March Madness 2015: 34 Things To Know

Brigham Young v Gonzaga

Quick facts that will hopefully help you decide your bracket. Or, ya know, just because…

Bracket odds

Want to fill out a perfect bracket? Not gonna happen. Chances of doing so are one in 9.2 quintillion.

The American Gaming Association predicts that 70 million brackets will be filled out this week.

Who’s gonna win?

Kentucky v Arkansas

Kentucky is 34-0, the first time a team has finished undefeated since Indiana in 1976.

Over the last 10 years, the No. 1 ranked team entering the tournament has won the title just twice. 

Georgetown has lost to a team seeded at least five spots below them five of the last seven years: 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

No undefeated team has won a national title since Indiana in ’76,  but a team with two losses has won it seven times since then. Kentucky (34-0) will try to match Indiana, while Villanova (32-2) and Gonzaga (32-2) shoot to be the eighth two-loss title winner. USA TODAY

Kentucky is the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament, but the next-best odds are: Wisconsin and Duke (6/1), Villanova (8/1), Arizona (15/1), Virginia (15/1), Gonzaga (18/1) and, oddly, UNC (25/1).

No seed lower than a No. 6 has won more than one title. A No. 5 seed has finished runner-up three times, and all have done it since the 2000 tournament.  USA TODAY

John Ewing, director of analytics for Prediction Machine, ran 50,000 simulations of the NCAA tournament. His Final Four: Kentucky, Villanova, Duke and Wisconsin. 

Upset city

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Since 1985, the winning percentage for No. 5 vs. No. 12 seeds is just .633.

Since the NCAA adopted the eight-team round-one, or “play-in” games, four years ago, at least one qualifier has gone on to win at least one more game each year, and in three of those years one team has made the Sweet 16.

Three No. 11 seeds have made the Final Four but a No. 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 has never been. A No. 15 seed has won seven times against a No. 2 but has only won eight games overall. A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed to advance to the round of 32.

No. 8 vs. No. 9 seeds are unsurprisingly the hardest to predict. The 8 seed wins just over 51 percent of the time. 

No. 7 beat No 10 seeds just 60 percent of the time. 

However, here’s a surprise — No. 10 seeds beat No. 2 seeds just a bit over 40 percent of the time. 

Related: Yahoo Sports’ Brad Evan’s March Madness 2015 Predictions

Team facts

Texas v Kansas

Kansas has qualified for the tournament 26 years in a row. Only North Carolina has a streak better (27 from 1975-2001).

In Iowa State’s last five games, they have won after trailing by a total of 75 points.

The Final Four is in Indianapolis for the seventh time. Four of the six previous trips, an ACC team has made the FInal Four and Duke won two championships. 

There are 10 feline mascots in the this year’s tourney, four of them wildcats. 

Wisconsin has the nation’s most efficient offense, only turning the ball over 12.6% of possessions.

Hampton has a .485 winning percentage, officially the worst team in the tournament. They made an upset run through the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament to earn an automatic bid. 

Former NBA coach Larry Brown is now at SMU and in the tournament for the first time in almost three decades. The last time he was there he won the 1988 title with Kansas.

Buffalo, UC Irvine and North Florida are all in the tournament for the first time in history.

Predicting the Final Four

Florida v UConn

If you total the number of seeds, the Final Four usually equals single digits or low teens. Only 7 times has the total exceeded 14, but two of those times were the last two tournaments — last year was 18 (UConn 7, Kentucky 8, Wisconsin 2, Florida 1).

Since seeding started in 1979, there have been only three times a No. 1 seed didn’t make the Final Four.

2008 was the only year in history all four No. 1 seeds made the Final Four.

In the past 36 tournaments, a No. 2 seed has made the Final Four 25 times.

8.15 million brackets were filled out on ESPN.com in 2014. Only 47 correctly predicted the Final Four. 

Other March Madness fun facts

CBS will have aired the NCAA championship game 34 years in a row when the game tips on April 6. 

Since 1987, only six teams have shot less than 35% behind the arc and still won the title. UConn shot 38.7% last year.

North Carolina has the most Sweet 16 appearances at 25 followed by Duke and Kentucky (23) and Kansas and Louisville (20). But the longest current streak of Sweet 16 appearances (if you discount the vacated years) is Florida at four, and they aren’t in the tournament. After the Gators it is Louisville and Michigan State at 3. USA TODAY

The Big 12 and Big Ten conferences lead the field, each with 7 teams.

Mike Krzyzewski of Duke has 11 Final Four appearances and four titles. Rick Pitino and Roy Williams have two championships each and seven Final Fours each.

Louisville (2013) is the only champion over the last 11 years that didn’t have blue as a school color.

CORRECTION: The last team to go undefeated before this year’s Kentucky team was 2013-14 Wichita State.

Josh Helmuth is the editor of CraveOnline Sports.

Photo Credit: Getty