How star players fueled BYU's NCAA tournament runs (10 items)
As BYU is on the cusp of another NCAA tournament berth, we're taking a look at what made previous BYU men's basketball teams successful. Each Cougars team that went deep into the tournament had one thing in common — star power. An in-depth look into the annual BYU Basketball Almanac reveals some interesting insights about the Cougars' basketball history, especially as it relates to elusive NCAA tournament wins.
1 of 10. 1950: Quarterfinals
BYU's first entrance into the NCAA basketball tournament came in 1950, when it included only eight teams around the country. Although the Cougars lost their first game to Baylor on a last-second shot, BYU played UCLA for third place in the West Region and soundly defeated the John Wooden-led Bruins 83-62. The Cougar lineup was studded with stars like Mel Hutchins, Roland Minson and Joe Nelson. The next year, "Minny" and "Hutch" led the team to a National Invitation Tournament championship in New York City.
2 of 10. 1971: West Regional
There was a long drought before the Cougars got another NCAA tournament win under their belt. In 1971 Yugoslavian national hero Kresimir Cosic led BYU to a WAC championship as a sophomore. The team had to play Utah State in Logan in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Cougars defeated the Aggies before losing to UCLA at the West regional in Salt Lake City.
3 of 10. 1981: Elite Eight
By 1981 Frank Arnold had put together a formidable team anchored by senior Danny Ainge, junior Fred Roberts and sophomore Greg Kite. Even without the other star who had just left on a mission, Devin Durrant, the Cougars were big on the national stage. Ainge led the Cougars to three tournament wins, the most ever for a BYU team. The dramatic win over Notre Dame, with Ainge's last-second full-court drive, overshadowed the dominant 78-55 trouncing of UCLA in the previous game, where Ainge, Roberts and Kite all had great performances.
4 of 10. 1984: Second Round
With Durrant back from his mission, BYU got a tournament win in 1984 over the University of Alabama-Birmingham, but the bigger story was the discovery of Jeff Chatman in an Alabama high school tournament. Chatman not only went on to have a stellar four-year career at BYU, but his son Jordan will be a returned missionary on the squad next year with a lot of promise.
5 of 10. 1988: Second Round
The 1988 team won an NCAA tournament game but was best known for an early-season undefeated run that put the Cougars close to a No. 1 ranking in the country. The team was led by Michael Smith and Jeff Chatman (pictured) as well as budding stars Marty Haws and Andy Toolson.