Sunday, January 24, 2010

Championship Game Droughts

The New York Jets have not been to a Super Bowl since 1968 which is the longest drought of any team that has been to a Super Bowl. They were attempting to end that drought today, but feel short to the Colts 30-17. If they would have won, they would have also broke the record for the most number of years between consecutive Super Bowl appearances at 42.

As I said before, this is not an NFL blog, but this leads me to wonder what the longest current drought of championship appearances are and what the most years between championship appearances are in tournament history.

First, the longest drought belongs to the very first champion Oregon. They have not returned to the championship game since the first tournament. They won the tournament in 1939, so their current drought stands at 71 years and most likely will continue beyond this year.

The top five longest droughts for championship game appearances are

1. Oregon 1939
2. Wisconsin 1941
2. Washington State 1941
4. Stanford 1942
5. Wyoming 1943

When Utah went to the championship game in 1998, it was their first appearance since 1944 ending a 54 year drought. That broke the record for most years between championship game appearances which was at that time held by Oklahoma at 41. Here is the list of the top 10 longest droughts between consecutive championship game appearances.

Team Years First Second
1 Utah 54 1944 1998
2 Ohio State 45 1962 2007
3 Oklahoma 41 1947 1988
4 Georgetown 39 1943 1982
5 Memphis 35 1973 2008
6 Kansas 31 1957 1988
7 Indiana 23 1953 1976
8 Michigan State 21 1979 2000
9 Ohio State 21 1939 1960
10 Kentucky 18 1978 1996

Ohio State is the only school to have more than 20 years between championship game apperances twice. Ironically, the went three consecutive years from 1960 to 1962 after their first drought and before their second drought.

Rookie Coaches

For the first time in AFC Championship history both coaches (Rex Ryan of the Jets and Jim Caldwell of the Colts) are rookie coaches. I was wondering if this has ever happened in the NCAA Tournament.

The last coach to advance to the final four in his rookie season was Bill Gutheridge in 1998 coaching North Carolina. He only coached 3 seasons and had 2 final fours in those 3 seasons. North Carolina lost to Utah in the National Semifinals, but Utah's coach, Rick Majerus, was not a rookie coach.

The last coach to win a National Championship in his rookie season was Steve Fisher who took over Michigan in 1989 when Bill Frieder took the Arizona State coaching job before the NCAA Tournament. He also advanced to the National Championship game in 1992 and 1993 before leaving Michigan in 1997 amid scandal. He is currently the coach of San Diego State.

In 1943, both Texas and DePaul advanced to the Final Four with Rookie coaches. DePaul coach Ray Meyer was coaching in his first season while Texas coach H.C. "Bully" Gilstrap was coaching in his first season. However, both teams lost in the semifinals and they did not start playing third place games until 1946.

So far, no rookie coaches have ever faced each other in the final four. I will have to do further research to see if rookie coaches ever faced each other in other rounds of the tournament.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

NCAA Tournament Droughts

Yesterday, in the NFL Playoffs, one long drought ended and another one continued. The Dallas Cowboys won their first playoff game since 1996. They were one of 6 teams that had not won a playoff game since the 1990's. The team that has gone the longest without a playoff win is the Cincinnati Bengals who last won a playoff game January 6, 1991 against the Houston Oilers. (For those that are too young to remember, that is the team that the Tennessee Titans used to be.)

This is a blog about the NCAA Tournament, not the NFL, but I started thinking about the playoff droughts and wondered who had the longest droughts in the NCAA Tournament. First I started with longest drought since last win. Unlike the NFL, where almost every team has won a playoff game (except the Houston Texans), only about half the teams have won NCAA Tournament games. Therefore, to qualify for longest drought, the team actually had to win a game first. Winless teams obviously have had longer droughts (infinite), but I am looking at time since last win.

The 5 teams that have the longest droughts are:
  1. Baylor - defeated Brigham Young 56-55 on 3/23/1950 in the Elite Eight
  2. CCNY - defeated Bradley 71-68 on 3/28/1950 in the National Championship
  3. Lebanon Valley - defeated Fordham 80-67 on 3/10/1953 in the First Round (Round of 32)
  4. Holy Cross - defeated Wake Forest 79-71 on 3/13/1953 in the Elite Eight
  5. Rice - defeated Colorado 78-55 on 3/13/1954 in the Regional Third Place game
Out of those teams, only Baylor is in a "BCS" conference and has the best chance of ending their drought. CCNY and Lebanon Valley are no longer Division I schools. Some other notable schools that have long droughts include:
  • South Carolina - last win in 1973
  • Oregon State - last win in 1982
  • Rutgers - last win in 1983
  • Houston - last win in 1984 (in the Final Four - lost to Georgetown in the Championship)
  • Massachusetts - last win in 1996 (in the Elite Eight - lost to Kentucky in the Final Four)
  • Minnesota - last win in 1997 (in the Elite Eight - lost to Kentucky in the Final Four)
Not winning an NFL playoff game usually means that you did not make it to the final 8 in playoffs. So I decided to also see who has the longest drought since their last Elite Eight appearance. The 5 schools that have gone the longest since their last Elite Eight appearance are:
  1. Brown - 1939
  2. Springfield - 1940
  3. Creighton - 1941
  4. Washington State -1941
  5. Rice - 1942
Washington State is the only BCS school in the list. Other notable schools include:
  • Baylor - 1950
  • Washington - 1953
  • California - 1960
  • Arizona State - 1975
  • DePaul - 1979
  • Notre Dame - 1979
  • Clemson - 1980
  • North Carolina State - 1986
  • Iowa - 1987
  • Kansas State - 1988
Washington has been to the Sweet Sixteen four times since 1953, but the two most notable games are when they were defeated by Connecticut on a last second shot by Richard Hamilton in 1998 and lost in overtime to Connecticut in 2006 when Rashad Anderson hit a game-tying three-pointer for UConn to send it into overtime.

Clemson also reached the Sweet Sixteen in 1990 and was defeated by (you guessed it) UConn on a (yep) last-second shot by Tate George.

Iowa also faced UConn in the 1999 Sweet Sixteen, but it ended in less dramatic fashion with a 78-68 victory by UConn.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Most Times Victim of a Team's Last Win

I like obscure facts about the NCAA Tournament. As I was updating the reports for my website, I was looking at each team's game-by-game results and noticing when their last tournament victory was and who they defeated. I started to noticed some common names of the opponent of the last victory. This made me wonder which school was the victim of a team's last win the most.

Since I have a database of all of the games, the answer to that question was not hard to find. Notre Dame has been 7 teams' last NCAA Tournament win. Those 7 games are:
  • 1963: Bowling Green 77 Notre Dame 72 - Round of 32
  • 1971: Drake 79 Notre Dame 72 - Sweet Sixteen
  • 1986: Arkansas-Little Rock 90 Notre Dame 83 - First Round
  • 1988: Southern Methodist 83 Notre Dame 75 - First Round
  • 2001: Mississippi 59 Notre Dame 56 - Second Round
  • 2007: Winthrop 74 Notre Dame 64 - First Round
  • 2008: Washington State 61 Notre Dame 41 - Second Round
Following right behind Notre Dame is Brigham Young with 6. Here is the top ten most times victim of a team's last win:

Notre Dame 7
Brigham Young 6
Pittsburgh 5
Tennessee 5
California 4
Illinois 4
Iowa 4
Oklahoma 4
South Carolina 4
Wake Forest 4