Category Archives: College Sports

Which schools have had the most Heisman Trophy contenders?


The Heisman Trophy Award will be handed out this Saturday. Three finalists have been announced: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper.

For Oregon and Alabama, the announcement of Mariota and Cooper as finalists guarantee that the two schools will have their fourth Top Five finish in the Heisman voting this century. For Wisconsin, it will be their second Top Five player in the voting since 2000.

Since 2000, USC has had the most Top Five finishers in the Heisman with six. Oklahoma is close behind with five. Here is a look at the schools that from 2000-13 have had the most players finish in the Top Five in the Heisman Award voting.

6: USC
5: Oklahoma
4: Florida
3: Alabama, Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame, Oregon, Stanford, Texas
2: Arkansas, Florida State, Kansas State, Michigan,  Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas A & M, Texas Tech

If we go back to the start of the award in 1935, Notre Dame has had the most players finish in the Top 5 with 29. Ohio State holds the second spot with 18 players.

Here are the schools that have had five or more players finish in the Top 5 of the Heisman Award voting since 1935 (does not include 2014 finalists).

29: Notre Dame
18: Ohio State
17: Oklahoma
16: USC
12: Michigan
11: Alabama, Nebraska, Penn State
10: Army, Miami (Fla.), Texas
9: Stanford
8: Brigham Young, Florida, Georgia, Pittsburgh
7: Florida State, Minnesota, Purdue, Syracuse, UCLA
6: LSU, Mississippi, SMU
5: Boston College, California, Iowa, Michigan State, Navy, Oklahoma State, TCU, Tennessee

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UConn, Kentucky wearing Cinderella’s slippers at this year’s Final Four


For only the third time since 1979 (when the NCAA when to a seeded format in its mens basketball tournament) two teams seeded seventh or lower have made it to the Final Four. Seventh seed UConn  and eighth seed Kentucky become the third set of teams seeded seventh or lower to both make the Final Four. The other two instances:

2011: Butler (8th seed) and VCU (11th seed)

2000: North Carolina (8th seed) and Wisconsin (8th seed)

Of the four teams above, only Butler was able to make it to the championship game.

Kentucky, as a #8 seed, becomes the 11th team since 1979 to make it to the Final Four as an eighth seed or worse. The others:

8th seeds to make Final Four: UCLA (1980), Villanova (1985), North Carolina (2000), Wisconsin (2000), Butler (2011)
9th seeds to make Final Four: Penn (1979), Wichita State (2013)
11th seeds to make Final Four: LSU (1986), George Mason (2006), VCU (2011)

Let’s take it a step further. UConn and Kentucky become the 25th and 26th teams since 1979 seeded as fifth seeds or worse to make the Final Four. Of the 24 teams prior to this year’s pair, only nine of those teams made it to the Final Four championship game. Here are the nine teams prior to this year that were seeded fifth or lower that made it to the Final Four championship game. (* indicates they won the championship)

1980: UCLA (8th seed)
1983: North Carolina State (6th seed)*
1985: Villanova (8th seed)*
1988: Kansas (6th seed)*
1992: Michigan (6th seed)
2000: Florida (5th seed)
2002: Indiana (5th seed)
2010: Butler (5th seed)
2011: Butler (8th seed)

Teams seeded fifth or worse are 12-21 in Final Four games since 1979.

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Can the only #1 seed left in the Final Four finish the season on top?

Florida Gators

Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators entered the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tourney as the number one overall seed. With only three games left in the tournament, Florida remains the only #1 seed and is the odd-on favorite to hoist the trophy on Monday night.

The Gators have a lot history in their favor in the Final Four: This is the fourth year of the last five where only one #1 seed remains in the Final Four. In the previous three instances, the only remaining #1 seed eventually won the tournament. Since the NCAA went to a seeded bracket in 1979, there have been 13 cases where only one of the four #1 seeds made it to the Final Four. That #1 seed has won eight of those 13 Final Fours.

Here’s a look at the 14 Final Fours where only one #1 seed made it to the Final Four

2014: Florida (???)
2013: Louisville (won tourney)
2012: Kentucky (won tourney)
2010: Duke (won tourney)
2004: Duke
2003: Texas
2000: Michigan State (won tourney)
1998: North Carolina
1995: UCLA (won tourney)
1994: Arkansas (won tourney)
1992: Duke (won tourney)
1990: UNLV (won tourney)
1989: Illinois
1979: Indiana State

In the 36 years since the NCAA began using the seeded brackets, a #1 seed has won 20 (57.1%) of those tournaments. Here’s a seeded breakdown of the past 35 men’s NCAA basketball champions.

#1 seed: 20 (titles)
#2 seed: 6
#3 seed: 5
#4 seed: 1
#5 seed: 0
#6 seed: 2
#7 seed: 0
#8 seed: 1 (Villanova, 1985)

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Can Baylor turn their 2013 NIT title into 2014 NCAA success?


One of the more intriguing matchups for the round of 16 in the NCAA men’s basketball tourney is tomorrow night’s West Regional contest between #6 seed Baylor and #2 seed Wisconsin.

Baylor did not make the NCAA field last year. They did, however, end their 2012-13 season on a high note by winning five games in the NIT, beating Iowa for the 2013 NIT championship. They ended the season with a 23-14 record.

This year they made the NCAA field of 68 and have now advanced to the Sweet 16. They became only the ninth team in history to win the NIT one year and then advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 the following year. Here’s a look at those nine teams.

NIT championship year, School
2013: Baylor
2007: West Virginia
1992: Virginia
1980: Virginia
1979: Indiana
1976: Kentucky
1972: Maryland
1971: North Carolina
1970: Marquette

Of the nine teams above, only two – Virginia in 1980 and North Carolina in 1971 – won the NIT one season and advanced to the NCAA Final Four the following year. Could Baylor become the third team?

It’s also interesting to note that Baylor in 2009 was the runner-up in the NIT. The following year, they advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tourney.

Going back to 1970, there have been 44 teams that won the NIT. As mentioned above, only two made it to the NCAA Final Four the next year and only nine made it to the Sweet 16. Eighteen teams did play in the NCAA tourney the year after their NIT victory, while eight teams went back to the NIT tourney the year after their title year. Nine teams did not play in a post-season tourney the year after their NIT title.

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NCAA Men’s Regionals Finals: Expect close games

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English: National Collegiate Athletic Associat...

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While we may not be able to accurately pick which of the four teams will win their regional finals games this weekend, one thing is pretty sure: the games will be close.

Case in point: Of the 16 regional finals games from 2009-12, 11 were decided by seven points or less. In fact, the average margin of victory in those 16 games was 7.06.

Going back to 1985 when the NCAA went to a 64-team tournament, blowouts (for the purpose of this article, we’ll define a blowout as a win by 20 points or more) were much more common from 1985-99 than in this century. From 1985-99, there were 13 regional finals games decided by 20 points or more. Since 2000, there has not been a single regional final decided by 20 points or more.

Here’s a look at the final margin of victory in regional finals games since 1985 (totals since 2000 are listed in parenthesis). Note: 112 regional finals games have been played since 1985; 52 have been played from 2000-12

Margin of victory, number of games, pct (since 2000)

1-3 points: 24 games, 21.4% (10 games, 19.2%)
4-9 points: 38 games, 33.8% (19 games, 36.5%)
10-19 points: 37 games, 37.0% (23 games, 44.2 %)
20 points or more: 13 games, 11.6% (0 games, 0.0%)

The last regional final decided by 20 or more points was in 1999 when Duke defeated Temple, 85-64. Since then, the largest margin of victory has been 19 points, accomplished twice in regional finals games in 2008. Since 2009, no regional finals game has been decided by more than 13 points.

The largest margin of victory in a regional final since 1985 was 37 points, one of only two regional final games that were decided by 30-plus points since ’85. That 37-point game was in 1989 when Michigan beat Virginia, 102-65.

Here’s a look at the five regional final games that have had the biggest margin of victory since 1985.

Margin of victory, score, year

37: Michigan 102, Virgina 65, 1989
30: UNLV 131, Loyola-Marymount 101, 1990
27: Indiana 106, UCLA 79, 1992
25: Kentucky 106, Florida State 81, 1993
25: Utah 76, Arizona 51, 1998

Of the 13 teams that won a regional final by 20 points or more, six lost in their first game in the Final Four, four lost in the Final Four title game, and three won the title game. The three that won the title game: Michigan (1989), UNLV (1990) and Kentucky (1996).

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