Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



The Colonial Athletic Association: The NCAA Tournament’s Giant Slayer 1

Posted on March 06, 2010 by Dean Hybl
The 1991 NCAA Tournament win by Richmond over Syracuse marked the first time a 15 seed had ever defeated a number two seed.

The 1991 NCAA Tournament win by Richmond over Syracuse marked the first time a 15 seed had ever defeated a number two seed.

When the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament begins later this month there will be lots of talk about Cinderella’s and which previously unknown teams from obscure conferences will shatter the Final Four dreams of schools from top-tier leagues.

For more than a quarter century, schools from one mid-level conference have set the standard for crashing the dance during March Madness.

Based in the mid-Atlantic region of the East Coast, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) has created an impressive resume of NCAA Tournament upsets.

Even before the league officially formed in 1985, some of its original members were harassing the “big boys” during the NCAA Tournament.

Between 1981 and 1983, James Madison University (as a member of the CAA predecessor the ECAC South), made three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and each season knocked off a big conference opponent. Their victims were all marquee programs in West Virginia, Ohio State and Georgetown.

JMU also nearly pulled off what would have gone down as one of the biggest upsets in tournament history as they gave eventual National Champion North Carolina all they could handle during the second round of the 1982 NCAA Tournament. UNC needed a controversial charge call on JMU in the final minute to pull out a 52-50 victory.

The University of Richmond (a member of the ECAC South and then a CAA member from 1985-2001) is now known as the only team in NCAA Tournament history to win games as a 12, 13, 14 and 15 seed, however, in 1984 they were a national unknown when head coach Dick Tarrant led the Spiders into the tournament. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Follow Us Online

  • Current Poll

    Who is the Best Quarterback from the 2020 Rookie Class?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top