There are 347 NCAA Division One basketball teams and the vast majority of them will never win a national championship no matter how long the tournament is played. And the main reason is that the “Fat Cats” will always dominate the recruiting process and have the top talent.

In fact, it’s pretty simple to categorize the levels in Division One, with the Fat Cats heading everything up. Who are the Fat Cats? The current ones are Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Villanova, Ohio State, Virginia and Kansas.

These nine teams are going to get the majority of the top 10 high school talent year after year and thus will always be contenders for a national title.

Then come all the “slim cats”, the schools that are perennially good, but just a tad behind the fat cats. This group contains teams like Wisconsin, Syracuse, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Kansas State, Arizona, Gonzaga, West Virginia, Louisville, North Carolina State, Marquette, Xavier, Indiana, Maryland, Purdue, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA, Utah, BYU and New Mexico State.

Then comes the third tier, the so-called” lesser lights.” These schools are good every so often and give license to the fact that small schools can win the big cheese, if the circumstances are just right. They are Cincinnati, Memphis, Houston, Connecticut, Temple, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Saint Joseph’s, Creighton, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Nevada, Utah State, Alabama, Arkansas, and Missouri.

This list is 53, which is about 17 percent of all the Division One schools. The other 294 I’m going to lump together in the long-shot-lottery winner category. You will notice that Washington is included among this group. The Huskies have appeared in the national tournament 17 times, including this year (they play Utah State Friday) and made one Final Four, that in 1953 when Bob Houbregs was the star.

Also in this category is Princeton and Pennsylvania. Those two have made a collective 49 tournaments with each of them reaching a Final Four, Princeton in 1965 and Penn in 1979.

Farleigh Dickinson, which I consider a good debate school, is in the tournament for the sixth time. The Knights meet Prairie View today in a play-in-game, as does the darling of the tournament, Belmont, which takes on Temple.

By the way, Farleigh Dickinson is located in Teaneck, NJ.  Belmont is in Nashville, Tenn. and Prairie View is a historically black college in Prairie View, Texas. Temple, of course, is in Philadelphia.

My favorite college, the one I rooted for as a young kid, is St. Bonaventure, which missed the Big Dance when it blew a late lead and fell to St. Louis in the Atlantic-10 championship game, 55-53. A Bona senior who had not played in the conference tournament was inserted late into the game and had an open 3-shot from the corner at the buzzer that would have won the game for my Bonnies and made him an instant hero. Unfortunately, the shot rimmed out.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day

You are loved.