That time of year is upon us, and you’re ready.
You studied the polls, the pundits, and the RPI index (the what now?) before making your selections. Now that the office basketball brackets are filled out, you can sit back and enjoy the games upon games upon games that will fill your TV day and night for the next few weeks. You’ve got this March Madness thing down cold. Or do you? Maybe you should come off the bench to bring these NCAA tourney trivia facts down the court so you can slam dunk some knowledge at next week’s Last Call show.
So many basketball references, so little time…
The very first NCAA Tournament was held in 1939 and featured 8 teams. Until then the press had always chosen the best college team in the land. Ohio State coach Harold Olsen came up with the idea of a single elimination tourney to decide the champion, thinking it would be a more fair way of crowning a champion. His Buckeyes lost to Oregon in the finals that year, starting the hallowed tradition.
From 1939 to 1974 only the champions from each conference competed in the NCAA tournament, keeping plenty of good teams at home every year. So in 1975 the tourney included at-large bids to expand the competition to 32 teams. Through the years, more expansion has brought the current total to 68 teams fighting to reach the Final Four.
With an astounding 11 titles (including 7 in a row from 1967-1973), the UCLA Bruins have the record for most NCAA Tournament championships. The Kentucky Wildcats are second with 8, and a logjam at third place exists between North Carolina, Duke, and Indiana with five apiece.
The team with the most NCAA tourney appearances is Kentucky, with 55. They are also the program with the most tournament wins, with 120. Runner up to the Wildcats in each category are the Tarheels of UNC, with 47 appearances and 110 wins. And poor Brigham Young University has made the most appearances without a Final Four appearance, with 27.
The NCAA tournay has seen its share of upsets, but the lowest seed to ever win a title was Villanova, winning the championship in 1985 as an 8 seed. The lowest seed to make the Final Four is an 11 seed, with three teams sharing the honor (1986 LSU, George Mason 2006, VCU 2011).
And which city has hosted the most Final Fours? That would be Kansas City, Missouri. The city has played host 10 times, though not since 1988.