Craziest Facts of March Madness


Nikhil Trivedi, Staff Writer

March has come and brought warmer, more spring-like weather, but winter basketball is far from being over. March Madness, the 64 team college basketball tournament, is right around the corner, where even people with no knowledge of the sport try to make the best bracket to win their bracket group. Teams are seeded from 1-16, and there are four of each seed. There are 6 total rounds in total. With all this excitement just around the corner, let’s talk about some of the craziest facts and history of this annual event.


The first NCAA tournament occurred in 1939, but it was very different than the tournament we all know today. The tourney consistent of meager 8 teams, with Oregon beating Ohio State in the championship game with a very low final score of 46-33, Players weren’t nearly as good at shooting, so low scoring games were the norm. The tourney has expanded exponentially since then, with the most recent expansion in 2011, when it expanded from 64 to 68 teams to include 4 play in games.


While the tournament is known for being wild with unimaginable upsets, 1 seeds still manage to do very well every year. There have only been 3 years where not a single 1 seed has advanced to the Final Four, but what’s even more surprising is that there has only been one occasion where every 1 seed has advanced to the Final Four. A 1 seed had never been defeated by a 16 seed in history, until just last year, when University of Maryland, Baltimore County, crushed Virginia 74-54 in a shocking upset.


The lowest seed to ever make the Final Four is an 11 seed, but surprisingly, 4 of them have made it. Then there’s the curse of the 5 seed/12 seed matchup. 12 seeds should only be winning 27% of the time, but for some reason, they win 37% of the games. This is due to many factors, but many people choose some 12 seeds over 5 seeds to give their brackets a better chance at surviving.


Teams that make runs like this, upsetting one team after another, are called Cinderella teams, and wreak havoc to brackets. They’re the reason that there has never been a single perfect bracket in history. Oh, and odds are slightly stacked against you. The odds of picking the perfect bracket are a mere 1 in 9.2 quintillion, and even if you have basketball knowledge, it is estimated that your chances of picking a perfect bracket is still 1 in 128 billion. But that’s what draw so many people to the tournament. Anything and everything can happen, and unpredictable huge upsets are almost the norm. We have an entertaining and exciting month of basketball ahead of us!