19 Key 2015 NCAA Tournament Facts to Impress Your Friends
Odds are you’ve already worked the eraser on your pencil down to a nub while trying to pick your bracket. And try though you might, picking a perfect bracket will not happen. Odds are better you’ll buy a timeshare on the moon sometime in your lifetime, since chances of picking a perfect bracket are one-in-nine quintillion.
This year, Kentucky is the overwhelming favorite to cut down the nets and claim the school’s ninth championship.
While you’re stewing about which teams will put on Cinderella’s slipper and which will be bitten by the upset bug, here are some fun facts about the NCAA Tournament. They may not help you decide how to fill out your bracket, but it will help you procrastinate.
1. No 1 seed has ever lost to the 16 seed. They are a convincing 120-0 all-time.
2. When picking upsets, the only lower seed to have a winning record in their opening round game is the 9 seed over the 8, at 59-61.
3. Dating back to 1980 when the Final Four was first held in Indianapolis, the champions were Louisville (1980), Duke (1991), Arizona (1997), Michigan State (2000), Florida (2006), Duke (2010).
4. The so-called First Four games are more than just play-ins between sacrificial lambs for the next round. Ever since the First Four was introduced in 2011, a team has gone on to win another game in the tournament, highlighted by VCU reaching the Final Four in 2011.
5. 2008 is the only tournament in which all four No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four.
6. The No. 5 vs. No. 12 upset is one of the most popular to pick in brackets and for good reason, with a 12 taking down a 5 at least once in each of the last seven seasons. It’s happened 44 times since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
7. Kentucky and Marquette have met in the Big Dance more than any other two teams – a total of 10 meetings.
8. Kentucky may have the most talent in the tournament. It may also have the most history. The Wildcats have appeared in the tourney 54 times and have won 116 games. No other school has more of either.
9. There have not been multiple No. 1 seeds in the Final Four since 2009 when two teams (UConn and North Carolina) reached it.
10. Twenty-three schools from Texas have appeared in the NCAA Tournament, more than any other state. However, the only school to win the whole shebang is UTEP in 1966.
11. Only five 2 seeds have won it all since 1980.
12. Larry Brown is the hottest coach going into the postseason because he hasn’t lost an NCAA Tournament game since 1988. Of course, Brown hasn’t been to the tournament since 1988 when he led Kansas to the national title. His 27-year gap between appearances is the largest among coaches in NCAA history.
13. Looking for a breakout tournament player? He’ll have to have a great game to top Austin Carr, who owns the record for most points in a tournament game when he scored 61 for Notre Dame against Ohio back in 1970.
14. Former Duke star Christian Laettner made the NCAA Tournament his own personal playground. He owns the record for most career points with 407 in 23 games between 1989-92. That’s what going to four Final Fours will do. In this era when star players rarely make it past their freshman year, this could be a record that stands the test of time.
15. Since the field expanded in 1985, Kentucky has been a 1 seed 10 times, winning the national championship twice (1996 and 2012 when the Wildcats were also the overall top seed, as they are this year).
16. Wisconsin has never been a 1 seed prior to this season.
17. Villanova has been a 1 seed once before, in 2006. It lost in the Regional Final to eventual national champion Florida.
18. This is Duke’s 13th time as a 1-seed, second most all-time behind rival North Carolina. Three times Duke won it all as a 1-seed — 1992, 2001 and 2010.
19. Last year’s winner, UConn, failed to make the field this year, becoming the sixth team to miss the tournament a year after winning the whole enchilada.