On This Day In Sports History: March 31

Greg Arias

Anything sports-related is a good thing right now as we all battle through life without whatever sports we enjoy watching. 

Television networks are left to rerun past sporting events, and so I was forced to watch repeats of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on Sunday night. 

Because of the shared deficiencies we are all suffering in the wake of the cancellations of all sporting events, it seemed appropriate to see what major events made history on March 31 throughout history.     

There were three NCAA  men's basketball national championship games played on this date, two involving the Kentucky Wildcats. 

March 31, 1975   

On this date, the NCAA Tournament concluded with "The Wizard of Westwood," John Wooden captured his title when his UCLA Bruins knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats under head coach Je B. Hall in a thrilling 92-85 battle inside the San Diego Sports Arena. 

The tournament and Final Four have changed a lot since then with Kentucky claiming four titles compared to the Bruins one in the 45 years since Wooden claimed his final championship.     

March 31, 1997

The Arizona Wildcats won the "Battle of the Wildcats" as they defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 84-79 for the only national championship for coach Lute Olson. 

The loss denied Kentucky, and head coach Rock Pitino back-to-back national championships, and possibly a three-peat as the Big Blue would return in 1998 to capture their seventh national championship, though under new head coach Tubby Smith who replaced Pitino when the former coach left Lexington for the NBA.   

MLB

in 1972, the Major League Baseball Players Association voted to go on strike on April 1. The strike would last 13 days. 

In 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays made their major league debuts. Arizona played the Colorado Rockies losing 9-2 and the Rays lost to the Detroit Tigers 11-6.

Since those debut seasons, the Diamondbacks claimed the only World Series title for the teams, winning the title in 2001 by defeating the New York Yankees 4-3 in a seven-game series. 

Follow Greg on Twitter @GregAriasSports and @SIVanderbilt or Facebook at Vanderbilt Commodores-Maven

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