Starting with his third recruiting class that arrived in 1982, there was a time Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski could have promised all but one of his next 25 incoming groups of freshmen that they would be guaranteed at least one Final Four appearance if they stayed four seasons.
It was a similar story for Kentucky and coach John Calipari. Starting with his arrival before the 2009-10 season, four of his first six seasons ended with Final Four appearances.
But in a month that has seen two of college basketball’s premier programs drop out of the Ferris Mowers Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll, those runs of success seem like a lifetime ago.
The Blue Devils are 6-5 and have work to do to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994. The Wildcats, who are 5-10, most recently didn’t make the field in 2013, one year after their lone title under Calipari. The last time both missed the tournament in the same season was 1976.