If not for a tragic car accident in 1944, there would be one more appearance for Arkansas on the list. The Hogs, who had won the SWC and gotten an invite to the dance, were returning from an exhibition game in FS when the accident occurred. An assistant coach was killed and two players seriously hurt, forcing Arkansas to back out.
The Hogs were replaced by Utah, who went on to win the national championship, so you could reasonably surmise Arkansas had a great chance to win, as well.
We’ll never know if we were as good as that Utah team, even without the accident, but it was an 8-team tournament then. Utah lost its first round NIT game to Kentucky, got the NCAA invitation to replace us before they left New York, stopped off in Kansas City and won the NCAA regional there, went back to NYC and beat Dartmouth in the NCG. To many people at the time, the NIT was the more important tournament, and also slightly older. But an NC isn’t a bad consolation gift.
By the way, Utah’s path to the title was Misery, Iowa State and Dartmouth.
There are 34 conferences now, I think. At large makes up the other half of the field. Given that only 11 of the past 25 NCs got their league’s automatic bid (not including Arkansas '94), at large bids aren’t going anywhere.
More than you think. Villanova twice. UConn three times. Georgetown. UTEP. Loyola (same school that beat Miami today). UNLV. San Francisco twice. Cincinnati. Gonzaga got to the NCG last year. Butler got there twice. None of those are Power 5.
But a lot of the draw of March Madness now is the little guy pulling the big upset. Loyola over Miami. Buffalo over Arizona. George Mason in the Final Four. Take out those leagues, you also take out those upsets.
Why would you want a smaller tournament? First, do you really want to leave out the winners of the small conferences? Why? It gives them something to play for, it doesn’t hurt anything (unlike football, playing an extra game is no big deal, doesn’t take a week or two to get over it, etc.)
The first two days of the NCAAT are my favorite two days of the year.
Cut it too what? 32 teams (cutting one game out, one game, what good does that do?) We wouldn’t be in.
Do you think the Hogs have a chance to win it? No. It is still fun as fans and the teams to be in it.
Back when the tournament was 32 teams, and we had been ranked in the top 10 a lot of the year (1978) after we lost in the SWC tournament, it wasn’t a given that we would get an invite. We went to the Final 4 and had a very legit shot at winning the title.
I like the format. If I changed anything, it would be to add MORE “play in games” (or whatever you want to call them). I would go to 20 teams per region, have the seeds 13 through 20 play “play in” games (20 vs. 13, 19 vs. 14, etc.)
There’s not a good reason to cut it in half. Not a single one. You’re offended that schools like Texas Southern and Radford are there? Remember that pre-expansion, in the 25-team days, schools like Western Kentucky, Jacksonville, Dayton, Drake, New Mexico State, Seattle U and St. Bonaventure reached the Final Four. An Ivy League school, Penn, got there in 1979, in a 40-team tournament.
In fact, the Power 5 leagues really didn’t take over the tournament until after expansion. Yeah, UCLA won 7 straight, but they were beating Dayton and Jacksonville in the championship game. Oh yeah, and in 1972, they also beat Florida State, which at the time was both independent and terrible at football.
We need to remember that “Power 5” as a moniker stems from football. There have always been some good teams & good basketball leagues besides today’s Power 5 conferences. (Not to mention, some of the teams in today’s P5 were not in those P5 conferences only a few years ago.) The Big East, now gutted by other leagues’ expansion, was once a great basketball power. The old Missouri Valley was, too.
Swine, your sentence is a bit ambiguous, but to be clear Ark did not win the SEC’s automatic bid the year it won the NC.
True on all counts. Cincinnati was in the Valley when it won the NC. Louisville became a power as a Valley member and won its first NC out of the dearly departed Metro conference, which morphed into Conference USA. Cougar High got to the Final Four in the 1960s as an independent, several years prior to their addition to the SWC. Tiger High got to the 1973 NCG as a Valley member too, and we can’t forget the ISU Larry Birds in '79 out of the Valley. Several NC-winning schools were independent, including UTEP.
Big East is pretty damn good right now, post-gutting. Villanova and Xavier are 1 seeds out of the Big East. Butler’s in the BE too.
And yes, we did not win the SEC automatic bid in 1994. One additional bit of clarification: Three of the last 25 NCs did win their league’s automatic bid by winning the regular season in a league without a postseason tournament. Eleven others won their conference tournament. And 11, including us, did not.
Had this discussion on another board (when I complained about Mid Tn and St Mary’s being left out). His suggestion was automatic bids to the regular season conference champs and the conference tourney champs if they’re different. Then the “at large’s”. I think Middle Tn and St Mary’s may have deserved to be in more than UCLA and ASU. JMO. But would they need to expand if they did that?
Actually, that’s not what we’re discussing here. Little Hock does not want expansion. He wants contraction, although I have no idea why unless he’s offended at mid-majors taking up spots that he thinks should go to the SEC, Big Ten, etc. SEC and ACC got plenty this time. Pac-12 and Big Ten didn’t, and we see why with the Pac-12 implosion.
Sorry, forgot to finish my sentence. The guy that made the suggestion wanted to go back to 32 teams. When I disagreed he made the suggestion about the conference and conference tourney winners.
Again, I think some of the mid majors that were left out should have been in, but if we do make changes, would they expand or shrink the field? Personally, I think Mistake should have been in, but I understand why they aren’t.