This Orlando Sentinel article reports that through the results of their research, “…the odds of a team cutting down the Final Four nets aren’t good if that team is stocked with many white guys”. The paper looked at programs that have gone to the Final Four twice since 1997 (and SEC teams from the same time period).
Recruiting numbers spell it out in black and white: Since the 2000 tournament, 34 of 40 Final Four teams played consistently with no more than one white starter during that particular year. The 2003 Syracuse team, with white starters Gerry McNamara and Craig Forth, was the only one to win a championship.
The last championship team to rely on at least three white starters was Duke in 1991, its first of back-to-back championships thanks to Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner and Billy McCaffrey, who started most of that season.
This article seemingly draws its conclusion of teams with white guys having “bad odds” of getting to the Final Four from color-limited evidence. For example, take this write-up about Billy Donovan’s Gators squad:
Donovan’s ascension into coaching royalty began with white cornerstones. He had a top-scorer in Mike Miller, talented point guards Teddy Dupay and Brett Nelson and a good shooter off the bench in Matt Bonner. That group, coupled with a collection of black players including Udonis Haslem and Donnell Harvey, guided Florida to a Final Four in 2000.
Signing white players in bulk hasn’t exactly strengthened Florida lately. The Gators started three white players on the way to this year’s National Invitation Tournament.
Florida and Ohio State played in the 2007 championship game with one white starter between them, Florida’s Lee Humphrey. Black players Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Taurean Green comprised the best nucleus of Donovan’s career and won back-to-back NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007.
Honestly, the reasons why Florida has went to the NIT the last two years in a row has been because 1) Marreese Speights left quickly, leaving the Florida front-court very thin and 2) the entire team outside of Butt-Head has grossly underperformed. You might want to throw in some gripes about coaching and recruiting choices, as Gatorpilot of Orange and Blue Hue did in his assessment in February 15th. The Sentinel could have helped its cause by showing how the white Florida players underperformed based on their recruiting rankings. (*cough* DAN WERNER SUCKS *cough cough*) As it stands, the relation of race to Florida’s misfortunes is circumstantial at best.
Next week: The Sentinel’s research shows that white people can listen to, but can’t hear Jimi.