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Posts Tagged ‘Top 25 NCAA Basketball Programs In The South’

The Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Kentucky Wildcats

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on June 25, 2008

Kentucky Wildcats

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Nickname: Wildcats

Reason For Nickname: In 1909 after a football game against the University of Illinois, Commandant Carbusier mentioned that the football team fought like wildcats, giving birth to the nickname.

Colors: Blue and White

Conference: Southeastern

Arena: Rupp Arena (built 1976, capacity 23,000)

Postseason Appearances:

NCAA Appearences: 48 Appearances, 13 Final Fours, 7 National Championships

NIT Appearances: 7 Appearances, 1 Championship

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Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

The 2nd Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Duke Blue Devils

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on June 10, 2008

Duke Blue Devils

Location: Durham, North Carolina

Nickname: Blue Devils

Reason For Nickname: World War I French flying unit, the “Les Diables Bleus”

Colors: Blue and White

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference

Arena: Cameron Indoor Stadium (built 1940, capacity 9,314)

Postseason Appearances:

NCAA Appearances: 32 Appearances, 14 Final Fours, 3 National Championships

NIT Appearances: 5 Appearances

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Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

The 3rd Greatest Basketball Program In The South: North Carolina Tar Heels

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on May 23, 2008

North Carolina Tar Heels

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Nickname: Tar Heels

Reason For Nickname: North Carolina’s nickname is the “The Tar Heel State”. That should explain everything.

Colors: Carolina Blue and White

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference

Arena: Dean E. Smith Center (built 1986, capacity 21,750)

Postseason Appearances:

NCAA Appearances: 40 Appearances, 17 Final Fours, four National Championships

NIT Appearances: 5 Appearances, one championship

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Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

The 4th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Georgetown Hoyas

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on May 22, 2008

Georgetown Hoyas

Location: Washington, D.C.

Nickname: Hoyas

Reason For Nickname: It comes from some Latin chant that makes no sense to the causal sports fan.

Colors: Blue and Gray

Conference: Big East

Arena: Verizon Center (built 1998, capacity 20,173)

Postseason Appearances:

NCAA Appearances: 25, including one National Championship and five Final Fours

NIT Appearances: 10 Appearances

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The 5th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Louisville Cardinals

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on May 14, 2008

Louisville Cardinals

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Nickname: Cardinals

Reason For Nickname: The Cardinal is Kentucky’s official state bird.

Colors: Red, White, and Black

Conference: Big East

Arena: Freedom Hall (built 1956, capacity 18,865)

Postseason Appearances:

NCAA Appearances: 34 Appearances, 8 Final Fours, 2 National Championships

NIT Appearances: 14 Appearances, one Championship

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Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

The 6th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Maryland Terrapins

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on May 7, 2008

Maryland Terrapins

Location: College Park, Maryland

Nickname: Terrapins

Reason For Nickname: In 1932, then-president Curley Byrd suggested that their athletic programs be known as the Terrapins. The name has stuck ever since.

Colors: Officially – red, white, black, and gold

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference

Arena: Comcast Center (built 2002, capacity 17,950)

Postseason Appearances:

NCAA Appearances: 22 Appearances, two Final Fours, one National Championship

NIT Appearances: 7 Appearances, one Championship

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Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

The 7th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on April 25, 2008

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky

Nickname: Hilltoppers

Reason For Nickname: The location of Western Kentucky University, which is located on a hill in Bowling Green.

Colors: Red and White

Conference: Sun Belt

Arena: E.A. Diddle Arena (built 1963, capacity 14,277)

Postseason Appearances:

NCAA Tournament Appearances: 20 Appearances, one Final Four.

NIT Appearances:13 Appearances, three Final Fours

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Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

The 8th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: North Carolina State Wolfpack

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on April 23, 2008

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Nickname: Wolfpack

Reason For Nickname: In 1922, a disgruntled fan said that the student section behaved like a “wolfpack”, therefore giving the nickname to the NC State program.

Colors: Red and White

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference

Arena: RBC Center (built 1999, capacity 19, 722)

Postseason Appearances:

NCAA Tournament Appearances: 22 Appearances, three Final Fours, two National Championships

NIT Appearances: 11 Appearances

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The 9th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Arkansas Razorbacks

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on April 14, 2008

Arkansas Razorbacks

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Nickname: Razorbacks

Reason For Nickname: The Arkansas athletic teams has been called the Razorbacks since 1910 after a student pep rally led by then-football coach Hugo Bezdek, who said that the football team played like a band of “Razorback Hogs”.

Colors: Cardinal and White

Conference: Southeastern

Arena: Bud Walton Arena (built 1993, capacity 19,200)

The Pride of Arkansas: One of the south’s greatest basketball programs, the Arkansas Razorbacks have a long storied tradition of excellence. In its history the Razorbacks have gone to 28 NCAA Tournaments and five Final Fours, including a National Championship over Duke in 1994. Along with that, the Razorbacks have won 22 Southwest Conference titles in 76 years of competiton and two SEC Championships since joining in 1992.

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The 10th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on March 6, 2008

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Location: Winston Salem, North Carolina

Nickname: Demon Deacons

Reason For Nickname: In 1923, Wake Forest played what would later become Duke University in football. Because of the fighting spirit of the Wake squad, they decided to call them the Demon Deacons.

Colors: Old Gold and Black

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference

Arena: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (built 1989, capacity 14,665)

Old Gold Spirit: Wake Forest has one of the strongest basketball traditions in the South, beginning as a program in 1906. In 102 years of basketball, the Demon Deacons have gone to 20 NCAA Tournaments and six NITs. Along with those accomplishments, the Deacons have won the ACC regular-season title in 1960, 1962, 1995, and 2003 plus the ACC Tournament championship in 1961, 1962, 1995, and 1996.

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The 11th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Alabama Crimson Tide

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 28, 2008

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Alabama Crimson Tide

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Nickname: Crimson Tide

Reason For Nickname: After the 1907 Alabama-Auburn football game in Birmingham, a sports editor for a Birmingham newspaper described the Alabama football team’s play against Auburn as a “crimson tide”.

Colors: Crimson and White

Conference: Southeastern

Arena: Coleman Coliseum (built 1968, capacity 15,043)

Hoops At The Capstone: Alabama basketball began three years after the birth of Paul Bryant in 1916 and for a long time had to live in the large shadow of the football program, which has won 12 National Championships. Despite this, the basketball program for much of its history has not been short of success. Alabama has won the SEC regular-season championship in 1934, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1987, and 2002. They’ve also been crowned tournament champions in 1934, 1982, 1987, 1989, 1990, and 1991 as well as SEC West champions in 2002 and 2005.

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The 12th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Memphis Tigers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 12, 2008

Doc’s Note: Normally in this series about the 25 Greatest Basketball Programs in the South, I have the logos of the teams I write about. But because the University of Memphis won another National Championship in dance and I know some of them, I figured using this picture would give you readers something to think about when it comes to the basketball tradition in Memphis.

Matt’s Note: If it is successful, maybe the Top 12 of the 25 will be worthy of having dance team photos INSTEAD of team logos as we all know these logos for the most successful teams at the top (the Dukes, UNCs, etcetera…).

Memphis Tigers

Location: Memphis, Tennessee

Nickname: Tigers

Reason For Nickname: An old yell that started when the school was founded in 1912, it was not until 1939 when the school officially adopted the Tigers as its nickname.

Colors: Blue and Gray

Conference: Conference USA

Arena: FedEx Forum (built 2004, capacity 21,165 [for basketball])

Tiger Pride:The University of Memphis began playing basketball while it was known as West Tennessee Normal School in 1920 with Fredrick Grantham as its first head coach. Until Eugene Lambert arrived there in the 1950’s, basketball at the school was an afterthought. Memphis has appeared in 20 NCAA Tournaments, including two Final Fours in 1973 and 1985. They’ve also have one NIT Championship to their credit with one coming in 2002, Calipari’s second year at the helm.

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The 13th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: West Virginia Mountaineers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 14, 2008

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West Virginia Mountaineers

Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Nickname: Mountaineers

Reason For Nickname: The mountains of the state and the people who reside in that area.

Colors: Old Gold and Blue

Conference: Big East

Arena: WVU Coliseum (built 1970, capacity 12,000)

Country Roads And The Hardwood: West Virginia’s basketball heritage dates back to the early 1900’s. Since then the Mountaineers has been considered among the top 25 in all-time victories as well as NCAA Tournament appearances.

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The 15th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Tennessee Volunteers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 6, 2007

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Tennessee Volunteers

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

Nickname: Volunteers

Reason For Nickname: Tennessee is known worldwide as the “Volunteer State” (this all dating back to old war times).

Colors: Orange and White

Conference: Southeastern

Arena: Thompson-Boiling Arena (built 1987, capacity 24,535)

Good Ol’ Rocky Top: Tennessee has been, and will always be, known as a football school as well as a school with a strong women’s basketball program. For years, the men’s basketball program has had its share of great moments, but has been overshadowed by those two programs for much of its existence.

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The 17th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Louisiana State Tigers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 20, 2007

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Louisiana State Tigers

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Nickname: Tigers

Reason For Nickname: The nickname came from the Confederate unit that fought during the Civil War, the “Louisiana Tigers”.

Colors: Purple and Gold

Conference: Southeastern

Arena: Maravich Assembly Center (built 1972, capacity 13,472)

The Pride of the Bayou: Few programs can hold a candle to the list of colorful characters like LSU, who is among one of the winningest programs in the history of the SEC. The Tigers have been playing basketball since 1908 and has been a member of the SEC since its founding in 1933. LSU has been crowned champions of the SEC in 1935, 1953, 1954, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1991, 2000, and 2006 and also including an SEC Tournament crown in 1980.

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The 20th Greatest College Basketball In The South: Florida State Seminoles

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 29, 2007

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Florida State Seminoles

Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Nickname: Seminoles

Reason For Nickname: The Seminole tribes in the state of Florida.

Colors: Garnet and Gold

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference

Arena: Donald L. Tucker Center (built 1981, capacity 12,100)  

More Than Just Football And Bobby Bowden: One of the youngest basketball programs in the country, the Seminoles began playing basketball around the same time that the school, which until 1947 was an all-girl school, began to admit men. Despite the head start that was given by established programs like Kentucky and Duke, the Seminoles have had moderate success in basketball. The Seminoles have two conference regular-season championships in their history, one coming in 1955 as members of the Florida Intercollegiate Conference and 1991 as members of the Metro Conference.

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The 21st Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Richmond Spiders

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 16, 2007

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Richmond Spiders

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Nickname: Spiders

Reason For Nickname: In 1893, a baseball team comprised of Richmond students and city residents adopted the nickname because of the success of star pitcher Puss Ellyson, who according to news reports, had “arms like spiders”.

Arena: Robins Center (built 1972, capacity 9,105)  

Colors: Richmond Blue and Richmond Red

Conference: Atlantic 10

Richmond’s Best: The Spiders began playing basketball in 1913 and for much of their history, save for back-to-back 20-win seasons in 1952-53 and 1953-54 under the direction of coach H. Lester Hooker, was absymal when it came to basketball. It would not be until the arrival of Dick Tarrant in 1981 when the Spiders would become relevant in basketball, coaching the Spiders to their first postseason trip to the NIT in 1982. Tarrant would later coach the Spiders to some of its greatest moments in basketball, including upsets of a Charles Barkley-led Auburn squad in the 1984 NCAA Tournament and a win over #2 seed Syracuse in 1991, still considered as one of the greatest upsets in NCAA Tournament history.

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The 22nd Greatest Basketball Program In The South: UNC Charlotte 49ers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 10, 2007

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UNC Charlotte 49ers

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Nickname: 49ers

Reason For Nickname: Unlike football’s San Francisco 49ers, the Charlotte 49ers earned their nickname not because of gold rushes, but because of 1949, when the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was saved from bankruptcy and transformed into the present-day university.

Colors: Green, Gold, and Black

Conference: A-10

Arena: Dale F. Halton Arena (built 1996, capacity 9,105)  

Miner Pride: UNC Charlotte began playing basketball over 40 years ago after receiving four-year status as a university as members of the Dixie Conference, where they played from 1965 to 1970. During that time, however, the 49ers won their first title in the conference in 1969. The Niners would play as an independent until 1976 when they became members of the Sun Belt Conference and would make their first and only Final Four Appearance a year later, where they finished fourth behind UNLV, North Carolina, and eventual champion Marquette. In 1991, the Niners became members of the Metro Conference, which would later absorb into Conference USA in 1996. The Niners would remain members of Conference USA until 2005 when they joined the Atlantic 10.

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The 23rd Greatest College Basketball Program In The South: South Carolina Gamecocks

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 4, 2007

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University of South Carolina

Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Nickname: Gamecocks

Reason For Nickname: There are many variations to how the nickname “Gamecocks” came about. According to the USC athletic department, one of those reasons came from the fact that war hero Thomas Sumter (for whom Fort Sumter in Charleston is named for) was known as the “Fighting Gamecock”. Not only that, the state is known for breeding gamecocks, which would explain the origin of the nickname, which has been popular since the early 1900’s.

Colors: Garnet and Black

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Arena: Colonial Center (built 2002, capacity 18,000)  

It’s South, Not North: The Gamecocks began playing basketball in 1907 and much like the football program at South Carolina throughout its history, it also has struggled to remain constantly completive. In 1933, the Gamecocks won the Southern Conference championship which would remain the only championship of any kind until 1971 when the Gamecocks went 14-0 and won the ACC. The Gamecocks would not win another conference title until 1997, when they won the SEC regular season crown.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

The 24th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Vanderbilt Commodores

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 25, 2007

Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Nickname: Commodores

Reason for Nickname: The school was named in honor of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, which would explain the reason for the nickname Commodores. Vanderbilt died in 1877, two years after the first students enrolled at the school.

Colors: Black and Gold

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Arena: Memorial Gym (built 1952, capacity 14,168)  

Memorial Magic Indeed: Vanderbilt began playing basketball in 1901-02 and is regarded one of the winningest programs in college basketball history. In the Commodores’ history, they have won three SEC championships, winning them in 1965, 1974, and 1993 and also the 1952 SEC Tournament under coach Bob Polk. Vanderbilt has been invited to the Big Dance nine times, making their debut in 1965 and making it all the way to the Elite Eight under coach Roy Skinner and has been part of five regional semifinals in 1974 under Skinner, 1988 under C.M. Newton, 1993 under Eddie Fogler, and in 2004 and 2007 under Kevin Stallings. In addition to Vanderbilt’s trips to the Big Dance, they also have 11 NIT appearances (1983, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2006) and one championship that came in 1990, the first major men’s basketball national championship of any kind in the state of Tennessee.

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The 25th Greatest College Basketball Program In The South: Murray State Racers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 19, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the first in a series of the 25 greatest college basketball programs in the South.

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Murray State University

Location: Murray, Kentucky

Nickname: Racers (some people call the teams the Thoroughbreds)

Reason For Nickname: Kentucky has a strong horse racing tradition. That should explain everything.

Colors: Old Gold and Blue

Conference: Ohio Valley Conference

Arena: Regional Special Events Center (built 1998, capacity 8,602)

Bright Shades of Blue: The Racers have won more conference regular season championships than any other current OVC school with 20, sharing seven of them. Not only that, the Racers have won 13 conference tournament championships, the last one coming in 2006.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »