In honor of the 75th anniversary of March Madness, the NCAA released a list of the top 75 players, top 35 moments and top 25 teams from college basketball yore. Like most lists, there was some historical bias. Twenty players made the list from the 1980s, a full eight guys more than the next closest decade. The 2000s were also underrepresented with only seven players making the cut (including Shelvin Mack?) — which was less than any other complete decade besides the 1940s. There were some snubs and some who probably shouldn’t have made the cut, but the list is a good place to start.
The ACC representatives include six players from Duke, six from North Carolina (coincidence?), one from NC State, one from Virginia, one from Georgia Tech and one from Maryland. Future ACC members Syracuse (one), Notre Dame (one) and Louisville (two) also would expand the ACC haul. Duke’s selections, headlined by three members of the back-to-back national championship teams in 1991-92, spanned a decade (1984-94) except for Shane Battier. North Carolina’s representatives saw a much broader span, kicking off with Lennie Rosenbluth in 1957 and finishing up with Sean May and Tyler Hansbrough in 2005 and 2009, respectively. NC State’s David Thompson — arguably the best player in ACC history — headlined the honorees from other schools. Speaking of Thompson, his Wolfpack championship team of 1974 and Duke’s repeat championship teams were the only two teams outside of Chapel Hill to make the team list (whose only championship team to miss the cut was 2004-05). Since the list is honoring March Madness, it’s hard to get too upset about leaving off teams like Duke’s runner-up in 1998-99 or UNLV’s runner-up 1990-91 squad, but the list feels a little weak since it’s mostly populated by teams that won the national title as the undisputed best team.
We’ll have more on snubs and a ranking of the conference selections after the list has time to marinate a little bit.