The NCAA men’s basketball Final Four begins Saturday with two games… the winners will advance to the championship game on Monday night.
There is a possibility that two number one seeds will face off in the title game: Number one Gonzaga faces #7 South Carolina in one semi-final game and North Carolina, the other #1 seed, will play #3 Oregon in the other contest.
Over the past 37 years (since 1980) of the tournament, a #1 seed has played in the championship game in 27 of the 37 games. But a #1 seed versus another #1 seed is not the most frequent seed matchup in the title game. It has happened seven times since 1980; the most frequent matchup, however, has been a #1 seed versus a #2 seed… that has occurred nine times since 1980.
Here’s a breakdown of the seed matchups in the NCAA men’s basketball (Division I) title game since 1980 (last 37 years).
9 times: #1 seed versus #2 seed
7 times: #1 seed versus #1 seed
6 times: #2 seed versus #3 seed
3 times: #1 seed versus #4 seed
3 times: #1 seed versus #5 seed
3 times: #1 seed versus #6 seed
1 time: #1 seed versus #3 seed
1 time: #1 seed versus #8 seed
1 time: #2 seed versus #8 seed
1 time: #3 seed versus #3 seed
1 time: #3 seed versus #8 seed
1 time: #7 seed versus #8 seed
A number #1 seed has won the championship in 21 of the last 37 years in the Div. I men’s tourney. Number 2 seeds have won six titles… the #3 seeds have won five times… and the #6 seed has won twice. The #4, #7 and #8 seeds have each won once since 1980.
In addition to winning the most titles since ’80, the #1 seeds have also lost the most titles with 13. They are followed by #2 seeds (10 losses), #3 seeds (five losses), #5 seeds and #8 seeds (three losses each), #4 seeds (two losses), and #6 seeds (one loss).
A title game featuring #3 Oregon versus #7 South Carolina would be only the fourth time since 1980 where both teams in the finale were a #3 seed or lower.
As the 2016-17 NBA season winds down, teams are starting to jockey for playoff spots. Those bound for the playoffs are trying to improve their position, while those sitting on the outside of the playoff picture at this time of the season are looking to make a final run to secure a post-season spot.
Is making the NBA playoffs important for teams? My guess is that most fans and team personnel would answer with a resounding, “Yes!”
But what if your team made the playoffs and was immediately eliminated in the first round? Does that matter? Would it have been better to not even make the playoffs if your team was going to get eliminated right away?
Maybe not real easy questions to answer. But let’s take a look at the first-round elimination in the NBA, especially since 2000. Specifically, let’s look at how often each team has been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2000.
The Denver Nuggets have made the playoffs 10 times since 2000. But they have been eliminated in the first round in nine of those seasons, most of any team this century. The only year they got past the first round was in 2009 when they made it to the Western Conference Finals. That nine out of ten times (90%) is the highest percentage of any team eliminated in the first round since 2000. The Milwaukee Bucks have made the playoffs eight times since 2000, but they have been eliminated in the first round in seven of those eight seasons, a 87.5% rate, second highest in the league.
Here’s a look at the number of times each team has been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2000. (The number listed in parenthesis is the number of season they made the playoffs since 2000.)
9: Denver (10)
8: Dallas (15)
7: Houston (9), Milwaukee (8), Portland (10)
6: Chicago (10), Indiana (12), Memphis (9), Orlando (9), Toronto (8)
5: Boston (12), New Orleans (6), Philadelphia (9), Utah (9)
4: Atlanta (9), Charlotte (6), Miami (13), Minnesota (5), New York Knicks (6), San Antonio (17)
3: Brooklyn (9), Detroit (10), L.A. Lakers (13), Oklahoma City (9), Phoenix (8), Sacramento (7), Washington (6)
2: L.A. Clippers (6)
1: Golden State (5)
0: Cleveland (7)
As you probably noticed from the numbers above, the San Antonio Spurs are the only team to make the playoffs every year this century followed by Dallas with 15 of the 17 seasons. At the other end are the Minnesota Timberwolves, and surprisingly, the Golden State Warriors, who have been in the NBA upper echelon over the past few seasons.
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Last season the Atlanta Braves were one of six teams to finish in last place in their division. What makes this all the more interesting is that it was their first year in last place since 1990, a span of 26 years!
The other five teams that finished in last place were Cincinnati, Minnesota, Oakland, San Diego and Tampa Bay. For Oakland and Cincinnati, they also finished in last place in 2015. The Twins last season as a cellar-dweller was in 2014; the Padres last time was in 2011; and the Rays last finished in last place in their division in 2007.
Over the last three seasons, 13 of the 30 MLB teams finished in last place in their division in at least one season. But it’s interesting to note that five MLB teams have not finished in last place in their division this century (since 2000) and two of those five (the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals) have not finished in last place since 1990.
Following is a look at the last season each of the 30 MLB teams finished in last place in their division.
1990: New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals
1992: Los Angeles Dodgers
1999: Los Angeles Angels
2003: New York Mets
2007: San Francisco
2010: Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Washington
2013: Chicago White Sox, Houston, Miami, Toronto
2014: Arizona, Chicago Cubs, Texas
2015: Boston, Colorado, Detroit, Philadelphia
2016: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Oakland, San Diego, Tampa Bay
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Here’s a couple of NBA stats that I hope you will find interesting…
Forty-something scorers. It goes without saying that the NBA is a league of “young” talent. There was, however, a game this week that went largely unnoticed that showcased a 40-something player reliving his heyday.
Memphis Grizzlies player Vince Carter on March 13 scored 24 points in 30 minutes. Big deal, right? Well, at age 40 years and 46 days, Carter became the sixth player 40 years of age or older since the 1963-64 NBA season to score 20 or more points in an NBA regular season game. Carter did it against the Milwaukee Bucks. Prior to Carter’s game, the last time a player 40 years of age or older had 20 or more points in a regular season game was on April 1, 2004 when Karl Malone had 20 points for the L.A. Lakers in a contest versus the Houston Rockets.
There have been 56 games since the ’63-’64 season that a 40-something player tallied 20 or more points in a contest (teams were 36-20 in those games, if it matters to you). Michael Jordan tops the list with 20 of those games. Here’s a look at the six players who at age 40 (or older) had 20 or more points in an NBA regular season game since 1963-64.
20: Michael Jordan
16: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
9: John Stockton
6: Robert Parrish
4: Karl Malone
1: Vince Carter
The most points by a player in his 40’s (since 1963-64) was 43 by Jordan on February 21, 2003. In fact, Jordan has the four highest point games for a 40-year-old since ’63-’64, and is the only player to score 30 or more at age 40+. The oldest player to score 20 or more in an NBA game is Jabbar; he had 21 points in a game at age 41 years, 331 days.
Most NBA games without scoring a point. Imagine getting into an NBA game and not scoring. You’d be a little frustrated that your name didn’t appear with a point or two in the box score. Now image playing over 200 games in your NBA career where you didn’t score a point… yes, 200 or more games where you didn’t get in the scoring column.
Twelve players have played in 200 or more regular season games where they did not score a point. Two players, DeSagana Diop and Charles Jones both had 259 games in their NBA careers where they did not score a point. Following are those 12 players; also listed in parenthesis is their last year in the league.
Most career NBA regular season games with no points
259: DeSagana Diop (2013) and Charles Jones (1998)
256: Jud Buechler (2002) and Greg Kite (1995)
235: Tree Rollins (1995)
220: Manute Bol (1995)
207: Ryan Bower (2009)
206: Jason Collins (2014)
204: Mark Madsen (2009)
203: Greg Dreiling (1997)
200: Chris Dudley (2003) and Scott Hastings (1993)
There are another 16 players who have 170 or more career games with no points scored. Three of those players were active in the 2017 season: Joel Anthony (195 games), James Jones (183 games) and Steve Novak (170 games).
Of the players in the Basketball Hall of Fame, Dikembe Mutumbo tops the list with 84 career games with no points. He is followed by Robert Parrish with 65 and Dennis Rodman with 62.
For you Bucks fans out there, Dan Gadzuric tops the team’s list of players with the most games as a Buck with no points with 106. He is followed by Dick Cunningham (98 games), Ervin Johnson (94 games), Harvey Catchings (91 games) and Paul Mokeski (91 games).
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The NFL off-season is in full swing… the free agent signing period over the last week has brought about a lot of action as players are finding new teams (and teams are finding new players), and although the NFL Draft is a month away, Mock Drafts are a major topic on NFL, and individual team, websites.
The NFL Draft is one way that teams can change their fortunes in a quick way. Let’s look at one element of the drafting process: Which position players are most often chosen within the first 10 picks of the draft? Is it quarterbacks, the high-profile glamour position that certainly gets a lot of attention? Or, is there another position that is the target of those selecting one of the first 10 college players in the first round?
Well, if you said that QBs are the most frequent position chosen in the Top 10 picks of the NFL Draft, you are wrong! QB’s ranked second, but the most frequent position player chosen in the top 10 picks of the NFL Draft over the past seven years are offensive tackles. In the last seven drafts (2010 to 2016) there were 13 offensive tackles chosen with the top 10 picks in the draft.
Here’s a look at how many players were chosen (by position) with the first 10 picks in the last seven NFL drafts.
Offensive Tackles, 13
Defensive Backs, 10
Wide Receivers, 8
Defensive Ends, 7
Running Backs, 4
Defensive Tackles, 4
Offensive Guards, 2
Tight Ends, 1
Based on the Top 10 picks in the NFL Draft since 2010 (a total of 70 selections), there have been 40 offensive players and 30 defensive players.
Note: At least one offensive tackle has been chosen within the first 10 picks in 11 straight drafts, the longest streak of any of the positions. Linebackers are next; there has been at least one linebacker chosen in the first 10 picks in nine straight drafts.
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