Welcome to the party, Baylor
LARAMIE -- Hey Baylor, better late than never.
The Bears dominated Gonzaga 86-70 Monday night in the National Championship game in Indianapolis, becoming just the second school from Texas to hoist the NCAA title trophy at season's end.
This tournament -- also known as March Madness -- has been around since 1939. In that 82-year span, just 37 teams have cut down the nets. That's pretty remarkable if you consider there are 340 Division-I basketball teams these days.
The month of March throughout history has belonged to UCLA, which has a record 11 national championships. Kentucky (8), North Carolina (6), Duke (5) and Indiana (5) have also rolled through the Big Dance.
Yes, the blue bloods and traditional powers are well represented in college basketball lore, but there have been a few champs that even today stop people in their tracks. Check out this graphic from FOX College Hoops:
See that team logo on the bottom row four in from the right? If you are a Cowboys fan, you surely know by now that, yes, Wyoming did win it all back in 1943 thanks to the man forever credited with creating the modern day jump shot, Kenny Sailors.
Everett Shelton's Cowboys knocked off Oklahoma 53-50 in the quarterfinals. Next, UW took down the Texas Longhorns, 58-54, in the Final Four. In the title game, Sailors netted 16 to help lift Wyoming over Georgetown 46-34 inside Madison Square Garden. The Hillsdale, Wyoming product was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
For good measure, two nights later, the Cowboys (31-2) took down the newly crowned NIT Champion St. John's 52-47 in overtime. Benefits from that game went to the Red Cross, but that game also served as a showcase, proving the NCAA Tournament was just as good, if not better, than its rival tourney.
Wyoming's lineup those nights in New York City consisted of 11 homegrown players from the Cowboy State, including James Collins (Laramie), Jimmy Darden (Cheyenne), Vernon Jensen (Lyman), Antone Katana (Rock Springs), Earl Ray (Casper), Jimmie Reese (Rock Springs), Lou Roney (Powell), Sailors (Hillsdale/ Laramie), Kenneth Tallman (Cheyenne), Floyd Volker (Casper) and Jim Weir (Green River).
There were just four players who weren't from Wyoming on that squad: Charles Castle (Phoenix, Ariz.), Jack Downey (Phoenix, Ariz.), Milo Komenich (Gary, Ind.) and Donald Waite (Scottsbluff, Neb.).
Yes, this tournament has produced some Cinderella stories. Most recently, we have watched teams like Chicago Loyola, Wichita State, Butler, George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth crash the party. Hey, Loyola has won a title, too. That came back in 1963.
Here are a few other surprises that have been the last team standing:
* Utah (1944)
* Holy Cross (1947)
* City College of New York (1950)
* La Salle (26-4)
* San Francisco (1955, 56)
* Loyola Chicago (1963)
* Texas Western (UTEP) (1966)
* Marquette (1977)
* UNLV (1990)
Consider some big programs that have never won a title like Illinois, Notre Dame, USC, Texas or Alabama for example.
Some teams are extremely late to the party and have never even won an NCAA Tournament game. Looking at you Nebraska.
Baylor is now a part of this exclusive fraternity. Congrats.
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