Even if you don’t have a basketball jones, this is the time of year that it’s going to get really hard to avoid it. Over the next few days, sixteen college basketball teams will compete to see who makes it to the March Madness Final Four over the weekend, and then eventually the final rounds, which begin on April 1st. If you follow college basketball and already have your bracket filled out and ready, good for you. We wish you luck. If you, like some of us, haven’t been following the entire tournament this year but want to get in on the conversation at work or at the bar, there’s some March Madness trivia you should know so you can get an idea of just how important this championship is. And it’s long, superstitious, and record-breaking history.
There’s also a lot of betting going on. The best part — aside from the sportsmanship and party snacks, obviously — is that it can be kind of fun to build your March Madness bracket. Unlike fantasy NFL football, March Madness is quick and easy and you have a much better change at winning the office pool and admiration of your squad. So what have you been waiting for? Brush up on your March Madness history, pick some teams for the Final Four, and get it on the fun.
1They sell the floor.
The winning school used to get the nets taken down to bring back to their home turf, as a secondary kind of trophy. But now they actually take up the hardwood floor, too. The courts for the Final Four and the finals are made new each year, so they’re in mint condition when the teams take the court. Most universities end up selling them for charity or as a donation to the school.
2It can get late.
The record for the most overtimes in one single game is four, which happened in 1956 and 1961. In a normal game, overtimes are four minutes, but during March Madness it’s five, which means that players end up running around for an extra twenty minutes, which is crazy intense.
3It used to be a whole lot smaller.
The first March Madness was in 1939, just before WW2, and just eight teams competed. The tournament grew (as did universities), inviting 16 teams in the 1950s and then eventually around 60 in the 1980s. Now, 68 teams compete for the title.
4There might be a new champ in town.
The UCLA Bruins hold the title for the most championships (all 11 of them). Many were won under legendary coach John Wooden between 1964 and 1975. The Kentucky Wildcats are right behind them with eight titles. They play each other on Friday in the Sweet Sixteen.
5Women play, too.
The University of Connecticut is the only team to have won the women’s and the men’s NCAA championship (March Madness). And they did it twice: once in 2004 and once in 2014.
6Vasectomy rates spike.
This is a weird fact, but apparently vasectomy rates spike around March Madness because men figure that they can recover from the minor surgical procedure on the couch, watching the game. There was even a Massachussetts surgeon who played in this trend with an ad asking men, “want to watch basketball guilt free?” We have no comment.
7And the award goes to…
Shooting guard Austin Carr scored 61 points for Notre Dame in a single matchup against Ohio in 1970 and no one has beaten his record. Carr now plays for Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA.
8It will never be perfect.
The chances of filling out a perfect, winning bracket is one in a QUINTILLIAN. You have a better chance of getting eaten by a shark or getting struck by lightening.
9Be nice to your boss.
A consultancy firm estimated that employers lost around $4 billion total due to distracted workers during March Madness, since many of the games are during the day, so it’s likely fans are tuning in on Twitter or livestreaming at work. Tsk, tsk.
They call it March Madness for a reason — it’s a whirlwhind season of fast paced, high stakes basketball games. We promise that once you start watching, you won’t be able to quit it.