College Basketball: 6 Teams That Went from NCAA Champs to Chumps in One Year
Is it even possible that the reigning NCAA Champs could be excluded from the NCAA Tournament the following year?
The answer to that is it's not only possible, but there have been six teams who had cut down the nets one year only to miss March Madness the next.
It has actually happened seven times, but we won't count the 1989 Kansas Jayhawks team who were on NCAA probation because of recruiting violations.
As we start the 2012-13 college basketball season, let's take a lightning fast look at those six ill-fated teams that went from (using the old ABC Wild World of Sports saying) "the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat."
While this college hoops oddity is not likely to repeat itself with this year's Kentucky Wildcats, my guess is the following programs didn't enter "the next year" thinking it was possible either.
Thank you to the Wikipedia NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship page for coming up with this interesting list.
1979 Kentucky Wildcats
Joe B. Hall silenced so many critics in 1978 when his 30-2 Kentucky Wildcats won it all.
But unfortunately for him, that success didn't last forever.
In fact, the very next year UK went 19-12 overall (10-8 in SEC play, finishing 6th) and got knocked out in the first round of the NIT. The NIT!
Do you think that Kentucky fans took it well? Me neither.
Not a pretty moment in Big Blue history.
1980 Michigan State Spartans
Magic Johnson (along with Larry Bird) transformed the entire college basketball universe during the 1979 NCAA Tournament.
The Michigan State Spartans didn't keep it going after Johnson's departure to the NBA.
In fact, the Spartans didn't even get invited to the NIT the next season.
Talking about falling off the mountain top.
1984 NC State Wolfpack
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NC State's Cardiac Kids 1983 title game win was one of the most miraculous moments in March Madness history.
Jimmy V's sprint around the court typified the excitement and enthusiasm that such a victory brought to the Wolfpack faithful.
The sad thing is that all of Valvano's passion couldn't help sustain their success into the '83-84 season, when the Pack slipped back, going 19-14, 4-10 in the ACC (7th place) and getting knocked out in the first round of the NIT.
1987 Louisville Cardinals
"Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison was a freshman phenom when the Cards took the title back to Derby City in 1986.
Thoughts of repeat and three-peat filled the conversation of the L'ville legion.
But reality is cruel, and the Cardinals went 18-14 and said "No, thanks" to the NIT's invitation in '87.
2008 Florida Gators
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The Florida Gators were the last D-1 team to win back-to-back NCAA championships (2006, 2007).
Billy Donovan had created hoops heaven at a football school.
But, UF came back down to earth in the '07-08 season.
With a 24-12 record (8-8 SEC), the Gators made a deep run in the NIT, falling to UMass in the semi's.
Playing at MSG is good, but I'm sure that Donovan would have preferred a different March Madness experience in '08.
2010 North Carolina Tar Heels
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Roy's Boys took care of business in Motown (2009) to give Williams his second title since returning to coach the Tar Heels.
Even President Obama picked UNC to cut down the nets.
But, things can change drastically from one year to another.
The '09-10 Tar Heels struggled (20-17; 5-11 ACC) so bad that it took a deep run in the NIT just to get them to .500 ball.