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Basketball 2006-2007 | March Madness College Basketball | NCAA Basketball

College Basketball History

The game of basketball was devised by James Naismith in 1891. The first recorded game involving a college basketball team took place in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania on April 8, 1893 when a team from Geneva College defeated the New Brighton YMCA [1] [2]. The first intercollegiate game was played on February 9, 1895 when Minnesota State School of Agriculture defeated Hamline College by a score of 9 to 3. The first intercollegiate game involving the now familiar five-player format occurred in Iowa City, Iowa on January 18, 1896 when the University of Chicago defeated the University of Iowa 15 to 12. Before that time, there were usually seven to nine players on each team.

By the turn of the 20th Century, enough colleges were fielding basketball teams that leagues began to form. The NCAA was founded in Chicago in 1906. The first NCAA Men's College Basketball Championship tournament was held before 5,500 fans in Evanston, Illinois in 1939. That year, Oregon beat Ohio State 46 to 33 in the final game to win the national championship.

The first college games to be televised took place at Madison Square Garden in 1940. Pittsburgh defeated Fordham, 57 to 37, and NYU beat Georgetown, 50 to 27. Since the advent of television, the popularity of college basketball has exploded. March Madness is consistently one of the most watched events of the year and draws over 700,000 fans.


These teams play in 31 different conferences, which are classified as either major or mid-major conferences. The distinction is unofficial; indeed, the winners of all 31 conferences receive an automatic bid to play in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament alongside 34 at-large selections made by the selection committee during the selection process. However, the teams from "major" conferences are the traditional powers and continue to dominate the game to this day, thanks in part to the relative ease they have in attracting blue-chip high school recruits. The major-conference teams also have the benefit of playing a tougher schedule, more easily garnering respect. Accordingly, most of the 34 at-large selections on Selection Sunday go to major-conference teams. The following are currently considered to be the major conferences in college basketball:

The six conferences that are members of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in college football:

  • ACC
  • Big East
  • Big Ten
  • Big 12
  • Pac-10
  • SEC

Two other non-BCS conferences that play Division I-A college football:

  • Mountain West
  • WAC

One conference whose football members play in Division I-AA:

  • Atlantic 10 (aka "A-10")

It should be noted that some teams play in different conferences in different sports. For example, Temple University plays football as an independent (but is transitioning to the Mid-American Conference for that sport) and basketball in the A-10. Local rival Villanova University, on the other hand, plays A-10 football, but is a Big East member in basketball. Many of the A-10 football teams play in mid-major conferences in basketball.

The current members of the six BCS conferences and the Mountain West Conference have won every NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship since 1967, although some teams' championships predate their memberships in their current conferences.

Conference USA effectively lost its "major" status in July 2005 when 8 of its 14 basketball members left for other conferences, five to the Big East alone. Of the schools that left C-USA, three that left for the Big East (Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette) were responsible for all of the national championships won by schools that were C-USA members in 2004-05. Louisville made the Final Four in its last season in C-USA. Two other departing schools (DePaul, which joined the Big East, and Charlotte, which joined the A-10) have past Final Four appearances, though not recently (1979 for DePaul, 1977 for Charlotte). The Mountain West and Atlantic 10, which also gained members from Conference USA, are more secure in their "major" status at this time.

Only three of the 22 mid-major basketball conferences play Division I-A football: Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference and the Sun Belt Conference. Of the remaining conferences, some play in Division I-AA (e.g. the Ivy League) and the others don't compete in football at all (e.g. the West Coast Conference). The following are considered mid-major conferences in college basketball:

  • America East Conference
  • Atlantic Sun Conference
  • Big Sky Conference
  • Big South Conference
  • Big West Conference
  • Colonial Athletic Association
  • Conference USA
  • Horizon League
  • Ivy League
  • Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
  • Mid-American Conference
  • Mid-Continent Conference
  • Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
  • Missouri Valley Conference
  • Northeast Conference
  • Ohio Valley Conference
  • Patriot League
  • Southern Conference
  • Southland Conference
  • Southwestern Athletic Conference
  • Sun Belt Conference
  • West Coast Conference

No mid-major team has made it to the Final Four since 1979, when Penn and a Larry Bird-led Indiana State both made it to the semifinals, each losing to Magic Johnson's Michigan State team (Penn in the semifinals, and Indiana State in the final). However, the trend in recent years has been towards parity among all the schools in Division I, and practically every year a perennial major-conference power loses to an unheralded mid-major team in the tournament. In recent years, Gonzaga has become the closest thing to a power in mid-major basketball, having made it as far as the quarterfinals in 1999 and in the years since ranking highly in the influential AP Top 25 Poll and the Ratings Percentage Index throughout the basketball season. Increasingly, basketball analysts are considering Gonzaga to be a major program that happens to play in a mid-major conference.

Finally, a small number of teams (currently ten) compete in Division I basketball as so-called "Independents", without belonging to any conference. Typically, these teams have just moved up to Division I from a lower division, and compete independently while hoping to eventually secure a spot in a conference. Unlike in football, they are generally among the least-competitive teams in college basketball.

Relationship to Professional Basketball

In past decades, the NBA only drafted college graduates. This was a mutually beneficial relationship for the NBA and collegesthe colleges held onto players who would otherwise go professional, and the NBA did not have to fund a minor league. For the most part, players benefited from the college education. As the college game became commercialized, though, it became increasingly difficult for "student athletes" to be students. Specifically, a growing number of poor (usually black), under-educated, highly talented teenage basketball players found the system exploitativethey brought in funds to schools where they learned little and played without income. In 1974, Moses Malone joined the Utah Stars of the ABA (now merged with the NBA) straight out of high school and went on to a Hall of Fame career. The past 30 years have seen a remarkable change in the college game. The best international players routinely skip college entirely, many American stars skip college (Kobe Bryant and LeBron James) or only play one year (Carmelo Anthony), and only a dozen or so college graduates are now among the 60 players selected in the annual NBA Draft.

The pervasiveness of college basketball throughout the nation, the large population of graduates from "major conference" universities, and the NCAA's brilliant marketing of "March Madness" (officially the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship), have kept the college game alive and well. Some commentators have argued that the higher turnover of players has increased the importance of good coaches. Many teams have been highly successful, for instance, by emphasizing personality in their recruiting efforts, with the goal of creating a cohesive group that, while lacking stars, plays together for all 4 years and thus develops a higher level of sophistication than less stable teams could achieve.

Other Divisions

While less commercialized, Women's Division I, and Division II and III, both Women's and Men's, are highly successful college basketball organizations. Women's Division I is often televised, but to smaller audiences than Men's Division I. Generally, small colleges join Division II, while colleges of all sizes that choose not to offer athletic scholarships join Division III. D-II and D-III games, understandably, are almost never televised, although CBS will sometimes show the championship games. Many teams at these levels have rabid fan bases, though, and to those fans these games can be equally or more entertaining than big-name college basketball.

National Collegiate Athletic Association

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA, often pronounced "N-C-Double-A" or "N-C-Two-A") is a voluntary association of about 1200 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletics programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. Its headquarters are currently located in Indianapolis, Indiana and it is currently under the leadership of president Myles Brand. The NCAA is the largest collegiate athletic organization in the world.

Its predecessor, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), was established on March 31, 1906 to set rules for amateur sports in the United States. Its creation was urged by then-president Theodore Roosevelt in reaction to his concern over the growing amount of serious injuries and deaths occurring in collegiate football. The IAAUS later became the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1910.

Up until the 1980s the association did not offer women's athletics. By 1982 however, all divisions of the NCAA offered national championship events for women's athletics and most members of the AIAW joined the NCAA.

In 1973, the NCAA split its membership into three divisions: Division I, Division II and Division III. Under NCAA rules, Division I and Division II schools can offer scholarships to athletes for playing a sport. Division III schools may not offer any athletic scholarships. Generally, larger schools compete in Division I and smaller schools in II and III. Division I football is further divided into I-A and I-AA.

The NCAA's legislative structure is broken down into cabinets and committees, consisting of various representatives of its member schools. These may be broken down further into sub-committees. Legislation is then passed on to the Management Council, which oversees all the cabinets and committees, and also includes representatives from the schools, such as athletic directors and faculty advisors. Management Council legislation goes on to the Board of Directors, which consists of school presidents, for final approval.

The NCAA staff itself provides support, acting as guides, liaison, research and public and media relations. The current NCAA president is Myles Brand, former school president of Indiana University.

Sports sanctioned by the NCAA include basketball, baseball (men), softball (women), football (men), cross country, field hockey (women), bowling (women), golf, fencing (coeducational), lacrosse, soccer, gymnastics, rowing (women's), volleyball, ice hockey, water polo, rifle (coeducational), tennis, skiing, track & field, swimming & diving, and wrestling (men's).

The NCAA is not the only collegiate athletic organization in the United States. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is another collegiate athletic organization.

College World Series

The College World Series is the tournament which determines the NCAA Division I collegiate baseball champion. It takes place in June of each year. Since 1950, the tournament has been held at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska; previous tournaments were held in Kalamazoo, Michigan (1947-48) and Wichita, Kansas (1949). The name is derived from that of the Major League Baseball World Series championship.

The 2005 College World Series took place June 17-23 with championship games June 25-6. Participating teams included Arizona State, Baylor, Florida, Nebraska, Oregon State, Tennessee, Texas, and Tulane.

The 8-team tournament concludes the NCAA baseball tournament. When the tournament had 48 teams, there were 8 six-team regionals, with the winners advancing to the College World Series. With the tournament's current size of 64 teams, adopted in 1999, there are 16 four-team double-elimination regionals. Regional winners advance to 8 head-to-head best-of-three super regionals, and super regional winners advance to the College World Series.

Until the late 1980s, the College World Series was a pure double-elimination event. The format was changed later to have the final two teams with fewer than two losses play in a single championship game; still later, the tournament was divided into two double-elimination brackets, with the survivors of each bracket playing in a single championship game. The single-game championship was made for broadcast television, with the final game traditionally on CBS. But in 2003, the tournament was shifted entirely to ESPN and the championship final became a best-of-three series between the last two remaining teams. In the results shown here, Score indicates the score of the championship game(s) only.

The Division II tournament has been held in Montgomery, Alabama since 1985. The Division III tournament has been held in Appleton, Wisconsin since 2000.

Division I Men's Basketball

As of the 2005-06 season, there are currently 334 colleges and universities fielding Division I Men's Basketball teams. 49 states boast at least one Division I Men's Basketball program; only Alaska has none. (North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University joined Division I this season, becoming the first schools from their respective states to play at the D1 level.)

Division I

Year Champion Coach Score Runner-up Most Outstanding Player
1947 Cal Clint Evans 8-7 Yale
1948 USC Sam Barry 9-2 Yale
1949 Texas Bibb Falk 10-3 Wake Forest Charles Teague, Wake Forest
1950 Texas Bibb Falk 3-0 Washington State Ray VanCleef, Rutgers
1951 Oklahoma Jack Baer 3-2 Tennessee Sidney Hatfield, Tennessee
1952 Holy Cross Jack Barry 8-4 Missouri James O'Neill, Holy Cross
1953 Michigan Ray Fisher 7-5 Texas J.L. Smith, Texas
1954 Missouri Hi Simmons 4-1 Rollins Tom Yewcic, Michigan State
1955 Wake Forest Taylor Sanford 7-6 Western Michigan Tom Borland, Oklahoma State
1956 Minnesota Dick Siebert 12-1 Arizona Jerry Thomas, Minnesota
1957 Cal George Wolfman 1-0 Penn State Cal Emery, Penn State
1958 USC Rod Dedeaux 8-7 Missouri Bill Thom, USC
1959 Oklahoma State Toby Greene 5-3 Arizona Jim Dobson, Oklahoma State
1960 Minnesota Dick Siebert 2-1 USC John Erickson, Minnesota
1961 USC Rod Dedeaux 1-0 Oklahoma State Littleton Fowler, Oklahoma State
1962 Michigan Don Lund 5-4 Santa Clara Bob Garibaldi, Santa Clara
1963 USC Rod Dedeaux 5-2 Arizona Bud Hollowell, USC
1964 Minnesota Dick Siebert 5-1 Missouri Joe Ferris, Maine
1965 Arizona State Bobby Winkles 2-1 Ohio State Sal Bando, Arizona State
1966 Ohio State Marty Karow 8-2 Oklahoma State Steve Arlin, Ohio State
1967 Arizona State Bobby Winkles 11-2 Houston Ron Davini, Arizona State
1968 USC Rod Dedeaux 4-3 Southern Illinois Bill Seinsoth, USC
1969 Arizona State Bobby Winkles 10-1 Tulsa
1970 USC Rod Dedeaux 2-1 Florida State Gene Ammann, Florida State
1971 USC Rod Dedeaux 7-2 Southern Illinois Jerry Tabb, Tulsa
1972 USC Rod Dedeaux 1-0 Arizona State Russ McQueen, USC
1973 USC Rod Dedeaux 4-3 Arizona State Dave Winfield, Minnesota
1974 USC Rod Dedeaux 7-3 Miami (Fla.) George Milke, USC
1975 Texas Cliff Gustafson 5-1 South Carolina Mickey Reichenbach, Texas
1976 Arizona Jerry Kindall 7-1 Eastern Michigan Steve Powers, Arizona
1977 Arizona State Jim Brock 2-1 South Carolina Bob Horner, Arizona State
1978 USC Rod Dedeaux 10-3 Arizona State Rod Boxberger, USC
1979 Cal State-Fullerton Augie Garrido 2-1 Arkansas Tony Hudson, CS-Fullerton
1980 Arizona Jerry Kindall 5-3 Hawaii Terry Francona, Arizona
1981 Arizona State Jim Brock 7-4 Oklahoma State Stan Holmes, Arizona State
1982 Miami (Fla.) Ron Fraser 9-3 Wichita State Dan Smith, Miami (Fla.)
1983 Texas Cliff Gustafson 4-3 Alabama Calvin Schiraldi, Texas
1984 Cal State-Fullerton Augie Garrido 3-1 Texas John Fishel, CS-Fullerton
1985 Miami (Fla.) Ron Fraser 10-6 Texas Greg Ellena, Miami (Fla.)
1986 Arizona Jerry Kindall 10-2 Florida State Mike Senne, Arizona
1987 Stanford Mark Marquess 9-5 Oklahoma State Paul Carey, Stanford
1988 Stanford Mark Marquess 9-4 Arizona State Lee Plemel, Stanford
1989 Wichita State Gene Stephenson 5-3 Texas Greg Brummett, Wichita State
1990 Georgia Steve Webber 2-1 Oklahoma State Mike Rebhan, Georgia
1991 LSU Skip Bertman 6-3 Wichita State Gary Hymel, LSU
1992 Pepperdine Andy Lopez 3-2 Cal State-Fullerton Phil Nevin, CS-Fullerton
1993 LSU Skip Bertman 8-0 Wichita State Todd Walker, LSU
1994 Oklahoma Larry Cochell 13-5 Georgia Tech Chip Glass, Oklahoma
1995 Cal State-Fullerton Augie Garrido 11-5 USC Mark Kotsay, CS-Fullerton
1996 LSU Skip Bertman 9-8 Miami (Fla.) Pat Burrell, Miami (Fla.)
1997 LSU Skip Bertman 13-6 Alabama Brandon Larson, LSU
1998 USC Mike Gillespie 21-14 Arizona State Wes Rachels, USC
1999 Miami (Fla.) Jim Morris 6-5 Florida State Marshall McDougall, Florida State
2000 LSU Skip Bertman 6-5 Stanford Trey Hodges, LSU
2001 Miami (Fla.) Jim Morris 12-1 Stanford Charlton Jimerson, Miami (Fla.)
2002 Texas Augie Garrido 12-6 Houston Street, Texas  
2003 Rice Wayne Graham 4-3 (10 inn.),
3-8, 14-2
Stanford John Hudgins, Stanford
2004 Cal State-Fullerton George Horton 6-4, 3-2 Texas Jason Windsor, CS-Fullerton
2005 Texas Augie Garrido 4-2, 6-2 Florida David Maroul, Texas

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