The Abilene Christian Wildcats clinched a miracle victory over the Texas Longhorns in the first round of the NCAA tournament. They didn’t shoot well and lost one with seconds left in the game, but two late free throws from Joe Pleasant helped Abilene Christian to the upset victory.
The upheaval was also historic for Abilene Christian, marking the first NCAA tournament victory in the program’s history. Now the team will be looking to win a second against another Power Five program, UCLA, to make it to Sweet 16.
It’s been over two decades since a 14 seed arrived at Sweet 16, and it has only happened a few times. So the Wildcats have made their mark in the history books before, and here’s how they stack up against the previous 14 seeds to win games, including opponents, margin of victory, key players and more.
The last time a 14 seed did the Sweet 16
Only two seeded 14s made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, and it’s been quite a while since that happened. Chattanooga was the last team to accomplish this and did so in 1996. They beat a few ranked teams, Georgia and Illinois, in the first two rounds of the tournament before falling to Providence Friars 71-65 in the Sweet 16.
Cleveland State is the only other 14 seed to make the Sweet 16. They did so in 1986, just the second year the tournament had more than 64 teams, and beat Indiana and Saint Joseph to make it to the Sweet. 16. They finally suffered. a one-point loss against the Navy which kicked them out of the tournament.
Abilene Christian can join those two programs if they can knock out UCLA, which has already won two games in the NCAA tournament after defeating Michigan State in the top four and BYU in the round of 16.
How many 14 seeds have arrived at Sweet 16?
- Opponents: Georgia 3 seeds, Illinois 6 seeds, Providence 10 seeds
- Margin of victory: 7.5 points per game
The Mocs won the Southern Conference and posted a 20-9 regular season record. They faced Tubby Smith’s Georgia Bulldogs in the first round of the tournament and managed to secure a 3-point victory over the nation’s 17th-ranked team. The Mocs followed with a 12-point victory over Illinois Fighting Illini, which was the nation’s 19th team. It looked like the Mocs might have a shot at making the top eight with a clash against the 10 seeded brothers set in the Sweet 16, but the Providence team led by Pete Gillan took a 71 win. -65 to change to a double. seed figure.
- Johnny Taylor: 17.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.3 apg
- Willie Young: 15.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.7 apg, 0.407 3 point percentage
- Chris Mims: 12 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, .520 field goal percentage
- Marquise Necklace: 8.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.0 apg,
Taylor was the leader of the Mocs, and it showed during the NCAA tournament. The So-Con Player of the Year for 1997 scored 17.7 points per game and played the second most minutes for Chattanooga behind only Young, who was scorching behind the arc as a member of a team. who didn’t take a lot of 3-point shots. Taylor was a first-round pick for the Orlando Magic in 1997 and played four years in the NBA before enjoying a successful career abroad. Young played entirely abroad. The two have since embarked on coaching.
Cleveland State (1986)
- Opponents: Indiana 3 seeds, Saint Joseph’s 6 seeds, 7 seeds Navy
- Margin of victory: Five points per game
The Vikings were 27-3 in the regular season and 13-1 in conference for the Association of Midcontinent Universities (AMCU). They had two out-of-conference losses to No. 2-ranked Ohio State and Michigan. After winning the AMCU tournament, Cleveland State was put into a battle with the No. 3 seed Indiana. and emerged with an 83-79 win over club Bob Knight. From there they stayed warm and beat the 6 seeded Saint Joseph’s Hawks by six points. Ultimately, their luck ran out against the Navy’s 7th seed, which was led by “The Admiral” David Robinson, but they made it a part. Navy scored a one-point victory to send the Vikings home.
- Clinton Ramsey: 17.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.3 spg
- McFadden Mouse: 16 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.0 spg
- Clinton Smith: 14.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, 2.3 spg
- Eric Mudd: 10.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.7 spg
The Vikings were a high scoring group and averaged 76 points per game during the NCAA tournament. They had a balanced attacking offense with four double-digit scorers, and they rebounded well. Smith was then drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the fifth round of the 1986 NBA Draft due to his efforts during the tournament.
Statistics reflect NCAA tournament numbers
How Abilene Christian compares
- Opponents: Texas 3 seeds, 11 seeds UCLA
- Margin of victory: One point per game
The Wildcats haven’t made the Sweet 16 yet but can if they can take out the UCLA Bruins. In their first game of the tournament, two clutch free throws gave Abilene Christian a one point lead with 1.2 seconds left. It was a huge upset victory for them considering that Texas only needed a save to win the game. They just couldn’t get it.
- Joe Pleasant: 11.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.0 spg
- Coryon Mason: 11.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg
- Clay Gayman: 9.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 3.0 apg.
- Reggie Miller: 7.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg
The Wildcats struggled heavily offensively against the Longhorns, but they managed to secure the victory over Texas thanks to Pleasant and Mason pulling in some timely shots, including Pleasant’s two free throws with 1.2 seconds left. Against the Bruins, they’ll need Kolton Kohl, who led the team in the regular season with 12.0 points per game, to step up and score more in an easier game for him.