Saturday, April 3, 2010

Final Four Droughts - Part II

Michigan State will be going to the Final Four for the 6th time in the last 12 years. In that same time frame, Kentucky has not been to a Final Four. This is for a school that has been to 13 Final Fours overall (which is tied for 4th all-time).

Out of the 5 schools that have been to at least 13 final fours, UCLA has the longest all-time drought at 14 years, so Kentucky will need to make the Final Four in one of the next two seasons to keep from passing them. Here are the biggest droughts for the teams with the most Final Fours.

Team FF's 1st Longest Drought
North Carolina 18 1946 10 years (1947-1956)
UCLA 18 1962 14 years (1981-1994)
Duke 15 1963 11 years (1967-1977)
Kansas 13 1940 13 years (1958-1970)
Kentucky 13 1942 12 years (1999-2010)*
Ohio State 10 1939 30 years (1969-1998)
Indiana 8 1940 19 years (1954-1972)
Louisville 8 1959 18 years (1987-2004)
Michigan State 8 1957 21 years (1958-1978)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Final Four Droughts

Tomorrow, Michigan State will be trying for their second consecutive Final Four and their 6th in the last 12 years. However, the other seven schools in the Elite Eight have not tasted as much success when it comes to the Final Four (at least lately).

Traditional powers, Duke and Kentucky both have many Final Fours on their resume. Kentucky has been to 13 while Duke has been to 14. However, Kentucky is currently in the middle of their longest Final Four drought in school history. It has been 12 years since Kentucky has last been to the Final Four. Before this current drought, the longest stretch in which Kentucky went without a Final Four had been 8 years (1967 to 1974 and again 1985 to 1992).

Duke has not been too the Final Four since 2004. They have seen longer droughts in school history, but the last time that they went 5 straight tournaments without a Final Four before this current drought was when they missed the Final Four from 1979 to 1985 (7 years).

Out of the other 5 teams in the Elite Eight, none have been to the Final Four since 1964. Kansas State last went in 1964, West Virginia last went in 1959 and Baylor's last Final Four was in 1950. Butler and Tennessee have never been to the Final Four.

Since 1944 (the first time a team made its second final four appearance), only twice in history has there ever been a Final Four in which every participant ended a more than ten-year drought or was making its first appearance. Those years were 1959 and 1979. Here is a summary of the teams and the year's since their prior appearance.

Michigan State - 22 years
DePaul - 36 years
Indiana State - First appearance
Penn - First appearance

California - 13 years
Cincinnati - First appearance
Louisville - First appearance
West Virginia - First appearance

If West Virginia, Tennessee and Baylor win today and tomorrow, it will be the third time in history that it has happened.

Friday, March 12, 2010

At-Large Bids

Texas will be making their 12th consecutive tournament appearance which will be tied for 4th longest current streak. However, with the loss to Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament, they have still never won a Big 12 Tournament. Each one of their last 12 tournament appearances (including this year's) have been at-large bids which extends their own record. Below is a list of the longest streaks of At-Large Bids all-time:
  • Texas 11 (1999-2009)
  • Indiana 10 (1994-2003)
  • Louisiana State 10 (1984-1993)
  • Marquette 10 (1971-1980)
  • Maryland 10 (1994-2003)
  • Michigan State 9 (2001-2009)
  • Temple 9 (1991-1999)
  • Notre Dame 8 (1974-1981)
  • Arizona 7 (2003-2009)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Today Georgia Tech defeated North Carolina 62-58 in the first round of ACC Tournament. Earlier UCLA knocked off Arizona 75-69 in the Pac Ten Quarterfinals. As a result, two long tournament streaks will come to an end this year.

The last time that Roy Williams missed the tournament was in 1989. He was a rookie coach with Kansas. They finished 19-12 that year, but were ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to violations after winning the 1988 National Championship. His streak will end at 20. His streak will end up being the third longest all time. Lute Olson and Dean Smith both coached in 23 consecutive tournaments. Smith coached from 1975 to 1997 and Olson coached from 1985 to 2007. Mike Krzyzewski is now the current leader making his 15th consecutive appearance this year.

Arizona's run of 25 straight appearances will come to an end this year. They started their run in 1985 in Lute Olson's second season in Arizona. Before their current run, Arizona had a grand total of 3 tournament appearances and 2 wins. Arizona's streak is the second longest all-time falling two short of North Carolina's run from 1974-2001. Kansas is now the current leader making their 21st consecutive appearance this year.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

More expansion talk - Is it a done deal?

In December, I blogged about possible expansion in the NCAA Tournament. On Monday, some sources were reporting that expansion is a "Done Deal". I personally think it is a bad idea. The tournament is perfect the way it is. I understand why they went to 65 teams, but no one even watches the "play-in" game. 64 teams is the perfect number.

Expanding the tournament adds logistic problems. If the tournament expands to 96 teams, either there will need to be games played on Tuesday and Wednesday or an additional week will need to be added to the tournament. If games are played on Tuesday or Wednesday, that will present problems if the bracket is announced on Sunday night. I don't think it is enough time for teams and fans to make plans to travel to the sights and the attendance at those games will be awful.

If an extra week is added, then to get to 64 teams, you would have 32 teams with byes have an entire week off. In addition, it would add an extra week to the season either on the front end or the back end. If it is on the back end, the season would not end until mid April. March Madness would be a thing of the past. April Anxiety anyone? If it is added on the front end, conference games would need to begin in mid-December and the season would need to start around November 1. I don't know about you, but I like most college fans are thinking about college football at that time.

In the current format, top seeds have almost always advanced beyond the first round. No #1 seeds have ever been defeated in the first round and only 4 #2 seeds have lost. If the field is expanded, expect this to change. These high seeds will be facing much stiffer competition on a neutral court with the other team having already played a tournament game. When the field was 48 teams, many top seeds lost in the second round after they had first round byes.

Whether this is inevitable or not remains to be seen, but here are some others thoughts about expansion:
  • Andy Katz on Expansion - He states that there are many involved in this decision and it is not a done deal. The NCAA has a right to opt out of CBS's contract which has 3 years left and has asked others what they would be interested in if they expanded. He also talks about how the power conference tournaments would become meaningless with a 96-team tournament.
  • Lindsey Willhite says "Not so fast". He like many others believe it is a bad idea.
  • Jeff Goodman states that the NCAA is still looking at expansion, but no decision has been made.
  • Steve Wieberg shares the opinion of college administrators and coaches.
  • Ryan Terpstra wonders what else NCAA would like to ruin.
And once again when the tournament expands, the Onion will have coverage.

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