Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon hopes the Panthers end a one-year Tourney drought.
In 2012, 30 of 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament field missed out a bid a season earlier.
The tally included eight from the six major conferences, including returns to prominence for Indiana and NC State. A quarter of the Sweet 16 -- the Hoosiers, Wolfpack, Baylor and Ohio -- was comprised of teams that a year earlier were either in consolation tournaments or missed the postseason altogether.
In 2012-13, Tournament droughts undoubtedly will end with a handful of teams capable of reaching the second weekend.
Our look at the most accomplished under-40 college football and basketball coaches
What would recent Final Fours be without Butler and VCU? And how boring would college football be without coaches like Lane Kiffin and Pat Fitzgerald.
There’s an intriguing youth movement afoot in college sports where Butler’s Brad Stevens and VCU’s Shaka Smart, both under the age of 40, have reached the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament and subsequently turn down big-time jobs to continue building their mid-major programs.
How teams and leagues graded out in conference basketball realignment
One of the unfortunate truths of the latest wave of conference realignment is the overwhelming focus on football.
As a result, basketball and other sports have been of secondary concern in some circles. In others, such as at Butler and VCU and in the Horizon, Colonial and Ohio Valley, basketball is the primary engine of revenue. Almost every league in some way has been impacted by the dominoes of realignment.
Josh Pastner learned last year that relying almost exclusively on first-year players — even first-year players oozing with talent — isn’t as simple as those who ranked Memphis in the Top 25 of most preseason polls must’ve believed. His Tigers struggled before Christmas and after Christmas, limped through the C-USA portion of their schedule and suffered embarrassing losses to SMU, Rice and East Carolina. It was bad.