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. Among the late-bloomer group, Nebraska is winless in the NCAA playoffs while Florida is a two-time NCAA champion.
Major School 1st NCAA Tourney Alabama 1975 Auburn 1984 Clemson 1980 Florida 1987 Georgia 1983 Minnesota 1972 Nebraska 1986 Seton Hall 1988 South Carolina 1971 Virginia 1976
NCAA Tournament matchups between members from the same league are relatively rare. When Big East Conference rivals Marquette and Syracuse (departing for ACC) met in the East Regional final, it was the 22nd such confrontation but only the second in the last 11 years.
The Big Ten Conference accounted for seven of the first 18 NCAA Tournament games pitting league members against each other. Florida coach Billy Donovan played in one of the playoff intraconference matchups in 1987 when he scored 20 points for Providence in an 88-73 triumph over Georgetown in the Southeast Regional final.
|Year||Conference||Playoff Round||NCAA Result Between Members of Same League|
|1976||Big Ten||championship||Indiana 86 (May scored team-high 26 points), Michigan 68 (Green 18)|
|1980||Big Ten||regional semifinals||Purdue 76 (Edmonson/Morris 20), Indiana 69 (I. Thomas 30)|
|1980||Big Ten||national third-place||Purdue 75 (Carroll 35), Iowa 58 (Arnold 19)|
|1981||ACC||national semifinals||North Carolina 78 (Wood 39), Virginia 65 (Lamp 18)|
|1983||ACC||regional final||North Carolina State 63 (Whittenburg 24), Virginia 62 (Sampson 23)|
|1985||Big East||national semifinals||Georgetown 77 (Williams 20), St. John's 59 (Glass 13)|
|1985||Big East||championship||Villanova 66 (McClain 17), Georgetown 64 (Wingate 16)|
|1986||SEC||regional semifinals||Kentucky 68 (Walker 22), Alabama 63 (Coner 20)|
|1986||SEC||regional final||Louisiana State 59 (Williams 16), Kentucky 57 (Walker 20)|
|1987||Big East||regional final||Providence 88 (Donovan/D. Wright 20), Georgetown 73 (Williams 25)|
|1987||Big East||national semifinals||Syracuse 77 (Monroe 17), Providence 63 (Screen 18)|
|1988||Big Eight||regional final||Kansas 71 (Manning 20), Kansas State 58 (Scott 18)|
|1988||Big Eight||championship||Kansas 83 (Manning 31), Oklahoma 79 (Sieger 22)|
|1989||Big Ten||national semifinals||Michigan 83 (Rice 28), Illinois 81 (Battle 29)|
|1992||Big Ten||regional final||Michigan 75 (Webber 23), Ohio State 71 (Jackson 20)|
|1992||Great Midwest||regional final||Cincinnati 88 (Jones 23), Memphis State 57 (Hardaway 12)|
|2000||Big Ten||regional final||Wisconsin 64 (Bryant 18), Purdue 60 (Cardinal/Cunningham 13)|
|2000||Big Ten||national semifinals||Michigan State 53 (Peterson 20), Wisconsin 41 (Boone 18)|
|2001||ACC||national semifinals||Duke 95 (Battier 25), Maryland 84 (Dixon 19)|
|2002||Big 12||regional final||Oklahoma 81 (Price 18), Missouri 75 (Paulding 22)|
|2009||Big East||regional final||Villanova 78 (Anderson 17), Pittsburgh 76 (Young 28)|
|2013||Big East||regional final||Syracuse 55 (Southerland 16), Marquette (Blue 14)|
Florida's ballyhooed intrastate clash with Cinderella Florida Gulf Coast showed again why some major schools should be ashamed of themselves for ducking nearby quality opponents. It pales in comparison to other natural rivalries across the country such as Kansas/Wichita State. But why in the world did they have to resort to a national tournament assignment hundreds of miles from their fan base to oppose each other?
In a "Days of Whine and Hoses" era when many cash-strapped athletic departments are begging for revenue, they still schedule numerous poorly-attended home games against inferior opponents. It defies logic as to why tradition-rich schools forsake entertaining non-conference contests with natural rivals while scheduling more than their share of meaningless "rout-a-matics" at home.
The normal intensity of an NCAA Tournament assignment escalates even more in "bragging rights" games between neighboring opponents that rarely if ever tangle on the same floor unless forced to compete against each other by a postseason bracket. For instance, it is a sad state of affairs for Show-Me State fans to need to hope Missouri and Saint Louis advanced in the 2012 West Regional and 2013 Midwest Regional for them to finally meet on the hardwood again. The chances of that occurring were remote insofar as neither school ever has reached the Final Four.
A classic example of the scheduling neglect was an intense 2001 West Regional matchup between Maryland and Georgetown. Of course, the Washington, D.C., area isn't the only region with a scheduling complex. As emotional as it was, the Hoya Paranoia-Terrapin Trepidation confrontation didn't stack up among the following top 10 intrastate contests in NCAA playoff history:
1. 1961 NCAA Championship Game (Cincinnati 70, Ohio State 65 in OT)
Paul Hogue, a 6-9 center who hit just 51.8% of his free-throw attempts during the season, sank only two of 10 foul shots in his two previous contests before putting Cincinnati ahead to stay with a pair of pivotal free throws in overtime in a victory over previously undefeated Ohio State.
2. 1998 East Regional second round (North Carolina 93, UNCC 83 in OT)
UNC Charlotte forward DeMarco Johnson outplayed national player of the year Antawn Jamison of the Tar Heels, but Carolina got a total of 55 points from Shammond Williams and Vince Carter to withstand the 49ers' bid for an upset.
3. 1983 Mideast Regional final (Louisville 80, Kentucky 68 in OT)
The first meeting between in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville in more than 24 years was memorable as the Cardinals outscored the Wildcats 18-6 in overtime to reach the Final Four.
4. 1981 Midwest Regional semifinals (Wichita State 66, Kansas 65)
Mike Jones hit two long-range baskets in the last 50 seconds for Wichita State in the first game between the intrastate rivals in 36 years.
5. 1989 Southeast Regional first round (South Alabama 86, Alabama 84)
In an exciting intrastate battle, South Alabama erased a 16-point halftime deficit. Jeff Hodge and Gabe Estaba combined for 55 points for USA.
6. 1971 West Regional final (UCLA 57, Long Beach State 55)
The closest result for UCLA during the Bruins' 38-game playoff winning streak from 1967 to 1973 came when they had to erase an 11-point deficit despite 29 percent field-goal shooting to edge Jerry Tarkanian-coached Long Beach State.
7. 1971 Mideast Regional semifinals (Western Kentucky 107, Kentucky 83)
This year's game wasn't anything like when WKU, long regarded as poor country cousins by Kentucky, whipped the Wildcats in their first-ever meeting when All-American Jim McDaniels poured in 35 points for the Hilltoppers.
8. 1959 Mideast Regional semifinals (Louisville 76, Kentucky 61)
Second-ranked Kentucky (24-3) hit less than one-third of its field-goal attempts in blowing a 15-point lead against intrastate rival Louisville (19-12). The Cardinals had lost to Georgetown (KY) earlier in the season.
10. 1962 NCAA Championship Game (Cincinnati 71, Ohio State 59)
Ohio State All-American center Jerry Lucas wrenched his left knee in the national semifinals against Wake Forest, limiting his effectiveness against Cincinnati counterpart Paul Hogue in the Bearcats' 71-59 triumph in the final.
New Northwestern coach Chris Collins knows all about the NCAA Tournament as a player and assistant coach with Duke. But the NCAA playoffs are little more than "Never Never Land" for the Wildcats and the following four other schools never to participate in the national championship tournament despite being designated as major colleges since the late 1940s (number of coaches during that span in parentheses):
In the Sweet 16, Kansas and Michigan met each other for the first time in NCAA Tournament competition. After coming from behind to beat KU, the Wolverines flogged Florida en route to the Final Four and opposing Syracuse for the first time in the NCAA playoffs at the national semifinals and meeting Louisville for the first time in NCAA competition in the championship game.
Although the NCAA tourney is in its eighth decade, there are attractive power school matchups that haven't occurred. Among the potentially entertaining intersectional playoff contests between storied programs never to take place in the NCAAs include:
- Georgetown vs. Indiana
- Georgetown vs. Michigan
- Georgetown vs. UCLA
- Louisville vs. Notre Dame
- Michigan vs. St. John's
- North Carolina vs. St. John's
- Notre Dame vs. St. John's
- Notre Dame vs. Syracuse
- Notre Dame vs. UCLA
- Notre Dame vs. Villanova
- St. John's vs. UCLA
- Syracuse vs. UCLA
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 13 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only team-leading scorer of a Final Four team to go scoreless when the school was eliminated from championship contention at the national semifinals? Hint: He was a center who along with four teammates averaged between 11 and 12.5 points per game.
2. Who is the only player to twice lead the nation in scoring average while playing for teams advancing to the Final Four? Hint: He is the only team-leading scorer to twice be more than 10 points below his season scoring mark when his school was eliminated at the Final Four.
3. Name the only school to lose two national championship games by at least 18 points after leading the finals at halftime. Hint: The two opponents, 17 years apart, combined to win 66 of 68 games those seasons.
4. Name the only school to make as many as eight consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from the year it participated in the event for the first time. Hint: The school's last playoff victory wasn't during this streak, but it later handed UCLA its first West Regional defeat in 14 years.
5. Name the only school to lose as many as 15 opening-round games in the NCAA Tournament. Hint: The university also lost a first-round game in 1984 after winning a qualifying round contest when the playoff field was 53 teams.
6. Who is the only athlete to collect more than 3,000 major league hits, including 465 homers, after playing the entire basketball game for a school when it appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Hint: The outfielder appeared in 12 All-Star Games and two World Series after never playing in the minors.
7. Who is the only player to have a single-digit point total in a national semifinal game and then increase his output by more than 20 points in the championship game? Hint: The center for two years between two three-time consensus first-team All-Americans shot just over 40% from the floor for the season entering the title game where he had a game-high and career-high point total.
8. Who is the only player to have a decrease of more than 25 points from his national semifinal game scoring total to his championship game output? Hint: He was a member of the first undefeated NCAA champion and subsequently became an NBA first-round draft choice.
9. Name the only school to defeat two eventual Final Four teams by double-digit margins in their conference tournament. Hint: The school was handily eliminated in the NCAA playoffs by one of the two Final Four teams it decisively defeated in their league tourney.
10. Name the only school to reach the NCAA championship game in back-to-back seasons it was defeated by double-digit margins in its conference tournament. Hint: The school swept its home-and-home series in regular-season conference competition against the teams defeating it in the league tourney.
North Carolina A&T State appeared in the NCAA playoffs the most times (nine) without winning a tournament game until prevailing in a First Four outing this year. Northeast Louisiana, now known as Louisiana-Monroe, inherited this dubious category with an 0-7 record. But N.C. A&T and ULM still have a long way to go to join the ranks of the "quick exit" schools with more than a dozen opening-round defeats.
Connecticut, after absorbing nine opening-round losses in 17 years from 1951 through 1967, had the most opening-round setbacks for years. But the Huskies, ineligible this season, didn't incur an opening-round reversal for 28 years until suffering two in a recent five-year span. St. John's suffered eight opening-round losses in a 20-year stretch from 1973 through 1992.
Maryland was the first school to incur at least 10 NCAA Tournament defeats but never absorb an opening-round setback until the Terrapins lost to Santa Clara in 1996. Missouri showed this year with its third straight first-round reversal why the Tigers are on the following list of schools most prone to sustaining an opening-round defeat:
School (Playoff Losses) NCAA Tournament Opening-Round Defeats Brigham Young (30) 17 (1950-57-65-69-72-79-80-87-90-92-95-01-03-04-07-08-09) Princeton (28) 16 (1952-55-60-63-69-76-77-81-89-90-91-92-97-01-04-11) Utah State (20) 16 (1939-63-71-75-79-80-83-88-98-00-03-05-06-09-10-11) Missouri (26) 14 (1944-78-81-83-86-87-88-90-93-99-00-11-12-13) Temple (31) 14 (1944-64-67-70-72-79-90-92-95-98-08-09-10-12) St. John's (30) 13 (1961-68-73-76-77-78-80-84-88-92-98-02-11) West Virginia (26) 13 (1955-56-57-58-62-65-67-83-86-87-92-09-12)
Texas has had more different schools (23) participate in the NCAA Tournament than any state. But the Lone Star State didn't have a lone entrant in this year's event.
Meanwhile, Florida became the 37th school to appear in more than 50 NCAA playoff games. At least 10 of the 37 schools failed to participate each year since the field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985, including 11 outcasts this season.
Nearly half of the "star schools" stayed home in 2004, including Houston being in the midst of a 17-year drought from 1993 through 2009. Following is a chronological list of big-name universities not in the tourney during since 1985:
1985 (14) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Indiana, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
1986 (12) - Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Kansas State, Marquette, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, Wake Forest
1987 (13) - Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis State, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Texas, Utah, Villanova, Wake Forest
1988 (12) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Marquette, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
1989 (15) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Kansas, Kentucky, Marquette, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, Utah, Wake Forest
1990 (12) - Cincinnati, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis State, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
1991 (14) - Cincinnati, Florida, Illinois, Houston, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, West Virginia
1992 (11) - Florida, Illinois, Kansas State, Marquette, Maryland, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Purdue, UNLV, Utah, Villanova
1993 (15) - Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Texas, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
1994 (13) - Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Memphis, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, St. John's, UNLV, Utah, Villanova, West Virginia
1995 (11) - Duke, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Marquette, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, St. John's, UNLV, West Virginia
1996 (11) - Florida, Houston, Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, UNLV, West Virginia
1997 (16) - Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Houston, Kansas State, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Syracuse, UNLV, West Virginia
1998 (14) - Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Memhis, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas, Villanova, Wake Forest
1999 (12) - Georgetown, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, UNLV, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2000 (12) - Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Villanova, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2001 (14) - Connecticut, Houston, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina State, Purdue, St. John's, UNLV, Utah, Villanova, West Virginia
2002 (15) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, Purdue, Syracuse, Temple, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
2003 (14) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, St. John's, Temple, UCLA, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
2004 (18) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Marquette, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UCLA, UNLV, Villanova, West Virginia
2005 (15) - Arkansas, Georgetown, Houston, Indiana, Kansas State, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UNLV
2006 (14) - Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas State, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Purdue, St. John's, Temple, UNLV, Utah, Wake Forest
2007 (15) - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Syracuse, Temple, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
2008 (14) - Cincinnati, Florida, Houston, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Syracuse, Utah, Wake Forest
2009 (13) - Arkansas, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, St. John's, UNLV
2010 (15) - Arizona, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, St. John's, UCLA, Utah
2011 (10) - Arkansas, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Utah, Wake Forest
2012 (13) - Arizona, Arkansas, Houston, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, St. John's, UCLA, Utah, Villanova, Wake Forest
2013 (11) - Arkansas, Connecticut, Houston, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Purdue, St. John's, Utah, Wake Forest, West Virginia
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 12 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only championship team player to have a season scoring average of less than six points per game entering a Final Four but tally more than 30 points in the national semifinals and final? Hint: He is the only player with a single-digit season scoring average to score more than 25 points in an NCAA championship game.
2. Who is the only player to score at least 25 points in eight consecutive NCAA playoff games? Hint: He is the only player to rank among the top five in scoring average in both the NCAA Tournament and NBA playoffs. He was denied a championship ring in his only Final Four appearance when a player who would become an NBA teammate tipped in a decisive basket in the closing seconds.
3. Name the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player who wasn't among the top five scorers on his team. Hint: The only other player to earn the award who wasn't among the top four scorers on his team attended the same university.
5. Who is the only U.S. Congressman to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee after playing in the NCAA Tournament championship game? Hint: Starting out as a Democrat, he became a 12-term Republican Congressman from Illinois.
6. Who is the only individual to be named Final Four Most Outstanding Player and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in back-to-back seasons? Hint: He holds the NBA Finals single-game record for most points by a rookie.
7. Name the freshman who had the highest season scoring average for a team to reach the NCAA Tournament championship game until Carmelo Anthony achieved the feat for 2003 champion Syracuse. Hint: The word "Boss" is tattooed to his chest for a good reason because he also led his team in assists as a freshman.
8. Who is the only freshman to score more than 30 points in a national semifinal or championship game before failing to score more than half that total in his next four playoff outings? Hint: He didn't score more than 15 points in any of his next four NCAA playoff games, all defeats, and he averaged a modest 8.2 points per game in an eight-year NBA career with an all-time pro season high of 11.4 ppg and game high of 28.
9. Who is the only freshman on a Final Four team to score more than 20 points in as many as four tournament games? Hint: He did not play in the national championship game and his school lost in the NCAA playoffs to opponents with double-digit seeds each of the four seasons before he arrived.
10. Name the only season-leading scorer of a titlist to be held more than 14 points below his average in the NCAA championship game. Hint: He was named national player of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. He is one of four Final Four Most Outstanding Players held scoreless in their NCAA Tournament debuts in a previous season. He is also the only individual to become a member of three NCAA titlists after playing one season in junior college.
After an average of four mid-level schools reached the Sweet 16 in a six-year span from 2006 through 2011, the past two seasons could have cemented the premise about mid-major schools deserving more at-large consideration.
But that was before eight mid-level schools - Gonzaga, New Mexico, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis, Saint Mary's, Southern Mississippi, UNLV and Virginia Commonwealth - were eliminated in games against power six conference members by an average of only four points in 2012 and the Mountain West Conference flopped this season.
Wichita State advancing to the Final Four plus victories by Lehigh, Norfolk State and Florida Gulf Coast the past two years were invigorating but the mid-major community missed out on a potential bonanza. Following is a look at how at least one mid-major conference member advanced to a regional semifinal or beyond since the field was expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985:
Year Mid-Major School Coach Conference Playoff Advancement 1985 Louisiana Tech Andy Russo Southland Sweet 16 1985 Loyola of Chicago Gene Sullivan Midwestern City Sweet 16 1986 Cleveland State Kevin Mackey Mid-Continent Sweet 16 1986 Navy Paul Evans Colonial Regional Final 1986 UNLV Jerry Tarkanian PCAA Sweet 16 1987 UNLV Jerry Tarkanian PCAA Final Four 1987 Wyoming Jim Brandenburg Western Athletic Sweet 16 1988 Rhode Island Tom Penders Atlantic 10 Sweet 16 1988 Richmond Dick Tarrant Colonial Sweet 16 1988 Temple John Chaney Atlantic 10 Regional Final 1989 UNLV Jerry Tarkanian Big West Regional Final 1990 Ball State Dick Hunsaker Mid-American Sweet 16 1990 Loyola Marymount Paul Westhead West Coast Regional Final 1990 Texas Tom Penders Southwest Regional Final 1990 UNLV Jerry Tarkanian Big West NCAA Champion 1990 Xavier Pete Gillen Midwestern Collegiate Sweet 16 1991 Eastern Michigan Ben Braun Mid-American Sweet 16 1991 Temple John Chaney Atlantic 10 Regional Final 1991 UNLV Jerry Tarkanian Big West Final Four 1991 Utah Rick Majerus Western Athletic Sweet 16 1992 Massachusetts John Calipari Atlantic 10 Sweet 16 1992 New Mexico State Neil McCarthy Big West Sweet 16 1992 Texas-El Paso Don Haskins Western Athletic Sweet 16 1993 George Washington Mike Jarvis Atlantic 10 Sweet 16 1993 Temple John Chaney Atlantic 10 Regional Final 1993 Western Kentucky Ralph Willard Sun Belt Sweet 16 1994 Tulsa Tubby Smith Missouri Valley Sweet 16 1995 Massachusetts John Calipari Atlantic 10 Regional Final 1995 Tulsa Tubby Smith Missouri Valley Sweet 16 1996 Cincinnati Bob Huggins Conference USA Regional Final 1996 Massachusetts John Calipari Atlantic 10 Final Four 1996 Utah Rick Majerus Western Athletic Sweet 16 1997 St. Joseph's Phil Martelli Atlantic 10 Sweet 16 1997 UT Chattanooga Mack McCarthy Southern Sweet 16 1997 Utah Rick Majerus Western Athletic Regional Final 1998 Rhode Island Jim Harrick Atlantic 10 Regional Final 1998 Utah Rick Majerus Western Athletic NCAA Title Game 1998 Valparaiso Homer Drew Mid-Continent Sweet 16 1999 Gonzaga Dan Monson West Coast Regional Final 1999 Miami (Ohio) Charlie Coles Mid-American Sweet 16 1999 SW Missouri State Steve Alford Missouri Valley Sweet 16 1999 Temple John Chaney Atlantic 10 Regional Final 2000 Gonzaga Mark Few West Coast Sweet 16 2000 Tulsa Bill Self Western Athletic Regional Final 2001 Gonzaga Mark Few West Coast Sweet 16 2001 Temple John Chaney Atlantic 10 Regional Final 2002 Kent State Stan Heath Mid-American Regional Final 2002 Southern Illinois Bruce Weber Missouri Valley Sweet 16 2003 Butler Todd Lickliter Horizon League Sweet 16 2004 Nevada Trent Johnson Western Athletic Sweet 16 2004 St. Joseph's Phil Martelli Atlantic 10 Regional Final 2004 UAB Mike Anderson Conference USA Sweet 16 2004 Xavier Thad Matta Atlantic 10 Regional Final 2005 Utah Ray Giacoletti Mountain West Sweet 16 2005 Wisconsin-Milwaukee Bruce Pearl Horizon League Sweet 16 2006 Bradley Jim Les Missouri Valley Sweet 16 2006 George Mason Jim Larranaga Colonial Final Four 2006 Gonzaga Mark Few West Coast Sweet 16 2006 Memphis John Calipari Conference USA Regional Final 2006 Wichita State Mark Turgeon Missouri Valley Sweet 16 2007 Butler Todd Lickliter Horizon League Sweet 16 2007 Memphis John Calipari Conference USA Regional Final 2007 Southern Illinois Chris Lowery Missouri Valley Sweet 16 2007 UNLV Lon Kruger Mountain West Sweet 16 2008 Davidson Bob McKillop Southern Regional Final 2008 Memphis John Calipari Conference USA NCAA Title Game 2008 Western Kentucky Darrin Horn Sun Belt Sweet 16 2008 Xavier Sean Miller Atlantic 10 Regional Final 2009 Gonzaga Mark Few West Coast Sweet 16 2009 Memphis John Calipari Conference USA Sweet 16 2009 Xavier Sean Miller Atlantic 10 Sweet 16 2010 Butler Brad Stevens Horizon League NCAA Title Game 2010 Cornell Steve Donahue Ivy League Sweet 16 2010 Northern Iowa Ben Jacobsen Missouri Valley Sweet 16 2010 Saint Mary's Randy Bennett West Coast Sweet 16 2010 Xavier Chris Mack Atlantic 10 Sweet 16 2011 Brigham Young Dave Rose Mountain West Sweet 16 2011 Butler Brad Stevens Horizon League NCAA Title Game 2011 Richmond Chris Mooney Atlantic 10 Sweet 16 2011 San Diego State Steve Fisher Mountain West Sweet 16 2011 Virginia Commonwealth Shaka Smart Colonial Final Four 2012 Ohio University John Groce Mid-American Sweet 16 2012 Xavier Chris Mack Atlantic 10 Sweet 16 2013 Florida Gulf Coast Andy Enfield Atlantic Sun Sweet 16 2013 La Salle John Giannini Atlantic 10 Sweet 16 2013 Wichita State Gregg Marshall Missouri Valley Final Four
If the upper-crust elite snobbily look down their noses, they might find their opponents boast the upper hand by looking down the barrel of a gun such as Ohio State against an "angry" Wichita State. Georgetown, which was embarrassed by Florida Gulf Coast, is one of 18 former national champions to lose multiple times in the tourney against members of lower-profile conferences seeded five or more places worse than the major university currently a member of one of the consensus power six leagues. Kansas has a high of six setbacks as a total of 12 former NCAA titlists have lost three or more such contests.
A total of 78 different lower-profile schools (after FGCU and La Salle) and current members of 23 different mid-major conferences (all but Great West, Northeast and Summit) have won such games since seeding was introduced in 1979. The mid-major school with the most "David vs. Goliath" victories among the following list is Richmond with six.
ACC (16 defeats to mid-major opponents seeded five or more places worse) - Boston College (lost to #12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005); Clemson (lost to #13 Southwest Missouri State in 1987 and #11 Western Michigan in 1998); Duke (lost to #11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2007 and #15 Lehigh in 2012); Florida State (lost to #13 Middle Tennessee State in 1989); Georgia Tech (lost to #13 Richmond in 1988 and #13 Southern in 1993); Maryland (lost to #12 College of Charleston in 1997); North Carolina (lost to #9 Penn in 1979, #14 Weber State in 1999 and #11 George Mason in 2006); North Carolina State (lost to #14 Murray State in 1988); Virginia (lost to #12 Wyoming in 1987 and #12 Gonzaga in 2001); Wake Forest (#13 Cleveland State in 2009)
BIG EAST (27) - Connecticut (lost to #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); Louisville (#12 Ball State in 1990, #12 Butler in 2003 and #13 Morehead State in 2011); Marquette (#12 Tulsa in 2002); Notre Dame (lost to #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); Providence (#12 Pacific in 2004); St. John's (#10 Gonzaga in 2000 and #11 Gonzaga in 2011); Seton Hall (#7 Western Kentucky in 1993); Syracuse (#7 Navy in 1986, #11 Rhode Island in 1988, #15 Richmond in 1991 and #13 Vermont in 2005); Villanova (#14 Old Dominion in 1995 and #10 Saint Mary's in 2010)
BIG TEN (23) - Illinois (lost to #14 Austin Peay State in 1987, #12 Dayton in 1990, #14 Chattanooga in 1997 and Western Kentucky in 2009); Indiana (#14 Cleveland State in 1986, #13 Richmond in 1988, #11 Pepperdine in 2000 and #13 Kent State in 2001); Iowa (#14 Northwestern State in 2006); Michigan (#11 Loyola Marymount in 1990 and #13 Ohio University in 2012); Michigan State (#14 Weber State in 1995 and #11 George Mason in 2006); Nebraska (#14 Xavier in 1991 and #11 Penn in 1994); Ohio State (#12 Utah State in 2001 and #9 Wichita State in 2013); Purdue (#11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011); Wisconsin (#12 Southwest Missouri State in 1999, #11 Georgia State in 2001, #7 UNLV in 2007, #10 Davidson in 2008 and #12 Cornell in 2010)
BIG 12 (17) - Iowa State (lost to #15 Hampton in 2001); Kansas (#9 Texas-El Paso in 1992, #8 Rhode Island in 1998, #14 Bucknell in 2005, #13 Bradley in 2006, #9 Northern Iowa in 2010 and #11 Virginia Commonwealth in 2011); Kansas State (#11 Tulane in 1993 and #13 La Salle in 2013); Oklahoma (#13 Southwestern Louisiana in 1992, #13 Manhattan in 1995, #13 Indiana State in 2001 and #11 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2006); Oklahoma State (#12 Princeton in 1983, #10 Temple in 1991 and #12 Tulsa in 1994); Texas Tech (#11 Southern Illinois in 2002)
PACIFIC-12 (17) - Arizona (lost to #14 East Tennessee State in 1992, #15 Santa Clara in 1993 and #12 Miami of Ohio in 1995); California (#12 Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1994); Oregon State (#10 Lamar in 1980, #11 Evansville in 1989 and #12 Ball State in 1990); Southern California (#13 UNC Wilmington in 2002); Stanford (#14 Siena in 1989 and #10 Gonzaga in 1999); UCLA (#12 Wyoming in 1987, #13 Penn State in 1991, #12 Tulsa in 1994, #13 Princeton in 1996 and #12 Detroit in 1999); Utah (#10 Miami of Ohio in 1999); Washington State (#12 Penn in 1980)
SEC (30) - Alabama (lost to #11 Lamar in 1983, #11 South Alabama in 1989, #10 Kent State in 2002 and #12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005); Auburn (#12 Richmond in 1984); Florida (#12 Creighton in 2002, #12 Manhattan in 2003 and #8 Butler in 2011); Georgia (#14 Chattanooga in 1997 and #11 Southern Illinois in 2002); Kentucky (#7 UAB in 1981, #11 Middle Tennessee State in 1982 and #9 UAB in 2004); Louisiana State (#13 Navy in 1985 and #11 UAB in 2005); Mississippi (#13 Valparaiso in 1998); Mississippi State (#12 Eastern Michigan in 1991, #12 Butler in 2003 and #7 Xavier in 2004); Missouri (#13 Xavier in 1987, #11 Rhode Island in 1988, #14 Northern Iowa in 1990 and #15 Norfolk State in 2012); South Carolina (#15 Coppin State in 1997 and #14 Richmond in 1998); Tennessee (#12 Southwest Missouri State in 1999 and #7 Wichita State in 2006); Vanderbilt (#13 Siena in 2008, #13 Murray State in 2010 and #12 Richmond in 2011)
NOTES: Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were members of the Big Eight until 1997. Mizzou left the Big 12 for SEC in 2013. . . . Notre Dame was an independent in 1986. . . . Florida State, Louisville and Tulane were members of the Metro Conference in 1989, 1990 and 1993, respectively. . . . Dayton was a member of the Midwestern Collegiate in 1990. . . . DePaul was a member of the Great Midwest in 1992. . . . Texas-El Paso and Utah were members of the WAC in 1992 and 1999, respectively. . . . Marquette and Louisville were members of Conference USA in 2002 and 2004, respectively. . . . Tulsa was a member of Missouri Valley in 1994 and 2002. . . . Boston College was a member of the Big East in 2005.
Bobby Hurley Jr., who won more than 4/5 of his games as an All-American playmaker with Duke in the early 1990s (119-26, .821), assumes control of the Buffalo coaching position with an impressive pedigree including playing under his famous father in high school and all-time winningest DI coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Blue Devils.
But the odds are overwhelmingly against Hurley compiling a higher winning percentage as a coach than he did as a player. Indiana's Branch McCracken is the only one of the first 47 All-Americans who became major-college mentors to compile a higher winning percentage as a coach.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 11 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only one of the 60 or so two-time consensus first-team All-Americans since 1946 never to participate in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT? Hint: His school was a total of 10 games over .500 in Big Ten Conference competition in his junior and senior seasons. He never played on a team to win a playoff series in his nine-year NBA career.
2. Who is the only player to score more than 20,000 pro points yet never reach the conference finals in the NBA playoffs after playing at least two seasons of varsity basketball at a major college and never participating in the NCAA Division I playoffs? Hint: The college he attended made its NCAA Tournament debut the first year after he left school early to become the third pick overall in the NBA draft.
3. Who is the only coach since the tourney field expanded to at least 48 teams to take two different universities to the playoffs when the schools appeared in the tournament for the first time? Hint: His last name begins with a "F" and he no longer is a Division I head coach.
4. Name the only school with a losing record to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs by winning a regular-season conference title. Hint: The league started a postseason tournament two years later and the school in question has lost all six times it reached the conference tourney championship game.
5. Name the only major university to have two graduates score more than 17,000 points in the NBA after playing at least three varsity seasons in college and failing to appear in the NCAA Tournament. Hint: The school has had three other players score more than 10,000 points in the NBA after never appearing in the NCAA playoffs.
6. Name the only former titlist to have an all-time playoff record 10 games below the .500 mark. Hint: Longtime network broadcaster Curt Gowdy played in the tournament for the school.
7. Name the only state with three schools to compile tournament records at least nine games below .500. Hint: The three institutions from the same state are members of different conferences.
8. Who was the only player shorter than Bobby Hurley, Duke's 6-0 guard, to play for a championship team and be selected as the Final Four Most Outstanding Player? Hint: There was another Final Four MOP who was also shorter than 6-0, but he played for a national third-place finisher in the mid-1950s.
9. Who is the only individual to play in an NCAA Tournament championship game and later coach his alma mater to a final? Hint: He served as an assistant to the coach with the most NCAA playoff victories and a college teammate is one of the winningest coaches of all time.
10. Name the only one of the schools with multiple national titles to have two teams participate in the NCAA playoffs as defending champions but lose their opening-round game. Hint: Both of the opening-round setbacks for the school when it was defending champion occurred in the East Regional.
We have been reminded anew how the NCAA playoffs are akin to walking a tightrope, playing Russian roulette or participating in a crapshoot. When March arrives, it's time for Madness while witnessing postseason competition fraught with sentiment and punctuated by compelling drama.
Since your bracket likely already is only good for kindling, it might be worth investing your time steering clear of the nerve-wracking tension and simply focusing on becoming a more astute observer. In addition to testing your skills with CollegeHoopedia.com's daily dose of one-and-only trivia questions or Top 75 games/players in NCAA playoff history, another way to enhance your knowledge might be to assess the wide range of personalities described in our "Who Am I?" collection of former tourney players who went on to distinction in endeavors off the playing court. At the very least, it won't be a win-or-go-home format.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 10 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only All-American to coach three different schools in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: He was the leading scorer for an NCAA champion.
2. Who is the only coach to take three different schools to a regional final in a 10-year span? Hint: He is the only individual to meet two different schools in the playoffs he had previously coached to the Final Four. He had a chance to become the first coach to guide three different universities to the national semifinals, but retired and turned the reins over to his son.
3. Who is the only seven-foot player to lead a Final Four in scoring and win a conference high jump title in the same year? Hint: He is the only player to lead the NBA in rebounds and assists in the same season.
4. Of the total of 10 different teams in the 1980s to defeat a school twice in a season the opponent eventually won the national title, name the only one of the 10 to fail to win its NCAA Tournament opener. Hint: The team had the misfortune of opening the playoffs on the home court of its opponent.
5. Of the Final Four teams in the last several decades to have standouts whose high school coach was reunited with a star player as a college assistant, name the only school to win a national championship. Hint: The high school coach who tagged along with his prep All-American as a college assistant was also the first minority player to play for his alma mater.
6. Who is the only coach to take a team more than two games below .500 one season to the national title the next year? Hint: He is the only championship team coach to finish his college career with a losing record. He is also the only major-college coach to stay at a school at least 25 seasons and finish with a losing career record at that institution.
7. Who is the only coach to reach the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament and NIT at least five times apiece? Hint: Of the coaches to win basketball championships at every major level (the NCAA, NIT and Summer Olympics), he is the only one to capture the "Triple Crown" in a span of less than 10 years.
8. Of the players to score more than 225 points in the playoffs and/or average in excess of 25 points per tournament game (minimum of six games), who is the only individual to score more than 22 points in every postseason contest? Hint: He is the only player from the group to have a single-digit differential between his highest-scoring game and his lowest-scoring game.
9. Who is the only one of the first 20 players to accumulate at least 235 points in NCAA playoff competition to fail to score at least 25 points in a tournament game? Hint: He is the only one of the more recent Most Outstanding Players to score fewer than 28 points in two Final Four games and his highest-scoring playoff performance couldn't avert a defeat in the only one of his four years he didn't participate in the Final Four.
10. Among the all-time leading scorers in NCAA Tournament history, who is the only player in this group to go scoreless in a playoff game? Hint: He scored less than 10 points in six consecutive tournament games before averaging 20 points per game in his last 11 playoff outings.
The Big Ten Conference boasts four teams among the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. But are these squads running on fumes when they reach the Final Four after getting beat up on all season in a rigorous league? Syracuse '03 (from the Big East) is the only national champion in the previous 15 years to emerge in a year when one of the power alliances supplied at least four representatives among the Sweet 16, comprising 37 schools from 1998 through 2012.
In 2009, the Big East became the only conference to have five playoff teams reach the regional semifinals in the same year. The ACC boasted four members advancing that far on eight occasions in a 12-year stretch from 1984 through 1995 but hasn't had that many entrants go to that level in the last 18 years. The ACC, upon adding Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse as new members, is likely to end this streak in the not-too-distant future.
The ACC in 1985 was the only league in this category not to have at least one of the quartet reach the Final Four until the Big East was foiled in 2006. Following is a look at the 24 times when thoroughbred leagues supplied at least four of the Sweet 16 since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to at least 48 teams in 1980:
|Year||Power League||Four or More Members Reaching Sweet 16|
|1980||Big Ten||Indiana, z-Iowa, Ohio State, z-Purdue|
|1984||ACC||Maryland, North Carolina, z-Virginia, Wake Forest|
|1985||ACC||Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State|
|1985||Big East||Boston College, y-Georgetown, z-St. John's, x-Villanova|
|1986||ACC||y-Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State|
|1986||SEC||Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, z-Louisiana State|
|1989||ACC||z-Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia|
|1989||Big Ten||z-Illinois, Indiana, x-Michigan, Minnesota|
|1990||ACC||Clemson, y-Duke, z-Georgia Tech, North Carolina|
|1992||ACC||x-Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina|
|1993||ACC||Florida State, x-North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest|
|1995||ACC||Maryland, z-North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest|
|1996||SEC||Arkansas, Georgia, x-Kentucky, z-Mississippi State|
|1997||Pacific-10||x-Arizona, California, Stanford, UCLA|
|1998||Pacific-10||Arizona, z-Stanford, UCLA, Washington|
|1999||Big Ten||Iowa, z-Michigan State, z-Ohio State, Purdue|
|2001||Pacific-10||y-Arizona, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA|
|2002||Big 12||z-Kansas, Missouri, z-Oklahoma, Texas|
|2003||Big East||Connecticut, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, x-Syracuse|
|2006||Big East||Connecticut, Georgetown, Villanova, West Virginia|
|2009||Big East||z-Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, z-Villanova|
|2012||Big East||Cincinnati, z-Louisville, Marquette, Syracuse|
|2012||Big Ten||Indiana, Michigan State, z-Ohio State, Wisconsin|
|2013||Big Ten||Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State|
x-Won NCAA championship
y-Finished national runner-up
z-Reached Final Four
There is a tendency to overindulge at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Anyone digesting the following assortment of incisive facts on the remaining 16 NCAA Tournament coaches should find that variety is the spice of CollegeHoopedia's smorgasbord. Remember: If a morsel isn't appetizing, don't be a glutton for punishment in trying to comprehend what makes the Sweet 16 coaching community tick. Just proceed directly to the next tidbit. Sooner or later, there's bound to be a factoid you can savor en route to the Final Four in New Orleans.
ARIZONA: Sean Miller was Big East Conference Freshman of the Year in 1987-88 with Pittsburgh (9.3 ppg, 5.8 apg, 85.1 FT%). He delivered the assist for teammate Jerome Lane's backboard-shattering dunk ("Send It In, Jerome!").
DUKE: Mike Krzyzewski was an assistant with Dave Bliss, Bob Donewald and Bob Weltlich on Indiana coach Bob Knight's staff in 1974-75. Krzyzewski, after losing to SUNY-Buffalo, Scranton (Pa.) and King's College (Pa.) in 1975-76 while coaching Army, compiled the worst three-year mark for the Blue Devils (38-47 from 1980-81 through 1982-83) since George Buckheit went 16-30 from 1925-25 through 1926-27.
FLORIDA: Billy Donovan, a third-round pick from Providence in the 1987 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz, was selected ahead of Yale center Chris Dudley. Donovan averaged 2.8 points per game his first two seasons with the Friars before averaging 18 ppg his last two campaigns. Donovan's teammates with the New York Knicks in 1987-88 included eventual Division I head coaches Sidney Green and Louis Orr. His high school coach (St. Agnes, N.Y.), Frank Morris, coached former Gators starting guard Teddy Dupay in high school (Ft. Myers, Fla.). Donovan was an assistant with Herb Sendek, Tubby Smith and Ralph Willard on Rick Pitino's coaching staff at Kentucky in 1989-90 after working with an investment banking firm on Wall Street. Donovan, who led the Big East Conference in steals in 1986-87 with 1.9 per game, is the son of William Donovan, Boston College's captain as a senior in 1961-62.
FLORIDA GULF COAST: Andy Enfield (Johns Hopkins '91) set the all-time NCAA career free-throw percentage record (92.5%; 431 of 466). His wife, Amanda Marcum, is a Maxim cover girl.
KANSAS: Bill Self served as an assistant on the Big Eight Conference coaching staffs of Larry Brown (Kansas) and Eddie Sutton (Oklahoma State). Self, an Oklahoma State alumnus, played in the Big Eight against Maryland coach Mark Turgeon (Kansas) and top two NBA draft picks Steve Stipanovich (2nd selection overall in 1983/attended Missouri), Wayman Tisdale (2nd in 1985/Oklahoma) and Danny Manning (1st in 1988/Kansas). Self, Oklahoma's High School Player of the Year over Tisdale in 1980-81, directed Oral Roberts to the nation's best winning percentage among independent schools in 1996 (18-9) and 1997 (21-7).
LA SALLE: When Dr. John Giannini was a 6-5 forward at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., he was captain and named All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin in 1981 and 1983.
LOUISVILLE: Rick Pitino averaged more assists per game (5.6) than points (4.7) in his two-year playing career with Massachusetts. Al Skinner, Boston College's all-time winningest coach, was captain of the 1973-74 UMass squad that was led in assists by Pitino for the second straight season.
MARQUETTE: Brent "Buzz" Williams received his nickname while attending Navarro College, where he "buzzed" around the junior college basketball team so often the coach issued him the moniker.
MICHIGAN: John Beilein is the only active mentor in the country to register 20-win seasons at the junior college, NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division I levels. A 22-7 record in 1993-94 in his second year at the major-college level with Canisius was the winningest in school history at the time and came only two seasons after the Golden Griffins suffered an all-time high in defeats (8-22 mark in 1991-92). His uncle, Joe Niland, coached Canisius for five seasons from 1948-49 through 1952-53.
MICHIGAN STATE: Tom Izzo was a teammate in high school (Iron Mountain, Mich.) and college (Northern Michigan) of former Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci. Izzo, a running back, and Mariucci, a quarterback, were the best men in each others' weddings.
OHIO STATE: Thad Matta, a transfer from Southern Illinois, led Butler in assists and three-point field-goal percentage in 1987-88 and free-throw percentage in 1988-89. He was involved in postseason play in each of his six seasons as a full-time assistant coach from 1994-95 through 1999-2000 with Miami (Ohio), Western Carolina and Butler. At first glance, Matta is a native of the ultimate smaller Illinois basketball community named Hoopeston. However, the town rhymes with "up" not "hoop."
OREGON: Dana Altman is the only coach in Creighton history to participate in at least five consecutive national postseason tournaments. The Bluejays appeared in either the NCAA playoffs or NIT in 12 straight years from 1998 through 2009.
SYRACUSE: Jim Boeheim, an avid golfer, served as varsity golf coach for the Orange from 1967 until the program was disbanded in 1973. He was an assistant basketball coach under Roy Danforth during that period. Boeheim, a three-year teammate of Syracuse All-American Dave Bing in the mid-1960s, played in the CBA for the Scranton Miners. On five occasions (1977-84-96-01-03), Boeheim guided the Orangemen to the Top 20 in a final AP poll after they were not ranked that high in the preseason.
WICHITA STATE: Gregg Marshall, after his birth in Greenwood, S.C., spent the first 3 1/2 years of his life on College Avenue, which is located adjacent to his previous coaching stop (Winthrop's campus).
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 9 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who was the only athlete to lead his championship team in scoring in two Final Four games and pitch in the major leagues the same year? Hint: He was a guard for three consecutive Final Four teams and was selected to the All-NCAA Tournament team as a senior.
2. Name the only school with more than 1,300 victories in the 20th Century never to reach the Final Four. Hint: The school participated in the NCAA playoffs just once (1992) in the last 40-plus years.
3. Name the only school to defeat a team three times in a season the opponent captured the NCAA title. Hint: The school also defeated the same conference foe three times the next season as defending national champion.
4. Name the only champion to win its two Final Four games by a total of more than 50 points. Hint: The titlist suffered its only loss that season against one of the Final Four victims.
5. Of the 35 Final Four Most Outstanding Players selected from 1946 through 1981 when there was a national third-place game, who was the only honoree to play for a fourth-place team? Hint: He never averaged as many as nine points per game in four NBA seasons.
6. Name the only school to lose in back-to-back years in the first round to different institutions going on to capture national titles those years. Hint: The school won a total of 47 games in the two seasons. The two defeats were in the middle of six consecutive playoff appearances for the school after it appeared in the playoffs just once from 1939 through 1982.
7. Name the only year four teams arrived at the national semifinals with a composite winning percentage of less than 75 percent. Hint: The two schools that met in the national third-place game are traditional football powers. The college losing both of its Final Four games that year is the only national semifinalist to finish a season with as many as 14 defeats.
8. Who is the only player to score more than 60 points in a single playoff game and to score more than 43 points at least twice? Hint: Of the players who scored more than 235 playoff points and/or averaged more than 25 points per tournament game (minimum of three games), he is the only individual from the select group to have a losing playoff record. He is the only one of the top 25 playoff scorers never to reach the Final Four.
9. Who is the only male player to score more than 44 points in a single Final Four game? Hint: He is the only player to twice convert more than 12 free throws without a miss in a playoff game.
10. Who is the only player to score more than 400 points in his playoff career? Hint: The only individual to start in four straight Final Fours hit two last-second shots to help his team win East Regional final overtime games and is the only player with at least 10 championship game free-throw attempts to convert all of them.
Let's go to the videotape! Did ESPN elitists make such disparaging remarks about #1 seeds from power conferences losing in the second round as they do regarding Gonzaga's defeat against Wichita State? The condescending comments from analysts such as Adrian Branch zinging the Zags as unworthy of a #1 seed are as ridiculous as blaming Branch for not keeping Maryland teammate Len Bias on the straight and narrow.
For all the bitter disappointment experienced by fans of a highly-ranked team unexpectedly bowing out of the provocative NCAA Tournament, there is an equal amount of euphoria emanating from supporters of the victor. The range of disparate emotions is one of the reasons there is such a fascination with upsets because nothing is guaranteed when a traditional power opposes a darkhorse.
The ultimate in March Madness materialized in 1993 when Arizona, ranked fifth by AP, was stunned in the first round of the West Regional by Santa Clara (64-61). In terms of point spreads, it was the biggest upset in NCAA playoff history because Santa Clara was a 20-point underdog. The next largest point spread to not hold up occurred in 1986 when 17 1/2-point underdog Arkansas-Little Rock shocked Notre Dame in the Midwest Regional (90-83). Was Branch colleague Digger Phelps' Irish squad unworthy of a #3 seed in 1986?
A total of 20 No. 1 seeds, including DePaul three straight years from 1980 through 1982, failed to reach the regional semifinals since seeding was introduced in 1979. Gonzaga, the first mid-major in this category, joined The following crestfallen top-ranked teams:
|Year||No. 1 Seed||Regional||Loss in Second Round||Score|
|1979||North Carolina||East||#9 seed Penn||72-71|
|1981||DePaul||Mideast||#9 St. Joseph's||49-48|
|1981||Oregon State||West||#8 Kansas State||50-48|
|1982||DePaul||Midwest||#8 Boston College||82-75|
|1986||St. John's||West||#8 Auburn||81-65|
|1990||Oklahoma||Midwest||#8 North Carolina||79-77|
|1992||Kansas||Midwest||#9 Texas-El Paso||66-60|
|1994||North Carolina||East||#9 Boston College||75-72|
|1998||Kansas||Midwest||#8 Rhode Island||80-75|
|2000||Stanford||South||#8 North Carolina||60-53|
|2002||Cincinnati||West||#8 UCLA||105-101 (2OT)|
|2004||Kentucky||St. Louis/Midwest||#9 UAB||76-75|
|2010||Kansas||Midwest||#9 Northern Iowa||69-67|
|2013||Gonzaga||West||#9 Wichita State||76-70|
You can be grounded with turkeys (overcoached power league members full of control freaks) or fly with eagles (infinitely more entertaining mid-majors with coaches who don't take themselves so seriously). Free-spirited Florida Gulf Coast, the first #15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16, and La Salle became the eighth and ninth schools to win two games while seeded #13 or worse.
An average of three double-digit seeded teams reached a regional semifinal the last six years. In 2001, Gonzaga became the first school to advance to regional semifinals in three consecutive campaigns despite having a double-digit seed each year. Prior to the Zags' streak, LSU had been the only "double trouble" school to advance to regional semifinals in back-to-back seasons with double-digit seeded teams (1986 and 1987).
The worst-seeded teams to reach the Final Four and defeat a top seed were a pair of No. 11 seeds (LSU in 1986 and VCU in 2011). Loyola Marymount, an #11 seed in 1990, won its first two games that year by at least 19 points. Following is a chronological list of "bottom of the bracket" seeded squads (#13 through #15) that ignored the Division I committee's branding and exceeded expectations:
|Year||School||Regional||First Two NCAA Tournament Opponents (Scores)|
|1986||#14 Cleveland State||East||Indiana (83-79) and St. Joseph's (75-69)|
|1988||#13 Richmond||East||Indiana (72-69) and Georgia Tech (59-55)|
|1997||#14 Chattanooga||Southeast||Georgia (73-70) and Illinois (75-63)|
|1998||#13 Valparaiso||Midwest||Ole Miss (70-69) and Florida State (83-77)|
|1999||#13 Oklahoma||Midwest||Arizona (61-60) and UNC Charlotte (85-72)|
|2006||#13 Bradley||West||Kansas (77-73) and Pittsburgh (72-66)|
|2012||#13 Ohio University||Midwest||Michigan (65-60) and South Florida (62-56)|
|2013||#15 Florida Gulf Coast||South||Georgetown (78-68) and San Diego State (81-71)|
|2013||#13 La Salle*||West||Kansas State (63-61) and Ole Miss (76-74)|
*La Salle also won a First Four game against Boise State (80-71).
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 8 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only school to reach the Final Four three consecutive years on two separate occasions in the 20th Century. Hint: In the first three-year stretch, it became the only school to lose three straight national semifinal games. In the second three-year stretch, the school was involved in the only times two teams from the same state met each other in the championship game.
2. What was the only year two undefeated teams reached the Final Four? Hint: One of the squads had a perfect ending after winning in the national semifinals and championship game by an average of 16 points, while the other club that was unbeaten lost in the national semifinals and third-place game by an average of 15 points.
3. Who is the shortest player to lead an NCAA champion in scoring average? Hint: He was part of a three-guard starting lineup, averaging under 5-10 in height, that played the entire championship game for the only current Division I school to capture an NCAA title despite never having an NCAA consensus first- or second-team All-America.
4. Who is the only U.S. Olympic basketball coach to win the NCAA and NIT titles with different schools? Hint: He never participated in a national postseason tournament with the third university he coached (Michigan State).
5. Who was the only coach to direct two different schools to the Final Four twice apiece in the 20th Century? Hint: He is the only coach to compile a record of more than four games under .500 in Final Four contests and the only coach to guide three teams to national fourth-place finishes.
6. Who is the only coach of a championship team other than Rick Pitino to subsequently coach another university and compile a winning NCAA playoff record at his last major-college job? Hint: He is the only coach to win a national title at a school where he stayed less than five seasons.
7. Of the coaches to reach the national semifinals at least twice, who is the only one to compile an undefeated Final Four record? Hint: He won both of his championship games against the same school. He is also the only NCAA consensus first-team All-American to later coach his alma mater to an NCAA title.
8. Name the only school to lead UCLA at halftime in the 22 Final Four games for the Bruins' 11 titlists. Hint: The school that led one of the 11 UCLA champions at intermission of a Final Four game was coached by a John Wooden protege.
9. Of the coaches hired by NBA teams after winning an NCAA championship, who is the only one to compile a non-losing NBA playoff record? Hint: He is one of four different men to coach an undefeated NCAA championship team.
10. Name the only school to defeat a team by as many as 27 points in a season the opponent wound up winning the national title. Hint: The school is also the only one to defeat an eventual national titlist twice in the same season by at least 12 points.
First-time entrants into the NCAA playoffs get no sympathy. The average seeding was #14 for the 40 schools making their tournament debuts since the bracket included at least 64 teams. Florida Gulf Coast, which upset #2 seed Georgetown, 78-68, in the Eagles' first-ever NCAA tourney contest became the first #15 seed ever to reach a Sweet 16 by upending San Diego State.
FGCU, which defeated Miami (Fla.) in non-league competition before the Hurricanes won both the ACC regular-season and tournament titles, will meet Florida in the South Regional semifinals. Many observers know Florida captured back-to-back NCAA crowns but fail to point out those twin titles occurred only 20 years after the Gators' first NCAA playoff appearance in 1987. Newcomers assert themselves when they receive a decent draw. A majority of first-timers with seedings of 10th or better in the late 1980s and early 1990s won their first-round games, including all three times when they had better seeds (sixth-seeded Florida in 1987, seventh-seeded New Orleans in 1987 and eighth-seeded Seton Hall in 1988).
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. Three opening-round winners in the mid-1980s also won their next game - Georgia '83, Cleveland State '86 and Florida '87. Georgia '83 was the ultimate underdog. The Bulldogs, the only first-time entrant seeded better than fifth (No. 4 seed in the East Regional) since the field expanded to at least 48 teams in 1980, reached the Final Four.
Following is a chronological list of newcomers who won their debuts since seeding was introduced in 1979:
|Year||NCAA Playoff Newcomer||Debut-Game Victim||Score||Regional|
|1980||#8 Alcorn State||South Alabama||70-62||Midwest|
|1980||#6 Clemson||Utah State||76-73||West|
|1981||#10 James Madison||Georgetown||61-55||East|
|1981||#11 Northeastern||Fresno State||55-53||West|
|1981||#7 UAB||Western Kentucky||93-68||Mideast|
|1983||#4 Georgia||Virginia Commonwealth||56-54||East|
|1984||#10 Louisiana Tech||Fresno State||66-56||Midwest|
|1986||#14 Cleveland State||Indiana||83-79||East|
|1986||#14 UALR||Notre Dame||90-83||Midwest|
|1987||#6 Florida||North Carolina State||82-70||East|
|1987||#7 New Orleans||Brigham Young||83-79||Southeast|
|1987||#13 Southwest Missouri State||Clemson||65-60||Southeast|
|1988||#8 Seton Hall||Texas-El Paso||80-64||West|
|1990||#14 Northern Iowa||Missouri||74-71||Southeast|
|1992||#10 Tulane||St. John's||61-57||Southeast|
|2001||#15 Hampton||Iowa State||58-57||West|
|2003||UNC Asheville*||Texas Southern||92-84 (OT)||South|
|2012||#15 Norfolk State||Missouri||86-84||West|
|2013||#15 Florida Gulf Coast||Georgetown||78-68||South|
There is a clear and present danger for pole sitters such as Gonzaga. Last year, Kentucky became only the fourth of 30 schools atop the national rankings entering the NCAA playoffs since 1983 to capture the national championship.
In 2006, Duke became the ninth No. 1 team in 17 years to fail to advance to a regional final when the Blue Devils were eliminated by LSU. In 1992, Duke defied a trend by becoming the first top-ranked team in 10 years entering the NCAA Tournament to win a national title. The previous five top-ranked teams failed to reach the championship game. UNLV lost twice in the national semifinals (1987 and 1991) and Temple '88, Arizona '89 and Oklahoma '90 failed to reach the Final Four.
Temple, a 63-53 loser against Duke in the 1988 East Regional final, and Kansas State, an 85-75 loser against Cincinnati in the 1959 Midwest Regional final, are the only teams ranked No. 1 by both AP and UPI entering the tourney to lose by a double-digit margin before the Final Four.
The school gaining the sweetest revenge against a top-ranked team was St. John's in 1952. Defending NCAA champion Kentucky humiliated the Redmen by 41 points (81-40) early in the season when the Catholic institution became the first to have a black player on the floor at Lexington, Ky. The player, Solly Walker, played only a few minutes before he took a hit sidelining him for three weeks. But St. John's, sparked by center Bob Zawoluk's 32 points, avenged the rout by eliminating the Wildcats (64-57) in the East Regional, ending their 23-game winning streak. The Redmen, who then defeated second-ranked Illinois in the national semifinals, lost against Kansas in the NCAA final.
In the 1982 championship game, North Carolina needed a basket with 16 seconds remaining from freshman Michael Jordan to nip Georgetown, 63-62, and become the only top-ranked team in 13 years from 1979 through 1991 to capture the NCAA title. It was a particularly bitter pill to swallow for seven of the 11 top-ranked teams to lose in the NCAA championship game in overtime or by two or three points in regulation.
Gonzaga is the latest #1 to learn it's win or go home. Less than one-third of them captured the NCAA crown. Following is analysis sizing up how the No. 1 teams fared in the NCAA playoffs since the Associated Press introduced national rankings in 1949:
20 - Won national title (Kentucky '49; Kentucky '51; Indiana '53; San Francisco '56; North Carolina '57; UCLA '64; UCLA '67; UCLA '69; UCLA '71; UCLA '72; UCLA '73; North Carolina State '74; UCLA '75; Indiana '76; Kentucky '78; North Carolina '82; Duke '92; UCLA '95, Duke '01, and Kentucky '12.
13 - Finished as national runner-up (Bradley '50/defeated by CCNY; Ohio State '61/Cincinnati; Ohio State '62/Cincinnati; Cincinnati '63/Loyola of Chicago; Michigan '65/UCLA; Kentucky '66/Texas Western; Indiana State '79/Michigan State; Houston '83/North Carolina State; Georgetown '85/Villanova; Duke '86/Louisville; Duke '99/Connecticut; Illinois '05/North Carolina, and Ohio State '07/Florida).
7 - Lost in national semifinals (Cincinnati '60/defeated by California; Houston '68/UCLA; UNLV '87/Indiana; UNLV '91/Duke; Massachusetts '96/Kentucky; North Carolina '98/Utah, and North Carolina '08/Kansas).
8 - Lost in regional finals (Kentucky '52/defeated by St. John's; Kansas State '59/Cincinnati; Kentucky '70/Jacksonville; Michigan '77/UNC Charlotte; Temple '88/Duke; Indiana '93/Kansas, and Kentucky '03/Marquette, and Louisville '09/Michigan State).
7 - Lost in regional semifinals (North Carolina '84/defeated by Indiana; Arizona '89/UNLV; Kansas '97/Arizona; Duke '00/Florida; Duke '02/Indiana); Duke '06/Louisiana State, and Ohio State '11/Kentucky).
7 - Lost in second round (DePaul '80/defeated by UCLA; DePaul '81/St. Joseph's; Oklahoma '90/North Carolina; North Carolina '94/Boston College; Stanford '04/Alabama; Kansas '10/Northern Iowa), and Gonzaga '13/Wichita State).
1 - Lost in first round (West Virginia '58/defeated by Manhattan).
1 - Declined a berth (Kentucky '54).
NOTE: After United Press International started ranking teams in 1951, UPI had just three different No. 1 teams entering the national playoffs than AP - Indiana lost in the 1954 East Regional semifinals against Notre Dame, California finished as 1960 national runner-up to Ohio State and Indiana lost in 1975 Mideast Regional final against Kentucky.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III may have more difficulty recovering mentally from the Hoyas' opening-game setback against Florida Gulf Coast than QB Robert Griffin III will physically from knee injury to be ready for the Redskins' season opener.
JT III joined Bobby Cremins as the only coaches in NCAA Tournament history to be eliminated four straight seasons from the playoffs by opponents with double-digit seeds. Granted, seedings can be very misleading after the process was introduced in 1979. With more parity and balance than ever before, there isn't much difference between a No. 4 seed and a No. 13 seed.
But Thompson might need to be inoculated against teams with worse seeds. The Hoyas also lost under him in 2008 against #10 seed Davidson. Following is an alphabetical list of prominent coaches absorbing at least three NCAA Tournament defeats in a span of 10 years or fewer with the same school against opponents with double-digit seeds:
|Marquee Coach||School||Three or More Losses Against Double-Digit Seeded Opponents|
|Jim Boeheim||Syracuse||1991/#15 Richmond, 2005/#13 Vermont, 2006/#12 Texas A&M and 2011/#11 Marquette|
|Dale Brown||Louisiana State||1984/lost to #10 Dayton, 1985/#13 Navy, and 1991/#11 Connecticut|
|Bobby Cremins||Georgia Tech||1986/#11 LSU, 1987/#10 LSU, 1988/#13 Richmond, 1989/#11 Texas and 1993/#13 Southern|
|Lou Henson||Illinois||1983/#10 Utah, 1987/#14 Austin Peay State and 1990/#12 Dayton|
|Gene Keady||Purdue||1985/#11 Auburn, 1986/#11 Louisiana State, 1990/#10 Texas, 1991/#10 Temple and 1995/#14 Wisconsin-Green Bay|
|Ralph Miller||Oregon State||1980/#10 Lamar, 1984/#11 West Virginia and 1989/#11 Evansville|
|Lute Olson||Arizona||1992/#14 East Tennessee State, 1993/#15 Santa Clara and 1995/#12 Ball State|
|Bo Ryan||Wisconsin||2008/#10 Davidson, 2010/#12 Cornell and 2013/#12 Ole Miss|
|Wimp Sanderson||Alabama||1983/#11 Lamar, 1989/#11 South Alabama, and 1990/#11 Loyola Marymount|
|Bill Self||Kansas||2005/#14 Bucknell, 2006/#13 Bradley and 2011/#11 Virginia Commonwealth|
|Kevin Stallings||Vanderbilt||2008/#13 Siena, 2010/#13 Murray State and 2011/#12 Richmond|
|Norm Stewart||Missouri||1987/#13 Xavier, 1988/#11 Rhode Island, and 1990/#14 Northern Iowa|
|John Thompson III||Georgetown||2008/#10 Davidson, 2010/#14 Ohio University, 2011/#11 Virginia Commonwealth, 2012/#11 North Carolina State and 2013/#15 Florida Gulf Coast|
|Billy Tubbs||Oklahoma||1984/#10 Dayton, 1986/#12 DePaul and 1992/#13 Southwestern Louisiana|
Most coaches leaving a school that just appeared in the NCAA playoffs are bound for a program in turmoil or requiring rehab. Illinois' John Groce became only the 14th coach to win at least one NCAA Tournament game in back-to-back seasons with different schools. But Groce wasn't the first coach so far this century to enjoy immediate promising tourney results with the Illini. Kansas' Bill Self, the only individual to achieve the feat twice, is the lone mentor to reach a regional final in back-to-back seasons with two different schools (Tulsa in 2000 and Illinois in 2001).
Tippy Dye (Ohio State in 1950 and Washington in 1951) went 35 years as the only coach in this category until Eddie Sutton duplicated the achievement (Arkansas in 1985 and Kentucky in 1986). Similar to Self, Minnesota's Tubby Smith (Tulsa in 1995 and Georgia in 1996) and Ohio State's Thad Matta (Butler in 2001 and Xavier in 2002) achieved the feat at previous pitstops. Following is a chronological list of coaches continuing their winning ways in NCAA playoffs after switching jobs:
|Playoff Coach||1st School (Year/Record)||2nd School (Year/Record)|
|Tippy Dye||Ohio State (1950/1-1)||Washington (1951/2-1)|
|Eddie Sutton||Arkansas (1985/1-1)||Kentucky (1986/3-1)|
|Paul Evans||Navy (1986/3-1)||Pittsburgh (1987/1-1)|
|Tom Penders||Rhode Island (1988/2-1)||Texas (1989/1-1)|
|Tubby Smith||Tulsa (1995/2-1)||Georgia (1996/2-1)|
|Ben Braun||Eastern Michigan (1996/1-1)||California (1997/2-1)|
|Steve Robinson||Tulsa (1997/1-1)||Florida State (1998/1-1)|
|Bill Self||Tulsa (2000/3-1)||Illinois (2001/3-1)|
|Thad Matta||Butler (2001/1-1)||Xavier (2002/1-1)|
|Bill Self||Illinois (2003/1-1)||Kansas (2004/3-1)|
|Roy Williams||Kansas (2003/5-1)||North Carolina (2004/1-1)|
|Bruce Pearl||Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2005/2-1)||Tennessee (2006/1-1)|
|Trent Johnson||Stanford (2008/2-1)||Louisiana State (2009/1-1)|
|John Calipari||Memphis (2009/2-1)||Kentucky (2010/3-1)|
|John Groce||Ohio University (2012/2-1)||Illinois (2013/won opener)|