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NCAA Tournament Appearances by State

Posted by Andrew McKillop on March 14, 2011

When Vermont beat Syracuse in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament, it was a great moment, not only because it was a huge upset, but because the state of Vermont doesn’t get a lot of sports notoriety nationally.  The upset was a moment of pride for the entire state.

When the tournament field is announced I always look to see if any teams from states we never hear from get into the tournament.   I also always look to see what states have the most teams in the tournament.  This interest in individual states participation in the tournament has inspired me to do more research on the topic.

Teams in the states of California (188), Pennsylvania (176), and North Carolina (165) have had the most appearances in the tournament since it began in 1939.  Teams from the states of Alaska, Maine, and South Dakota have never made appearances in the tournament.  Keep in mind though that the state of Alaska has never had a team participate in Division I college basketball, and Maine and South Dakota have only had one and two teams respectively compete in Division I college basketball.  Check the table/chart below for a breakdown of all-time tournament appearances by state.

Legend: App (Appearances)

State App State App
California 188 Iowa 45
Pennsylvania 176 Arizona 44
North Carolina 165 District of Columbia 42
Texas 147 Connecticut 39
Kentucky 138 Missouri 37
Ohio 137 Arkansas 35
New York 130 Georgia 34
Indiana 126 Mississippi 31
Tennessee 93 New Mexico 30
Illinois 88 Oregon 30
Utah 88 West Virginia 29
Oklahoma 80 Rhode Island 25
Virginia 75 Nevada 24
Kansas 73 Colorado 23
Michigan 67 Nebraska 22
Louisiana 65 Idaho 20
Alabama 57 Wyoming 14
Massachusetts 56 Minnesota 11
New Jersey 53 Montana 11
Wisconsin 53 New Hampshire 7
Florida 51 Delaware 5
Maryland 48 Hawaii 4
South Carolina 48 Vermont 4
Washington 48 North Dakota 1

It’s no surprise that California leads all states in tournament appearances.  The state of California does host the most Division I teams (24).  When you divide all-time tournament appearances, by the number of Division I teams each state hosted during the 2010-11 college basketball season, and it turns out that the state of Kansas has theoretically done the most with the least, in regards to tournament appearances.

Teams in the state of Kansas have made 24.3 tournament appearances per team.  Below is the complete list of tournament appearances each state has had, per active Division 1 teams within the state.

Legend: App/Tm (Appearances per Team)

State App/Tm State App/Tm
Kansas 24.3 Missouri 7.4
Kentucky 23.0 Texas 7.0
Oklahoma 20.0 Arkansas 7.0
New Mexico 15.0 Illinois 6.8
Arizona 14.7 Idaho 6.7
Utah 14.7 New Jersey 6.6
West Virginia 14.5 Alabama 6.3
Wyoming 14.0 Rhode Island 6.3
Wisconsin 13.3 New York 5.9
Indiana 12.6 Connecticut 5.6
Pennsylvania 12.6 Montana 5.5
Nevada 12.0 Louisiana 5.4
Iowa 11.3 Virginia 5.4
Minnesota 11.0 Maryland 5.3
Nebraska 11.0 Mississippi 5.2
Ohio 10.5 Georgia 4.9
District of Columbia 10.5 Colorado 4.6
Washington 9.6 South Carolina 4.0
Michigan 9.6 Hawaii 4.0
Massachusetts 9.3 Vermont 4.0
North Carolina 9.2 Florida 3.9
California 7.8 New Hampshire 3.5
Tennessee 7.8 Delaware 2.5
Oregon 7.5 North Dakota 0.5

 

The state of Kansas has also averaged the highest seed rankings (4.76).  Check out the table below for more.  It’s important to note that the NCAA started giving teams seed rankings in 1979.

State Avg Seed State Avg Seed
Kansas 4.76 New York 8.68
Arizona 5.50 New Mexico 8.89
North Carolina 6.09 Utah 8.98
Connecticut 6.21 Alabama 9.00
Oklahoma 6.36 Pennsylvania 9.08
Nevada 6.48 Tennessee 9.12
Michigan 6.92 Nebraska 9.25
District of Columbia 6.94 Texas 9.30
Minnesota 7.00 Maryland 9.45
Kentucky 7.07 Rhode Island 9.46
Oregon 7.18 Massachusetts 9.58
Indiana 7.22 Virginia 9.93
Iowa 7.37 Mississippi 10.23
Washington 7.39 Louisiana 10.64
Illinois 7.43 South Carolina 11.23
Wisconsin 7.47 New Jersey 11.43
Arkansas 7.79 Colorado 11.50
Georgia 7.94 Hawaii 11.67
Missouri 8.06 Idaho 12.00
Ohio 8.15 Delaware 14.00
West Virginia 8.18 North Dakota 14.00
Florida 8.30 Montana 14.67
California 8.35 Vermont 15.00
Wyoming 8.60

 

The state of California has had at least one team make the tournament every year since 1950.  It’s the longest streak of its kind in the nation.  On the other end the spectrum, the state of New Hampshire hasn’t had a tournament team since 1959.  In regards to this year’s tournament, for the first time since 1982, the state of Oklahoma won’t be sending a team to the dance.  Check out the table below.

Tourny Streak Years Since Tourny Drought Years Since
California 62 years 1950 New Hampshire 52 years 1959
Kentucky 48 years 1964 Hawaii 9 years 2002
New York 39 years 1973 Wyoming 9 years 2002
North Carolina 38 years 1974 Rhode Island 7 years 2004
Pennsylvania 35 years 1977 Delaware 6 years 2005

 

The state of Texas sent seven teams to the tournament in 2010, and the state of California sent seven teams to the tournament in 2002. Both were the most by any state in one single tournament.  The table below displays all instances in which states have sent five or more teams to a single tournament.

Year State Teams Year State Teams
2002 California 7 1993 Louisiana 5
2010 Texas 7 1996 California 5
1997 California 6 1996 North Carolina 5
2000 Indiana 6 1998 Michigan 5
2001 California 6 2000 New York 5
2002 North Carolina 6 2001 North Carolina 5
2008 California 6 2003 Indiana 5
1979 California 5 2003 North Carolina 5
1982 Pennsylvania 5 2004 North Carolina 5
1985 Pennsylvania 5 2005 North Carolina 5
1986 North Carolina 5 2006 North Carolina 5
1988 North Carolina 5 2007 Texas 5
1988 Pennsylvania 5 2008 Tennessee 5
1988 Texas 5 2009 Ohio 5
1989 Tennessee 5 2010 Pennsylvania 5
1991 Pennsylvania 5 2011 Pennsylvania 5
1992 North Carolina 5 2011 Virginia 5

 

The first tournament consisted of eight teams, and eight different states were represented.  Listed below is a table showing when each state first sent a team(s) to the tournament.

State Year State Year
North Carolina 1939 Missouri 1944
Ohio 1939 Maryland 1947
Oklahoma 1939 Michigan 1948
Oregon 1939 Connecticut 1949
Pennsylvania 1939 Arizona 1951
Rhode Island 1939 Montana 1951
Texas 1939 New Jersey 1952
Utah 1939 New Mexico 1952
California 1940 Idaho 1953
Colorado 1940 Louisiana 1953
Indiana 1940 Tennessee 1955
Kansas 1940 West Virginia 1955
Kentucky 1940 Florida 1960
Massachusetts 1940 Georgia 1960
Arkansas 1941 Mississippi 1963
Nebraska 1941 Virginia 1964
New Hampshire 1941 South Carolina 1971
Washington 1941 Hawaii 1972
Wisconsin 1941 Minnesota 1972
Wyoming 1941 Alabama 1975
Illinois 1942 Nevada 1975
District of Columbia 1943 Delaware 1992
New York 1943 Vermont 2003
Iowa 1944 North Dakota 2009

 

Bonus: Listed below are the cities which have had the most tournament appearances.

Legend: App (Appearances)

Team City Team State App
Philadelphia Pennsylvania 118
Los Angeles California 66
Lexington Kentucky 52
Cincinnati Ohio 47
Chapel Hill North Carolina 42
Washington District of Columbia 42
Lawrence Kansas 40
New York New York 40
Louisville Kentucky 37
Bloomington Indiana 35
Durham North Carolina 35
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 35
Syracuse New York 34
Milwaukee Wisconsin 32
South Bend Indiana 31
Chicago Illinois 30
Storrs Connecticut 30
Austin Texas 29
Champaign Illinois 29
Fayetteville Arkansas 29
Tucson Arizona 29

 

References: HoopsTournament.net NCAA Tournament Database, College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com, Wikipedia: Flags of the U.S. States, D.C. Flag

 

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