The Washington State Cougars have not been much of a factor in the NCAA Tournament in their program history. The Cougars have made the tournament six times over the years with only one consecutive appearance in the 2007 and 2008 season. Their most successful tournament run occurred in 1941 which also happened to be their first tournament appearance in program history. Washington State advanced all the way to the national championship before losing to the Wisconsin Badgers in the title game.
Washington State had their biggest resurgence in the late 2000s under head coach Tony Bennett. After not making the tournament since 1994, the Cougars appeared in the 2007 NCAA Tournament as the #3 seed after being ranked as high as the number 4 during the regular season. Washington State lost in the second round to Vanderbilt, but rallied the following season to make the Big Dance as the number 4 seed. This was the first time in program history the Cougars made the tournament in back-to-back seasons. Bennett’s team had their most successful tournament run since 1941 by advancing to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to the number one seed North Carolina Tar Heels.
Washington State’s most successful tournament run occurred in 1941 in their first tournament appearance. Led by legendary head coach Jack Friel, the Cougars advanced all the way to the national championship game before losing to the Wisconsin Badgers. The Cougars lost 39-34 with 21 of those points coming from Kirk Gebert.