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Never Made The Tourney Club 2016 Primer

Did you know Northwestern has never made the NCAA Tournament?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

First, a poem.

One Shining Moment

O ye of unfulfilled dreams!

Ye of springs spent at home,

Those unknowing of lustrous moments nor nets cut down.

We raise a glass to you, o luckless ones!

For there lies in the heart of the season

A chance to shed the missteps of years past.

Break loose of your chains!

For through the forests and hills echoes an altruisim:




Now let's get into it.

For years at Sippin' On Purple, our SB Nation Northwestern predecessor, our good friend Rodger Sherman would track the hapless members of an elite group: the teams that have never once been to the NCAA Tournament.

We will try to carry forward his memory here at Inside NU.

Did you know that Northwestern is one of those teams who have never made the NCAA Tournament? You might not have heard, but it's true! Northwestern is the only power conference team to never have made college basketball's premier event.

This elite group shrunk a year ago though. Two non-power conference teams made their first ever NCAA Tournaments. UC-Irvine and its large adult center Mamadou N'Diaye went dancing, as did Buffalo. Congrats to them I guess. That must be cool for them. Going to an NCAA Tournament. Neat.


There are now but five schools that have had a Division I basketball program since the inception of the tournament in 1939. Joining Northwestern are William & Mary, Army, The Citadel, and St. Francis (NY). Let's take a quick look at our oldest friends.

William & Mary

Last year, it looked like the Tribe were going to get to the big show after snagging the top seed in the Colonial. This year, despite being led by the ruthlessly efficient Omar Prewitt and his 18 points per game, William & Mary sit in 5th place in the conference and will open the Colonial tournament against 4th-seeded James Madison, who beat the Tribe in their meeting on February 27th. It'll be a tough task for William & Mary to get through favorites UNC Wilmington and Hofstra.


The Black Knights from West Point earned the 4-seed in the Patriot League. They'll be slight favorites against Colgate in round 1 before playing either top seed Bucknell or 9-seed Holy Cross (!!!!!). West Point isn't exactly knocking on the door this year either.

The Citadel

The Citadel play the fastest tempo of anyone in the nation.

They also suck.

They finished dead last in the Southern Conference and will be spending March on the couch.

St. Francis (NY)

St. Francis has a legit shot to win the NEC this year. Despite its sub-.500 record, St. Francis finished in a tie for second with two other schools. Last year the Terriers made it to the championship before falling to Robert Morris. Standing in their way is Wagner, who are head and shoulders above the rest of the conference and beat St. Francis twice already.

Okay, now here are the rest of our friends who are looking to get to the Big Dance for the first time:


America East: Hartford Hawks, Maine Black Bears, New Hampshire Wildcats, Stony Brook Seawolves, UMass Lowell River Hawks

Atlantic Sun: Kennesaw State Owls, Lipscomb Bisons, NJIT Highlanders, South Carolina Upstate Spartans, Stetson Hatters

Big Sky: North Dakota Fighting Hawks, Sacramento State Hornets

Big South: Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, High Point Panthers, Longwood Lancers, Presbyterian Blue Hose

Big Ten: Northwestern Wildcats

Big West: UC Davis Aggies, UC Riverside Highlanders

CAA: William & Mary Tribe,  Elon Phoenix

Horizon League: Northern Kentucky Norse, Youngstown State Penguins

MAAC: Quinnipiac Bobcats

MEAC: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, Savannah State Tigers, Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks

Northeast Conference: Bryant Bulldogs, St. Francis (NY) Terriers, Sacred Heart Pioneers

Ohio Valley Conference: Jacksonville State Gamecocks, SIU-Edwardsville Cougars, Tennessee-Martin SkyHawks

Patriot League: Army Black Knights

SoCon: The Citadel Bulldogs

Southland Conference: Abilene Christian Wildcats, Central Arkansas Bears, Incarnate Word Cardinals

SWAC: Grambling Tigers

Summit: Denver Pioneers, IPFW Mastodons, Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, South Dakota Coyotes, Western Illinois Leathernecks

WAC: Cal-State Bakersfield Roadrunners, Chicago State Cougars, Grand Canyon Antelopes, Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros, Utah Valley Wolverines, UMKC Kangaroos

Selection Sunday is 11 days away. So throughout the next 11 days, as sir Rodger used to do, we'll track the progress of our fellow Never Made The Tourney Club members to see which, if any, will leave us and the rest of our comrades behind. So follow along!


As of posting, there are already a handful of teams who will be remaining in the club as they have either already been knocked out of their conference tournament or did not qualify.

They are:

South Carolina Upstate
Jacksonville State
SIU Edwardsville
Western Illinois

Also, UMass Lowell and Grand Canyon will not be eligible for the NCAA Tournament as they transition into D1.

Better luck next year, y'all!