5

Two NCAA basketball teams from the same conference could play each other 5 times in one season. This would happen if:

  1. They played each other in an early season tournament. (You can see this year's Battle 4 Atlantis tournament includes Butler and Georgetown - both from the Big East conference.)
  2. They played each other twice as part of the conference's regular season schedule.
  3. They played each other in the conference tournament.
  4. They played each other in a postseason tournament like the NCAA Tournament, NIT, CBI, or CIT.

Has this ever happened? Have two college basketball teams ever played each other 5 times in one season?

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    Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a good data source to search this - Sports Reference only goes back to 2010 on single game box scores, and searching schedules is very messy if you want to get all schools. Not sure how easy it'll be to get the full thing. – Joe Nov 21 '14 at 0:48
  • Why do you assume that teams in a conference only play twice? A small conference might play 4 games inside the conference to avoid having to find dozens of non-conference games. – Oldcat Nov 21 '14 at 1:16
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    Even a conference of 8 schools will find 14 conference games among them (which is around what most schools play - 14 to 18). Currently there aren't any conferences smaller than that. It's certainly possible that edge cases existed (where a conference was coming into or phasing out of existence, for example), but I don't think < 8 school conferences are normally in existence. – Joe Nov 21 '14 at 1:35
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    @Oldcat In fact, the most recent defunct conference (the Great West conference) had only five schools in the 2012-13 season, and yet teams played 2 conference games versus each other (so 8 total conference games). See Chicago State for example. – Joe Nov 21 '14 at 1:41
3

I found an article at RPIRatings.com that has a list of college basketball teams that have played each other 4 or more times in one season. It is not a comprehensive list, but it is still pretty impressive as it has data going back as far as 1906.

The article says:

Note that many of the teams in the following list are from the present-day Big 12 and Pac-10 conferences. Several of these teams had long travels to play games, especially before 1940, and it was common then to play a visiting team twice and then return the favor with a pair of games.

Based on their list (which includes the home, road, and neutral site records) it seems that up until the early 1970s, teams in certain conferences played each other 4 times during the conference's regular season. During that time, there were quite a few instances of 2 teams playing each other 5 or 6 times in one season, and one instance of 2 teams playing each other 7 times in one season.

But the article has a separate list of teams that have played each other at least 4 times in a season since 1975. I presume that since 1975, no conference has had their teams play each other 4 times during the regular season. Since 1975, there have been no teams that have played each other 5 times in one season.

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