I was Connecticut's third-leading scorer with 13.5 points per game as a 6-4 sophomore forward for a 1960 NCAA Tournament team that was eliminated by Satch Sanders-led NYU, which advanced to the Final Four.
- I had a front-row seat when Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle went after Babe Ruth's single-season home run record.
- I compiled a 38-36 pitching record in five seasons (1961, 1962 and 1964 through 1966) with the New York Yankees, Kansas City Athletics and Boston Red Sox.
- I was 11-5 as a rookie with the A.L. champion Yankees after going 15-1 in Class D ball the previous year.
- I appeared in two games for the Yanks in the 1964 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
- I was traded by the Yanks with Johnny Blanchard to K.C. for Doc Edwards during the 1965 season.
Who am I? ROLLIE SHELDON
- One of my teammates, George Stanich, was a bronze medalist in the high jump in the 1948 Olympics.
- I scored 11 points in UCLA's first-ever NCAA Tournament game (73-59 setback against Bradley in 1950) before scoring a team-high 21 points in an 83-62 loss to Brigham Young in the Western Regional third-place contest.
- I was an All-PCC South selection as a senior when I averaged 10.4 ppg and was team captain for coach John Wooden.
- I opened the first Polly's Pie Restaurant in 1968 with my brother.
- I am a restauranteur who is the largest holder of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Anaheim-based Polly's Pies franchises in the country, operating as many as 15 KFCs and 13 Polly's in Southern California.
Who am I? EDDIE SHELDRAKE
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against future All-American Dick Ricketts of Duquesne.
- I was a starting forward and All-Ivy League second-team selection with Princeton's first NCAA Tournament squad in 1952.
- I was a major league pitcher who compiled a 38-44 record in seven seasons (1956 through 1962) with the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators and Cincinnati Reds.
- My batterymate when I broke in with the Red Sox was former college basketball player Sammy White (Washington).
- I was traded with cash by the Senators to the Reds for pitcher Claude Osteen near the end of the 1961 campaign.
- I am a son of a Hall of Fame first baseman and brother of a former Cincinnati Reds manager.
- After graduating magna cum laude, I became an executive vice president, vice chairman of the board, and branch director of St. Louis-based A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., the largest brokerage firm headquartered outside New York, with 5,300 investment brokers in over 500 branch locations throughout 48 states and the District of Columbia.
Who am I? DAVE SISLER
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as eventual major league outfielder Jerry Martin (Furman).
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against All-Americans Ed Ratleff (Long Beach State) and Kresimir Cosic (Brigham Young).
- I averaged 22 ppg for Pacific's freshman squad in 1967-68 before averaging 8.7 ppg and 2.9 rpg in my three-year varsity basketball career from 1968-69 through 1970-71.
- I hit seven of eight field-goal attempts en route to scoring 21 points in two playoff games as a senior in 1971 after averaging a career-high 10.9 ppg as a junior.
- My Pacific basketball teammates included eventual NCAA Division I head coaches Bob Thomason and Pat Douglass and All-American center John Gianelli.
- My major league baseball teammates included Cesar Cedeno, Bill Madlock, J.R. Richard, Bruce Sutter, Bob Watson and Billy Williams.
- I was involved in a trade between the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants before the 1977 season that included Madlock and Bobby Murcer.
- I was an infielder who hit .211 with the Cubs and Houston Astros in four years from 1974 through 1977.
Who am I? ROB SPERRING
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against standouts Marvin Barnes (Providence), Billy Knight (Pittsburgh), Maurice Lucas (Marquette) and UCLA's Walton Gang.
- I had a game-high seven assists for North Carolina State in a victory over Providence in the 1974 East Regional.
- I was the starting forward opposite national player of the year David Thompson for the Wolfpack's 1974 NCAA champion.
- I had a part as a menacing pitcher in a comedy film (Rookie of the Year).
- I was on major league pitching staffs with Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry and Jim Palmer.
- I appeared in 485 games, all as a reliever, in 13 seasons (1975 and 1978 through 1989) with the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.
- I compiled a 41-35 record with 3.95 ERA and 76 saves, recording 26 of the saves for the Orioles in 1980 the year after being the winning pitcher for them in Game Four of the 1979 World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- I was traded by the Padres to the Yankees for pitcher Ed Whitson during the 1986 season.
Who am I? TIM STODDARD
- I scored a team-high 16 points and contributed game highs of 8 rebounds and 3 steals in a 2004 NCAA playoff opening-round setback against Texas.
- I was an All-Ivy League first-team selection as a junior and second-team choice as a senior under Princeton coach John Thompson III.
- I didn't play baseball my freshman year in college.
- I am the son of a 12-year major league outfielder who spent most of his career in the National League and was involved in a trade from the San Francisco Giants to the Montreal Expos for Al Oliver.
- I am a lefthanded outfielder who hit .264 in 28 games for the San Diego Padres during a September call-up in 2008, hitting a triple in my first at-bat.
- I was a regular for the Padres the previous five seasons (2010 through 2014), finishing among the top 10 in the National League in triples a couple of years.
Who am I? WILL VENABLE
- I was a Drake teammate of Willie McCarter and Willie Wise.
- I blocked one of UCLA star Lew Alcindor's shots in the Bulldogs' 85-82 defeat in the 1969 national semifinals.
- I outscored Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and former Wichita State/Vanderbilt/South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler, 11-9, in the national third-place game when they were North Carolina teammates.
- I won the decathlon title at the 1971 Pan American Games, 1971 National AAU meet and 1970 NCAA meet.
Who am I? RICK WANAMAKER
- I played against Bob Knight-coached Indiana in the 1992 NCAA playoffs before averaging 8.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.5 apg and 3.3 spg in four tournament games for the 1993 Southeast Regional runner-up.
- I held my school's career record for steals when my eligibility expired in 1993-94.
- I passed and rushed for 6,636 yards in my college football career.
- I was named Orange Bowl MVP in back-to-back victories over Nebraska.
- I led Florida State to 1993 national title by passing for 3,032 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushing for 339 yards and four touchdowns.
- I was a Heisman Trophy winner and consensus All-American quarterback who captured the 1993 Sullivan Award as the nation's premier amateur athlete.
Who am I? CHARLIE WARD
- I was Washington's second-leading scorer as a junior forward behind All-American center Jack Nichols in two 1948 NCAA Tournament games.
- I was named to the first five on the All-Pacific Coast Conference Northern Division basketball team as a junior and senior. * My major league baseball teammates included Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, George Kell, Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn and Ted Williams.
- I was a catcher who hit .262 in 11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox (1951 through 1959), Milwaukee Braves (1961) and Philadelphia Phillies (1962).
- I was a 1953 All-Star who hit over .280 three times with the Red Sox.
- On June 18, 1953, I scored three runs in one inning when the Red Sox tallied 17 in the seventh against the Detroit Tigers.
- A trade including Russ Nixon and Jim Marshall between the Red Sox and Cleveland Indians before the 1960 campaign was cancelled when I announced my retirement.
Who am I? SAMMY WHITE
- I played in the same NCAA tourney as Washington's Reggie Rogers, an All-American defensive tackle and NFL first-round draft choice of the Detroit Lions.
- I scored a team-high 17 points for San Diego in a 65-56 loss to Pete Carril-coached Princeton in the preliminary round of the 1984 NCAA Tournament.
- I set a school DI single-game scoring record with 37 points at Loyola Marymount in 1982-83.
- I was an All-WCAC selection as a junior and senior.
- I was a fifth-round draft choice of the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1984 NBA draft.
- I joined Miller Lite/AVP Professional Beach Volleyball Tour in 1989, when I was rookie of the year.
- I aligned with Mike Dodd in 1993 and we subsequently became one of the premier pairs on the volleyball tour before earning a silver medal in the 1996 Olympics when two-man beach volleyball made its debut.
Who am I? MIKE WHITMARSH
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as Green Bay Packers linebacker Fred Carr (Texas Western) and major league baseball executive Larry Lucchino (Princeton).
- I was a teammate of Tennessee center Tom Boerwinkle.
- I outscored All-American forward Don May, 20-9, in the NCAA playoffs to become an all-regional selection.
- I was the game-high scorer in the Volunteers' NCAA Tournament debut although it wasn't enough to prevent a 53-52 setback against national runnerup-to-be Dayton in the 1967 Mideast Regional semifinals.
- I was a two-time All-SEC first-team basketball selection and led the league in scoring the season before LSU's Pete Maravich arrived at the varsity level.
- My NFL teammates included former college basketball players Fred Carr (Texas Western), Mike Ditka (Pittsburgh), Pete Gent (Michigan State), Cornell Green (Utah State) and Roger Staubach (Navy).
- I averaged 42 yards per punt in six seasons (1968 through 1973) with the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.
- I posted the longest punt in the NFL in 1968 (84 yards as a rookie).
- I played in the Pro Bowl following the 1971 season and appeared in two Super Bowls with the Cowboys (V and VI).
Who am I? RON WIDBY
- I played in the NCAA playoffs against Arkansas All-American center George Kok.
- I am the only freshman to lead a single NCAA tourney in scoring average (22 ppg).
- I scored a game-high 23 points for Oregon in a 79-76 loss to Arkansas in a 1945 West Regional semifinal before scoring a team-high 21 points in a 69-66 win over Utah in a third-place game.
- The next season, I became the first Oregon player to crack the 1,000-point plateau and repeated as an All-PCC North Division first-team selection.
- I was the leading pass receiver (27 catches for 520 yards and five touchdowns) on the 1948 Oregon team that featured quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, compiled a 9-2 mark and won the Pacific Coast Conference championship. The Ducks lost to SMU, 21-13, in the Cotton Bowl that season despite my four receptions for 57 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass from Van Brocklin.
- I led the Dallas Texans of the All-America Football Conference with 32 catches in 1952.
Fellow end and former Great Northwest college basketball player Dale Gentry (Washington State) left the AAFC's Los Angeles Dons the year before I joined the team.
- Quarterbacks on my NFL teams included Don Heinrich and Frank Tripucka.
Who am I? DICK WILKINS
- I played in the same NCAA basketball tourney as 1952 Olympic gold-medal winning high jumper Buddy Davis (Texas A&M).
- I played in the NCAA Tournament against Brigham Young All-Americans Mel Hutchins, Roland Minson and Joe Richey.
- I collected two points and seven rebounds for San Jose State in a 68-61 opening-round loss to BYU in 1951.
- I caught 10 touchdown passes my last three years for the football Spartans after spending 19 months in the Pacific with the Navy.
- I was a split end who caught 407 passes for 5,902 yards in 10 seasons (1951 through 1960) with the San Francisco 49ers.
- I was a Pro Bowl selection six consecutive seasons (1955 through 1960) and named to wire-service All-Pro teams in 1955 and 1957.
- I led the NFL in receptions three consecutive years--1955 (60 catches), 1956 (60) and 1957 (52).
- I caught passes from NFL standout quarterbacks Y.A. Tittle and John Brodie.
- A fellow receiver with the 49ers was R.C. Owens, who led the nation's small colleges in rebounding in 1953-54 with the College of Idaho.
- I was named player of the game in the 1955 Pro Bowl after catching 11 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown.
Who am I? BILLY WILSON
- I was a Minnesota teammate of All-American forward Jim Brewer under coach Bill Musselman.
- I played the entire game, collecting eight points and eight rebounds against eventual national runner-up Florida State, in the Gophers' first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1972.
- I didn't play college football, but was chosen in the 17th round of the 1973 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings. That same year I was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the fifth round of the NBA draft and the Utah Stars in the sixth round of the ABA draft.
- My major league baseball teammates included former college basketball players Bill Almon (Brown), Kenny Lofton (Arizona), Graig Nettles (San Diego State) and Dennis Rasmussen (Creighton).
- I was an outfielder who hit .283 with 465 home runs, 1,833 RBIs and 3,110 hits in 22 seasons (1973 through 1988 and 1990 through 1995) with the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, California Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians.
- I participated in the World Series with the Yankees (1981) and Blue Jays (1992).
- I am a baseball Hall of Famer who appeared in 12 All-Star Games after never playing in the minors.
Who am I? DAVE WINFIELD
- I played against Guy Lewis' Houston squad that featured Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney.
- I was Colorado State's leading scorer for NCAA Tournament teams in 1965 and 1966.
- I was a cornerback who had a total of five interceptions in two seasons (1966 and 1967) with the AFL's Denver Broncos although I never played a down of college football.
- One of my teammates with the Broncos was receiver Lionel Taylor, who led New Mexico Highlands' basketball team in scoring average with 13.6 ppg in 1955-56 and 20.3 in 1956-57.
- I became the first player in professional sports history to compete in football and basketball (Denver Rockets) simultaneously.
Who am I? LONNIE WRIGHT
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 2 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 individual selected the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player three times? Hint: His real first name was Ferdinand and he is the only player to couple three unanimous first team All-American seasons with three NCAA championships. He is also the only player to hit better than 70% of his field-goal attempts in two NCAA title games.
2. Who is the only coach to twice guide three different schools to the NCAA playoffs in the same decade? Hint: He achieved the feat in a span of six straight seasons and is the only coach to have two different sons play for him in the tourney with two different schools.
3. Who is the only one of the 40 Final Four Most Outstanding Players from 1972 through 2011 not to play for the championship team? Hint: He never led his college team in scoring average in any of his three seasons at the school.
4. Who is the only coach to guide a school to the Final Four as many as five times and never capture the national championship? Hint: He lost each time at the Final Four to the eventual titlist and served as captain for the school's first team in 1946.
5. Name the only current Pacific-12 Conference member never to reach the Final Four. Hint: The school has made more tournament appearances than seven Pac-12 members, but lost three West Regional finals by a total of 40 points before joining the conference. It absorbed the largest margin of defeat for the 14 No. 1 or 2 seeds losing their playoff opener since seeding started in 1979.
6. Name the only conference to have five teams all lose their opening-round game in a single tourney. Hint: The league has had four different schools lose first-round games by more than 20 points against squads with double-digit seeds since seeding started in 1979.
7. Who is the only coach to win a tournament game for four different schools? Hint: He was the only coach in the 20th Century to direct four different universities to the NCAA playoffs.
8. Who is the only individual to win NCAA titles in his first two seasons as head coach at a school? Hint: He achieved the feat the first year after the eligibility expired for the school's most illustrious player, a three-time UPI Player of the Year who led the nation in scoring each season.
9. Who is the only active coach to take two different schools to the NCAA playoffs in his maiden voyage with them after they posted a losing mark the previous campaign? Hint: He posted the nation's best winning percentage by a first-year major college head coach in 1987-88 when he went 20-10 (.667) in his lone season with yet another school.
10. Name the only school to reach the Final Four in its one and only NCAA Tournament appearance in the 20th Century. Hint: The coach of the Final Four team is the only individual to win more than 30 games in earning a trip to the national semifinals in his first season.
The NCAA Tournament remains little more than "Never Never Land" for the following five schools never to participate in the national championship tournament despite designation as major colleges since the late 1940s (number of coaches during that span in parentheses):
The "Road to the Final Four" is a highway lined with daydreamers and potholes. But it defies logic why a total of five mid-major schools with more than 25 victories were consigned to NIT participation. Akron and Saint Mary's have previously been shunned as a total of 23 teams in the last 10 seasons were denied an at-large bid despite posting in excess of 25 victories.
Rather than automatically focusing on underachieving middle-of-the-pack power-alliance affiliates, shouldn't teams capturing undisputed regular-season crowns in a Division I conference warrant more extensive consideration as at-large entrants to the NCAA playoffs? Season-long excellence needs to count more than always paying homage to mediocre members of a power league. Actually, we got a pretty clear picture this season that the power conferences really weren't all that powerful.
Davidson had two of 11 teams from mid-major conferences - Lafayette '78, American '81, Temple '82, William & Mary '83, Coppin State '94, Davidson '96, Austin Peay '04, Davidson '05, Norfolk State '13, Murray State '15 and North Carolina Central '15 - going undefeated in league round-robin regular-season competition but not participating in the NCAA playoffs after losing by a single-digit margin in their conference tournament since at-large bids were issued to schools other than conference champions in 1975.
Stephen F. Austin, rejected for the second time in six years in 2013 despite a sterling 27-4 worksheet, is a classic example depicting why many mid-level schools have an inferiority complex. Utah State was shunned in 2003-04 despite winning nearly 90% of its games (25-3 record).
Prior to joining the Big East Conference, Creighton's splendid season seven years ago was downplayed. Know-it-all national media types and committee members may haughtily belittle mid-major achievements because they're from the other side of the tracks, but following is an alarmingly long track record listing chronologically eligible teams winning more than 25 games yet failing to earn invitations to the NCAA playoffs since the field expanded to at least 64 in 1985:
NOTE: Cleveland State (defeated Indiana and Wake Forest), College of Charleston (Maryland), Colorado State (Colorado, Florida and Missouri), Creighton (Alabama, Florida, Louisville and Texas), Davidson (Georgetown, St. John's and Wisconsin), Louisiana Tech (Ohio State and Pittsburgh), ORU (Louisville and Syracuse), Saint Mary's (Villanova) and SIU (Arizona, Georgia, Texas Tech and Virginia Tech) collectively won NCAA playoff games in other years against 20 different power conference members.
Is that your final answer? Do you have the wit, guile and endurance to be a "Survivor" answering 10 daily questions about "The Amazing Race" otherwise known as the NCAA Tournament?
Standardized testing is controversial, but it's time to put your NCAA playoff knowledge on the line and attempt a free shot at CollegeHoopedia.com's challenging tourney-time questions. Your "scoring ability" on these one-of-a-kind trivia quizzes will reflect retention of critical knowledge, jogging your memory, exhibiting your lack of attention to detail or revealing once and for all you didn't major in "Hoopology" or take an advanced course in Basketball History.
As you're aware, many participants in the NCAA playoffs believe it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Similarly, more and more all-around sports fans probably would pick the Final Four over the World Series and Super Bowl if they were forced to choose one of the prestigious events they could attend.
In accordance with that "one-and-only" theme, following are a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions by CollegeHoopedia.com from Selection Sunday through the NCAA championship game dealing with the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct PhD degree-like research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only NCAA champion to have three players eventually score more than 15,000 points apiece in the NBA. Hint: Each of the trio was named an All-American at least two seasons and helped the school compete in 27 consecutive NCAA playoffs.
2. Name the only NBA team to have two teammates go on to coach teams in the Final Four. Hint: They were among the top three scorers for their team the first three seasons in NBA history. Their team posted the best regular-season record in the league's inaugural campaign and participated in the 1949 NBA Finals.
4. Who is the only individual to play and coach in both the NCAA and NBA playoffs? Hint: He played for a 28-5 Oregon State playoff team and on the frontline of an NBA champion with Dolph Schayes and Red Kerr. The leading scorer for his NBA playoff team was Gene Shue and the leading scorer for his NCAA tourney team was Bob Nash.
5. Who is the only coach to direct teams to Final Fours in four different decades in the 20th Century? Hint: He is the only coach to lose more than seven Final Four games and his first three NCAA Tournament championship games. His Final Four defeats were by an average of 15 points.
6. Name the only school to lose against UCLA as many as four times during the Bruins' 38-game winning streak in the NCAA playoffs from 1964 to 1974. Hint: The subject school is one of six other than UCLA to successfully defend a national championship.
7. Name the only All-American to go winless in more than five NCAA Tournament games. Hint: He played for a school that won the NCAA championship earlier in the decade he appeared in the playoffs.
8. Name the only school to reach the Final Four despite compiling a losing record in conference competition and being eliminated in the first round of its league tournament. Hint: The school's leading scorer that year had the lowest team-leading scoring average of any Final Four team since Kansas '74 had five players average from 11.3 to 12.4 points per game. Moreover, it's the only school to have as many as four at-large bids to the tournament despite compiling losing records in league play.
9. Name the only school to be top-ranked entering back-to-back tournaments but lose both opening playoff games. Hint: Two of the team's starters played more than 10 years in the NBA and one of them was on a third team for the school that lost its opening playoff game as a No. 1 seed. One of the two starters was a consensus national player of the year.
10. Name the only top-ranked team to decline a berth in the NCAA playoffs since the AP started conducting polls in 1949. Hint: The school was unbeaten the year it rejected a bid, defeated the national champion-to-be by 13 points and had only two games closer than a 12-point decision.
Day 1 answers.
Unrealistic expectations spread like a virus across the country when a young pup such as Brad Stevens becomes a big dawg by winning 11 NCAA Tournament games in his first four seasons coaching mid-major Butler before departing for the NBA's Boston Celtics at the conclusion of the 2012-13 campaign. But many school administrations and boosters, unaware that UCLA legend John Wooden notched only one tourney triumph in his first 13 years with the Bruins, need to exercise a little patience in this era of instant gratification.
Fans of a former Final Four school such as Providence (coached by Ed Cooley) probably are restless because their present bench boss never has won an NCAA playoff game in his coaching career. As for the misguided media seeking another overnight success, they need to take a cue from ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg, who is deemed an expert after winning a grand total of one NCAA playoff game in 22 years as a DI head coach. Also, Dana Altman of #1 seed Oregon failed to notch his first NCAA tourney triumph until his 10th season as a DI mentor.
Starter-kit supporters for some schools should take a chill pill if their coach remains winless in NCAA Tournament competition by losing an opener. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski was frustrated by the tourney long before losing against Mercer two years ago. PC supporters should take a long look at how long it took for the following alphabetical list of high-profile coaches, including all-time leader Krzyzewski, to secure their first NCAA playoff victory.
NOTE: The victories for retired Greer, McCarthy and Newton were the only one they posted in NCAA playoff participation.
The sampling isn't extensive but Virginia, runner-up to North Carolina in both the ACC regular season and tournament, aspires to duplicate what defending NCAA champion Duke achieved last year in capturing the NCAA championship after the Blue Devils were accorded a #1 seed despite failing to win either the ACC regular-season or conference tournament title. Following is a chronological list detailing what happened in the NCAA tourney to the first six #1 seeds in this non-regular-season champion category:
|No. 1 Seed||Year||League Finish||NCAA Playoff Result||Summary of Principal Conference Competition|
|Illinois||1989||2nd in Big Ten||lost in national semifinals||regular-season champion Indiana lost in regional semifinals; Big Ten did not conduct postseason tourney|
|Michigan||1993||2nd in Big Ten||lost in national final||regular-season champion Indiana lost in regional final; Big Ten did not conduct postseason tourney|
|Texas||2003||2nd in Big 12||lost in national semifinals||regular-season champion Kansas lost in national final; Big 12 tourney champion Oklahoma lost in regional final|
|Connecticut||2009||T2nd in Big East||lost in national semifinals||regular-season and Big East tourney champion Louisville lost in regional final|
|Pittsburgh||2009||T2nd in Big East||lost in regional final||regular-season and Big East tourney champion Louisville lost in regional final|
|Duke||2015||2nd in ACC||won NCAA title||regular-season champion North Carolina lost in regional semifinals|
Ten power league members always classified as major colleges - with majority of them from the South - finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll at least twice although they didn't make their initial NCAA appearance until after 1970. Virginia, a #1 seed this year and tying for second place in the ACC, was among the late arrivals to the NCAA party. Among the late-bloomer group, Nebraska is winless in the NCAA playoffs while Florida is a two-time NCAA champion.
Major School (Power League) 1st NCAA Tourney Star Player(s) in Playoff Debut Alabama (SEC) 1975 (0-1) Leon Douglas and T.R. Dunn Auburn (SEC) 1984 (0-1) Charles Barkley and Chuck Person Clemson (ACC) 1980 (3-1) Larry Nance Florida (SEC) 1987 (2-1) Vernon Maxwell and Dwayne Schintzius Georgia (SEC) 1983 (3-1) James Banks, Terry Fair and Vern Fleming Minnesota (Big Ten) 1972 (1-1) Jim Brewer, Clyde Turner and Dave Winfield Nebraska (Big Eight) 1986 (0-1) Brian Carr and Bernard Day Seton Hall (Big East) 1988 (1-1) Mark Bryant and John Morton South Carolina (ACC) 1971 (0-2) Kevin Joyce, Tom Owens, Tom Riker and John Roche Virginia (ACC) 1976 (0-1) Wally Walker
Former national champions Marquette (41 victories) and Utah (37) have won a significant number of NCAA playoff games yet never received a No. 1 seed since seeding was introduced in 1979. It's virgin territory for Oregon, but the top spots are old hat for Kansas and North Carolina as they're revisiting the pedestal. KU, after capturing its 12th consecutive Big 12 Conference crown, is the overall top seed.
Oregon is among seven former NCAA Tournament champions never to rank atop the AP national poll during the regular season. Duke, accorded a No. 1 seed eight times in a nine-year span from 1998 through 2006, and Kentucky are connected with North Carolina and Kansas among the following four universities seeded #1 at least a dozen times:
15 - North Carolina (1979-82-84-87-91-93-94-97-98-05-07-08-09-12-16)
13 - Duke (1986-92-98-99-00-01-02-04-05-06-10-11-15)
12 - Kansas (1986-92-95-97-98-02-07-08-10-11-13-16)
12 - Kentucky (1980-84-86-93-95-96-97-03-04-10-12-15)
When given an opportunity via an at-large invitation to the Big Dance, members from 10 different mid-major conferences have more than held their own against opponents from elite leagues. The greatest example was Virginia Commonwealth, which defeated members from five different power leagues en route to the 2011 Final Four. It was preposterous there were any questions at all about Wichita State as an at-large team as the Shockers beat multiple power-league members for the fourth time in the NCAA tourney positioned from "invite" category in the last 11 seasons.
In the last 25 years (all but 2009), the following total of 38 different mid-major at-large entrants went on to win in the NCAA playoffs against a total of 53 different power-conference members (listed in reverse chronological order):
Tourney returnees Florida Gulf Coast, a Sweet 16 participant in its playoff debut in 2013, and South Dakota State, making its third tourney appearance in last five years, will generate national headlines stemming from their relative newcomer status to the NCAA playoffs. But there has been a striking number of smaller schools over the decades make even more impressive transitions to big-time basketball than FGCU (moved up to DI in 2007-08) and SDSU (2005-06).
An overwhelming majority of dreamy schools moving up in classification from the small-college ranks to the major-college level are little more than fodder for prominent universities seeking non-conference cupcakes to devour. Amid the moving-on-up carnage, four institutions made a quantum leap by earning the right to participate in the NCAA Tournament in their inaugural season in Division I - Seattle (29-4 record in 1952-53), Morehead State (19-10 in 1955-56), Long Beach State (24-5 in 1969-70) and Southwestern Louisiana (25-4 in 1971-72). Incredibly, all four of these schools won their DI tourney debut and returned to the NCAA playoffs the next season, too.
Long Beach and USL each compiled a 25-4 mark in the 1971-72 campaign. USL's 90-83 victory over visiting LBSU early that season might have been one of the best inter-sectional matchups few people ever heard about or remember. Long Beach swingman Ed Ratleff and USL guard Bo Lamar became the only set of former high school teammates (Columbus, Ohio) named NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans in the same season. They achieved the feat again the next year.
USL (now known as Louisiana-Lafayette), powered by Lamar and two other future pros (Roy Ebron and Fred Saunders), became the only one of this rare quartet to qualify for the national semifinals in its final season sporting small-school status. The Ragin' Cajuns were upended by national champion-to-be Evansville in the 1971 College Division Tournament. Evansville, sparked by guard Don Buse, was the host school for the Division II tourney from 1957 through 1976. Lamar collected 35 points and 11 assists while Ebron amassed 33 points and 20 rebounds in USL's 112-101 victory against Marshall in the first round of 1972 Midwest Regional when the Cajuns scored the most points in tourney history for a school in its first DI playoff game.
USL, which also won its 1973 NCAA DI tourney opener, was prohibited from fielding a team for two seasons (1973-74 and 1974-75) as part of sanctions stemming from an NCAA probation. UNLV failed to appear in the NCAA playoffs in the Rebels' first five years at the DI level. Following is a summary of where LBSU and USL rank amid the quickest successful transitions by DI neophytes (appeared in DI tourney at least once in first five campaigns):
|Rank||School||1st DI Season||Summary of Prompt DI Tournament Success|
|1.||Seattle||1952-53||Appeared in NCAA Division I Tournament first four seasons through 1955-56 before finishing national runner-up in 1958.|
|2.||Long Beach State||1969-70||Participated in tourney each of first four seasons at DI level.|
|3.||Jacksonville||1966-67||National runner-up in 1970 en route to three tourney appearances in four-year span after missing event first three seasons.|
|4.||UAB||1978-79||Seven consecutive tourney appearances from 1981 through 1987 after missing first two seasons.|
|5.||Louisiana-Lafayette||1971-72||Won tourney games each of first two seasons at DI level before facing two seasons of exile as a penalized program.|
|6.||Morehead State||1955-56||Competed first two major-college years in national tourney and three of first six seasons.|
|7.||UNC Charlotte||1972-73||Reached Final Four in 1977 after missing tourney first four seasons.|
|8.||Alcorn State||1977-78||Appeared in DI tourney four times in five years first half of 1980s after missing first two seasons at that level.|
|9.||Old Dominion||1976-77||Four tourney appearances in seven-year span from 1980 through 1986 after missing first three seasons.|
|10.||Missouri State||1982-83||Four consecutive tourney appearances from 1987 through 1990 after missing first four seasons.|
|11.||College of Charleston||1989-90||Appeared in tourney four times in six-year span from 1994 through 1999 after missing first four seasons.|
|12.||James Madison||1976-77||Three straight tourney appearances from 1981 through 1983 after missing first four seasons.|
|13.||Marist||1981-82||Back-to-back playoff appearances in 1986 and 1987 after missing first four seasons.|
Holy Cross (10th worst mark of 14-19) became the 18th school in the last 24 years, 25th overall and fifth in the last five seasons appearing in the NCAA Tournament despite entering the playoffs with a losing record. The only one of the sub-.500 schools to win two NCAA playoff games was Bradley. The Braves won twice in the 1955 tournament (69-65 over Oklahoma City and 81-79 over SMU) after losing 14 consecutive contests during one stretch in the regular season. Despite the pair of playoff victories, they finished with their worst overall record (9-20) in a 53-year span until going 8-20 in the 1990-91 campaign.
In 1950, Bradley won two games apiece in both the NCAA Tournament and NIT to reach the championship game of both events. The Braves lost against CCNY in each final to finish the season with a 32-5 record under coach Forddy Anderson. Bradley's coach in 1955 was Bob Vanatta. He was in his first of two seasons at the school after succeeding Anderson, who departed for Michigan State after guiding the Braves to a national second-place finish in 1954. Bradley is the only school to go from the Final Four one season to 20 defeats the next year.
Texas, winner of just one non-conference game in the 1973-74 campaign, is the only school with a losing overall record to secure an automatic bid by winning a regular-season league title. Following is a list of the 25 schools polluting the NCAA playoffs by entering the tourney sporting such an impoverished record:
|School||W-L||Pct.||Coach||How Team Qualified|
|Bradley '55||7-19||.269||Bob Vanatta||Independent|
|Oklahoma City '55||9-17||.346||Doyle Parrack||Independent|
|George Washington '61||9-16||.360||Bill Reinhart||Won Southern Conference Tournament|
|Central Florida '96||11-18||.379||Kirk Speraw||Won TAAC Tournament|
|Fairfield '97||11-18||.379||Paul Cormier||Won MAAC Tournament|
|Florida International '95||11-18||.379||Bob Weltlich||Won TAAC Tournament|
|Florida A&M '99||12-18||.400||Mickey Clayton||Won MEAC Tournament|
|Lehigh '85||12-18||.400||Tom Schneider||Won East Coast Conference Tournament|
|Oakland '05||12-18||.400||Greg Kampe||Won Mid-Continent Tournament|
|Cal Poly '14||13-19||.406||Joe Callero||Won Big West Tournament|
|Holy Cross '16||14-19||.424||Bill Carmody||Won Patriot League Tournament|
|Liberty '13||15-20||.429||Dale Layer||Won Big South Tournament|
|Coppin State '08||16-20||.444||Fang Mitchell||Won MEAC Tournament|
|East Carolina '93||13-16||.448||Eddie Payne||Won Colonial Tournament|
|Prairie View A&M '98||13-16||.448||Elwood Plummer||Won SWAC Tournament|
|San Jose State '96||13-16||.448||Stan Morrison||Won Big West Tournament|
|UNC Asheville '03||14-17||.452||Eddie Biedenbach||Won Big South Tournament|
|Western Kentucky '12||15-18||.455||Ray Harper||Won Sun Belt Tournament|
|Texas '74||12-14||.461||Leon Black||SWC regular-season title|
|Montana State '86||14-16||.466||Stu Starner||Won Big Sky Tournament|
|Florida A&M '04||14-16||.466||Mike Gillespie||Won MEAC Tournament|
|Siena '02||16-18||.471||Rob Lanier||Won MAAC Tournament|
|Jackson State '97||14-15||.482||Andy Stoglin||Won SWAC Tournament|
|Missouri '78||14-15||.482||Norm Stewart||Won Big Eight Tournament|
|Hampton '15||16-17||.485||Edward Joyner Jr.||Won MEAC Tournament|
Fairfield '97 posted the worst league record among teams in this category. Following are regular-season league records of conference tournament champions:
Liberty '13 (6-10 in Big South North Division before defeating #4S seed Coastal Carolina, #1N High Point, #2S Gardner-Webb and #1S Charleston Southern by a total of 32 points).
Participating in pools for major sporting events, whether for money or not, has become as American as apple pie. Everyone who has ever visited a water cooler or copy room knows that no office pool spawns emotional involvement more than the invigorating NCAA Tournament. The allure of the office anarchy can be attributed to the futility of the exercise. Still, a little sophisticated guidance is better than none at all as you strive to meet the deadline for submitting your final NCAA playoff bracket.
If you're among the ardent fans who adore the Final Four and are starving for a handicapping guide to answer vital questions, here is a sane approach for surviving March Madness. Sixty-eight is a magic number for the incisive tips because that is the number of teams in the original NCAA field. If you want to March on Atlanta when pool results are posted on the bulletin board, pay close attention to these time-honored 68 dos and don'ts on how to fill out your bracket. In deference to the number of entrants, they might not all be applicable this year but these handy-dandy points to ponder should help steer you away from potholes on the Road to the Final Four.
* Pick all No. 1 seeds to win their first-round games. This one's a gimme: Top-seeded teams have never lost an opening-round game since the field was expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985.
* Pick two teams seeded 13th or worse to defeat teams seeded one through four.
* Pick one No. 3 seed to lose in the first round.
* Pick at least one No. 2 seed to lose in the first two rounds.
* Don't pick a No. 1 seed to reach the Final Four, let alone win the national tournament, if the school wasn't in the NCAA playoffs the previous year.
* Don't automatically pick a perennial power to defeat an opponent with a double-digit seeding.
* Pick a team seeded No. 1 or No. 2 to win the national title.
* Don't pick more than two of the four regional No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four.
* Pick the better-seeded team to win any second-round game pitting two double-digit seeds against each other.
* Pick one team with a double-digit seed to reach a regional semifinal.
* Don't pick more than one regional to have its top four seeds reach the regional semifinals.
* If two members of the same conference earn No. 1 seeds, don't pick both teams to reach the Final Four. Only once has two #1 seeds from the same league advanced to the national semifinals (Georgetown and St. John's from the Big East in 1985).
* Don't pick all four No. 1 seeds to reach regional finals.
* Pick at least one Big East team to lose in the opening round.
* Pick at least two teams from the Big Ten and/or SEC to incur opening-round defeats.
* Don't pick a team from the Big South to win a first-round game.
* Don't pick an at-large team with a losing conference record to get beyond the second round.
* Pick at least two ACC teams to reach a regional semifinal and at least one to reach the Final Four.
* If an ACC school wins both the league's regular-season and tournament titles, pick the team to reach the Final Four.
* Don't be swayed by a postseason conference tournament title or a poor performance in an elite league tourney. Disregard the "hot team" factor because a defeat in a league tournament is often a better motivational tool than a complacency-inducing victory. * Double your pleasure by picking two teams from the same conference to reach the Final Four.
* Don't choose a different member from the same league as the previous year's champion (Duke in the ACC) to capture the crown. There has been just seven times in NCAA playoff history for two different schools from the same conference to win the title in back-to-back years - Big Ten (Indiana '40 and Wisconsin '41); ACC (North Carolina '82 and N.C. State '83); Big East (Georgetown '84 and Villanova '85), ACC (Duke '92 and North Carolina '93); ACC (Duke '01 and Maryland '02); Big East (Syracuse '03 and Connecticut '04) and ACC (North Carolina '09 and Duke '10). Three different members from the same alliance capturing the crown over a three-year span has never happened.
* Don't pick an undisputed Big Ten champion (Wisconsin this year) to reach the Final Four.
* The Big Ten occasionally is the nation's premier conference but don't get carried away with that credential when picking a national titlist. Only one Big Ten member (Michigan State in 2000) captured an NCAA crown in the previous 25 years.
* Two of your Final Four picks should be teams that didn't finish atop their regular-season conference standings.
* Burnout has a tendency to set in. Remember that the odds are against a conference tournament champion reaching the NCAA Tournament final.
* Don't pick a team to reach the Final Four if it lost in the first round of a postseason conference tournament.
* Don't be too concerned about a regular-season defeat against a conference rival with a losing league record.
* Don't get carried away with the Pac-12 Conference. A Pac-12 team regularly loses an opening-round game to an opponent seeded 12th or worse.
* Don't pick a conference tournament champion winning four games in four nights to reach a regional semifinal.
* Pick one league to have four members reach the regional semifinals. It happened a total of 13 times in a 15-year span from 1989 through 2003.
* Don't be overwhelmed by quantity because six or seven bids for a league is not a recipe for success. Less than half conferences in this category finished with cumulative playoff records better than two games above .500.
* Don't pick a MEAC or SWAC representative to reach the Sweet 16. It has never happened.
* Enjoy the "mid-major" Cinderella stories but know that the clock eventually strikes midnight. Gonzaga faces a challenge because no "mid-major" since San Francisco in 1956 won the NCAA title after entering the tourney ranked atop the national polls.
* If there are as many as four first-time entrants, pick one of the novices to win its opening-round game.
* Don't pick a team with 30 or more victories entering the tournament to win the national title.
* Don't develop an aversion for coaches with impoverished playoff records. Remember: Legendary John Wooden lost his first five playoff games as coach at UCLA by an average of 11.4 points and compiled an anemic 3-9 record from 1950 through 1963 before the Bruins won an unprecedented 10 national titles in 12 years from 1964 through 1975.
* Don't be obsessed with comparing regular-season scores. Two-thirds of the NCAA champions weren't exactly invincible as they combined to lose more than 50 games by double-digit margins.
* Pick a team with at least 25 victories entering the tournament to win the championship. Villanova, entering the 1985 playoffs with 19 triumphs, was the only national champion in more than 35 years to enter the tourney with fewer than 20 wins until Arizona won it all in 1997 after also entering with 19 victories.
* Don't pick the nation's top-ranked team entering the tournament to reach the national championship game, let alone capture the crown. Also, Gonzaga has never reached the Final Four.
* The best place to start selecting the Final Four is in the previous year's round of 16. More than half of the teams reaching the national semifinals since 1988 advanced to a regional semifinal the previous season.
* Don't tamper with a "curse" by picking a team with the nation's leading scorer on its roster to reach the Final Four. No national champion has had a player average as many as 30 points per game.
* Make certain your Final Four picks include at least one 30-game winner and one team with a minimum of six defeats.
* After choosing your Final Four schools, don't automatically select the winningest remaining team to go ahead and capture the title.
* Don't pick a team to win the championship if an underclassman guard is leading the squad in scoring.
* Don't pick a team to win the championship if its top two scorers are Caucasians.
* Don't pick a team with as many as 12 defeats entering the tourney to reach a regional semifinal.
* Don't pick a team entering the tournament undefeated to go ahead and win the title. Of the first 17 teams to enter the playoffs with unblemished records, just seven were on to capture the national championship. Excluding UCLA's dominance under coach John Wooden, the only other unbeaten NCAA champion since North Carolina in 1957 is Indiana in 1976.
* Don't overdose on senior leadership. A senior-laden lineup is not a prerequisite for capturing a national championship. An average of only two seniors were among the top seven scorers for NCAA Tournament titlists since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985. Half of the NCAA champions since the early 1990s had only one senior among their top seven scorers.
PICKS AND PANS
* Pick any team defeating North Carolina or Duke in the bracket to already be in or on its way to the Final Four.
* Pick Duke to advance in the bracket if they oppose members of the Big East and Big Ten. Despite Indiana's success against the Blue Devils in the 2002 South Regional and Connecticut's victory over them in the 2004 Final Four, the Dynasty in Durham rarely loses a playoff game against Big East and Big Ten competition.
* Don't pick a member of the MAC or former member of the SWC to reach the Final Four. No Mid-American member has ever reached the national semifinals and the SWC Final Four teams all failed to come home with the national championship trophy.
* Don't pick a Conference USA member to reach a regional final.
* Pick Kansas to win a regional final if the Jayhawks advance that far. KU went to the Final Four six straight times the Jayhawks reached a regional championship game (1971-74-86-88-91-93) until they were upset by Syracuse in the 1996 West Regional. Kansas has continued regional final success much of 21st Century.
* Don't pick a team to win the national title if its coach is in his first season at the school.
* Make certain the coach of your championship team has at least five years of head coaching experience.
* Don't pick a team to capture the title if it is coached by a graduate of the school.
* Pick at least one Final Four team with a coach who will be making his debut at the national semifinals. Just four Final Fours (1951, 1968, 1984 and 1993) had all four coaches arrive there with previous Final Four experience.
* Don't pick the defending champion to repeat as national titlist.
* Don't pick the defending national runner-up to win the championship the next season. The only teams ever to finish national runner-up one year and then capture the title the next season were North Carolina (1981 and 1982) and Duke (1990 and 1991).
* Don't put any stock into justifying a preseason No. 1 ranking. The runner-up won each of the four times the preseason No. 1 and No. 2 teams met on the hallowed ground of the NCAA final.
* Pick one team not ranked among the national top 10 entering the tournament to reach the championship game.
* Pick at least a couple of teams coached by African Americans to advance a minimum of two rounds in the tournament.
* Don't pick a school to reach the Final Four if you think a vital undergraduate defector from last season will become a pro star. Of the 10 individuals to score more than 20,000 points in the NBA or be named to at least five All-NBA teams after participating in the NCAA Division I playoffs and then leaving college with eligibility remaining, none of their schools reached the Final Four the year or years they could have still been in college - Auburn (Charles Barkley departed early), Houston (Hakeem Olajuwon), Indiana (Isiah Thomas), Kansas (Wilt Chamberlain), Louisiana Tech (Karl Malone), Michigan State (Magic Johnson), North Carolina (Bob McAdoo and Michael Jordan), Notre Dame (Adrian Dantley) and Seattle (Elgin Baylor).
* Don't be infatuated by a Final Four newbie. Before UConn in 1999, the last team to win a championship in its initial national semifinal appearance was Texas Western (now Texas-El Paso) in 1966.
* Pick at least one of your Final Four teams to have a transfer starter but don't choose a squad in that category to win the title.
* Don't be infatuated with first-team All-Americans when deciding Final Four teams because a majority of NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans failed to reach the national semifinals since seeding was introduced.
* Your star search should focus more on pro prospects. Select Final Four teams that each have a minimum of one player who'll eventually become a No. 1 NBA draft choice with one of the squads reaching the championship game to have at least three players who'll become a No. 1 NBA draft pick.
* The vast majority of NCAA Tournament office pools have a tiebreaker category or two. One of them might be designating a player for most points in a single game of the tournament. If so, avoid selecting a player from the championship team because the highest output normally is achieved by a member of a non-titlist.
* Another possible tiebreaker is projecting the total number of points in the championship game. To get your bearings, you should know the average point total is more than 150 since the inception nationwide of both the shot clock and three-point field goal.
Participating in office pools for major sports events, whether for money or not, has become as American in the national workplace as filling out your vacation schedule. Both forms can be perplexing because you frequently second guess yourself on where to go, when to go and exactly what to do. More often than not, you want to modify the submissions moments after turning them in. You feel as if you've flunked Office-Pool Economics 101.
No office pool heightens your frustration more than the NCAA Tournament. The allure of the office anarchy can be attributed to the futility of the exercise. Just ask Pete Rose when he was relaxing at spring training. Still, a little sophisticated guidance is better than none at all as you strive to meet the deadline for submitting your final NCAA playoff bracket.
If you're among the ardent fans who adore the Final Four and are starving for relevant handicapping tips, a sane approach to surviving March Madness has arrived. It is time to start chewing on historical nuggets to avoid making another April Fool appearance when results are posted on the bulletin board. Pay close attention to these sweet 16 dos and don'ts on how to fill out your bracket. As events unfold, you might want to rekindle old memories by assessing CollegeHoopedia.com's most magical playoff moments and All-Time All-NCAA Tournament teams.
1. SEEDING CAPACITY
DO pick a top three seeded team to win the national title.
In the first 34 years since the NCAA Tournament embraced seeding, 30 of the champions were seeded No. 1 (19 titlists), 2 (six) or 3 (five). The only championship game without at least one No. 1 or No. 2 seed was 1989, when a pair of No. 3 seeds clashed (Michigan and Seton Hall), until last year when #3 Connecticut opposed #8 Butler.
DON'T pick more than two of the four regional No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four.
No. 1 seeds always look tempting (especially after all four advanced to national semifinals in 2008). But the Final Four did not have more than two of them any year from 1979 through 1992.
2. DOUBLE TROUBLE
DO pick two teams seeded 13th or worse to defeat teams seeded two through four and one team seeded 12th to reach a regional semifinal.
Since the seeding process started in 1979, never have all of the top four seeds in each regional survived their opening round. A No. 12 seed advanced to the round of 16 five consecutive years from 1990 through 1994.
DON'T automatically pick a perennial power to defeat a team with a double-digit seed.
More than 100 different coaches have lost at least one tournament game to an opponent with a double-digit seed since the seeding process was introduced. Playoff newcomers shouldn't be shunned if they get any break at all in the seeding process. First-time entrants assert themselves when they receive a decent draw. Of the schools making their tournament debuts since the field expanded to at least 52 teams, almost one-fourth of them survived the first round.
3. SCORING SUMMARY
DO shun a potential championship team if an underclassman guard is leading the squad in scoring.
The only freshmen to lead a national champion in scoring were Utah forward Arnie Ferrin in 1944 and Syracuse forward Carmelo Anthony in 2003. Of the sophomores to lead national titlists in scoring average, the only guards were Indiana's Isiah Thomas (16 ppg in 1981) and Duke's Jason Williams (21.6 ppg in 2001).
DON'T tamper with a "curse" by picking a team with the nation's leading scorer on its roster to reach the Final Four.
No national champion has had a player average as many as 30 points per game. The only player to lead the nation in scoring average while playing for a school to reach the NCAA Tournament championship game was Clyde Lovellette, who carried Kansas to the 1952 title. The only other player to lead the nation in scoring average while playing for a team advancing to the Final Four was Oscar Robertson, who powered Cincinnati to the national semifinals in 1959 and 1960 before the Bearcats were defeated both years by California. The Bears restricted the Big O to a total of 37 points in the two Final Four games as he was just nine of 32 from the floor.
4. PICKS AND PANS
Unless vital criteria is met to suffice otherwise, DO go with better-seeded teams to win games in the four regionals.
The better-seeded teams win a little over 2/3 of the games in regional competition. However, Final Four games have virtually broken even in regard to the original seedings.
DON'T pick a team to capture the NCAA title if the club lost its conference tournament opener.
No team ever has won an NCAA championship after losing a conference postseason tournament opener.
5. DIRECTIONAL SIGNALS
DO remember the cliche "East is Least."
No Eastern school won the East Regional and the national title in the same season since the tournament went to four regionals until Syracuse achieved the feat in 2003. The first seven national champions from the East Regional since 1956 were all ACC members (North Carolina '57, N.C. State '74, North Carolina '82, Duke '92, North Carolina '93, Duke '01 and Maryland '02) before Carolina won the East Regional again in 2005.
DON'T accept the axiom that the "West is Worst."
What does the Left Coast have to do to shed a misguided image? The Pacific-12 Conference supplied two NCAA champions in a three-year span (UCLA '95 and Arizona '97) before Stanford and Utah reached the 1998 Final Four. Arizona was runner-up in 2001 before UCLA participated in three straight Final Fours from 2006 through 2008. Although the Pac-12 struggled this season, the multiple-bid Mountain West and/or West Coast could take up the slack.
6. MATHEMATICAL ODDS
DO pick two of the ten recognizable schools with the all-time best playoff records to reach the Final Four.
There is a strong possibility some familiar faces will arrive in New Orleans since at least two of the ten winningest schools by percentage (minimum of 50 playoff games) usually appear at the Final Four. The top ten schools are Duke (.744 entering the '15 tourney), UCLA (.725), North Carolina (.719), Florida (.714), Kentucky (.707), Kansas (.699), Michigan State (.683), Michigan (.672), Indiana (.667) and Ohio State (.667).
DON'T be too wary of first-rate coaches with dime-store playoff results.
High-profile coaches are occasionally grilled because of their dismal tournament resumes. But they're due to eventually turn things around and shouldn't be written off altogether. Remember: Legendary John Wooden lost his first five playoff games as coach at UCLA by an average of more than 11 points and compiled an anemic 3-9 record from 1950 through 1963 before the Bruins won an unprecedented 10 national titles in 12 years from 1964 through 1975. It doesn't seem possible, but additional elite coaches who didn't win their first NCAA playoff game until their 10th DI season or longer include Dana Altman, Rick Barnes, P.J. Carlesimo, Pete Carril, Bobby Cremins, Tom Davis, Cliff Ellis, Bill E. Foster, Hugh Greer, Leonard Hamilton, Marv Harshman, Terry Holland, Maury John, Mike Krzyzewski, Ralph Miller, Mike Montgomery, Joe Mullaney, Pete Newell, Tom Penders, George Raveling, Kelvin Sampson, Norm Sloan, Butch van Breda Kolff and Ned Wulk.
7. GO WITH MIGHTY MO?
DO remember the odds about a conference tournament champion reaching the NCAA Tournament final.
There is a theory that burnout has a tendency to set in. But more than half of the NCAA titlists since seeding started in 1979 also won their conference postseason tournament the same year.
DON'T be swayed by a postseason conference tournament title or a poor performance in an elite league tourney.
Disregard the "hot team" factor because a defeat in a league tournament is often a better motivational tool than a complacency-inducing victory.
8. LOOKING OUT FOR NO. 1
DO look for a school other than the defending champion (Connecticut in 2014) to become national titlist.
Duke was fortunate to repeat in 1992 when they reached the Final Four on Christian Laettner's last-second basket in overtime in the East Regional final against Kentucky. Florida repeated in 2007 despite winning its last five contests by 10 or fewer points.
DON'T pick the top-ranked team entering the tournament to reach the national championship game, let alone capture the crown.
There is a clear and present danger for pole sitters. Only three of the 29 schools atop the national rankings entering the NCAA playoffs from 1983 through 2011 went on to capture the national championship and only six No. 1 squads in the last 25 seasons of that span reached the title game.
9. NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
DO pick at least one Final Four team with a coach making his debut at the national semifinals.
Just four Final Fours (1951, 1968, 1984 and 1993) had all four coaches arrive there with previous Final Four experience. There has been at least one fresh face among the bench bosses at the national semifinals all but one of the last 27 years. In 1993, coaches Steve Fisher (Michigan), Rick Pitino (Kentucky), Dean Smith (North Carolina) and Roy Williams (Kansas) returned to familiar surroundings at the Final Four.
DON'T pick a team to win the national title if its coach is in his first season at the school.
Steve Fisher guided Michigan to the 1989 title after succeeding Bill Frieder just before the start of the playoffs. But the only individual to capture an NCAA crown in his first full campaign as head coach at a university was Ed Jucker (Cincinnati '61 after seven years at King's Point and Rensselaer). The average championship team head coach has been at the school almost 13 years and has almost 17 years of college head coaching experience overall. The only championship head coaches with less than five years of experience were Fisher and Fred Taylor (second season at Ohio State '60).
10. SENIORS AND SHEEPSKINS
DO realize that senior experience needs to be complemented by the vigor from undergraduates.
A senior-laden lineup is not a prerequisite for capturing a national championship. An average of only two seniors were among the top seven scorers for NCAA Tournament titlists since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985. Eight of the 16 NCAA champions from 1991 through 2006 boasted no more than one senior among its top seven scorers. Only three NCAA champions since Indiana '87 - UCLA (1995), Michigan (2000) and Maryland (2002) - had seniors as their top two scorers.
DON'T pick a team to capture the title if it is coached by a graduate of the school.
A champion is almost never guided by a graduate of that university.
11. CHANGE OF ADDRESS
DO pick at least one of your Final Four teams to have a transfer starter.
Almost every Final Four features at least one starter who began his college career at another four-year Division I school.
DON'T pick schools that lost a vital undergraduate to reach the Final Four if you think the defectors will become pro stars.
Ten individuals scored more than 20,000 points in the NBA or were named to at least five All-NBA teams after participating in the NCAA Division I playoffs and then leaving college with eligibility remaining - Charles Barkley (departed Auburn early), Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston), Isiah Thomas (Indiana), Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas), Karl Malone (Louisiana Tech), Magic Johnson (Michigan State), Bob McAdoo and Michael Jordan (North Carolina), Adrian Dantley (Notre Dame) and Elgin Baylor (Seattle). None of their schools reached the Final Four the year or years they could have still been in college.
12. CONFERENCE CALL
DO pick two teams from the same conference to reach the Final Four, with at least one of them advancing to the championship game.
Double your pleasure: A pair of members from the same conference frequently advance to the Final Four.
DON'T be condescending and overlook quality mid-major conference teams.
It's not a question of if but where will David defeat Goliath. There have been more than 100 Big Boy losses against members of lower-profile conferences seeded five or more places worse than the major university which is currently a member of one of the current consensus top six leagues. A total of 74 different lower-profile schools and current members of 23 different mid-major conferences (all but Great West, Northeast and Summit) have won such games since seeding started in 1979.
13. REGULAR-SEASON REVIEW
DO pick two of your Final Four teams from schools failing to finish atop their regular-season conference standings.
The best is yet to come for a team or two that might have been somewhat of an underachiever during the regular season. Almost half of the entrants since the field expanded to 48 in 1980 did not win outright or share a regular-season league title.
DON'T put much emphasis on comparing regular-season scores.
A striking number of NCAA champions lost at least one conference game to a team with a losing league mark. Many NCAA champions weren't exactly invincible as a majority of them lost a regular-season games by a double-digit margin.
14. AT-LARGE ANSWERS
DO avoid picking an at-large team with a losing conference record to go beyond the second round.
An at-large team with a sub-.500 league mark almost never wins more than one NCAA Tournament game.
DON'T pick an at-large team compiling a mediocre record to reach the regional semifinals.
Only a handful of at-large entrants winning fewer than 60 percent of their games manage to reach the second round.
15. RACIAL PROFILING
DO pick at least a couple of teams coached by African Americans to advance a minimum of two rounds in the tournament.
More often than not, at least two teams coached by African Americans reach the regional semifinals (round of 16).
DON'T pick a team to win the championship if its top two scorers are white athletes.
Duke had the only two teams in recent memory to win the NCAA title with white players comprising its top two point producers that season. In 1991, the two two scorers were Christian Laettner and Billy McCaffrey, who subsequently transferred to Vanderbilt. In 2010, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler were Duke's top two scorers. Laettner also led the Blue Devils in scoring when they captured the 1993 crown. The only other white players ranked among the top three scorers for NCAA championship teams since the field expanded to at least 40 teams included: Randy Wittman (third for Indiana '81), Steve Alford (led Indiana '87), Kevin Pritchard (third for Kansas '88), Eric Montross (led North Carolina '93), Jeff Sheppard/Scott Padgett (first and third for Kentucky '98), Gerry McNamara (third for Syracuse '03) and Tyler Hansbrough (led North Carolina '09).
16. LAW OF AVERAGES
DO pick one "sleeper" team not ranked among the top ten in either of the final wire-service polls entering the tournament to reach the championship game.
There likely will be a Rip Van Winkle finally waking up to advance to the national final after not being ranked among the top ten in an AP final poll.
DON'T pick the national runner-up from one year to win the championship the next season.
The only three teams ever to finish national runner-up one year and then capture the title the next season were North Carolina (1981 and 1982), Duke (1990 and 1991) and Kentucky (1997 and 1998).
Incredibly, much of the follow-the-pack national media promptly tried to assemble cases why Monmouth (MAAC), Saint Mary's (West Coast), Valparaiso (Horizon League) and Wichita State (Missouri Valley) should be denied at-large berths after they failed to capture their conference tournament titles. How many times does the predictably pathetic press need to look foolish by mid-major playoff participants? Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, indirectly dissing successor Mike Hopkins, sought at-large slack from the Division I Committee. Didn't the NCAA already give a break of a lifetime to the Orangemen by not vacating their 2003 national title?
If upper-crust elite schools smugly look down their noses, they might find their opponents boast the upper hand by looking down the barrel of a gun. Just ask California, Michigan State and West Virginia as they lost 2016 tourney openers by an average of 11 points. In 2013, two mid-major at-large entrants reached a regional final (La Salle and Wichita State) after also failing to capture a regular-season league title. Generous doses of humility frequently occur. Two years ago, #3 seeds Duke and Syracuse were embarrassed by Mercer and Dayton, respectively. They are among 19 former national champions losing 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, ranked #1 at the end of the regular season after the Jayhawks were dismantled by Wichita State in the NCAA playoffs last year, has a high of seven setbacks as a total of 12 former NCAA titlists have lost three or more such contests. This year, Baylor joined KU and four other power-league members (Florida, Georgetown, Indiana and Vanderbilt) in losing playoff games in back-to-back seasons thus far in the 21st Century against mid-major foes with double-digit seeds.
Who did they play (mid-majors in NCAA playoff competition) and who did they beat (power-league members seeded five or more slots better)? Well, a total of 82 different lower-profile schools and current members of 24 different mid-major conferences (all but Northeast) have won 148 such games since seeding was introduced in 1979. But heaven forbid if Wichita State (200 victories last seven campaigns) be embraced without question as an at-large this year rather than bowing down at the power-league altar worshiping mediocrity losing to Augustana ND (Iowa in exhibition game), Long Beach State (Seton Hall), Northeastern (Miami FL), Richmond (California) and Western Illinois (Wisconsin). The mid-major school with the most "David vs. Goliath" playoff victories cited in the following list was Richmond with six until Gonzaga tied the Spiders after two such triumphs in 2016:
ACC (30 defeats against mid-major opponents seeded five or more places worse) - Boston College (lost against #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, #13 Vermont in 2005 and #11 Dayton in 2014); Virginia (#12 Wyoming in 1987 and #12 Gonzaga in 2001); Wake Forest (#13 Cleveland State in 2009)
BIG EAST/including AAC members UC and UConn from previous league configuration (17) - 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 and #11 Dayton in 2015); St. John's (#10 Gonzaga in 2000 and #11 Gonzaga in 2011); Seton Hall (#7 Western Kentucky in 1993 and #11 Gonzaga in 2016); Villanova (#14 Old Dominion in 1995 and #10 Saint Mary's in 2010)
BIG TEN (27) - Illinois (lost to #14 Austin Peay State in 1987, #12 Dayton in 1990, #14 Chattanooga in 1997 and #12 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 (#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, #11 George Mason in 2006 and #15 Middle Tennessee State in 2016); 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 and #12 UALR in 2016); 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 (24) - Baylor (lost to #14 Georgia State in 2015 and #12 Yale in 2016); Iowa State (#15 Hampton in 2001 and #14 UAB in 2015); 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, #11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011 and #7 Wichita State in 2015); 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 (#11 Northern Iowa in 2016); Texas Tech (#11 Southern Illinois in 2002); West Virginia (#14 Stephen F. Austin in 2016)
PACIFIC-12 (20) - Arizona (lost to #14 East Tennessee State in 1992, #15 Santa Clara in 1993, #12 Miami of Ohio in 1995 and #11 Wichita State in 2016); California (#12 Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1994 and #13 Hawaii in 2016); 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 and #11 Gonzaga in 2016); 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. . . . Butler was a member of the Horizon League in 2003 and 2011. . . . 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. . . . Xavier was a member of Midwestern Collegiate in 1987 and 1991 and Atlantic 10 in 2004. . . . 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.
The most prominent universities occasionally endure periods of futility. Missouri, fielding perhaps its worst series of squads since Norm Stewart's coaching predecessor in the mid-1960s, ended a school-record 13-game losing streak last season. But the Tigers' tailspin en route to their most defeats in school history was less than half of the all-time longest losing streak by a current power-conference member - 27 by Syracuse in the early 1960s until the Orange prevailed at Boston College.
This year, Boston College (19 after losing ACC Tournament opener), Rutgers (17 after ending 32-game losing streak in Big Ten competition) and St. John's (16 in Chris Mullin's coaching debut) came closer to Cuse by becoming current power-league members incurring their longest losing streaks. BC and St. John's had been on a list with 11 other power-league members - Creighton, Duke, Georgetown, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Purdue, Utah, Washington and West Virginia - never reaching double figures in consecutive setbacks. Following is an alphabetical list of longest all-time losing streaks for elite basketball schools:
|School (Longest Losing Streak)||Coach||Date Started||Date Ended||Opponent Ending Streak||Score|
|Arizona (16)||Fred Enke||12-19-58||2-14-59||Hardin-Simmons||66-64|
|Arizona State (15)||Herb Sendek||12-22-2006||2-18-2007||Southern California||68-58|
|Arkansas (10)||Lanny Van Eman||1-9-71||2-20-71||at Texas||88-87 in OT|
|Auburn (13)||V.J. Edney||12-13-46||2-8-47||Florida||36-30|
|Baylor (17)||Harry Miller||1-2-99||11-20-99||Eastern Washington||68-61|
|Boston College (19)||Jim Christian||12-30-2015||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Brigham Young (21)||Roger Reid/Tony Ingle||12-13-96||11-14-97||at San Diego State||73-59|
|Butler (14)||Joe Sexson||1-31-81||12-12-81||Valparaiso||85-76|
|California (10)||Rene Herrerias||1-5-62||3-3-62||at Washington||68-65 in OT|
|Cincinnati (10)||Mick Cronin||1-24-2007||2-28-2007||Seton Hall||70-67 in OT|
|Clemson (15)||Banks McFadden||12-14-54||2-21-55||Georgia||105-94|
|Colorado (17)||Tom Apke||1-8-86||11-28-86||Weber State||73-57|
|Connecticut (10)||John Donahue||1918||1919||Boston College||46-27|
|Connecticut (10)||Burr Carlson||11-30-68||1-8-69||Syracuse||103-84|
|Creighton (9)||Dana Altman||1-23-95||2-23-95||at Wichita State||50-47|
|Creighton (9)||Greg McDermott||12-21-2014||1-28-2015||St. John's||77-74|
|DePaul (18)||Jerry Wainwright||12-31-2008||3-10-2009||Cincinnati||67-57 in Big East Tournament|
|Duke (8)||James Baldwin||2-13-22||3-?-22||Durham YMCA||37-26|
|Florida (14)||Don DeVoe||1-17-90||2-27-90||Louisiana State||76-63|
|Florida State (13)||Don Loucks||1-10-48||2-21-48||Florida Southern||55-48|
|Georgetown (9)||Jack Magee||12-13-71||1-27-72||William & Mary||85-79 in OT|
|Georgia (13)||Harbin "Red" Lawson||12-28-51||2-6-52||Georgia Tech||72-64|
|Georgia Tech (26)||John "Whack" Hyder||2-7-53||2-18-54||South Carolina||58-53|
|Gonzaga (10)||Dan Fitzgerald||1-19-90||2-23-90||at San Francisco||76-75|
|Illinois (11)||Harv Schmidt||1-12-74||2-23-74||Iowa||91-84|
|Indiana (11)||Harry Good||1-8-44||2-19-44||at Minnesota||48-47|
|Indiana (11)||Tom Crean||1-24-2010||3-6-2010||Northwestern||88-80 in OT|
|Iowa (8)||Rollie Williams||2-15-30||12-23-30||at Creighton||28-22|
|Iowa (8)||Dick Schultz||1-7-74||2-11-74||Purdue||112-111 in 3OT|
|Iowa State (14)||Louis Menze||1-2-37||12-3-37||Simpson IA||41-37|
|Kansas (10)||Phog Allen||1-21-48||3-12-48||Iowa State||61-54|
|Kansas State (15)||E.C. Curtiss||2-28-22||2-17-23||at Nebraska||17-14|
|Kentucky (9)||George Buchheit||1-25-23||2-23-23||Sewanee TN||30-14|
|Louisiana State (14)||Frank Truitt||12-23-65||2-12-66||Mississippi||92-68|
|Louisiana State (14)||Press Maravich||1-12-67||12-2-68||Tampa FL||97-81|
|Louisville (19)||Laurie Apitz||2-18-39||2-22-40||Berea TN||56-55|
|Marquette (15)||Eddie Hickey||1-8-64||3-7-64||at Xavier||98-95|
|Maryland (22)||Howard Shipley||3-1-40||2-22-41||Washington College MD||26-18|
|Memphis (20)||Zach Curlin||1-7-38||1-26-39||Arkansas State||53-45|
|Miami FL (17)||Leonard Hamilton||1-8-94||11-25-94||Northeastern Illinois||66-48|
|Michigan (11)||Bill Frieder||12-12-81||1-28-82||Ohio State||62-60 in OT|
|Michigan State (11)||Forddy Anderson||1-9-65||3-1-65||Purdue||110-92|
|Minnesota (17)||Clem Haskins||1-10-87||11-30-87||Western Illinois||84-52|
|Mississippi (16)||Robert "Cob" Jarvis||12-30-75||3-1-76||Vanderbilt||81-72|
|Mississippi State (14)||Paul Gregory||1-7-55||2-26-55||at Louisiana State||84-80|
|Missouri (13)||Kim Anderson||1-10-2015||2-24-2015||Florida||64-52|
|Nebraska (13)||Charles Black/William Browne||2-10-32||1-14-33||Kansas State||31-25|
|North Carolina (8)||Tom Scott||12-20-50||1-11-51||Wake Forest||65-56|
|North Carolina State (9)||Les Robinson||1-25-92||2-22-92||at North Carolina||99-94|
|North Carolina State (9)||Sidney Lowe||2-9-2008||11-15-2008||at New Orleans||65-59|
|Northwestern (20)||Maury Kent||3-3-23||12-22-24||Michigan State||26-17|
|Notre Dame (13)||Johnny Dee||12-18-65||2-9-66||Butler||84-61|
|Ohio State (17)||Jim O'Brien||12-28-97||2-25-98||at Wisconsin||61-56|
|Oklahoma (10)||Bob Stevens||1-6-64||2-21-64||Missouri||86-84|
|Oklahoma State (13)||James Pixlee||1-24-20||1-14-21||Oklahoma Baptist||34-19|
|Oklahoma State (13)||John Maulbetsch/George Roddy||1-12-29||1-7-30||Oklahoma||28-22|
|Oklahoma State (13)||George Roddy||1-10-30||1-5-31||Grinnell IA||23-16|
|Oregon (22)||George Bohler||12-22-21||2-20-22||Nevada||33-29|
|Oregon State (25)||Jay John/Kevin Mouton/Craig Robinson||12-22-2007||11-30-2008||at Fresno State||62-54|
|Penn State (17)||Bruce Parkhill||1-21-84||12-5-84||Navy||66-63|
|Pittsburgh (10)||Charles "Buzz" Ridl||12-7-68||1-28-69||West Virginia||90-87|
|Providence (12)||Lawrence Drew||2-5-49||3-9-49||Clark MA||46-45|
|Purdue (8)||Ray Eddy||1-12-52||2-11-52||Wisconsin||78-67|
|Purdue (8)||Ray Eddy||1-5-63||2-4-63||Michigan State||103-81|
|Rutgers (17)||Eddie Jordan||12-30-2015||3-5-2016||Minnesota||75-52|
|St. John's (16)||Chris Mullin||12-18-15||2-17-2016||DePaul||80-65|
|Seton Hall (15)||John Colrick/Honey Russell||2-5-36||1-22-37||St. Peter's||30-23|
|Seton Hall (15)||P.J. Carlesimo||1-2-85||3-2-85||Connecticut||85-80|
|South Carolina (15)||Absalon "Rock" Norman||1-12-31||1-8-32||Clemson||31-23|
|Southern California (16)||Bob Boyd||1-8-76||12-1-76||Idaho||104-64|
|Stanford (11)||John Bunn||1-15-32||12-23-32||at Utah||41-37|
|Syracuse (27)||Marc Guley||2-22-61||3-3-62||at Boston College||73-72|
|Temple (11)||Don Casey||12-10-75||1-26-76||Dickinson PA||89-55|
|Tennessee (14)||W.H. Britton||2-21-27||12-28-28||South Carolina||29-20|
|Texas (15)||Thurman "Slue" Hull||12-4-54||2-5-55||Arkansas||75-74|
|Texas A&M (17)||Melvin Watkins/Billy Gillispie||1-10-2004||11-19-2004||North Carolina A&T||89-56|
|Texas Christian (24)||Johnny Swaim/Tim Somerville||12-11-76||12-3-77||Wayland Baptist TX||67-53|
|Texas Tech (20)||Gerald Myers||1-4-90||11-25-90||Nevada||81-69 at Anchorage|
|UCLA (14)||Pierce "Caddy" Works||12-28-37||1938-39 opener||L.A. City College||44-28|
|UNLV (9)||Michael Drakulich||12-5-58||1-14-59||at Nellis AFB||52-47|
|Utah (9)||Vadal Peterson||12-30-35||2-1-36||at Utah State||35-34|
|Vanderbilt (14)||Josh Cody||2-15-35||1-9-36||Auburn||47-27|
|Villanova (10)||John "Rube" Cashman||1927-28||season finale||Alumni at Rosemont||33-18|
|Virginia (13)||Billy McCann||1-9-60||2-27-60||Washington & Lee VA||86-59|
|Virginia Tech (18)||Gerald "Red" Laird||12-29-54||?-??-55||The Citadel||88-53|
|Wake Forest (22)||Murray Greason||1-26-43||1944-45||Catawba NC||41-38|
|Washington (9)||Clarence "Hec" Edmundson||1-31-41||2-25-41||at Idaho||45-44|
|Washington (9)||William "Tippy" Dye||12-4-53||1-9-54||at Washington State||54-44|
|Washington (9)||Bob Bender||2-27-93||12-23-94||at Idaho State||61-60|
|Washington (9)||Bob Bender||1-2-94||2-5-94||Arizona||74-69|
|Washington State (18)||Kelvin Sampson||12-30-89||11-28-90||BYU-Hawaii||112-81|
|West Virginia (9)||Marshall Glenn||1-12-37||2-17-37||Penn State||36-31|
|West Virginia (9)||Gale Catlett||12-28-2001||1-30-2002||Providence||89-81|
|West Virginia (9)||Drew Catlett/John Beilein||2-2-2002||11-22-2002||Delaware State||59-46|
|Wichita State (14)||Kenneth Gunning||1-10-50||12-5-50||Oklahoma Baptist||53-45|
|Wisconsin (14)||John Powless||1-8-76||3-1-76||at Ohio State||91-79|
|Xavier (13)||Dick Campbell||1-29-73||12-1-73||Aquinas MI||88-48|
If your RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) isn't satisfactory, then it's time to R.I.P. (Rest in Peace). That certainly has been the case for Ivy League members other than Penn and Princeton when it comes to NCAA Tournament participation. Harvard was the Rip Van Winkle of college basketball, shackled by a 65-year exile, until the Crimson woke up in 2012 and secured its first NCAA playoff berth since losing two games in 1946. This season, Yale finally ended a 53-year NCAA tourney dry spell (out since 1962) although the Bulldogs' euphoria could be short-lived as they need to explain why captain Jack Montague withdrew from school a month before the conclusion of the regular season. The MIA Ivy connection also includes Brown, which is tied for third with a 46-year playoff absence after the Bears competed in the first-ever NCAA tourney game in 1939 (against Villanova).
Stanford and Wisconsin, a pair of relatively recent Final Four schools, are tied with Brown for the longest dry spells in NCAA Tournament history. Following are the 18 schools - including Baylor, Butler, Iowa State, Miami FL and Wisconsin - to participate in the tourney at least once before enduring playoff appearance droughts of at least 34 years (length of dry spells denoted in parentheses):
School Years Failing to Appear Years Without a Tourney Victory Harvard 1947 through 2011 (65) Won first game in 2013 Yale 1963 through 2015 (53) Won first game in 2016 Brown 1940 through 1985 (46) Never won a playoff game Stanford 1943 through 1988 (46) 1943 through 1994 (52) Wisconsin 1948 through 1993 (46) 1948 through 1993 (46) Air Force 1963 through 2003 (41) Never won a playoff game Lafayette 1958 through 1998 (41) Never won a playoff game Iowa State 1945 through 1984 (40) 1945 through 1985 (41) Washington State 1942 through 1979 (38) 1942 through 1982 (41) Baylor 1951 through 1987 (37) 1951 through 2009 (59) Canisius 1958 through 1994 (37) Hasn't won since 1957 Miami (FL) 1961 through 1997 (37) Won first game in 1999 Drake 1972 through 2007 (36) Hasn't won since 1971 Saint Louis 1958 through 1993 (36) 1953 through 1994 (42) Butler 1963 through 1996 (34) 1963 through 2000 (38) Manhattan 1959 through 1992 (34) 1959 through 1994 (36) Montana State 1952 through 1985 (34) Never won a playoff game
NOTES: Tulsa didn't win an NCAA playoff game from 1956 through 1993 (38 years). . . . Holy Cross (last victory in 1953) and Rice (1954) haven't won an NCAA Tournament game for extended periods. . . . Miami (Fla.) did not field a formal team from 1971-72 through 1984-85.
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). Acclaimed LSU freshman Ben Simmons appears bound to join Birdsong and Thompson as the third missing first-team A-A despite much of the media treating him as if he is superior to Tigers titan Pete Maravich. Simmons, apparently forcing LSU's coaching staff to moonlight as truant officers, should have attended North Carolina, which knows how to "educate" players without them wasting their time attending class.
Actually, if the SEC wasn't so mediocre, the Bayou Bengals likely would have finished the campaign with an overall losing record although their non-league schedule was full of cupcakes. Suggest the CIA use film of LSU's embarrassing exit in the SEC Tournament if it needs more "enhanced interrogation" techniques. No preseason prognosticator saw this possibility looming but Simmons may end up with the dubious distinction of joining LaRue Martin (Loyola of Chicago '72), Doug Collins (Illinois State '73) and Thompson as the only #1 overall draft picks failing to appear in the NCAA tourney.
Terry Dischinger, another celebrated Big Ten Conference player, 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 while skipping many of the road contests to continue his education. Unlike Simmons, Dischinger's dedication to the classroom paid off as he became an orthodontist.
In the ACC, 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? In the SEC long before Simmons' pencil-thin team success, Auburn's Charles Barkley was an All-American but the "Round Mound of Rebound" lost his only NCAA playoff game in 1984. Following is a look at Dischinger, Maravich and two 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|
Never underestimate the occasional astonishing absence of perspective among TV pundits. Amid the boob tube personality-driven showmanship, PT Barnum continues to chortle, "I was right all along!" about "there's a sucker born every minute."
CBS commentator Doug Gottlieb, ranked among the Top 20 analysts by CollegeHoopedia.com, never has coached a game of college basketball - even as an assistant. Yet the legend in his own mind proclaimed four years ago he was fit to serve at Kansas State as Frank Martin's successor. The Wildcats weren't suckered, ignoring such ego chicanery and hired former SIU and Illinois mentor Bruce Weber. Although this possibility probably should only be offered on April Fool's Day, could Gottlieb be considered as a candidate at another Big 12 Conference member after his alma mater's head coaching position became available?
Who does Gottlieb think he is? The collegiate version of Pat Riley? Saying he is "self aware" (a/k/a "full of himself"), Gottlieb must have thought the coaching acumen of his father and brother would rub off on him. Before becoming head coach at Jacksonville and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Gottlieb's father (Bob) was an assistant at K-State in the early 1970s at a time when the program was in the midst of capturing 11 Big Eight Conference championships in an 18-year span. In a battle of Wildcats, mighty Kentucky was the only school at that point boasting more final Top 20 rankings than KSU.
Gottlieb, a Notre Dame credit-card castoff before transferring to Oklahoma State and leading the nation in assists in 1998-99 and finishing runner-up the next season, thought he could assist a Big 12 Conference member as bench boss basically because of the visibility of his mug being on TV. Well, criminals have their head shots at the post office. Would that help them recruit suspect student-athletes? How about throwing his hat in the ring and learning the trade first at Oklahoma Baptist before working your way up the ladder?
The sports TV culture frequently fosters hero worshiped such as creepy ESPN original Keith Olbermann who think the world revolves around them and they develop a sordid sense of "out-of-bounds" entitlement. Gottlieb was no different than Larry "Grandmama" Johnson, who was upset and probably lost "her" wig and outfit when he didn't inherit the UNLV coaching job. Ditto Johnson teammate Stacey Augmon.
"When you are among the high-flying adored, your view of the world becomes blurred," wrote psychologist Stanley Teitelbaum of the flouting-of-the-law behavior in the book Sports Heroes, Fallen Idols: How Star Athletes Pursue Self-Destructive Paths and Jeopardize Their Careers.
"Off the field, some act as if they are above the rules of society; hubris and an attitude of entitlement become central to the psyche of many athletes. They may deny that they are vulnerable to reprisals and feel omnipotent and grandiose as well as entitled."
Eventually, OSU favored a real coach over a wannabee (Brad Underwood was 59-1 in Southland Conference competition the past three years for Stephen F. Austin). But if Gottlieb's resume boasting significant holes eventually enables him to go straight to a DI head coaching assignment, he'll need to also break ground by hiring an assistant devoted exclusively to free-throw shooting. After all, he is a lifetime member on the All-Gang That Can't Shoot Straight Team (abysmal 45.3% mark from the "foul" line with OSU).
Moreover, if Gottlieb is qualified to go straight to accepting the reins in a power conference where he previously competed, it seems his TV colleagues past and present should be treated in a similar fashion. Andy Katz should be next in line for the Fresno State position in his old stomping grounds; Alabama grad Rece Davis should be able to anchor any SEC opening; Doris Burke should become the first full-time female coach of a men's program at her alma mater (Providence) or some other Big East member; Skip Baseless should be coaching national POY Buddy Hield at Oklahoma; Screamin' A. Stiff should be guiding any school he wants to in MEAC; Mike Greenberg should be directing Northwestern to the Wildcats' first NCAA playoff appearance; Stephen Bardo should have been hired by Illinois (not John Groce); Adrian Branch should be Maryland's coach (not Mark Turgeon); Miles Simon should be at Arizona's helm (not Sean Miller); Sean Farnham should have been groomed as Ben Howland's replacement at UCLA (not passed on to Steve Alford); LaPhonso Ellis should be designated as Mike Brey's successor-in-waiting at Notre Dame, and Pat Summitt protege Kara Lawson should be the odds-on favorite to return to Tennessee and right the Volunteers' ship.
Politically, CBS' Seth Davis should be Shrillary Rotten's running mate; especially if his "barking" father, Clinton keg leg-humper Lanny Davis, would send another "no-class(ified)" syrupy email to private server of the Deleter of the Free World. After all, the creepy conflicts of interest go both ways. After the Clintons had "the talk," TV execs deemed their one-percenter daughter full of sufficient journalistic credentials to "earn" a $600,000-a-year position from NBC. Thus, we deride the unhinged mess media because that is precisely what the trumped know-it-alls deserve these days.
Do you know who boasts the highest-scoring game in history in a major-conference postseason tournament? Well, it's Marshall guard Skip Henderson, who erupted for 55 points in the 1988 Southern Conference quarterfinals against The Citadel. Marshall (also C-USA) and Texas Tech (Big 12 and SWC) are the only schools to have two players hold existing league tourney scoring marks in two different NCAA Division I alliances.
Three mid-major leagues - America East (twice after three-time MVP Jameel Warney's 18-of-22 field-goal shooting this year), Big Sky and Summit - provide the only players setting existing NCAA DI conference tournament scoring marks in a tourney final. All-Americans Lennie Rosenbluth (North Carolina) and Cliff Hagan (Kentucky) accounted for the two of following DI league tourney scoring standards (ACC and SEC) standing since the 1950s:
|America East||Final||Taylor Coppenrath||Vermont||43||Maine||3-13-04|
|America East||Final||Jameel Warney||Stony Brook||43||Vermont||3-12-16|
|American Athletic||Semifinal||Russ Smith||Louisville||42||Houston||3-14-14|
|Atlantic Coast||Quarterfinal||Lennie Rosenbluth||North Carolina||45||Clemson||3-7-57|
|Atlantic Sun||Quarterfinal||Reggie Gibbs||Houston Baptist||43||Georgia Southern||3-7-89|
|Atlantic 10||Quarterfinal||Tom Garrick||Rhode Island||50||Rutgers||3-7-88|
|Big East||Quarterfinal||Donyell Marshall||Connecticut||42||St. John's||3-11-94|
|Big Eight||Quarterfinal||Eric Piatkowski||Nebraska||42||Oklahoma||3-11-94|
|Big Sky||Final||Anthony Johnson||Montana||42||Weber State||3-11-10|
|Big Sky||Quarterfinal||Tyler Harvey||Eastern Washington||42||Idaho||3-12-15|
|Big South||Quarterfinal||Michael Kessens||Liberty||36||Virginia Military||3-7-13|
|Big Ten||First||Michael Thompson||Northwestern||35||Minnesota||3-10-11|
|Big 12||First||Mike Singletary||Texas Tech||43||Texas A&M||3-11-09|
|Big West||First||Josh Akognon||Cal State Fullerton||37||UC Riverside||3-11-09|
|Colonial||Semifinal||Marcus Thornton||William & Mary||37||Hofstra||3-8-15|
|Horizon League||Semifinal||Byron Larkin||Xavier||45||Loyola of Chicago||2-28-86|
|Metro Atlantic||Quarterfinal||Kevin Houston||Army||53||Fordham||2-28-87|
|Mid-American||Semifinal||Ron Harper||Miami (Ohio)||45||Ball State||3-8-85|
|Mid-Eastern Athletic||Quarterfinal||Tee Trotter||Maryland-Eastern Shore||40||Bethune-Cookman||3-5-02|
|Missouri Valley||Quarterfinal||Hersey Hawkins||Bradley||41||Indiana State||3-5-88|
|Mountain West||Semifinal||Jimmer Fredette||Brigham Young||52||New Mexico||3-11-11|
|Northeast||Quarterfinal||Rahsaan Johnson||Monmouth||40||St. Francis (N.Y.)||3-3-00|
|Ohio Valley||Quarterfinal||Bubba Wells||Austin Peay||43||Morehead State||2-25-97|
|Pac-12||Quarterfinal||Klay Thompson||Washington State||43||Washington||3-10-11|
|Patriot League||Semifinal||Rob Feaster||Holy Cross||43||Navy||3-5-94|
|Patriot League||Quarterfinal||Mark Lueking||Army||43||Bucknell||3-4-95|
|Southern||Quarterfinal||James "Skip" Henderson||Marshall||55||The Citadel||3-4-88|
|Southland||Quarterfinal||Kenneth Lyons||North Texas||47||Louisiana Tech||3-10-83|
|Southwest||Semifinal||Rick Bullock||Texas Tech||44||Arkansas||3-5-76|
|Summit League||Final||Bill Edwards||Wright State||38||Illinois-Chicago||3-8-93|
|Sun Belt||Quarterfinal||Dee Brown||Jacksonville||41||Old Dominion||3-3-90|
|West Coast||Quarterfinal||Tim Owens||San Francisco||45||Loyola Marymount||3-2-91|
|Western Athletic||Quarterfinal||Mike Jones||Texas Christian||44||Fresno State||3-6-97|
NOTE: Scoring outbursts by Fredette (Mountain West), Garrick (Atlantic 10), Gibbs (Atlantic Sun), Harper (Mid-American), Henderson (Southern), Houston (Metro Atlantic Athletic), Johnson (Big Sky), Lyons (Southland) and Piatkowski (Big Eight) are also existing school single-game standards. Warney's output is highest for Stony Brook at DI level.
The amazing six-overtime thriller between Connecticut and Syracuse in the 2009 Big East Conference Tournament quarterfinals is relatively easy to remember. But one of the most titillating tourney tidbits among all leagues that gets overlooked because the Southwest Conference is defunct remains Texas Tech's Rick Bullock singlehandedly outscoring the "Triplets" from Arkansas (Ron Brewer, Marvin Delph and Sidney Moncrief) by seven points, 44-37, when he set the SWC's single-game tournament scoring record in the 1976 semifinals.
As league tourney action commences, don't hesitate to capitalize on the links for the current Division I conferences cited below to refresh your memory about past champions and events. Following are many of the names and numbers of note only Cliff Clavin knows about regarding previous conference tournament competition you can reflect upon as teams tune up for the main event by jockeying for position in the NCAA playoff bracket:
America East - The 1989 North Atlantic Tournament was dubbed the MIT (Measles Invitational Tourney) because all spectators were banned due to a measles outbreak. Delaware competed for 17 years in the East Coast Conference and never won an ECC Tournament championship. But the Blue Hens entered the AEC predecessor, the North Atlantic, in 1992 and won their first-ever title and went to the NCAA playoffs for the initial time. They successfully defended their crown the next year before closing out the decade with another set of back-to-back tourney titles.
Atlantic Coast - Maryland, ranking fourth in both polls, lost in overtime against eventual NCAA champion North Carolina State, 103-100, in the 1974 final in what some believe might have been the greatest college game ever played. Three players from each team earned All-American honors during their careers - North Carolina State's David Thompson, Tom Burleson and Monte Towe plus Maryland's John Lucas, Len Elmore and Tom McMillen. The Terrapins had four players score at least 20 points - Lucas, McMillen, Owen Brown and Mo Howard - in a 20-point victory over 22-6 North Carolina (105-85) in the semifinals. The Terps, of course, didn't participate in the NCAA playoffs that year because a 32-team bracket allowing teams other than the league champion to be chosen on an at-large basis from the same conference wasn't adopted until the next season.
Big Sky - Montana, capitalizing on a homecourt advantage, overcame a jinx by winning back-to-back tournament titles in 1991 and 1992. The Grizzlies had just two losing regular-season league records from 1976 through 1990, but they didn't win the tournament title in that span, losing the championship game five times from 1978 through 1984.
Big South - The No. 1 seed won this unpredictable tourney only five times in the first 17 years. Radford failed to reach the postseason tournament final for nine years until capturing the event in 1998.
Big West - Pacific didn't compile a winning league record from 1979 through 1992, but the Tigers climaxed three consecutive appearances in the tournament semifinals by advancing to the '92 championship game.
Conference USA - Three of four C-USA Tournament champions from 1997 through 2000 won four games in four days. Cincinnati captured six league tournament titles in seven years from 1992 through 1998 in the Great Midwest and C-USA.
Horizon League - The first two tournament winners (Oral Roberts '80 and Oklahoma City '81) of the league's forerunner, the Midwestern City, subsequently shed Division I status and de-emphasized to the NAIA level. ORU, which also won the crown in 1984, returned to Division I status in 1993-94. Butler lost its first 12 games in the tourney until breaking into the win column in 1992.
Mid-Eastern Athletic - North Carolina A&T won seven consecutive titles from 1982 through 1988. The Aggies defeated Howard in the championship game each of the first six years of their streak with the middle four of them decided by a total of only 17 points.
SEC - Seven of the 13 tourney MVPs from 1979 through 1991 didn't play for the champion. One of them, LSU's John Williams, didn't even compete in the 1986 title game. Although Kentucky standout center Alex Groza saw limited action in the 1947 tournament because of a back injury, the Wildcats cruised to victories over Vanderbilt (98-29), Auburn (84-18), Georgia Tech (75-53) and Tulane (55-38). UK was also without Converse All-American guard Jack Parkinson (serving in the military), but the five-man all-tourney team was comprised of nothing but Wildcats - forwards Jack Tingle and Joe Holland, center Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones and guards Ken Rollins and Ralph Beard. UK (24) has won more than half of the SEC's tourneys.
Southern - Furman's Jerry Martin, an outfielder who hit .251 in 11 years with the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals and New York Mets from 1974 through 1984, was named MVP in the 1971 tournament after the 6-1 guard led the Paladins to the title with 22-, 36- and 19-point performances to pace the tourney in scoring. Two years earlier, current Davidson coach Bob McKillop scored three points for East Carolina against the Lefty Driesell-coached Wildcats in the 1969 SC Tournament championship game.
Southland - North Texas State's Kenneth Lyons outscored Louisiana Tech's Karl Malone, 47-6, when Lyons established a still existing single-game scoring record in the 1983 tournament quarterfinals. Malone led the SLC in rebounding (10.3 rpg) and steals (1.9 spg) that season as a freshman before going on to score more than 30,000 points in the NBA. Two years earlier, McNeese State won a first-round game after going winless in regular-season conference competition.
SWAC - Regular-season champion Grambling State lost by 50 points to Southern (105-55) in the 1987 final. An interesting twist that year was the fact Bob Hopkins, Grambling's first-year coach, had coached Southern the previous three seasons.
Sun Belt - South Alabama's stall didn't prevent the Jaguars from losing to New Orleans, 22-20, on Nate Mills' last-second jumper in the 1978 final. The next season, the Sun Belt became the first league to experiment with a 45-second shot clock. The four different schools that accounted for the participants in six consecutive finals from 1980 through 1985 went on to join other conferences - UAB, Old Dominion, South Florida and Virginia Commonwealth. Two-time champion Charlotte also abandoned ship.
West Coast - The top two seeds didn't meet in the championship game until 2000. The most tragic moment in the history of any conference tournament occurred in the semifinals of the 1990 event at Loyola Marymount when Hank Gathers, the league's all-time scoring leader and a two-time tourney MVP, collapsed on his home court during the Lions' game with Portland. He died later that evening and the tournament was suspended. The Lions earned the NCAA Tournament bid because of their regular-season crown and advanced to the West Regional final behind the heroics of Bo Kimble, who was Gathers' longtime friend from Philadelphia.
Western Athletic - The tourney's biggest upset occurred in 1990 when No. 9 seed Air Force defeated No. 1 seed Colorado State in the quarterfinals, 58-51. Hawaii's Carl English, averaging 3.9 points per game as a freshman during the regular season, had a season-high 25 in a 78-72 overtime victory against host Tulsa in the 2001 final.