A pretty good decade

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As the final buzzer sounded Monday night, a funny thing floated through my mind.

No, it had nothing to do with filing; I’d done that at the under-four timeout. That’s the blessing of a blowout – deadline is a much less scary thing.

Instead, I thought about Gary Williams‘ insistence it has been “a pretty good decade” for Maryland’s basketball program.

Now, trying to quantify that is both challenging and has been attempted before. But since all the data needed to support or refute Williams’ claim is in, it’s worth tossing it out for all to see.

But first, the ground rules – namely who to include. Anyone who made a Final Four seemed like fair game, and I tossed in two schools who are probably the best in the last decade without a Final Four (Pittsburgh and Xavier). Also included for local interest is George Washington.

Next, the scoring system. This wasn’t easy to come up, but the reality is that tournament success counts for a lot. And if we’ve already come up with a selective list, well, then things should tilt toward long postseason runs.

Here was the subjective system I cobbled together:

25 points: National champ
15 points: Runner-up
10 points: Final Four
7 points: Regional runner-up
4 points: Regional semifinalist
2 points: Round of 32 appearance
1 point: NCAA appearance
-1 point: NCAA miss
-3 points: Head coaching ouster

That last one is simply a matter of reflecting stability and continuity within a program. Mike Davis leaving Indiana counts as an ouster; Denny Crum leaving Louisville could be but isn’t.

Only one of the Suttons leaving Oklahoma State is counted against the folks in Stillwater. And, yes, Bobby Cremins left Georgia Tech under pressure just a little more than nine years ago. Seems like longer.

Anyway, the big winner of the decade is … North Carolina, which weathered a firing and two missed tournaments to edge out Kansas, Michigan State and (to a lesser extent) Florida. If the Gators could have turned those two NIT trips into second-round appearances (or avoided a few early ousters before their championship runs), they’d be on top.

Instead, Carolina exploited the 50 points it was spotted in this exercise to finish in first. If a title was worth only 20 points, it should be pointed out Kansas and Michigan State would have tied for the lead.

As for Maryland, it tied for eighth with Arizona with 44 points. That trailed only fellow champs North Carolina (78 points), Kansas (76), Michigan State (76), Florida (71), Duke (62) and Connecticut (56), plus UCLA (45). Of the schools with titles, only Syracuse (38) had a lower total.

So a pretty good decade for Maryland? The numbers would say so. But when Williams says he would put the Terps’ record up against anyone’s, he might be wise to add “who hasn’t won a championship.”

Onto the rundown:

78: North Carolina (2 titles, 2 semifinal, 1 regional final, 3 second rounds, 2 missed tournaments, 1 ouster)

76: Kansas (1 title, 1 runner-up, 1 semifinal, 2 regional finals, 2 regional semifinals, 1 second round, 1 first round)
76: Michigan State (1 title, 1 runner-up, 2 semifinals, 1 regional final, 1 regional semifinal, 1 second round, 3 first rounds)

71: Florida (2 titles, 1 runner-up, 3 second rounds, 2 first rounds, 2 missed tournaments)

62: Duke (1 title, 1 semifinal, 6 regional semifinals, 1 second round, 1 first round)

56: Connecticut (1 title, 1 semifinal, 2 regional finals, 1 regional semifinal, 2 second rounds, 1 first round, 2 misses)

45: UCLA (1 runner-up, 2 semifinals, 3 regional semifinals, 2 second rounds, 1 first round, 2 missed tournaments, 1 ouster)

44: Arizona (1 runner-up, 2 regional finals, 2 regional semifinals, 2 second rounds, 3 first rounds)
44: Maryland (1 title, 1 semifinal, 1 regional semifinal, 4 second rounds, 3 missed tournaments)

40: Texas (1 semifinal, 2 regional finals, 2 regional semifinals, 3 second rounds, 2 first rounds)

38: Syracuse (1 title, 3 regional semifinals, 1 second round, 2 first rounds, 3 missed tournaments)

37: Illinois (1 runner-up, 1 regional final, 2 regional semifinals, 3 second rounds, 2 first rounds, 1 missed tournament)

35: Wisconsin (1 semifinal, 1 regional final, 2 regional semifinals, 4 second rounds, 2 first rounds)

32: Memphis (1 runner-up, 2 regional finals, 1 regional semifinal, 1 second round, 1 first round, 4 missed tournaments)

30: Oklahoma (1 semifinal, 2 regional finals, 3 second rounds, 2 first rounds, 2 missed tournaments)

27: Louisville (1 semifinal, 2 regional finals, 2 second rounds, 2 first rounds, 3 missed tournaments)

26: Pittsburgh (1 regional final, 4 regional semifinals, 2 second rounds, 1 first round, 2 missed tournaments)

23: Xavier (2 regional finals, 1 regional semifinal, 2 second rounds, 3 first rounds, 2 missed tournaments)

21: Oklahoma State (1 semifinal, 1 regional final, 1 regional semifinal, 2 second rounds, 2 first rounds, 3 missed tournaments, 1 ouster)

18: Villanova (1 semifinal, 1 regional final, 2 regional semifinals, 1 first round, 5 missed tournaments, 1 ouster)

16: Ohio State (1 runner-up, 3 second rounds, 2 first rounds, four missed tournaments, 1 ouster)

13: Marquette (1 semifinal, 2 second rounds, 3 first rounds, four missed tournaments)

12: Indiana (1 runner-up, 3 second rounds, 3 first rounds, 3 missed tournaments, 3 ousters)

11: Georgetown (1 semifinal, 2 regional semifinals, 1 second round, 6 missed tournaments, 1 ouster)

10: Georgia Tech (1 runner-up, 1 second round, 2 first rounds, 6 missed tournaments, 1 ouster)

10: Louisiana State (1 semifinal, 1 regional semifinal, 1 second round, 2 first rounds, 5 missed tournaments, 1 ouster)

5: George Mason (1 semifinal, 2 first rounds, 7 missed tournaments)

-3: George Washington (1 second round, 2 first rounds, 7 missed tournaments)

Patrick Stevens

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