Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Which Division I programs have never appeared in an NCAA Tournament from the get-go?

“Citadel,” more like “sit at home”
Citadel,” more like “sit at home
Photo: AP

Most teams have never won an NCAA title, either in the modern era or in old-timey cager days. That’s just a sad fact of haves and have-nots. But most teams can at least say they had a chance to win one. Even if it’s like a Dumb & Dumber “chance.” Then there are four serious have-nots out there who have never even had their ticket punched to a Big Dance since any form of it has been in place beginning in 1939. Northwestern was the last team to exit this inglourious grouping with their appearance in 2017. Here are the poor bastards they left behind who have been waiting for their number to be called for a long, loooong time:

  1. Army: Army made the Patriot League semis this season as the 4-seed, but was upset by No. 19 Loyola Maryland. They’ve played in eight NIT tourneys. Bob Knight was a coach there before moving on to Indiana lore, and one of his former players, who went on to coach the Black Knights as well, was Mike Krzyzewski. Oh, and they played in the [checks notes] CBI College Insider blah-blah-blah in 2016 and lost to NJIT. Rah. That’s about the highlight reel for Army hoops in 118 seasons.
  2. Citadel: The military school was tied with top-seeded UNC Greensboro in the Southern Conference quarters last week … but lost 80-72. Once again, we have a blahblah deal in 2009. That was, umm, their only postseason appearance. Like ever. Like ever, ever. Like they’ve been playing since 1900. This is where I say to myself “Why don’t I get to coach a college basketball team? Like I could do worse?”
  3. William & Mary: The Tribe fell to No. 2 Northeastern in the Colonial Athletic Association quarters, 63-47. W&M are 0-9 in win or no-Big-Dance conference title tilts. They lost by a point to Delaware in 2014. They’ve made three NIT tourneys. It’s … not exactly a “storied” history here.
  4. St. Francis of Brooklyn: Founded in 1896, St. Francis (BK) is the oldest hoops program in New York City and that means they have sucked the longest. The Terriers this season were left out of the four-team NEC tourney, won by the last team in, Mount St. Mary’s. Three times in their history they’ve been one win away … the worst of which has to be 2001, when they led by 20 with 14 minutes to play before blowing it to Monmouth, 67-74. Oh, the humanity.

And the schneid continues for all four.

Deputy Editor, Deadspin. Author, "One Lucky Fan: From Bleachers to Box Seats, Chasing the Ultimate Sports Dream to Visit All 123 MLB, NBA, NFL & NHL Teams." Earthwalker.