Monthly Archives: March, 2012

Final Four Most Outstanding Players: The great (and not-so-great) pro careers after the award.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Kareem Abdul Jabbar: Won three MOPs as Lew Alcindor at UCLA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on the stats that go beyond the numbers.

Scan the list and you see names that are synonymous with greatness in the sport of basketball… Russell, Chamberlain, Baylor, West, Alcindor, Magic and Walton. Look a little closer at the same list and you discover names that you may or may not remember… Cleaves, Kotz, Hogue, Givens and Sheppard.

What all these players have in common is that they were selected as the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) is an NCAA men’s Final Four. We can see that an MOP was a step towards greatness for some and not so much for others. That’s the beauty of the NCAA tournament: greatness from the expected… and the unexpected. Who will be the MOP of this year’s tourney? A player destined for greatness in the NBA, or someone who will have their career moment this weekend?

Here’s a few stat lists regarding the MOPs. First, a look at those MOPs who went on to Hall of Fame professional careers (and those who were also MVP in an NBA Finals). Next is a look at those MOPs who played less than 20 games in the NBA. Finally, a quick review of the MOPs this century and where they are today in their careers.

Final Four MOPs that are in the Basketball Hall of Fame

Year(s) as Final Four MOP, Player

1945-46: Bob Kurland

1952: Clyde Lovellette

1954: Tom Gola

1955: Bill Russell

1957: Wilt Chamberlain (MVP of 1972 NBA Finals)

1958: Elgin Baylor

1959: Jerry West (MVP of 1969 NBA Finals)

1960-61: Jerry Lucas

1965: Bill Bradley

1967-69: Lew Alcindor (MVP of 1971 & 1985 NBA Finals)

1972-73: Bill Walton (MVP of 1977 NBA Finals)

1974: David Thompson

1979: Magic Johnson (MVP of 1980, 1982 & 1987 NBA Finals)

1981: Isiah Thomas (MVP of 1990 NBA Finals)

1982: James Worthy (MVP of 1988 NBA Finals)

1983: Hakeem Olajuwon (MVP of 1994 & 1995 NBA Finals)

1984: Patrick Ewing

Fewest NBA games by players who won a Final Four MOP award

NBA games, Player, Year of MOP

0: Bob Kurland, 1945, 1946 (Never played professionally, instead choosing to play AAU ball; is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame)

0: Irwin Dambrot, 1950 (Choose a career in dentistry instead of basketball)

0: B.H. Born, 1953 (Played AAU ball)

0: Anderson Hunt, 1990 (Played professionally overseas)

0: Donald Williams, 1993 (Played professionally overseas)

2: Keith Smart, 1987 (Has been the head coach of two NBA teams)

3: Hal Lear, 1956

5: Miles Simon, 1997

18: Jeff Shepppard, 1998 (Also played professionally in Italy)

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So how have the MOPs from this century done in their professional careers? Here’s a quick update.

Kemba Walker, 2011, UConn: Averaging over 12 points and four assists as a point guard for the Charlotte Bobcats.

Kyle Singler, 2010, Duke: Playing for Real Madrid in Spain

Wayne Ellington, 2009, North Carolina: In his third season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Career average of over six points per game.

Mario Chalmers, 2008, Kansas: In his fourth season with the Miami Heat. Averaging just under 10 points per game this season.

Corey Brewer, 2007, Florida: In his fifth NBA season; currently with Denver. Career average of about nine points per game.

Joakim Noah, 2006, Florida: In his fifth season with the Bulls. Key member of the team who averages about 10 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Sean May, 2005, North Carolina: Played 119 games in the NBA. Currently playing in Italy.

Emeka Okafor, 2004, UConn: In his eighth NBA season. Currently with New Orleans. A double-digit scorer and rebounder.

Carmelo Anthony, 2003, Syracuse: Playing in his ninth NBA season. Has a career average of over 24 points per game.

Juan Dixon, 2002, Maryland: Played in 436 NBA games. Last played in the NBA in 2008-09. Playing professionally in Turkey.

Shane Battier, 2001, Duke: Has played in over 800 NBA games. A key free-agent signing for the Miami Heat this season.

Mateen Cleaves, 2000, Michigan State: Played in 167 NBA games in his career. Last played in the NBA in 2006.

SIX STATS you might not know about… the NCAA men’s Final Four

SIX STATS is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’

Final Four

Final Four (Photo credit: slack13)

1. Since 1985 when the NCAA went to a 64-team format for the tournament, 71 of the 112 (63.4%) teams in the Final Four were either a #1 or #2 seed. This year three of the four teams are either a #1 or #2 seed (Louisville as a #4 seed is the only exception). About 86% of the Final Four teams since 1985 have been a #1, #2, #3 or #4 seed. Since 1979 when the NCAA went to seeding all the teams, no teams that were seeded #10, #12, #13, #14, #15 or #16 have made it to the Final Four. Three #11 seeds have made it to the Final Four since 1979.

2. In the 54 Final Four semifinal games since 1979, the higher seed has won 26 and lost 15. On 13 occasions teams that were seeded the same faced off in the semis (such is the case on Saturday when two #2 seeds – Ohio State and Kansas – face off in one semifinal)

3. Thirty-two of the 54 (59%) Final Four semifinal games have been decided by nine points or less.

4. The teams that won their semifinal game by a closer margin has won the title 14 times and lost 10 (three times the title game opponents won their semifinal game by the same margin).

5. There have been 19 times when a team has played in back-to-back championship games. The last to do so was Butler in 2010 and 2011 (they lost both games). Prior to that it was Florida in 2006 and 2007 (they won both games).

6. The state of Missouri has hosted the most Final Fours with 13. Tied for second are New York and Kentucky with seven. They are followed by Texas, Indiana, and this year’s host, (New Orleans) Louisiana, with six.

Schools with a men’s and women’s Final Four team in the same year

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times monthly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA...

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 80-65 loss by the Kentucky women to UConn in the regional final Tuesday night means that we will not have Final Four teams from the same school in both the men’s and women’s tournament.

This year three different schools had their men’s and women’s teams in both Sweet Sixteens: Baylor, Kansas and Kentucky.

Following are the nine times when both the men’s and women’s basketball teams made it to the Final Four in the same season.

Year, school with both men’s and women’s basketball team making the Final Four

1983: Georgia

1999: Duke (both teams played in the championship game)

2002: Oklahoma

2003: Texas

2004: Connecticut (both teams won the championship)

2005: Michigan State

2006: LSU

2009: Connecticut

2011: Connecticut

Schools that have multiple Final Four appearances but no title

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year’s quartet of men’s Final Four teams have each made multiple trips to the Final Four (Kentucky 15th, Kansas 14th, Ohio State 11th and Louisville 9th) and have each won a national title (Kentucky 7, Kansas 3, Louisville 2 and Ohio State 1).

There have been, however, several schools that have made multiple trips to the Final Four yet have not won a championship. Following are the schools that have made three or more trips to the Final Four but are still waiting for their first title. Also noted is the number of Championship Games they have played in, and the last time they played in the Final Four. Those schools with two Final Four appearances are also noted.

School, Final Four appearances (Championship Games) Last Final Four appearance

Houston……….5 (2) 1984

Illinois………….5 (1) 2005

Kansas State…4 (1) 1964

LSU……………..4 (0) 2006

Oklahoma…….4 (2) 2002

Iowa…………….3 (1) 1980

Memphis………3 (2) 2008

Texas……………3 (0) 2003

Schools with two Final Four appearances but no title: Baylor, Bradley, Butler, Colorado, Dartmouth, DePaul, Georgia Tech, NYU, Oregon State, Providence, Purdue, St. John’s, Temple, USC, Virginia, West Virginia.

Is winning a conference tournament a precursor to the Final Four?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Rick Pitino during a game against West Virgini...

Rick Pitino's Louisville team is the only Final Four team this year to win its conference tournament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since 2000, there have been 52 different teams that have made it to the Final Four in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Over that timeframe, just under 54% of those Final Four teams (28 of the 52) played in their conference tournament championship game the week prior to the NCAA tournament. Twenty-three of the 28 won their conference tourney.

Of this year’s Final Four teams, Rick Pitino’s Louisville squad was the only one to win its conference tournament (they won the Big East Conference tournament); Kentucky and Ohio State both lost in their conference title game, while Kansas was defeated in the Big 12 conference semifinals.

In 2011, three of the Final Four teams won their conference tournament (Connecticut, Butler and Kentucky) and the fourth team, VCU, lost in the title game. In 2010, again three Final Four teams won their conference tournament (Duke, Butler and West Virginia) while Final Four participant Michigan State was defeated in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.

Following are how well the Final Four teams since 2000 (the last 13 tournaments) did in their conference tournaments prior to the NCAA tournament.

Final Four teams that won their conference tournament: 23

Final Four teams that lost in the conference tournament title game: 5

Final Four teams that lost in the conference tournament semifinals: 14

Final Four teams that lost in the conference tournament quarterfinals: 9

Final Four teams that did not play in a conference tournament: 1

Did you know? Of the 12 teams that won the NCAA championship this century (2000-2011), eight won their conference tournament. The other four, North Carolina in 2009, North Carolina in 2005, Syracuse in 2003 and Maryland in 2002, all lost in their conference semifinals.

Did you know? The last year when none of the Final Four teams won their conference tournament was 2009.