15 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Fun Facts

Over the next three weeks, sports fans will be anxiously checking their phones for scores, employees will be sneaking looks at games online, and sports bars will be flooded with TV-viewing patrons as March Madness unfolds.

So to help stimulate a little more conversation here are 15 interesting facts and stats that every fan of March Madness will want to know.

2019 NCAA Mens Basketball bracket

Odds of picking every winner is 1 in 9.2 quintillion.

1. Your odds of filling out a perfect bracket are not good. In fact, they are lower than your odds of winning the lottery, getting struck by lightning, or being elected President.  Wallethub calculates your chances of selecting every winner as 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (that’s quintillion).

2. Only one bottom seed has ever unseated a top seed in the first round.  16th seeded University of Maryland–Baltimore County Retrievers toppled top-seeded University of Virginia in the first round of the 2018 tournament.

3. The lowest seed ever to win the tournament was the #8-ranked Villanova. The Wildcats won the title in 1985. The very next year, 11th seeded LSU became the lowest seed to crack the Final Four. That feat was repeated by George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011.

4. 2008 has been the only year all four #1 seeds made it to the Final Four.

University of Oregon first NCAA champs in 1939

The University of Oregon won the first NCAA tournament in 1939.

Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, and Memphis — all advanced to the championship round.

5. 1939 was the inaugural year of the NCAA tournament. Eight teams competed for the title, with the Oregon Webfoots emerging victorious over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

6. The phrase “March Madness” was first coined in connection with the NCAA in 1982 when sportscaster Brent Musburger uttered it during his tournament coverage.

7. Notre Dame’s Austin Carr set a tournament game record in 1970 by sinking 61 points in a first round matchup with Ohio. Navy center David Robinson is in the runner up spot with 50 points during a 1987 contest.

Notre Dame's Austin Carr

Notre Dame’s Austin Carr

8. University of Michigan’s all-time scoring leader, Glen Rice holds the record for points scored in a single tournament at 184, a mark he set in 1989. Duke power forward Christian Laettner owns the career record for 407 points scored across 23 tournament games.

9. Texas Western (now known as UTEP) became the first team with an all-black starting lineup to win the national championship in the 1966 tournament. They beat an all-white Kentucky team coached by Adolf Rupp.

10. The oldest coach to win a national title was Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun in 2011 at the age of 68. The title of the youngest coach belongs to Emmett McCracken who led Indiana to the championship in 1940 at the age of 31.

11. UCLA has won the national title 11 times. Ten of those titles were earned under legendary coach John Wooden, and seven of them came in a row between 1967-1973. Kentucky is second with 8 titles.

Lew Alcindor, John Wooden, Sidney Wicks

UCLA coaching legend John Wooden (center).

12. Only three men can claim champion status as both player and coach. Joe B. Hall won as player and coach of Kentucky, Bob Knight with Ohio State and Indiana respectively, and Dean Smith, as a player for Kansas and then as North Carolina’s coach.

13. Only one coach has ever won both championships in the NCAA and NBA—Larry Brown as coach of the Kansas Jayhawks in 1988 (NCAA) and the Detroit Pistons in 2004 (NBA).

14. The University of Connecticut is the only school to have their men’s and women’s teams win the national championship in the same year…and they’ve done it twice! The Huskies ran the table in 2004 and 2014.

15. In 1997, the NCAA made it a requirement that the Final Four must be held in a dome stadium with a seating capacity of at least 40,000. In 2009, the capacity minimum was raised to 70,000.

For a few more Fun Facts check out our March Madness video.

Now you know more than you ever expected to about one of America’s most consuming sport’s phenomena.

Back to Beck's Blog

Our Partners & Affiliates
  • AAA Logo
  • Google Plus Logo
  • Yelp Logo
  • Angies List Review Logo
  • Uber Reimbursement