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How long has it been since Yale played in the NCAA tourney? A really, really long time

3/14/2015

One of the sport's longest NCAA tournament droughts will live on at least one year longer.

A week after a last-second shot by Dartmouth denied Yale a long-awaited trip to the NCAA tournament, the Bulldogs failed in their second shot at it -- a heartbreaking 53-51 loss to archrival Harvard in Saturday's thrilling Ivy League playoff game at the Palestra in Philadelphia.

Just how long has it been since Yale went dancing?

A HARVARD MAN WAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE

John F. Kennedy was the president when Yale last played in the NCAAs. A few months after the tourney, he actually delivered the commencement address at his alma mater's rival, jokingly referring to Yale as the "daughter of Harvard" during the speech and talking about how he had the best of both worlds, a "Harvard education and a Yale degree." Later that year, the laughs were not plentiful as the president found himself in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

By the way, Yale has produced four presidents since the school's last tourney appearance: Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

YALE: THEN AND NOW

Sam Waterston -- perhaps you know him from the "Law & Order" re-run that was just on your TV -- was a 1962 graduate of Yale. He and his fellow students paid a grand total of $2,550 in tuition that school year. The current Yalies? That tuition comes out to a cool $44,800.

IN NON-IVY LEAGUE NEWS ...

In the spring of '62, the new smash hit on television was "The Beverly Hillbillies." And in a small town in northwest Arkansas, Sam Walton opened his first Wal-Mart.

STATE OF OHIO RULED THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL WORLD

Behind Final Four MOP Paul Hogue, Cincinnati beat Ohio State for the second straight year in the national championship game, defeating Buckeyes All-Americans Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek. That made it three straight titles for the state, after OSU won the 1960 championship. By the way, the Wake Forest team that defeated Yale in that '62 tourney managed to make it to the Final Four, where it lost to Ohio State but beat UCLA in the third-place game. The most famous player on that Demon Deacons roster? Billy Packer.

THE START OF A LEGEND

Speaking of Buckeyes, a 21-year-old Jack Nicklaus made his professional golf debut early in 1962, just as Yale was making its run to an Ivy League title. He came in 50th that weekend at the Los Angeles Open, netting him a check for $33.33. Yes, 33 dollars and 33 cents. He went on to win a record 18 majors.

WHEN WILL HANDSOME DAN JOIN THE CLUB?

Since 1962, 11 other programs with the name Bulldogs have made the NCAA tournament, combining for 74 tournament appearances and 68 wins. Gonzaga and Butler lead the way in both categories. Butler actually made the tourney for the first time in 1962. Like Yale, the Indianapolis school had a long drought after that -- not making it back to the Big Dance until 35 years later in 1997. The program has been rolling lately, though, and this season will mark Butler’s 12th NCAA trip since that '62 appearance.

But for Yale and its mascot, Handsome Dan, the wait will have to continue.