Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

March 13, 2017

Catholic Colleges in March Madness 2017!

It’s time for our regular feature on Catholic colleges that qualify for the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. (The women’s bracket will be released later this evening and the Catholic colleges in the women’s tournament will be posted tomorrow in the comment’s section below). Here are this year’s men’s qualifiers, ranked by overall seeding in the tournament.

  1. Villanova University (1 East)
  2. Gonzaga University (1 West)
  3. University of Notre Dame (5 West)
  4. Creighton University ( 6 Midwest)
  5. Saint Mary’s College ( 7 West)
  6. University of Dayton (7 South)
  7. Seton Hall University (9 South)
  8. Marquette University (10 East)
  9. Xavier University (11 West)
  10. Providence College (11 East)
  11. Iona College (14 Midwest)

The Catholic colleges represent 16 percent of the original field of 68 teams. Villanova University is the defending National Champion.

Here is some other information related to the Catholic colleges in the tournament, Catholic college history, in the tournament, basketball players from Catholic colleges, and more. Adapt this information to questions, activities, icebreakers to accompany this week’s lessons. Enjoy!

Name the religious order that founded each of the eleven schools in the tournament. (One school was not founded by a religious order. Which one? Who sponsors that college?)

Villanova (Augustinian)

Gonzaga (Jesuit)

Notre Dame (Holy Cross)

Creighton (Jesuit)

Saint Mary’s (Christian Brothers)

Dayton (Marianist)

Seton Hall (Archdiocese of Newark)

Marquette (Jesuit)

Xavier (Jesuit)

Providence (Dominican)

Iona (Christian Brothers)

Which Catholic colleges have won NCAA basketball championships?

San Francisco (2)

Villanova (2)


Holy Cross

La Salle

Loyola Chicago


Which Catholic college has the most appearances in the NCAA tournament?

Notre Dame and Villanova are tied with 36.

Which Catholic college has the most consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament?

Gonzaga has 19 consecutive tournament appearances.

Which Catholic college has the most former players currently playing in the NBA?

Villanova (5: Dante Cunningham, Randy Foye, Darrun Hilliard, Kyle Lowry, Daniel Ochefu)

Match the players on the Top 100 list of all time basketball players with the Catholic college they attended.

Bill Russell (San Francisco)

Elgin Baylor (Seattle)

George Mikan (DePaul)

Bob Cousy (Holy Cross)

Paul Arizin (La Salle)

Dwyane Wade (Marquette)

Patrick Ewing (Georgetown)

John Stockton (Gonzaga)

Steve Nash (Santa Clara)

Allen Iverson (Georgetown)

Dave DeBusschere (Detroit)

Bob Lanier (St. Bonaventure)

Alonzo Mourning (Georgetown)

Lenny Wilkens (Providence)

Adrian Dantley (Notre Dame)

Read and share an article about retired NBA player Kobe Bryant and how his Catholic faith pulled him through some darkest times in his life.

How did the song The Bells of Saint Mary’s become associated with St. Mary’s College? What does the association have to do with Bing Crosby? Read about it here.


1 Mike Amodei

March 14, 2017
Catholic Colleges in Women's NCAA Tournament 1. Notre Dame (1 Stockton) 2. Marquette (5 Stockton) 3. DePaul (7 OKC) 4. Creighton (7 Stockton) 5. Gonzaga (11 OKC) 6. Dayton (12 OKC)

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