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Northwestern gets Their First-Ever NCAA Tournament Bid

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1) Prior to the 1974-75 season, only one team from each conference received a bid to the NCAA Tournament, and that was the conference tournament champion.

That led to situations such as 1970, when South Carolina was the #3 team in the nation, but did not get to go to the tournament because they lost to North Carolina State in the ACC tournament.

Also, in 1974, Maryland and North Carolina State were both Top-5 teams in the country, but only David Thompson's Wolfpack went to that season's tournament, because they defeated Len Elmore's Terrapins in the ACC Championship game in overtime, 103-100.


The next season, the NCAA decided to change its rules and allow at-large bids to teams that play in conferences (in addition to Independent teams, who were the only ones who previously could receive them.)


2)  Prior to the 1997-98 season, the Big Ten Conference did not hold a conference tournament ...... hence, the regular-season champion got the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. This made it harder for bubble teams to either add important wins and/or get an automatic bid outright by winning a conference tournament.



Even taking these 2 major factors into consideration, it still is pretty amazing that Northwestern is only now, at long last, finally making their first-ever trip to the Big Dance.



The Wildcats did win the national championship in 1931 with a record of 16-1, 8 years prior to the berth of the NCAA Tournament.

They also won the Big Ten championship in 1933, 6 years prior to the berth of the NCAA Tournament.



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