Posted by Mike Lynch on February 28, 2018
With March Madness right around the corner, we're very excited to announce the latest addition to the Play Index: The NCAA Tournament Player Game Finder! This tool allows users to make custom searches through every individual box score line in NCAA Tournament history, all the way back to the inaugural tournament in 1939. This tool is powered by the most robust, complete collection of NCAA Tournament box scores available online and allows for all sorts of searches for single-game leaders, single-tournament leaders and career tournament leaders.
Here's some examples of searches you can now complete:
- Austin Carr's 61 points are the most ever in an NCAA Tournament Game
- Tom Gola's 102 rebounds in the 1954 NCAA Tournament are the most ever in a single tournament
- Bobby Hurley's 145 assists are the most in an NCAA Tournament career
- Oscar Robertson (twice) and Magic Johnson are the only players to record multiple triple-doubles in a single NCAA Tournament
- Elvin Hayes had a record 12 career NCAA Tournament double-doubles
- Tayshaun Prince's explosion against Tulsa in 2002 is the best Game Score in our NCAA Tournament database
- Roburt Sallie's 35 points off the bench in 2009 is the most points by a reserve since 1998
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 154 career points at the Final Four are the most all-time
A few important things to note about the data. Our coverage of player positions is complete back to 2011 and mostly complete back to 1993, but we do have this data for many earlier players, as well. We have full starter/reserve information back to 1998. A full breakdown of our statistical coverage for these games be seen here. We have full statistical coverage of all box score categories back to 1989. Before 1989, you'll notice our coverage of offensive/defensive rebounds drops down to 93% of player games in 1988 (but we still have total rebounds). If you discount the offensive/defensive rebound breakdown, we have full coverage of all box score stats back to 1985 (since pre-1987 the 3-pt shot didn't exist in college basketball). In fact, the coverage is very close to complete all the way back to 1974, when N.C. State interrupted UCLA's string of seven straight National Championships.
If you go all the way back to the start of the tournament in 1939, you'll notice that box scores mostly had just points, FG, FT, FTA and PF. In some cases you might get FGA, as well. Our earliest rebound totals are in 1951, and we have full coverage of rebounds since 1963. Our earliest assist coverage is 1950, but our full coverage begins with 1981, when a pretty special point guard name Isiah Thomas led Indiana to the National Title. We have blocks, steals and turnovers complete back to 1985, and most of that data covered all the way back to 1974. The leaderboards you can generate with this tool for assists, blocks, steals and turnovers will be far better than the data you can find in the NCAA Record book. You won't find Hakeem Olajuwon's blocked shots anywhere in the record book, simply because the NCAA didn't deem it an official statistic until after he had entered the NBA. But we don't discriminate. Those blocks were recorded in the official box scores at the time, and so our search returns him, and not Tim Duncan, as the tournament's all-time leading shot-blocker (unfortunately, blocks were not recorded in Bill Russell's tourney boxes). Similarly, the record book ignores assist totals from before 1984, but our search does not. So we include Magic Johnson among the five players with 50+ assists in a single tournament.
We should also note that anytime you see a number underlined in the search results, it indicates that that number might be incomplete. We say it might be incomplete because it indicates that for the year or span of years relevant to the player in the search that we do not have full coverage for all players in a given statistic. If you're curious if a specific player with an underlined total has incomplete info, the best way to find out is to click on their name and visit their player page. Once there, click on the "Game Logs" tab on the nav bar above their stats table and choose their logs for one specific year or for all years. For instance, here's Abdul-Jabbar's career NCAA Tournament Game Logs. By seeing which columns are fully populated, and which have some blank cells, you can tell what is complete and what isn't. In his case, his 304 points and 201 rebounds represent complete totals, but his 7 assists represent an incomplete total.
If you happen to be reading this and have information that would allow us to fill in any missing data, or if you just have any questions or comments, please let us know.
We hope you enjoy this new addition as much as we do.