Bill & Mary Can Leave the Big Dance Wallflower Club Tonight
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It's one of sports' great trivia questions around this time of year.
Name the five original NCAA Division I teams never to make the Big Dance.
Considering the tourney has been around since the 1938-1939 season when the pre-Nike Oregon Ducks and their Tall Firs copped the hardware -- that's why silhouetted evergreens frame the post-Nike Oregon Ducks' court -- those schools share a distinction with which even the most embittered Chicago Cub fan would have to sympathize.
One of them has nobody to blame but its coach. Bobby Knight opted to showcase his 16th-ranked Army team -- including guard Mike Kryzezwski -- in the 1967-68 NIT instead.
To be fair, the NIT was still the NCAA tourney's equal back then, Madison Square Garden was closer to West Point, and John Wooden's UCLA juggernaut -- featuring Lew Alcindor -- was in the Dance's bracket.
The question in this season's CAA tourney is, did the Tribe leave it all on the court in the semi-finals? How's this for a deal-sealer with a half-second left in the second overtime:
It's a just championship pairing, too. Both the Huskies and Tribe were part of a four-way tie atop the Colonial Athletic Association's final standings. They split their season series, so it won't be a surprise to see tonight's decider go down to a buzzer beater, as well.
Underscoring that notion, Bovada has the Tribe as a 1½-point favorite. This could be the night fortune smiles and history is made at a school that's been around for 322 years.
No doubt the celebration would be epic.