Since 1979, the NCAA Tournament has been dominated by teams east of the Mississippi. Two or three All-Quarter-Century All-East teams could match up with the All-West team we cobbled together. Is this East Coast bias? No. East Coast population, more like it. The simple fact is, there are more schools, and more good, established conferences in the East. Which means over the long run (say, 25 years or so), the East would dominate based on that alone.
To be crystal clear: East is east of the Mississippi. West is on the other side.
|Jeff Merron chatted with fans about his All-East and All-West squads earlier on Monday.|
This is about play during the tournament. Not before. Not in the NBA. Tournament play only.
Which means that Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, who have been named to All-Time All-Tourney teams (or All-Decade squads), based on incredibly great play in one tournament (Bird and Johnson in 1979, Jordan in 1982), didn't make the cut. But the consideration here is excellence in more than one tourney. Now, if any of these guys played in the West ...
Why 1979? It was the year March went Mad. It was the year that Magic and Larry matched up, the year ESPN debuted, and the year the Madness expanded to 40 teams. A good starting point.
CENTER: Patrick Ewing, Georgetown
Ewing made the All-Tournament team three times in 1982, 1984 and 1985 and was named the Most Outstanding Player in 1984, when he led the Hoyas to a national championship. In three of the four years Ewing played for Georgetown, his team made the Final Four.
The Hoyas went 15-3 in the tourney during Ewing's tenure. He averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds per game, while shooting 58 percent from the floor.
Check out some of Page 2's previous lists related to the NCAA Tournament:
Laettner's name is all over the official tournament record book. Let's see ... most points (407); most free throws made (142, 52 more than runner-up Oscar Robertson); and he's among the top five or six in rebounds, steals and several other categories. It should be noted that no other player has appeared in as many tournament games as Laettner (23), which helps boost his numbers.
Laettner was named to the All-Tournament team twice, and was named the Most Outstanding Player in 1991.
FORWARD: Glen Rice, Michigan
Rice, a swingman, led Michigan to a national championship over Seton Hall in 1989, and was named the Most Outstanding Player of that tournament. In 13 tourney games he averaged 23.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He also set some notable single-tourney records in 1989: most points (184), most field goals (75), and most 3-pointers (27), which factored into his choice as one of our All-East forwards. Over his career, he made 56.5 percent of his 3-point shots bested only by four players, who all took far fewer shots from beyond the arc.
GUARD: Bobby Hurley, Duke
In 1991, 1992 and 1993, Hurley was the tournament's assist leader, the only player since 1984 (when records were first kept) to achieve that feat more than once. He also holds the record for 3-point field goals (42) and the all-time record for assists (145). The six-footer co-starred with Laettner on Duke's back-to-back title teams of 1991 and 1992, averaging 12 points and 7.3 assists per game.
Hurley was named to the All-Tournament team twice, and was named the Most Outstanding Player in 1992.