One dozen for this half-dozen

There is no better measure of the success of a college basketball program than to note its consistency in achievement.  And achievement of inclusion into the annual postseason NCAA Tournament is not so easy to accomplish.

Just ask Arizona, whose streak of 25 successive appearances was officially snapped today.  Or Kentucky, whose streak of 17 straight appearances ended last season.  Or UCLA, North Carolina, & Indiana – blueblood programs that are making alternate plans this March as their names were not called today either.

Indeed, there are now just six schools with a current appearances streak of at least 12 seasons in the tournament and they may not be the first six that pop into your mind.

The list is as follows:

Kansas – 21
Duke – 15
Michigan State – 13
Gonzaga – 12
Texas – 12
Wisconsin – 12

Make whatever judgments you will about this list – as the first three have won national titles during their streaks and the bottom three have not – but there is no doubt in my mind, at least, that the consistency is as much a tribute to coaching as anything else.

After all, to avoid even one season out of the tournament for anywhere from 12 to 21 years can’t be done through recruiting alone.  That should be obvious with some of the aforementioned programs falling off in recent years, despite a profile that would seem to render it impossible.

So applaud teams like Kentucky and Syracuse, current #1 seeds now working on streaks of one and two seasons, respectively, but let’s not forget each of these six schools who have heard their names called by Greg Gumbel and Jim Nantz for so many seasons that their current recruits can’t remember a time when they weren’t part of March Madness.

And let the games begin.  I’ll be watching all 48 games from Thursday-Sunday this week.  Hard to believe that with all the excitement of the pairings today that we could be less than a week from whittling it down to the Sweet 16.

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~ by acm213 on March 14, 2010.

2 Responses to “One dozen for this half-dozen”

  1. Heck, the way Tom Izzo’s been coaching lately, I thought it was 13 consecutive FINAL FOUR appearances in a row, not just tourney appearances.

    Bring it on, everyone! I am ready for some madness!

  2. Great post. Pretty amazing that the Badgers have been to the dance 12 years in a row. Are you going to Vegas this weekend? I’m bummed that I can’t make it!

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