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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Duke (32-7; coached by Mike Krzyzewski/11th season with Blue Devils; won ACC regular-season title by one game over North Carolina with an 11-3 record).
NIT Champion--Stanford (20-13; coached by Mike Montgomery/fifth season with Cardinal; finished in a five-way tie for fifth place in Pacific-10 with an 8-10 record).
New Conference--Patriot League.
New Rules--Beginning with a team's 10th personal foul in a half, two free throws are awarded for each common foul, except player-control fouls. . . . Three free throws are awarded when a shooter is fouled during an unsuccessful three-point attempt. . . . The definition of "home court" in the NCAA Tournament is amended to include playing no more than three games of a regular-season schedule, excluding league tournaments, in one arena. . . . A preliminary round is used for six of 33 eligible conferences to identify the 30 automatic-qualifying leagues. The conferences with the lowest rankings in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) must compete for the available automatic-qualifying positions.
NCAA Probation--Illinois, Kentucky, Marshall, Maryland, Missouri, Northwestern (La.) State, Robert Morris, Southeastern Louisiana.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Kenny Anderson, G, Soph., Georgia Tech (25.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.6 apg, 3 spg, 82.9 FT%); Jim Jackson, G-F, Soph., Ohio State (18.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.3 apg, 51.7 FG%); Larry Johnson, F, Sr., UNLV (22.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 3 apg, 66.2 FG%, 81.8 FT%); Shaquille O'Neal, C, Soph., Louisiana State (27.6 ppg, 14.7 rpg, 5 bpg, 62.8 FG%); Billy Owens, F, Jr., Syracuse (23.3 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, 50.9 FG%).
National Players of the Year--Johnson (NABC/USBWA/Naismith/Wooden) and O'Neal (AP/UPI).
National Coaches of the Year--Ohio State's Randy Ayers (27-4/AP, Naismith, USBWA); Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (32-7/NABC), and Utah's Rick Majerus (30-4/UPI).
Defending champion UNLV, the first team to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated since Indiana State in 1979, was upset by Duke in the national semifinals. Still, the Rebels will go down as one of the greatest teams in history if only because they're the only squad to have at least four teammates score a minimum of 1,500 points--Stacey Augmon (2,011), Greg Anthony (1,738), Anderson Hunt (1,632) and Larry Johnson (1,617). They accounted for four of the six-man All-Big West Conference first-team picks. A 112-105 triumph at SWC champion Arkansas (34-4) was the only regular-season game UNLV won by fewer than 12 points.
U.S. International's Kevin Bradshaw, a Navy veteran who started his college career at Bethune-Cookman, set a single-game record for most points against a major college opponent with 72 vs. Loyola Marymount (see accompanying box). Loyola Marymount, a 186-140 winner in the game, established an NCAA team standard for most points by having five players score at least 24 points. Bradshaw, who had three other games with at least 53 points, finished his career as the only player to transfer from one major college to another and score more than 2,750 points. He had 2,804.
Missouri-Kansas City's Ronnie Schmitz (51 points at U.S. International), Georgia Tech's Kenny Anderson (50 vs. Loyola Marymount), Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Von McDade (50 at Illinois in double overtime), Georgia State's Chris Collier (49 vs. Butler), Columbia's Buck Jenkins (47 at Harvard), Radford's Doug Day (43 at Central Connecticut State), Southern Utah's Davor Marcelic (43 at Cal State Northridge), UAB's Andy Kennedy (41 vs. St. Louis), Central Connecticut State's Obet Vazquez (41 vs. Radford), Coppin State's Larry Stewart (40 vs. South Carolina State), Kevin Green of Loyola, Md. (39 at Niagara in four overtimes/subsequently tied) and Sam Houston State's Milton Hamilton (37 vs. Concordia Lutheran) set school Division I single-game scoring records. . . . Schmitz's outburst came in the last game ever for San Diego-based USIU. . . . Collier's barrage is a Trans America Athletic Conference standard. Georgia State shuffled games because his religious convictions as a Worldwide Church of God member prohibited him from normal earthly activities such as playing on the Sabbath (Friday nights or before sundown on Saturdays).
Mississippi Valley State's Alphonso Ford (32.7 ppg), UWM's McDade (29.6), Oregon's Terrell Brandon (26.6), Chicago State's Rod Parker (24.8), Prairie View's Michael Ervin (24.5), Coppin State's Stewart (23.9), Fairleigh Dickinson's Desi Wilson (23.8), Monmouth's Blackwell (22.9) and UAB's Kennedy (21.8) set school Division I records for highest scoring average in a single season. Wilson went on to be a reserve first baseman with the San Francisco Giants in 1996. . . . Oregon's Brandon, a junior guard, was named Pacific-10 Conference player of the year although the Ducks finished with a losing league record (8-10).
La Salle guards Randy Woods (46) and Doug Overton (45) became the only set of teammates in history to score more than 40 points in a single game when they combined for 91 in a 133-118 victory at Loyola Marymount. . . . A national high of 15 different teams averaged more than 90 points per game. Meanwhile, Princeton, limiting its opponents to 48.9 ppg under coach Pete Carril, set a record for highest-ever margin over the runner-up in team defense (8.6 fewer than Northern Illinois). Princeton's Kit Mueller became the only player in Ivy League history to pace three consecutive undisputed regular-season champions in scoring and rebounding. . . . Connecticut set an NCAA mark for largest lead at the start of a game before an opponent scored, racing to a 32-0 advantage in a victory over New Hampshire. Later, New Hampshire's NCAA-record 32 consecutive homecourt defeats was snapped when the Wildcats defeated Holy Cross, 72-56. . . . UConn backup guard Steve Pikiell eventually coached Stony Brook. . . . Temple guard Mark Macon, the only four-time All-Atlantic 10 first-team selection in the 20th Century, went on to coach Binghamton. . . . Coach John Calipari lost 11 consecutive games decided by fewer than three points with Massachusetts until defeating Siena, 82-80, in overtime in the NIT. . . . Fordham captain Mike Rice Jr., who averaged a team-high 4.8 assists per game, went on to coach Robert Morris in the NCAA Tournament before accepting a similar job with Rutgers. His father coached Duquesne and Youngstown State.
Indiana State set an NCAA record for most consecutive successful free throws by converting 49 in a row in two games in mid-February. . . . LSU's Shaquille O'Neal became the only player in SEC history to lead the league in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage and blocked shots in the same season. Shaq converted less than half of his foul shots in only two games as a sophomore (3 for 8 vs. Loyola Marymount and 5 for 14 vs. Mississippi State) before going on to earn a reputation as one of the worst free-throw shooters in NBA history (52.7% in 20-year career). . . . Florida freshman guard Craig Brown scored an NCAA-record 13 points in the second overtime period of the Gators' 91-81 victory at Mississippi. . . . Vanderbilt showed why it has one of the most pronounced homecourt advantages in America. The Commodores were an average of 26.1 points better at home than on the road in their nine head-to-head SEC matchups. . . . Mississippi State tied for first place in the SEC after finishing in a tie for eighth the previous year. . . . East Tennessee State's Keith "Mister" Jennings (5-7) became the first player under 5-10 to finish his career with more than 900 assists. He had 938 after leading the Southern Conference in that category for the fourth straight season.
Arkansas (34-4/coached by Nolan Richardson), Utah (30-4/Rick Majerus), East Tennessee State (28-5/Alan LeForce), Eastern Michigan (26-7/Ben Braun), Nebraska (26-8/Danny Nee), Northern Illinois (25-6/Jim Molinari), Coastal Carolina (24-8/Russ Bergman), St. Francis, Pa. (24-8/Jim Baron), Arkansas State (23-9/Nelson Catalina) and Radford (22-7/Oliver Purnell) had their winningest seasons in Division I school history. St. Peter's (24-7/Ted Fiore) tied its single-season school Division I record for most victories.
Arkansas authored an Southwest Conference championship in the Razorbacks' final season as a member of the league. . . . Utah captured the WAC championship just one year after finishing in a tie for sixth place. ETSU made its lone appearance in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll. Nebraska set its school standard on the heels of three consecutive seventh-place Big Eight finishes. . . . Mississippi State and Nebraska finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll for the first time since 1963 and 1966, respectively. Eastern Michigan and Southern Mississippi made their lone appearance in the Top 25 of a final wire-service poll.
Oklahoma's school-record streak for consecutive homecourt victories was ended at 51 by Duke when the NCAA champion-to-be Blue Devils prevailed, 90-85. . . . Kansas and Oklahoma State shared the Big Eight regular-season title for the only time in the last 33 years of the conference through 1996 that the league did not have an undisputed champion. . . . OSU coach Eddie Sutton became the only coach in the 20th Century to take four different schools to the Top 20 in a final AP poll. He previously wound up in the Top 20 with Creighton (1974), Arkansas (1977 through 1979 and 1981 through 1984) and Kentucky (1986 and 1988).
Georgetown (19-13) sustained its most defeats since coach John Thompson's first season in 1972-73, but the Hoyas led the nation in field-goal percentage defense for the third consecutive year. . . . Syracuse finished in the Top 10 of a final AP poll for the 10th time in 16 years.
Duquesne registered its lone winning conference record (10-8 in Atlantic 10) in the last 19 seasons of the 20th Century. . . . Penn posted its first losing mark in Ivy League competition in 23 years. . . . St. Francis (N.Y.), coached by Rich Zvosec, ended a streak of 11 consecutive losing records by compiling a 15-14 mark. . . . Vermont's string of consecutive losing seasons was snapped at nine when the Catamounts compiled a 15-13 record under coach Tom Brennan. . . . Radford, which registered a 7-22 mark the previous season, improved by 15 games to 22-7 under coach Oliver Purnell. The Highlanders went from an undisputed last-place finish in league standings to second in the Big South Conference.
Louisville's NCAA record of consecutive winning seasons was snapped at 46 when the Cardinals lost 11 of their first 13 games after Christmas en route to finishing with a 14-16 record. . . . Michigan's streak of seven straight 20-win seasons ended when the Wolverines compiled a 14-15 mark. . . . Ohio State captured its first Big Ten title in 20 years. . . . Wisconsin lost 26 consecutive games to Purdue in their series until the Badgers blasted the Boilermakers, 66-44. . . . Northwestern (0-18), finishing in the Big Ten cellar for the seventh straight year, became the first team to go winless in conference competition since the University of Chicago went 0-12 in 1945-46 in its last season as a member of the league.
Digger Phelps' 20-year coaching career with Notre Dame came to an end after defeating seven different schools when they were ranked No. 1 (UCLA '74, San Francisco '77, Marquette '78, DePaul '80, Kentucky '81, Virginia '81 and North Carolina '87). Phelps directed the Fighting Irish to numerous spotlight victories over UCLA but compiled a modest 14-18 record against the Bruins and was shaky in close contests (45-54 worksheet in games decided by fewer than four points). He also combined for a paltry 15-46 mark (.246) with the Irish against Duke (2-9), Indiana (5-13), Kentucky (5-12), Michigan (1-6) and North Carolina (2-6). . . . Butler participated in the NIT after finishing in last place in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference the previous year. . . . Victor Alexander succeeded Barry Stevens (1983-85) and Jeff Grayer (1986-88) as the third consecutive Iowa State player to lead the Cyclones in scoring three straight seasons. . . . Senior Eddie Bird, the younger brother of Hall of Famer Larry Bird, led Indiana State in scoring (13.2 ppg) and the Missouri Valley in free-throw accuracy (88 percent). Eddie paced the Sycamores in scoring more consecutive years (four) than his legendary big brother (three from 1976-77 through 1978-79). . . . Drake, with nine freshmen on its roster, pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the season with a 94-93 victory at Arizona State in Rudy Washington's head coaching debut with the Bulldogs.
Creighton (24-8), in Tony Barone's sixth and final season as the Bluejays' coach, had a 3.4-point victory margin in their final five MVC regular-season triumphs. Barone won more than 70% of his games with them decided by fewer than four points (28-11 in those close contests). . . . Southwest Missouri State, coached by Charlie Spoonhour, had four two-point verdicts in a five-game, mid-season span. The Bears were fortunate the contests weren't decided by four points because Spoonhour was 6-18 in that category during his nine-year stint with them through 1991-92. . . . Rice, coached by Scott Thompson, compiled a 16-14 record for its first winning season in 20 years. . . . Brigham Young's Shawn Bradley established a Western Athletic Conference single-game mark and tied the NCAA standard by blocking 14 shots in a 90-86 victory over Eastern Kentucky (see accompanying box). . . . San Diego State posted its lone triumph over Texas-El Paso (58-55) in an 18-game stretch of their series from 1986 to 1994.
Senior Chris Gatling was named Sun Belt Conference player of the year although Old Dominion finished in seventh place with a 5-9 league mark. . . . North Carolina's Dean Smith set a national coaching record with his 24th 20-win season. Tar Heels playmaker King Rice, who led the team in assists for the second consecutive year, went on to coach Monmouth. . . . Furman, coached by Butch Estes, tied for first place in the Southern Conference after finishing in a tie for sixth the previous season. . . . South Alabama, coached by Ronnie Arrow, captured the Sun Belt Conference crown after finishing in last place the previous year. . . . Stetson (15-16), coached by Dr. Glenn Wilkes, had its first nine outings decided by fewer than five points. . . . Tom Young, who previously coached Catholic, American and Rutgers, was forced out at Old Dominion, ending a 31-year coaching career with a 524-328 record. . . . Northeast Louisiana swingman Anthony Jones, co-player of the year in the Southland Conference, was a high jumper who went 7-0 at the 1988 NLU Invitational.
Long-time Michigan assistant Mike Boyd was appointed head coach at Cleveland State less than a month before the start of official workouts after the Vikings' Kevin Mackey was fired following his confession to substance-abuse and alcohol problems. Mackey had been confronted about rumors concerning his off-the-court activities on numerous occasions, but he denied it all. School officials appeared to wonder how many times Mackey had lied about other topics, particularly his actions in the recruitment of 7-7 Manute Bol, which resulted in three years of NCAA probation.
1991 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Duke required nine appearances at the Final Four until the resolute Blue Devils finally won a national title. The Blue Devils' Mike Krzyzewski joined UCLA's John Wooden as the only other coach to lead a school to four consecutive Final Fours. Their shocking 79-77 win over defending champion UNLV was the Rebels' lone defeat. Duke forward Greg Koubek became the first player to participate in four Final Fours.
Star Gazing: Christian Laettner became the only player with at least 10 championship game free-throw attempts to convert all of them (12 of 12 against Kansas).
Biggest Upsets: Richmond (15th seed) over Syracuse (2), 73-69; Xavier (14) over Nebraska (3), 89-84, and Penn State (13) over UCLA (4), 74-69. UCLA was without standout freshman forward Ed O'Bannon, who missed the season because of a severe knee injury. After the tourney, Penn State became the first school ever to defect from a conference for the second time (left Atlantic 10 for the Big Ten).
One and Only: North Carolina's Dean Smith became the only coach to direct teams to Final Fours in four different decades, but the Tar Heels lost against Kansas in the national semifinals to give him nine Final Four defeats. No other coach has more than seven Final Four setbacks. . . . Eddie Sutton became the only coach in the 20th Century to guide four different schools to the NCAA Tournament when his alma mater, Oklahoma State, earned a bid. . . . Oklahoma forward Jeff Webster became the only freshman to post a season-high scoring total of more than 30 points against an NCAA champion. In his 10th contest, Webster tallied 32 in a 90-85 loss to Duke that snapped the Sooners' school-record 51-game homecourt winning streak. . . . Villanova became the only school to receive at-large bids in back-to-back seasons despite having at least 14 defeats entering the tournament.
Celebrity Status: Matt Blundin, a 6-7 quarterback who was a second-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL draft after passing for 2,696 yards and 25 touchdowns in his college career at Virginia, averaged 4.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in seven NCAA Tournament games from 1989 through 1991.
Numbers Game: Duke became the only school to reach the NCAA Tournament final in back-to-back seasons after losing by double-digit margins in its conference tournament (defeated by 11 points against Georgia Tech in the 1990 ACC Tournament semifinals before getting trounced in the 1991 ACC Tournament final by 22 points against North Carolina). . . . The ACC became the first league to have two Final Four teams in back-to-back seasons--1990 (Duke and Georgia Tech) and 1991 (Duke and North Carolina). . . . St. John's became the first school to crack the 20-victory plateau in both the NCAA Tournament and NIT. . . . St. Francis (Pa.), coached by Jim Baron, made its lone NCAA playoff appearance. . . . Purdue, coached by Gene Keady, was eliminated by a double-digit seeded opponent for the fourth time in seven years.
What Might Have Been: Forward Larry Johnson and guard Stacey Augmon combined for 37 points per game on 61 percent field-goal shooting in their two years together as teammates at UNLV. If only they had combined for 22 points instead of 19 points on 40 percent field-goal shooting (8 of 20) in the national semifinals, the seemingly invincible Rebels could have defeated eventual champion Duke rather than losing 79-77. . . . Georgia Tech (17-13/without Dennis Scott), Indiana (29-5/Jay Edwards), Louisiana State (20-10/Chris Jackson) and Michigan (23-8/Sean Higgins) might have fared better in the playoffs if standout players had exercised their remaining eligibility instead of defecting to the NBA. Ditto Michigan State (19-11) if guard Shawn Respert didn't miss the majority of the season because of a knee injury. LSU was also without guard Maurice Williamson due to academic problems. . . . Houston (18-11) probably would have participated in the NCAA Tournament instead of the NIT if Carl Herrera didn't leave school early for the NBA and Craig Upchurch didn't sit out with a back injury. Ditto NIT runner-up Oklahoma (20-15) if forward Jackie Jones and guard Smokey McCovery didn't flunk out and forward Damon Patterson didn't sit out the season for academic reasons. Jones had led the Big Eight in blocked shots and McCovery had paced the league in steals. Patterson became the conference's top rebounder the next year. . . . East Tennessee State (28-5) might have given champion-to-be Duke more of a tussle than Iowa did in the second round, but the Bucs, playing without two-time All-Southern Conference first-team center Greg Dennis (missed most of season because of a broken foot), bowed to the Hawkeyes by three points in a Midwest Regional opener. . . . Pepperdine (22-9), entering the NCAA playoffs with a school-record 16-game winning streak, probably would have been a more formidable opponent for Seton Hall in the opening round if Waves standout Doug Christie hadn't incurred a season-ending knee injury in the WCC Tournament. . . . Georgia (17-13) didn't have much chance of advancing in the Southeast Regional after All-SEC first-team guard Litterial Green was sidelined because of a fractured left hand.
NCAA Champion Defeats: Neutral court vs. Arkansas (10-point margin), at Georgetown (5), at Virginia (17), at North Carolina State (6), at Wake Forest (9), at Arizona (7 in 2OT), and ACC Tournament vs. North Carolina (22).
Scoring Leader: Christian Laettner, Duke (125 points, 20.8 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Terry Dehere, Seton Hall (97 points, 24.3 ppg).
Rebounding Leader: Larry Johnson, UNLV (51 rebounds, 10.2 rpg).
Highest Rebounding Averages: Ohio State's Perry Carter and Oklahoma State's Byron Houston (36 rebounds, 12 rpg).
Anderson Hunt, G, Jr., UNLV (29 points in one game)
Bobby Hurley, G, Soph., Duke (24 points, 16 assists)
*Christian Laettner, C, Jr., Duke (46 points, 17 rebounds)
Bill McCaffrey, G, Soph., Duke (21 points)
Mark Randall, F, Sr., Kansas (34 points, 21 rebounds)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.
Championship Team Results
First Round: Duke 102 (Laettner team-high 22 points), Northeast Louisiana 73 (Jones 24)
Second Round: Duke 85 (Laettner 19), Iowa 70 (Moses 23)
Regional Semifinal: Duke 81 (Laettner 19), Connecticut 67 (Gwynn/Smith 16)
Regional Final: Duke 78 (Hurley 20), St. John's 61 (Sealy 19)
National Semifinal: Duke 79 (Laettner 28), UNLV 77 (Hunt 29)
Championship Game: Duke 72 (Laettner 18), Kansas 65 (Randall 18)