- Apr 21, 2009
actually regular season conference winners were the norm to go to the basketball tourney for the majority of the conferences that had automatic bids from the 50s on (until the mid 70s when multiple bids to conferences occurred)- the two major outlier back then were the Southern conference and the ACC (which broke off from the Southern conference) the two to award their automatic bid to the conference tournament winner . in the 50 and 60s there were like 10 conferences that got automatic bids to a much smaller NCAA tournament -
back then they also had teams for all four regions and divided the country regionally making it a cake walk for years for UCLA to make final 4 having only to win the Western regional or whatever it was called
now their was an unwieldy ECAC back then that had more of a play-in tourney to have bids based upon a group selecting the best teams- VCU beat Georgetown but lost to St Bonaventure in 77-78 and fell one game short of making NCAA tournament (instead got invited to NIT and played Detroit)
basketball history back then was pretty fascinating
That Detroit team that VCU lost to in the NIT was also coached by Dick Vitale.