With just a week left before the bracket is finalized for this year’s NCAA Tournament, teams are jostling for position in conference tournaments and regular-season finales. To get into the spirit of March Madness, we have taken a look at the numbers and found 16 sweet facts to get you fired up for the NCAA Tournament:
0 – The answer to the question, “How many times has a 16-seed defeated a one-seed?” The closest we have come to seeing the ultimate Cinderella story was in 1990, when Murray State was tied with Michigan State after regulation time expired before succumbing to the Spartans 75-71 in overtime. Interestingly, just one year before two different schools — Princeton and East Tennessee State — came within a point of defeating their top-seeded opponents in the opening round, falling 50-49 to Georgetown and 72-71 against Oklahoma respectively.
4 – The most overtimes played in a single NCAA Tournament game. In 1956, Canisius survived a four-overtime game against North Carolina State, prevailing 79-78 on March 12. They would win their next contest against Dartmouth before falling to eventual champion Temple in the Elite Eight. St. Joseph’s and Utah would also play a four-overtime game in the 1961 third-place game, though the victory by the Hawks was later vacated due to a gambling scandal.
7 – The most schools from one state that have played in the Tournament in the same season. California pulled off the feat in 2002 when California, UC Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, San Diego State, USC, Stanford, and UCLA all made the field. Texas matched the record in 2010 as the Lone Star State placed Baylor, Houston, North Texas, Sam Houston State, Texas, Texas A&M, and UTEP into the bracket.
10 – The record number of national championships won by legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. If you include the Helms Athletic Foundation national title he won as an All-American guard at Purdue in 1932 (seven years before the NCAA initiated its inaugural tournament), Wooden — who passed away at age 99 in 2010 — earned more titles than he had fingers on which to put championship rings.
12 – Billions of dollars wagered on the NCAA Tournament annually. From the ubiquitous office pools (which alone account for $3 billion in gambling money spent on the tournament) to shady online and offshore betting, March Madness has American gamblers opening their wallets more than any other event besides the Super Bowl. Less than one percent of this money is spent legally through sanctioned sports books.
17 – Times a school has entered NCAA Tournament play after finishing the regular season undefeated. Only seven times — San Francisco in 1956; North Carolina in 1957; UCLA a whopping four times, in 1964, 1967 and the back-to-back championship seasons of 1972 and 1973; and the most recent, Indiana in 1976 — has that school gone on to win the last game of the season and complete undefeated national-championship seasons. Wichita State has the chance to become number 18 if they can emerge as the champion of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
21 – Teams that have reached the NCAA Tournament despite posting outright losing records in the regular season. The selection committee was obviously desperate for teams to fill out the West regional in 1955, accepting both 9-17 Oklahoma City and 7-19 Bradley into the field. The two independents were pitted against one another, and it was Bradley that would eventually go on to reach the Elite Eight before falling to Colorado. Five other Tournament teams with losing records have won their first-round matchup since 2002, but none has made it past the second round in the expanded bracket.
23 – Number of games Christian Laettner played for Duke in the NCAA Tournament, more than any other player in the event’s history. As a freshman in 1989, he was a bench player on a Blue Devils team that had reached the Final Four the year before and would do it again before losing to Seton Hall in the national semifinals. The following year, Laettner would earn a larger role and be a key contributor to the team’s run to the title game; there they lost to UNLV (see more below) in the largest blowout in championship-game history. The sting of that defeat, though, would not be replicated, as Duke won the next two NCAA titles in 1991 and 1992 as Laettner completed his college career with a record 407 points in Tournament games.
32 – Conferences that receive automatic qualifying bids to the NCAA Tournament. Other than the Ivy League, which awards its bid to the regular-season champion and does not hold a league tournament, all of the other 31 conferences will be holding tournaments over the next week to determine which of their member schools will wrap up a guaranteed spot in the bracket.
33 – Times a school has entered the NCAA Tournament with a losing record in conference play. The first time it happened was in 1960, when the USC Trojans made the oddly-organized 25-team field that year despite going 5-7 in what was then called the American Association of Western Universities (and we now know as the Pac-12). The most recent time a team has managed to make the field despite conference mediocrity was 2012, when Jim Calhoun’s Connecticut Huskies were 8-10 in Big East play but were granted the opportunity to lose in the first round anyway. The 1984 Virginia team, fresh off of losing Ralph Sampson to the NBA, were the most successful school with a losing conference mark; they would win four straight before losing in overtime in the Final Four to Houston.
46 – The lowest combined point total in a single NCAA Tournament game. In 1941, Pittsburgh and North Carolina faced off against one another in the national quarterfinals. Four decades before the shot clock would first be implemented in the college game, the Panthers and Tar Heels made a stirring case as to why one belongs in the sport. Slowing down the tempo to a molasses-oozing-in-a-January-freeze pace, Pitt would end up surviving the snoozer 26-20 before losing to eventual national champion Wisconsin in the semifinals.
61 – The most points scored by a single player in an NCAA Tournament game. Back in 1970, Notre Dame’s Austin Carr became the only player in NCAA history to put up 60 or more points in a tournament game when he lit up the Ohio Bobcats in their first-round matchup. The Fighting Irish would fall to Kentucky in the next round, but Carr still holds the record for NCAA Tournament scoring average, having put up 50 points per game in seven tournament contests:
86 – The percentage of fans that will either watch streaming games or at least check up on scores while at work. This is despite the fact that 65 percent of IT professionals say that their workplace takes measures to try to restrict employee access to streaming video content. March Madness is an insatiable disease that creeps into workplace productivity, according to a 2012 MSN survey. Eight percent of fans will call in sick to work; one out of every nine will be late to work at some point during the tournament. In the end, it adds up to between $200 million and $4 billion in lost workplace productivity.
103 – The most points scored by one team in an NCAA Championship Game. In the process, Jerry Tarkanian’s 1990 Runnin’ Rebels knocked off Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils in a 30-point blowout. The would be the first, and as of 2014 the only, team to put up over a hundred points in a championship effort.
149 – The most points scored by one team in any NCAA Tournament game. The Loyola Marymount Lions were one of the fastest-scoring teams ever to play college basketball, and they let it show when they defeated Michigan 149-115 in 1990. The 264 combined points also stands as the highest-scoring game in tournament history.
181 – The final combined points in the highest-scoring NCAA Championship Game on record. When undefeated UCLA squared off against ACC champion Duke in the 1964 final, it not only kicked off the Bruin’s decade-long run of dominance but set the record for the most points to go through the hoop in any championship game on record. UCLA would defeat the Blue Devils 98-83 to complete the undefeated championship season. The showdown was also notable for the fact that it marked the first appearance in the championship game for both schools, the commencement of success for two of the sport’s most storied programs.