Let the games begin.
We're just hours from the opening tip off of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The top seeds consist of the usual suspects: Kentucky, Syracuse, and North Carolina.
Will this be the first year a number 1 seed gets knocked off in the opening round?
Will No. 2 seeds Kansas, Duke, Missouri or Ohio State have the last laugh by the time this thing is all over?
Only time will tell. So fasten your seatbelts, this might be a bumpy ride. The word on the street is that this year's road to the Final Four in New Orleans will be riddled with plenty of mines and traps.
In the meantime, as we prepare for March Madness, here are a few feats, facts, and historic firsts to mull over before the sound of the opening bell.
• According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first time the term ``March Madness'' (when referring to the NCAA basketball tournament) shows up in a print publication is in the San Francisco Chronicle on March 20, 1991: The nation is now in the middle of ‘March madness’, that time of year when the NCAA basketball tournament takes place.
NOTE: The Illinois High School Association has long claimed it coined the term, ``March Madness’’ as early as 1939, well before it became synonymous with the NCAA basketball tournament. The Association also claims to have received trademark status for the phrase in 1989.
• Most appearances in the Elite 8 is held by Kentucky with 29 appearances from 1951 through 2011; followed by North Carolina with 23 appearances from 1957 through 2011.
• North Carolina holds the record for most consecutive Sweet 16 appearances with 13 from 1981 through 1993, followed by Duke with 9 from 1998 through 2006.
• The average attendance for the 1939 NCAA basketball tournament was 3,005, which included 8 teams. Total attendance for the tournament was 15,025.
• In 2011, the average attendance for the Men's Division I tournament was 19,186 over 36 games and involving 68 teams. The total attendance for the 2011 tournament was 690,679.
• The University of Dayton Arena (Dayton, Ohio) has held the most tournament games at 87 from 1970-2001.
• Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO has hosted 9 national championships, a NCAA record, from 1940 through 1964.
• The state with the most tournament games is held by North Carolina with 227 from 1951 through 2011; followed by Missouri, 1940 through 2010.
• The 2014 Final Four (April 5 and 7th) will be held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas.
• Austin Carr of Notre Dame holds the tournament record for most points in a game with 61 on March 7, 1970 against Ohio State in the 1st round; followed by Bill Bradley of Princeton with 58 in the 3rd round against Wichita St. on March 20, 1965.
• Kentucky has the most tournament appearances at 51 from 1942 through 2011.
• North Carolina has had the most consecutive tournament appearances at 27 from 1975 through 2001.
• Kansas holds the record with most current tournament appearances at 22 from 1990 through 2011.
• Kentucky (1942-2011) and North Carolina (1941-2011) are tied with most tournament wins at 105.
• UCLA holds the record with consecutive tournament wins with 38 from 1964 through 1974.
• Duke holds the best winning percentage (minimum of 20 games) at .756 (96-31) from 1955 through 2011.
• Villanova seeded no. 8 in 1985 was the lowest seed to win the NCCA championship.
• # 15 seeds to advance to the second round have included: Coppin St. 1997, Hampton 2001, Richmond 1991, and Santa Clara in 1993.
• # 14 seeds to have advance to the Regional Semifinals were Chattanooga 1997 and Cleveland St. in 1986.
• # 1 seeds to have won the championship have included: Arkansas 1994, Connecticut 1999, Duke 1992, 2001 & 2010, Florida 2007, Georgetown 1984, Indiana 1987, Kansas 2008, Kentucky 1996, Maryland 2002, Michigan St. 2000, UNLV 1990, North Carolina 1982, 1993, 2005 2009, and UCLA 1995.
• Arizona was the only #4 seed to have won the championship in 1997.
• North Carolina has been the no. 1 seed a record 13 times from 1979-2009 followed by Duke with 12 from 1986 through 2011.
• Duke has beaten a no. 1 seed a record 8 times, followed by Arizona (1994-2011) and Kansas (1998-2008) with 7.
• #1 seeds are 104-0 in the first round, 95-13 in the second, 76-18 in the Regional Semifinals, 45-31 in the Regional Finals and 16-9 in the National Championship.
• #2 seeds are 100-4 in the first round; #3 seeds are 88-16 in the first round, #4 seeds are 82-22 in the first round; and #5 seeds are 69-35 in the first round
First Round Stunners
• No. 12 seed Penn knocked off no. 5 seed Washington St. 62-55 in 1980.
• No. 11 seed Middle Tennessee stunned no. 6 seed Kentucky, 50-44 in 1982.
• No. 13 seed Navy cruised past no. 4 seed LSU in 1985.
• No. 14 seed Cleveland State upset Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers, 83-79, in 1986.
• No. 13 seed Princeton slipped past no. 4 seed UCLA 43-41 in 1996.
• No. 15 seed Coppin St. caught no. 2 seed South Carolina napping in a 78-65 first round stunner in 1997.
• No. 15 seed Hampton stunned no. 2 seed Iowa St. 58-57 in 2001.
• No. 14 seed Ohio easily handled no. 3 Georgetown 97-83 in 2010.
• The only independent team to win the NCAA title was Marquette in 1977.
• In 2002, California could boast of 7 teams in the tournament: California, UC Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, San Diego St., Southern California, Stanford, and UCLA. The record was matched by the state of Texas in 2010 who had the following teams in the tournament: Baylor, Houston, North Texas, Sam Houston St., Texas, Texas A&M, UTEP.
• The highest rated televised college basketball game came on March 26, 1979 when a pair of no. 33's squared off: Larry Bird of Indiana St., losing to Magic Johnson and the Spartans of Michigan State, 75-64. NBC recorded a 24.1/38 ratings share, which reached an estimated 17,950,000 homes.
• The most watched telecast (by homes) was on April 6, 1992 when Duke and Michigan locked horns in the championship. The game was televised by CBS, receiving a 22.7/35 rating share, while reaching an estimated 20, 910,000 homes.
• 1939: In the curtain raiser of the tournament: Villanova defeated Brown, 42-30, on March 17, 1939, in Philadelphia. In the second game of the doubleheader, Ohio State defeated Wake Forest, 64-52.
• 1946: The championship game was televised locally for the first time in New York City by WCBS-TV as Oklahoma State defeated North Carolina, 43-40. The viewing audience was estimated to be 500,000.
• 1951: The field was expanded to 16 teams, with 10 conference champions qualifying automatically for the first time.
• 1952: Tournament games were televised regionally for the first time.
• 1975: The first reference to “Final Four” in an NCAA publication was in the 1975 Official Collegiate Basketball Guide. On page 5 in the National Preview-Review section written by Ed Chay of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Chay wrote: “Outspoken Al McGuire of Marquette, whose team was one of the final four in Greensboro, was among several coaches who said it was good for college basketball that UCLA was finally beaten.”
• 1979: The bracket was expanded to 40 teams and all teams were seeded for the first time.
• 1980: The bracket was expanded to 48 teams, which included 24 automatic qualifiers and 24 at-large teams. The top 16 seeds received byes to the second round.
• 1985: The tournament bracket was expanded to include 64 teams, which eliminated all first-round byes.
• 1994: President Bill Clinton became the first sitting president to attend the Final Four, where he watched his home state Arkansas team win the NCAA title.
• 2008: For the first time in tournament history, all four No. 1 seeds advanced to the Final Four.
• 2009: President Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to fill out the NCAA tournament bracket on television. No. 44 correctly picked the eventual champion North Carolina.
• 2011: the tournament field expanded to 68 teams
March 12, 2012
Source: National Collegiate Athletic Association Press Office