1986 - Eastern Michigan reaches the NCAA Tournament for the first time

The 1985-86 Eastern Michigan Eagles men’s basketball team finished the regular season with a record of 25-5, earning them a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. The team, coached by Jim Dutcher, was led by senior forward Earl Boykins, who averaged 15.9 points per game and was named the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Player of the Year.

In the opening round of the tournament, Eastern Michigan faced the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, who had a record of 19-13. The Eagles won the game 76-56, with Boykins scoring 26 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. In the second round, Eastern Michigan faced the Duke Blue Devils, who were ranked #1 in the country and had a record of 32-2. Despite a strong effort, Eastern Michigan lost the game 78-74, ending their tournament run.

The 1985-86 season was a historic one for Eastern Michigan basketball, as the team set a school record for wins in a season and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The team’s success helped to raise the profile of the program and paved the way for future success, including two more MAC championships and two more NCAA Tournament appearances in the 1990s.