The APSU Govs will gear up for their appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament on Thursday, March 17. This will be APSU’s first appearance in the tournament since 2008 and its 7th appearance overall.
APSU’s first appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament was in 1973, “Fly” Williams’ freshman year.
The Govs progressed the farthest they have ever gone with an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen of a 25-team tournament bracket. The Govs opened the tournament with a 77-75 win over Jacksonville where Williams scored 26 points.
The year came to an end with a 106-100 overtime loss to Kentucky in which Williams laid down another 26-point performance.
Williams wasn’t the only scorer in the game. Howard Jackson had a 23-point game and Ed Childress was close behind with 22 points.
Following the tournament, the NCAA vacated APSU’s tournament run for rule violation, leaving the Govs uncredited for their sweet sixteen appearance.
APSU would go on to win only one more NCAA tournament game, a 68-67 win over Illinois in the 1987 Round of 64.
A No. 14 seeded Govs squad played the role of Cinderella, with only 17 wins against the 23-8 Fighting Illini. Daryll Bedford led APSU with 24 points.
The Govs were so outmatched that sportscaster Dick Vitale said he would stand on his head if APSU won.
The 1987 journey came to an end in the Round of 32 with a 90-87 overtime loss to the Providence Friars. Providence would go on to make the Final Four before being beaten 77-63 by Syracuse.
None of APSU’s tournament appearances since then have held the excitement of the 1987 run. The Govs made only three appearances since then, going 0-3 in all of them.
A 1996 90-79 loss against Georgia Tech was the closest the Govs have come to seeing a win again. The No. 14 seeded Govs traveled to Orlando before being bested by the Yellow Jackets.
In 2003 APSU was awarded the No. 13 seed and a game in Birmingham, Alabama, against the Louisville Cardinals. Louisville’s tournament ended in the next round being upset by the No. 12 seed, Butler.
APSU’s most recent tournament appearance came in 2008 when the No. 15 seeded Govs fell 74-54 to the Texas Longhorns in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Texas went on to lose to Memphis, the eventual runner-ups.
Looking to this year’s tournament, a No. 16 seed has never done the improbable and knocked off a No. 1 seed, especially the overall No. 1.
The closest a No. 16 seed has come to March Madness immortality was in 1989, when East Tennessee State University blew a 17-point lead and fell 72-71 to Oklahoma.
Kansas is entering the tournament holding a 30-4 record, a 14-game win streak and the Big 12 Championship. The only common opponents between APSU and Kansas are Vanderbilt and Northern Colorado.
Kansas scored a 109-72 win over Northern Colorado and a 70-63 win over Vanderbilt. APSU beat Northern Colorado 91-76 and lost to the Commodores 80-41.