At long last, Yale is dancing.
One of the sport's longest NCAA tournament droughts is over, as the Bulldogs won the Ivy League regular season -- and thus the league's automatic bid -- with Saturday's 71-55 win at Columbia.
Yale will take part in the madness for the first time since 1962. Just how long ago was that?
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" and talking about how he had the best of both worlds, a "Harvard education and a Yale degree."
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. The current occupant of the White House? Barack Obama was 7 months old when the Bulldogs last played in the NCAAs.
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 $47,600.
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 Walmart.
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 the '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.
HANDSOME DAN FINALLY JOINS THE CLUB
Since 1962, 11 other programs with the name Bulldogs have made the NCAA tournament, combining for 77 tournament appearances and 72 wins. Gonzaga and Butler lead the way in both categories.
Butler actually made the tourney for the first time in 1962. Like Yale, the Indy 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 likely mark Butler's 13th NCAA trip in the past 20 years.
And for the first time in a loooong time, Yale and mascot Handsome Dan will join them there.