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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

No. 6 in The Untouchables: Austin Carr’s NCAA tournament heroics

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Austin Carr is honored at halftime of a 2008 Notre Dame game (US Presswire)

The Untouchables is a 10-part series spotlighting college basketball's most unbreakable records. Up next is No. 6: Austin Carr's career scoring average in the NCAA tournament.

To make Austin Carr wince, bring up the lone blemish in the former Notre Dame star's otherwise sterling college basketball legacy.

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It still gnaws at Carr more than four decades after his last season in South Bend that his record-setting NCAA tournament scoring exploits weren't enough to propel Notre Dame to a Final Four appearance.

Carr, an explosive 6-foot-4 shooting guard, produced five of the 12 highest-scoring games in NCAA tournament history from 1969 to 71 including a record 61-point onslaught against Ohio University his junior year. The 41.3 points he averaged in seven NCAA tournament games is a mark that likely will not be challenged for generations, yet Carr would trade all his individual accolades to have advanced past the Sweet 16 just once in his career.

"I hated the fact I didn't get to the Final Four," Carr said. "I used to have nightmares. That used to bother me a lot. It doesn't bother me as much now because it has been such a long time, but it still sticks in my craw a little bit."

Notre Dame's inability to make a deep March run prevents Carr from being mentioned in the same breath as past NCAA tournament heroes, but his numbers suggest he belongs in the conversation with the likes of Bill Walton, Danny Manning and Christian Laettner. The highest career NCAA tournament scoring average besides Carr's belongs to Princeton's Bill Bradley, who tallied 33.7 points per game from 1963 to 65.

With the pace of college basketball down, referees allowing more contact and coaches more intent on spreading the ball around, it's unlikely any modern-day player will challenge Carr's record anytime soon. No player since Carr has even averaged 30 points per game in his career in NCAA tournament play. (more...)

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