Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Opening Round History

Tonight the tournament begins.  This round is know by many names:  "Play-in Game", "Opening Round", "First Four", "First Round".  Whatever it is called, it is the round before the round of 64.  Many people believe that it started in 2001 when the field expanded to 65.  However, there were actually opening round games in 1983 and 1984 before the field expanded to 64.

In 1983, the field expanded to 52 games, but they #4 seed to have a bye, so they created the extra round with two #12 teams in each regional for a total of 4 opening round games.  In 1984, the field was expanded to 53 games and their were 5 opening round games with one of them being between #11 seeds.

With the field expanded to 64, there was no need for an extra round until 2001 when the Mountain West Conference began.  The NCAA did not want to reduce the number of at-large teams, so they expanded the field to 65.  This created the need for an extra game between #16 seeds.  In 2011, the field once again expanded to 68 and the First Four was born.

Alcorn State has played in the most opening round games having played in 3.  North Carolina A&T will tie them with their third opening round game this year.  Here is the history of opening round games for this year's participants:

North Carolina A&T
1983 - Lost to Princeton 53-41
1984 - Lost to Morehead State 70-69

Liberty - Never played an Opening Round game

St. Mary's - Never played an Opening Round game

Middle Tennessee State - Never played an Opening Round game

Long Island-Brooklyn
1984 - Lost to Northeastern 90-87

James Madison - Never played an Opening Round game

La Salle
1983 - Defeated Boston 70-58

Boise State - Never played an Opening Round game

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