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 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: