March Sadness: Three Historic NY Programs See Light at End of Tunnel

March Sadness: Three Historic NY Programs See Light at End of Tunnel
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

With March Madness fully wrapped up and the UConn Huskies crowned as champion, it was a fun month full of games for many fans to enjoy. However, there were some fanbases sitting on their couch longing for meaningful games in March.  

Utilizing CollegeBasketballReference.com, EmpireStakes.com created a point system to determine the saddest college basketball programs during March Madness since 2010. The point system awarded 1 point per NCAA Tournament appearance and 1 point for each round made (i.e. 7 points for winning a Championship to 0 points for the First Four).  

For research purposes, we cut the pool of NCAA men’s teams to Power 5 conferences, as well as the American Athletic, Big East, Atlantic 10 and Mountain West. 

The good news? Three New York teams that have been in a quagmire in recent years finally can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  

The bad news? According to rules for New York sports betting, New York-based college teams cannot be wagered on in state.

Here is what we found out:

Teams Experiencing March Sadness

Rank Schools Points
T1Air Force, Boston College, DePaul, Duquesne, East Carolina, Fordham, San Jose State, Tulane, Washington State0
T10Fresno State, Nebraska, George Washington, UMass2
T14Central Florida, George Mason, Rutgers, South Florida, Southern Methodist3
T19Boise State, Georgia, La Salle, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Rhode Island, Stanford, St. Bonaventure, St. Josephs, Wake Forest4
T29Georgia Tech, Penn State, St. Johns5

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Fordham Focuses On The Positives

The Bronx-based Fordham Rams were unfortunately among nine schools tied for first with 0 points. 

But in what should have been a postseason berth somewhere (NCAA, NIT, CBI) for the Rams this year, the expectations have scaled upward for the coming season, all due to now second-year head coach Keith Urgo. 

In his rookie season, Urgo led the Rams to an overall record of 25-8 (12-6, Atlantic 10), which tied for the second highest win total in program history behind the 26-3 record of the 1970-71 squad coached by former Notre Dame legend, Richard "Digger" Phelps. It also marked the most successful Atlantic 10 finish the school has ever had. 

Urgo collected numerous postseason awards and the foundation has been set for bigger and better things to come. 

Making the NCAA Tournament would even be extra special, with the Rams having only earned a berth four times (2-4) in school history, the last being 1992 when they lost to John Calipari's Massachusetts squad, 85-58, in the first round. The NIT: 16 appearances (5-17), last in 1991 when they advanced to the second round. 

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Must be 21+ to participate & present in NY. Gambling problem? Call (877-8-HOPENY) or text HOPENY (467369). Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

Can Bonnies Recover From Losing Season?

Another Atlantic 10 colleague, St. Bonaventure (14-18, 8-10 Atlantic 10), lost seven of its last eight games to end last season and tied with 10 other schools for T19 in our chart with four points.

This comes two seasons removed after an Atlantic 10 title and automatic NCAA berth as a ninth seed on the 2020-21 season under 15-year head coach Mark Schmidt. 

It also comes one year since Schmidt led the Bonnies to its first Associated Press (AP) Top 25 ranking (No. 16) in over 40 years in the 2021-22 season. 

The Olean, New York-based school has one of the most rabid fanbases in the country and a step back from success to mediocrity might not be tolerated as it enters into next season. This season was the first losing season under Schmidt since a 14-15 ledger in 2012-13. 

Since 2010-11, the Bonnies have made the NCAA three times, the NIT twice and the CBI once. 

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New Era at St. John's

Finally, St. John's finished with two other schools (Penn State, Georgia Tech) and tied for 29th on our chart with five points. 

St. John's (18-15, 7-13 Big East) has made the NCAA Tournament 30 times (27-32) but have dropped six of their last seven games in March Madness, including a 74-65 loss in the First Four to Arizona State in 2019, its last appearance. 

But this is all about to change. 

Immediately after his first-round NCAA Tournament exit to eventual champ Connecticut this season, former Iona head coach Rick Pitino was named the new head coach at St. John's on March 20. His career is legendary and personifies New York, having coached two National Championship teams and has taken three different schools to the Final Four. 

The immediate impact on his hire will be felt not only in New York City, but the Big East Conference and around the nation. Better get sunglasses!

And get best New York sports betting apps to be ready for next season.

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Author

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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