The Madness is Upon Us

March Madness

March Madness

March is finally upon us, and for basketball fans this means one thing—tournament time! The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has turned into one of the most popular sporting events in the entire country. Even those who don’t consider themselves sports fans find ways to get excited and join in the fun. This point is usually exemplified each year when the person who wins the office “bracket challenge” is the same person who thinks a home run is a form of scoring in basketball.

But try not to get discouraged when your bracket’s busted before the first day’s games are through. In fact, the odds of filling out a perfect tournament bracket are one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (one in nine-quintillion). So if you’re looking at trying to win a billion dollars in one of those astronomically far-fetched contests, you might want to invest your money into something a little more secure—like a lottery ticket. While we can’t give you the perfect bracket for this year’s tournament, we can guarantee a few things. First, most of your brackets will be busted immediately, within the first few games. So don’t get too frustrated or pull out all your hair. Second, there will be upsets. Some unheard of Cinderella school from the Midwest will knock off a perennial powerhouse to shock the nation. Finally, by the title game, we will all be tired of hearing Dick Vitale yell, “That’s awesome baby!”

As for some of the other and perhaps lesser-known facts about this sports fan’s holiday, we’ve compiled a short list of things about the tournament you may not know.

• 35 different teams have won the NCAA tournament since its inception in 1939. Oregon was the first college to do so with a 46-33 win over Ohio State in the title game. That first tournament only consisted of an eight-team bracket. Since then, UCLA has amassed the most tournament titles with 11.

• This year, Kentucky will look to become the eighth team to win the NCAA tournament with an undefeated record on the year. Only San Francisco (1956), North Carolina (1957), UCLA (1964, ’67, ’72, ’74), and Indiana (1976) have done it previously.

• Number one seeds have never lost an opening round game to a 16-seed. There has also only been one tournament in which all four number one seeds reached the Final Four (2008 Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, and Memphis).

• The lowest seed to ever win the tournament was Villanova in 1985. They were an eight-seed and beat John Thompson’s number one overall, Georgetown Bulldogs 66-64.

• The NCAA made a new requirement in 1997 that all Final Four games must be held in a domed stadium with a capacity that surpassed 40,000. In 2009, they decided to raise that minimum capacity requirement to 70,000.

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