Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

David Briggs

For Toledo and BG, their March misfortune has company

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It is the Great Tournament Drought of Northwest Ohio, and with each passing season, you wonder if it will ever end. 

For those scoring at home, it has now been 50 years since Bowling Green State University last made the NCAA tournament and 38 seasons since Toledo punched its dance card.

Will the madness ever ... start?

Is this the year? We’ll see this week in Cleveland, where Toledo alone will carry the area’s banner in the Mid-American Conference tourney. But if it makes us feel any better, our corner of the state is not alone in its March misfortune. Here’s the latest look at where the droughts of BG and Toledo stand nationally: 

The Citadel, William & Mary, Army, and St. Francis Brooklyn

Last tourney trip: Never.

With Northwestern fresh off its first-ever trip to the dance last year, these Forgotten Four are the last of the original NCAA teams for which the slipper has never quite fit.

Dartmouth

Last trip: 1959.

These Ivy Leaguers should plan to keep their day jobs. The Big Green lost in the 1944 national championship game — a 42-40 overtime defeat to Utah — and it’s been tough sledding ever since.

Tennessee Tech

Last trip: 1963

The last time the Golden Eagles played in a postseason tournament was in 2016 in the inaugural Vegas 16, which was actually the Vegas Eight because not enough teams accepted invites and soon became the Vegas Zero after the tourney was canceled. That about sums up Tech’s hard-knock history. 

Bowling Green

Last trip: 1968

Before Bill Fitch directed the Miracle at Richfield in Cleveland, the former Falcons coach answered the last March hoops prayer in Bowling Green. The Energizer Bunny of tourney droughts in the MAC officially turned 50 on Monday.

Columbia

Last trip: 1968

On the bright side, the Lions have as many national titles as the schools from our fair state combined. (Ohio State won in 1960, Cincinnati in ‘61 and ‘62.) The Helms Foundation retroactively named Columbia the champs of 1904, 1905, and 1910.

Rice

Last trip: 1970

Too bad for Rutgers the Owls — a charter member of the old Southwest Conference — now play in the mid-major Conference USA. That leaves the Scarlet Knights, going on 27 years without a tourney trip, as the power-conference program with the longest drought. 

Duquesne

Last trip: 1977

Is new Dukes coach Keith Dambrot game to end another March famine? LeBron’s high school coach led Akron to its first tourney in 23 years in 2009, then added two more trips before skipping town after last season.

VMI

Last trip: 1977

It’s been so long for the Keydets that their last tournament win came over ... Duquesne.

Toledo

Last trip: 1980

Rockets fans will never forget the great cast that led Bob Nichols’ teams to consecutive tournaments in 1979 and ‘80. Stan Joplin. Jim Swaney. Dick Miller. Harvey Knuckles. Jay Lehman. Tim Selgo. The list goes on. Can a new set of names join them? 

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