Quirkiest Basketball Failures III

Part three of a three-part series.

Quirkiest Basketball Failures III

The 2003 NCAA tournament bracket (South Region).

March 16, 2003: The NCAA Selection Committee assigns Brigham Young University (BYU) a #12 seed in the 2003 NCAA tournament’s South Regional, accidentally putting the Mormon Church-owned school on course to play on Sunday, March 30. The mistake—considered the worst scheduling gaffe in NCAA tourney history—forces the committee to concoct a plan to switch BYU to the Midwest bracket should the Cougars advance to the Sweet 16, thereby honoring the school’s longstanding tradition of not playing athletics on Sundays. The potentially disruptive situation is averted when BYU is eliminated in the first round, losing 58-53 to Connecticut.

March 5, 2009: During an emotional senior night, University of Oklahoma center Courtney Paris guarantees that the Oklahoma women’s basketball team will win a national championship, promising that she will repay her entire four-year athletic scholarship—covering the cost of tuition, fees, room, board and books—if her team fails to finish first among 64 teams in the 2009 NCAA tournament. On April 5, Oklahoma is upset by Louisville in the national semifinal 61-59, ending Paris’ career without a national title.

February 25, 2002: Former NBA player Jayson Williams turns himself in to authorities and is charged with reckless manslaughter in the February 14 shooting death of limousine driver Costas Christofi, which took place at Williams’ New Jersey estate. Reports indicate that Williams was playfully flipping his gun when it went off and killed Christofi. In his 2000 memoir, “Loose Balls,” Williams wrote about an incident in which he nearly shot New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet.

March 9, 2009: St. Mary’s men’s basketball team starts a college basketball game behind 1-0 after incurring a technical foul when one of its players dunks during warmups, a violation of NCAA rules. The Gaels go on to lose to Gonzaga 83-58.

March 14, 1991: The Syracuse Orangemen lose to Richmond Spiders 73-69, in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, marking the first time in tournament history that a #2 seed is defeated by a #15 seed.

May 7, 1994: The Denver Nuggets become the first eighth-seeded team to win an NBA playoff series, dispatching the No. 1-seeded Seattle Supersonics with a 98-94 overtime victory. The Supersonics allowed the Nuggets to come back from a 0-2 deficit in the best-of-five series.

May 18, 2000: A 1995 Honda Civic belonging to New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy is demolished by the team plane at Westchester County (New York) airport. While taxiing to the gate, the pilot revs an engine to turn and the jet blast sends the car spinning off the tops of vehicles belonging to other Knicks personnel.

May 2, 2009: With the Boston Celtics leading the Chicago Bulls 89-83 with 5:44 remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the official scorer adds a point to Chicago’s point total—during a timeout, several hours after the field goal in question. The public address announcer explains that a first-half three-pointer by Bulls guard Ben Gordon had been incorrectly scored a two-point field goal, attributing the mistake to a “technical error.” The Celtics go on to win the game anyway, 109-99.

January 8, 1945: Arkansas State sets an NCAA record for fewest points scored in a men’s basketball game, losing 75-6 at Kentucky. Temple ties the record in 1973, losing to Tennessee by an 11-6 margin.

Quirkiest Basketball Failures I
Quirkiest Basketball Failures II

Published March 13, 2010