#madness

Belated post for March Madness enjoyment and busted bracket consumption. Tournament Central was previously a local phenomenon that overtook the hallways at Hersey High School and this is the first online edition of Tournament Central featuring various factoids and tidbits of all 64 teams. We do not support gambling but do encourage your feedback for further entries en route to Indianapolis. Don’t let work interfere with what is sure to be a good time at the Big Dance.

MIDWEST

  1. Kentucky: UK Mascot “Blue” recently got in trouble after ingesting too much Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey and sneaking into sorority houses. Sir Francis
  2. Kansas: American rock band that became popular in the 1970s initially on album-oriented rock charts and later with hit singles such as “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind” (via Wikipedia). The team also features fashion forward #34 Perry Ellis. 
  3. Notre Dame: In their opening game, The Fightin’ Irish will battle the Huskies and a nasty hangover following a St Patrick’s Day bender at Primanti Bros. Pittsburgh. 
  4. Maryland: This is the Terrapins first appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a Big Ten Conference member. Maryland now participates in natural geographic rivalries across all sports with schools like Minnesota and Iowa.
  5. West Virginia: The Mountaineers are also a product of recent college conference realignment and represent the Big Twelve in the tournament. The Big Twelve employs the roman numeral XII in their official logo and includes ten member schools. 
  6. Butler: The school was founded in the mid-1800’s by local Hoosier Jeeves Butler who had an affinity for basketball, service, and cleanliness. 
  7. Wichita State: Legend has it that the name “Shockers” first appeared in 1904 on a poster advertising a football game between Wichita State (then Fairmount College) and the Chilocco Indians. The team’s manager chose the name because many of the players earned money during the off-season harvesting (or “shocking”) wheat in the surrounding fields.(via wichita.edu)
  8. Cincinnati – Lots of talent here. Shooting guard Chris Sabo, point guard Tom Browning and center Paul O’Neil give Dusty Baker’s squad a chance to get to the Sweet 16. (@DanWoikeSports) 
  9. Purdue: The first and last person to have walked on the moon were both Purdue graduates: Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan.  Additionally, the first human launched into space was Gus Grissom – another Boilermaker alumni. Purdue is also responsible for Gene Keady and his aerospace engineered comb-over. (@deborahilene)
  10. Indiana: Last of FIVE teams from the State of Indiana represented in this year’s field. All will compete in the Midwest Regional, but only IU will look this ridiculous in their candy-striped warm-up pants. 
  11. Texas: The Republic of Texas Formed as a separate nation after gaining independence from Mexico in 1836, the republic claimed borders that included all of the present U.S. state of Texas as well as parts of present-day Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico based upon the Treaties of Velasco between the newly created Texas Republic and Mexico. This dispute would later become a trigger for the Mexican–American War from 1846 to 1848 between Mexico and the United States after the annexation of Texas by the United States on December 29, 1845. (via Wikipedia)
  12. Buffalo: Head Coach is former Duke Blue Devil Bobby Hurley, who leads the Bulls to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. But perhaps an even greater accomplishment was Coach Hurley’s shoe deal with ITZ shoes, which he endorsed while with the Sacramento Kings in 1993.
  13. Valparaiso: Major city, seaport, and educational center commune in Chile. Greater Valparaíso is the third largest metropolitan area in the country. Valparaíso is located 111.8 kilometres northwest of Santiago and is one of the South Pacific’s most important seaports. Valparaíso is the headquarters for the Chilean National Congress since 1990, and champions of the Horizon League. (via Wikipedia)
  14. Northeastern: Television series based in suburban Boston telling the story of a group of fun-loving thirty something friends with a passion for craft beer and funny mustaches. Hilarious spin-off of previous CBS smash hit “Northwestern.”
  15. New Mexico State: The Aggies enter the tournament on a thirteen game winning streak as a proud representative of the Western Athletic Conference for the fourth straight season. 
  16. Hampton: Popular hotel chain with headquarters in McLean, VA managed under the Hilton Worldwide family of hotel brands. Hampton is currently the largest hotel franchise in the United States. The nearest Hampton Inn to Hampton University is in Newport News, VA. 

WEST

  1. Wisconsin: The native tribes of Wisconsin called the Wisconsin River Meskousing. Not exactly close to the name we know today. Jacques Marquette recorded the name as Ouisconsin, and that was then anglicized to Wisconsin. The word meant something along the lines of “red” for the red sandstone in the river’s delta. (via Today I Found Out)
  2. Arizona: During the Selection Show, “analyst” Doug Gottlieb stated that Arizona would play “virtual home games” during the first weekend of the tournament. The Wildcats open against Texas Southern in Portland. The Moda Center is 1449 miles from McKale Memorial Center in Tucscon. 
  3. Baylor: Washington NFL Professional Quarterback Robert Griffin III calls Baylor his alma mater after a prolific college career. The Bears basketball team is also known for running a read option offense and exposing themselves to unnecessary risk of injury and heartbreak. 
  4. North Carolina: The story behind the famous argyle pattern on UNC Basketball Uniforms. (via Lost Lettermen)
  5. Arkansas: Most well-known and successful era of Razorbacks basketball was under Coach Nolan Richardson and his full court pressing 40-Minutes of Hell defense. Arkansas won the National Title in 1994 and returned to the title game in 1995 before losing to UCLA. 
  6. Xavier: It’s pronounced ZAVIER. Not EX-avier or ZAY-vee-er. It’s not EX-ay-la-fone either. 
  7. VCU: Coach Shaka Smart employs a ferocious brand of basketball called HAVOC where games are played at high intensity and physical defense is encouraged all over the court. You may do some light reading about VCU’s defensive philosophy here
  8. Oregon: The Oregon Ducks enter the tournament with an impressive record of 25-9 despite being picked to finish in the bottom half of the Pac-12. The team also continues its streak of leading the nation in number of uniform combinations worn throughout the season. 
  9. Oklahoma State: Fun fact about Stillwater: Fraternities are 40 percent less racist than other OK state schools. (@DanWoikeSports)
  10. Ohio State: Students and alums insist that the proper name for the school is THE Ohio State University. That designation is almost as annoying as Aaron Craft’s rosy cheeks and floor slapping defense. 
  11. Ole Miss: The University of Mississippi got its nickname from the name for the student yearbook, The Ole Miss Annual. The yearbook was published for the first time in 1896. ‘Ole miss’ was a term slaves used to refer to the wife of a plantation owner. (via The Clarion-Ledger) While the debate remains about the political correctness of the name Ole Miss, at least we can agree how much fun it is to party in The Grove before a Rebels football game.
  12. Wofford: Wofford College, established in 1854 and related to the United Methodist Church, is an independent, national liberal arts college of around 1,580 students located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The historic 175-acre campus is recognized as a national arboretum and is one of the few four-year institutions in the southeastern United States founded before the American Civil War that still operates on its original campus. (via Wikipedia)
  13. Harvard: Harvard is well-endowed, bringing in $36.4 Billion which would rank near the 50th percentile among worldwide economies, similar to Latvia. (via boston.com)
  14. Georgia State: Coach Ron Adams tore his Achilles — the team’s Greek student manager —  in the aftermath of their conference tournament win. (@DanWoikeSports)
  15. Texas Southern: Not the whole state of Texas, just the southern part. This is TSU’s second consecutive berth, having lost to Cal-Poly in the play-in round in 2014. 
  16. Coastal Carolina: Learn more about whatever a Chanticleer is. (via goccusports.com)

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EAST

  1. Villanova: Number One seed Villanova Wildcats are the only representative from the vaunted Philadelphia Big 5. The other Philly schools are LaSalle, Penn, St. Joe’s, and Temple. 
  2. Virginia: Coach Tony Bennett has revived the Cavaliers program thanks to an especially boring brand of basketball. The Wahoos lead the nation in points allowed per game and per possession. 
  3. Oklahoma: The Sooners are led by Coach Lon Kruger after his previous head coaching stops at Texas-Pan American, Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, Atlanta Hawks (NBA), and UNLV. He gets around. 
  4. Louisville: Looavul? Luhvul? LouEville? Louaville? Looeyville? Cardinals. 
  5. Northern Iowa: UNI should not be confused with NIU (Northern Illinois) or Upper Iowa or Northwestern College. The Panthers have made a name for themselves wearing ugly purple and yellow uniforms and playing in an arena that appears to be in the middle of nowhere
  6. Providence: WHAT CONFERENCE ARE YOU IN I CAN’T TELL ANYMORE????? (@DanWoikeSports)
  7. State: H-to-the-Izzo, probably lose to the VA (@DanWoikeSports)
  8. NC State: Tobacco Road refers to the tobacco-producing area of North Carolina and is often used when referring to sports played among rival ACC universities. The phrase actually originated as the title of a novel set in Georgia, but it naturally migrated to North Carolina because of the state’s primacy in tobacco production. (via Wikipedia)
  9. LSU: Sadly the Mad Hatter does not moonlight as the Tigers basketball coach. LSU’s roster has an assortment of talented, dynamic, inconsistent players who are good enough to reach the Final Four or suffer a heartbreaking first round loss. 
  10. Georgia: Another team enjoying “virtual home game” status as this former member of the Soviet Union will compete in the East Regional at Charlotte, only a 17-hour flight from Tbilisi via Lufthansa. 
  11. Dayton: Dayton has earned the right to host the First Four, where it continues to be one of the sites using the generic template for all non-Final Four NCAA Tournament games. Follow this link to sign a petition to stop using these boring court designs. (@cagarms) 
  12. Wyoming: Proud owners of the best designed license plate in the United States. 
  13. UC-Irvine: The Anteaters first ever NCAA Tournament berth in the 38-year history of the school’s basketball program comes on the back of center Mamadou Ndiaye, who is the tallest player in the field at 7’6″ tall. 
  14. Albany: The Albany Great Danes enter the NCAA Tournament field for the third consecutive year and fifth time since 2006. This is an especially impressive accomplishment considering Albany spends more time focusing fighting crime and solving mysteries with their beloved mascot. (Sir Francis)
  15. Belmont: The school changed its mascot from the Rebels in 1995 because of concerns of political correctness. Belmont chose the moniker Bruins because of the Bears known to roam Broadway in downtown Nashville. 
  16. Lafayette: Still not convinced this team isn’t in Louisiana. (@DanWoikeSports)

SOUTH

  1. Duke: No one actually likes Duke or should be willing to admit it publicly. Appreciating Blue Devils basketball is a phase middle class suburban America typically grows out of, like listening to pop music or eating Papa John’s pizza. 
  2. Gonzaga: Slang term most popular in the Pacific Northwest used typically after clumsy action, such as stubbing one’s toe or banging your funny bone, “GONZAGA!”
  3. Iowa State: Prefer NBA over collegiate basketball? Follow along with the Cyclones and Mayor Fred Hoiberg as he leads Iowa State through the tournament before accepting the head coaching position with the Chicago Bulls. 
  4. Georgetown: When in Washington DC, make time for a drink at The Tombs and perhaps enroll in the 99 Days Club. (Sir Francis)
  5. Utah: Honey, the official state nickname is The Beehive State. Utahans relate the beehive symbol to industry and the pioneer virtues of thrift and perseverance. The beehive was chosen as the emblem for the provisional State of Deseret in 1848 and was maintained on the seal of the State of Utah when Utah became a state in 1896. (via 50states.com)
  6. SMU: SMU blatantly ripped off The Grove from Ole Miss for their Boulevard tailgate area adjacent to Gerald Ford Stadium. (via Wikipedia)
  7. Iowa: Idiots Outside Walking Around. 
  8. San Diego State: San Diego was admitted to the Union as the 51st state thanks to the tireless efforts of Governor Marshall Faulk. The state flag is a simple brown and yellow design focusing on the number 19 to honor the late Tony Gwynn. 
  9. St John’s: Storied program formerly known as the Redmen was led by future NBA players Mark Jackson, Chris Mullin, and Malik Sealy. 
  10. Davidson: Unfortunately Steph Curry has no further eligibility and will not be available to lead the Wildcats to another deep tournament run. Iowa did ask in pregame preparation just to make sure. 
  11. UCLA: “Steve Alford is college basketball’s best coach” — Bill Cosby (@DanWoikeSports)
  12. Stephen F. Austin: American empresario born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. Known as the Father of Texas, he led a successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States to the region in 1825. In addition, he worked with the Mexican government to support immigration from the United States. (via Wikipedia)
  13. Eastern Washington: The Eastern Washington Eagles men’s basketball team represents Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington,United States. The school’s team currently competes in the Big Sky Conference, of which it has been a member since 1987. (via Wikipedia)
  14. UAB: Blazers are wearing mismatched shoes to promote awareness for pediatric cancer. (via SI.com)
  15. North Dakota State: Sioux tribe called the Dakota dominated the region when European settlers started to explore the area. It is believed that it means “friend” or “ally” in Sioux. The Dakota territory was split into two after controversy about where the capital should be located when they were looking at statehood. (via Today I Found Out)
  16. Robert Morris: Older, wiser brother of the more famous Zack Morris from Bayside High fame. Robert earned Valedictorian honors and followed through on his commitment to enroll at Yale where he completed his undergraduate studies in three and a half years before continuing his studies at Yale Law. Robert Morris is now the Chairman of the Board of Governors for the United States Federal Reserve System.

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