By Matthew Budkofsky
It’s that time of year again folks. Today 64 teams will embark on a journey, and all of them have the same goal…to win a national championship. Nobody can predict what will happen in the coming weeks, but millions of people are going to try. Almost everyone will fill out brackets, some will fill out multiple brackets and if the play-in games from the past 2 nights are any indication of what this year’s field has in store for us, we are all in for a treat. By now, your bracket is complete so take a break from all of the number crunching and predictions, because I’ve done that for you. Here are some sensational fun facts that you can bust out in front of all your friends to steal the show and look a boss.
1) Is this year the year?!?
The odds of picking a perfect bracket this year are about 5 times better than last year. Last year’s odds were 1 in 7,419,071,319. These insane odds prompted billionaire Warren Buffett to offer up $1 Billion for anyone who was able to pick every game correctly. This year those odds are down to 1 in 1,610,543,269, just worse than 1 billion-to-one! Those odds were so good that Buffett took his billion-dollar offer off the table. The reason for this is because the tournament is top heavy this year. You have the high seeds, that are legit title contenders and then a steep drop off once you start getting to the 4 seeds. I don’t see a low seeded team repeating UConn’s magic from last year. Maybe you could be the one to pick the elusive perfect bracket.
2) #2 Seeds are poised to buck the trend
Since 1980, a 2-seed has won the NCAA Tournament 5 times. That’s not very much. 1-seeds have won it 20 times since then. Everyone is ready to hand the crown over to Kentucky, but don’t be so quick to jump to the end. Kentucky still has to win 6 more games, and anything can happen in March. This year, Arizona and Virginia are both teams that could have very easily been 1 seeds, but were given 2 seeds by the selection committee. The 2 seeds (with the exception of Kansas) all have legitimate shots to not only make a Final Four run, but also a championship run. Hopefully you didn’t back down from taking a 2 seed in your bracket.
3) Go with the Wildcats
Not only the Kentucky Wildcats. According the ESPN’s BPI, a team nicknamed the Wildcats has a 63.7% chance of winning the championship. Kentucky does account for a bulk of that, with a 49.1% chance. But the Villanova Wildcats and Arizona Wildcats also have 7.3% chance each. The 4th team is the Davidson Wildcats who have a 0% chance of winning it all, but they can still dream!
4) Go BIG or go home
The Big 12 had 7 teams receive invitations to the big dance. That is tied with the Big 10 for the most of any league. For everyone that thought the ACC was the conference to beat, you are wrong. The Big 10 could be poised to play home to both the national football and basketball champions if Wisconsin can get over the hump and bring it home.
5) All he does is win
If I asked you which coach accumulated the most wins in their first 2 seasons in D-1 men’s history, whom would you guess? Coach K? Bob Knight? John Wooden? WRONG! The answer is Brad Underwood. Who? That’s right, Brad Underwood, the head coach of Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks have won 61 games in the past 2 seasons making Underwood the winningest coach to start a career in men’s college hoops.
6) Déjà vu
Duke is a number 1 overall seed with 5 or less losses. Their regional final game will be played in Houston and the Final Four is in Indianapolis. The last time all of those things were true were in 2010, when the Blue Devils won their last national title.