2009 NCAA tournament: By the numbers
From 1-65, here's a look at the nuggets, factoids and did-you-knows that will have you ready for the NCAA tourney
65 -- The field expanded to 65 in 2001 with the inclusion of an opening round game. The result is wins for a bunch of schools not used to NCAA tournament success. However, once those teams go on to face a 1-seed, it's a different story. The average margin of defeat in those eight games is 27.3 points. The last two were decided by 39 and 40 points.
64 -- From 1945-50, Kentucky won 64 straight SEC games, a stretch of conference dominance not seen since. That is until now. After beating Tulsa in the C-USA title game, Memphis has now won 61 straight conference games, the second-longest streak of all-time. Their last conference loss was March 2, 2006 against UAB. Kentucky won two national titles during its streak, and then another in 1951. Memphis can only hope for similar success.
63 -- It's been 63 years since Harvard appeared in the NCAA tournament. That's the longest drought for any team that has previously played in the Big Dance. Back in 1946, the Crimson lost to Ohio State, and then lost again to NYU in a regional third-place game. In terms of long tournament droughts, the Ivy League is the place to look. After Harvard, the next two longest droughts belong to Dartmouth (50 years) and Yale (37). Princeton and Penn have combined for 46 of the Ivy League's 60 bids since Harvard last made it. Cornell will be representing the Ivy for the second straight year in 2009, but in just its fourth all-time appearance.
62 -- Arizona's RPI of 62 was the lowest for any at-large team in this year's field. That is tied for the seventh worst at-large RPI over the last 15 tournaments. Of the six teams with lower RPI rankings, three won their first-round games. The only Pac-10 team to get in as an at-large with a lower RPI over the last 15 years was Stanford (63 in '07). The lowest at-large RPI of the last 15 years? New Mexico in 1999 had an RPI of 74.
61 -- Jim Calhoun was 61 years old when the coached Connecticut to a national title in 2004, making him the sixth-oldest coach to win it all and one of just five different coaches to accomplish it after turning 60. How about this list for the other four: John Wooden, Lute Olson, Phog Allen and Dean Smith. Allen was the oldest of all-time at 66 years and 129 days old when Kansas won in 1952. If Connecticut wins the championship on April 6, Calhoun would be 66 years and 331 days, making him the oldest ever.
60 -- The RCA Dome in Indianapolis has hosted 60 NCAA tournament games, the fifth-most games of any arena entering this year. Indy will host the Midwest Regional in the 2009 tournament, but the games will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in the fall of 2008.
59 -- In 1959, Pete Newell led California to its only national title. Newell died in November at age 93, meaning this will be the first NCAA tournament without him. Newell is one of three coaches with an NIT title, NCAA title and Olympic gold. Meanwhile, Cal has experienced a resurgent season and is back in the tournament for the first time since 2006.
58 -- Bill Bradley's 58 points against Wichita State in 1965 are a Final Four record. To put that in a little perspective, last year's leading Final Four leading scorer was Chris Douglas-Roberts, who scored 50 points in two games. Bradley's 87 points in two games is also a Final Four record.
57 -- It was 57 years ago when Clyde Lovellette became the first and only player to lead the nation in scoring and win a championship when Kansas won the 1952 title. With Stephen Curry playing in the NIT, this marks the third straight season in which the nation's leading scorer is not even playing in the NCAA tournament. The last to do so was Adam Morrison in 2006.
56 -- In his first two seasons as a head coach, Butler's Brad Stevens already has 56 career wins. That is the second-most career wins by a second-year coach. Stevens will need two wins to match Bill Guthridge, who had 58 victories in his first two seasons with North Carolina.
55 -- Last year's national championship game was the seventh to go into overtime, but it wasn't the longest. That would be the three-overtime, 55-minute marathon between North Carolina and Kansas back in 1957. The Tar Heels won that one, but Kansas got some revenge in last year's Final Four on its way to a title.
54 -- Kent Benson, who wore No. 54, was a star on Indiana's 1976 national championship team, the last one to go undefeated. Benson went on to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 1977 draft. Speaking of Indiana, the last time before 2009 that both Indiana and Kentucky missed a tournament was 1979.
53 -- Duke and North Carolina both get to start out playing in nearby Greensboro, N.C. Those two teams are a combined 53-5 when playing NCAA tournament games in their home state of North Carolina. Duke is 28-4 (including 10-0 in Greensboro), while North Carolina is 25-1. The Tar Heels are 3-0 in Greensboro, 9-0 in Charlotte, 6-0 in Winston-Salem and 7-1 in Raleigh, where they suffered their only loss back in 1979 to the Penn squad that advanced to the Final Four.
52 -- 9-seeds are 52-44 in games vs. the 8-seed, the only seed vs. seed first-round matchup in which the lower-seeded team has won more than 50 percent of the matchups. In this year's tournament, Siena, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Butler look to add to the 9-seed win total with "upsets" in the first round.
51 -- Since John Wooden retired in 1975, UCLA has won 51 NCAA tournament games in 26 appearances. Wooden had 47 wins in just 16 appearances, and that was before the tournament expanded. UCLA has had eight different coaches lead them to the tournament since Wooden, but only one title compared to Wooden's 10. Interestingly, the 51 wins for post-Wooden UCLA would still be more than all but six other schools have in their history.
50 -- Tyler Hansbrough, who wears No. 50 for the Tar Heels, is the active NCAA tournament leader in points (220) and rebounds (99). If the Tar Heels play six games and he maintains his season average of 21.4 PPG, Hansbrough would finish his career with 348 points in the tournament. That would be good for third all-time behind Christian Laettner and Elvin Hayes.
49 -- Roy Williams has 49 NCAA tournament wins, having passed John Wooden and Lute Olson during last year's Final Four run. However, Williams has a long way to go before he reaches Mike Krzyzewski, who at 69 and counting, has the most ever.
48 -- After Memphis advanced to the title game last year, Conference USA now has 48 NCAA tournament wins without a championship.
47 -- The NCAA tournament has included teams from 47 of the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia). That number used to be 46, until North Dakota State became the first team from the Peace Garden State this year. That leaves three states that have never experienced the madness: Maine, Alaska and South Dakota. Maine has one D-I team (Maine), while South Dakota State just became the only D-I school in its state. Alaska does not have a D-I basketball school.
46 -- Pittsburgh defeated North Carolina 26-20 in a 1941 Regional Final game, as the Panthers and Tar Heels combined for the fewest points scored by two teams in an NCAA tournament game. Both 1-seeds this year, Pittsburgh and North Carolina could meet in the Final Four.
45 -- Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair, who wears No. 45, is arguably one of the most valuable players to his own team. The key to Pittsburgh seems to be getting Blair into early foul trouble. The Panthers are 0-3 when Blair fouls out this season, compared to 27-1 when he is able to stay in until the end (Blair missed one game, a win). Blair and Levance Fields are looking to be the first teammates since Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin to rank in the top five in rebounds and assists, respectively.
44 -- Since 1985, 44 NCAA tournament games have been won by teams seeded between 13 and 15. Last year, a pair of 13s won first-round games (Siena and San Diego). Historically, the CAA has been the most successful when seeded that low. Teams from that conference have won seven such games.
43 -- Pittsburgh is the 43rd different team to be a No. 1 seed since seeding began in 1979. Some of the more surprising teams that have never been a 1 are Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Wisconsin and Alabama.
42 -- On March 22, 1957, UNC's Lenny Rosenbluth attempted 42 field goals in a 3-OT game against Michigan in the national semifinals. It remains the Final Four record for field goal attempts by an individual. For a little perspective, the entire Kansas starting five combined for 40 field goal attempts in the championship game last year.
41 -- North Carolina is making its 41st NCAA tournament appearance. The Tar Heels have played 135 games, second only to Kentucky. But guess who North Carolina has never faced? Duke! That could change this year, but not until the Final Four in Detroit.
40 -- It was 40 years ago when UCLA's John Wooden defeated his alma mater Purdue in the championship game, becoming the first coach to do so. The only coach to do it since is Denny Crum with Louisville in 1980 against UCLA. (Crum was a Wooden assistant on that 1969 team, by the way.) So who could pull it off in 2009? Oklahoma's Jeff Capel could only take on Duke in the national semifinals. That leaves these three as albeit unlikely options: Kansas' Bill Self against Oklahoma State, Ohio State's Thad Matta against Butler, Tennessee's Bruce Pearl against Boston College.
39 -- When West Virginia takes on Dayton in the first round, Bob Huggins will be coaching his 39th NCAA tournament game. That is the most for any active coach who has never won a title. Texas' Rick Barnes is next on the list. He will be coaching in his 35th tournament game on Thursday.
38 -- Illinois may be the most storied college basketball program never to win a title. The Illini have 38 NCAA tournament wins, the most for any team without a championship. Of course, Illinois has come close recently, losing to North Carolina in the 2005 title game. Oklahoma and Texas are next on the list with 32 wins each, followed by Temple with 31. All four of those schools are represented in this year's tournament, as they try to attain that ultimate measure of success.
37 -- It has been 37 years since a team made the NCAA tournament in its first D-I season, as North Dakota State did this year. Until this season, the Bison had been a provisional member since 2005-06, playing a D-I schedule but ineligible for postseason play. To find the last time this happened, you'd have to go back to 1972 when Southwestern Louisiana -- now Louisiana-Lafayette -- punched a ticket in its first season (though the appearance was later vacated due to violations).
36 -- Pervis Ellison was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1986 Final Four, as he scored 36 points in the Final Four to lead Louisville to the NCAA title. That was the last title for Louisville, the No. 1 overall seed in this year's tourney.
35 -- Louisville is playing in its 35th NCAA tournament. Only one coach in NCAA history has led three different schools to the Final Four. Rick Pitino first did it at Providence, then Kentucky, and then Louisville.
34 -- San Diego State was left out of the NCAA tournament despite an RPI of 34, the highest for any team not selected this year. That is tied for the seventh-highest RPI to miss the tournament over the last 15 years. In 2006, Missouri State had an RPI of 21 and a 20-8 record, but never got picked on Selection Sunday.
33 -- In his 33rd season at Syracuse, Jim Boeheim has the longest tenure at one school among all active coaches. Only 15 coaches have ever had a longer stint at one place. Boeheim has 40 NCAA tournament wins, which is fifth-most among coaches who have only appeared in the tournament at one school.
32 -- There are 32 teams returning to the NCAA tournament from last year's bracket. Why is that so important? Since the field expanded to 64 in 1985, 22 of the 24 champions have been teams returning from the previous year. The lone exceptions are Louisville in 1986 and Syracuse in 2003. Of the teams that did not play in last year's tournament, Syracuse and Missouri, both 3s, have the highest seed.
31 -- At just 31, Branch McCracken was the youngest coach to win the national title, when he led Indiana to the 1940 championship. In fact, the first three titles were won by coaches under 36. It has only happened twice since. At 32, Butler's Brad Stevens in the youngest coach in the field and would be the second youngest to ever win it all. A more likely scenario would also make Oklahoma's Jeff Capel (34) the second-youngest championship coach.
30 -- This is the 30th anniversary of the highest-rated college basketball game of all-time. On March 26, 1979, Magic Johnson led Michigan State to a win over Larry Bird's Indiana State squad in the NCAA championship game. Almost 18 million people tuned in to NBC's telecast. The 24.1 rating eclipsed the 1975 UCLA-Kentucky game and has never been topped since.
29 -- Mississippi Valley's 29 points against UCLA last season are the fewest points a team has scored in an NCAA tournament since the shot clock was introduced for the 1985-86 season. In fact, no team had scored as few as 29 points since Baylor back in 1946.
28 -- Florida missed out on the tournament for a second straight year after winning the national title. It has been 28 years since that last happened. Michigan State won the title in 1979, but then missed the tournament in 1980 and 1981. Interestingly, since the field expanded, Florida's 23 wins are the most for a "BCS" conference school not invited.
27 -- A team from the Northeast Conference has appeared in the last 27 NCAA tournaments, but the league has never won a first-round game. The conference's only three wins were in opening round (a.k.a. play-in) games, including two of the last three seasons. The 27 years is the longest stretch for a conference without a first-round win in NCAA tournament history. From 1986-2005, the Southland similarly went 20 years without a first-round win, which accounts for the second longest stretch. Now it is up to Robert Morris to break what is a 26-game first-round losing streak for the NEC. A 15-seed, the Colonials will face Michigan State on Friday.
26 - Creighton, Saint Mary's, Niagara, Davidson and College of Charleston all won 26 games, but missed out on the tournament after not receiving at-large bids. Before those five teams, only six had missed the tournament with 26 wins since the field expanded in 1985. Three teams failed to dance with 26 wins last season. That means eight of the 11 instances have occurred in the last two years, a clear reflection of an increase in the number of games played. The good news for those unlucky five? Robert Morris and Stephen F. Austin were two of the three from last season, and both are in the Big Dance this time around.
25 -- For many, the most surprising at-large bid went to Arizona, a team with 13 losses and a weak RPI. However, with its inclusion, Arizona will be in the NCAA tournament for the 25th straight year. The next longest active streaks belong to Kansas (20) and Duke (14). The longest all-time streak belongs to North Carolina, which made the NCAA tournament in 27 straight years from 1975-2001.
24 -- Morehead State missed the NCAA tournament for 24 straight years before finally making it back in this year. That is the longest drought for any 2009 participant that had previously played in the tournament. Back in 1984, Morehead State made its last appearance, winning an opening-round game for the right to play Louisville. Ironically, the Eagles are in the same position this year. After beating Alabama State on Tuesday, they face Louisville on Friday.
23 -- Back this year, BYU has been in 23 previous NCAA tournaments, but never appeared in the Final Four. That's the most appearances for any team not to make the Final Four. The Cougars have been among the final eight on three occasions, most recently in 1981 when Danny Ainge led them to a thrilling Sweet 16 win over Notre Dame. The school with the second-most appearances without a Final Four is Missouri with 21.
22 -- With 22, Boston College has the most NCAA tournament wins for a team never to appear in the Final Four. Alabama is next with 20 wins. Keep an eye on Missouri. A 3-seed this year, the Tigers third on the list with 18 wins.
21 -- This will be Pittsburgh's 21st NCAA tournament appearance, but the Panthers have advanced past the Sweet 16 only once. That was in 1974, and they only needed to win two games to do so. Since seeding began in 1979, Pittsburgh has been a top four seed seven times, but lost in the second round three times and lost in the Sweet 16 in the other four. Pittsburgh is 0-6 all-time against top-five seeds in the NCAA tournament.
20 -- It had been 20 years since a team from the Ohio Valley Conference won an NCAA tournament game. Back in 1989, Middle Tennessee -- now in the Sun Belt -- took out fourth-seeded Florida State. The 19 straight losses was the longest active losing streak for any conference. That all changed on Tuesday when Morehead State ended the streak by beating Alabama State in the opening round.
19 -- At 19 letters, Alabama State center Chief Kickingstallionsims will have the longest last name for anyone to ever play in the NCAA tournament, according to our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau. This is even more stunning considering that it is longer than any hyphenated last names. Previously, the longest last name regardless of hyphens was Tennessee's Rick Daniels-Mulholland at a respectable 17 letters. The longest non-hyphenated last name that was all one word was Carl Scharffenberger (15 letters), who played for Southern Methodist in the 1955 and 1956 tournaments. His full name, in case you're wondering, is Grlenntys Chief Kickingstallionsims Jr.
18 -- Of the 65 teams in the 2009 field, 18 have previously won the NCAA championship. Those 18 teams account for 39 titles, with UCLA's 11 leading the way. Wisconsin, Utah and Oklahoma State have not won since the 1940s.
17 -- Kentucky saw its streak of 17 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances snapped on Sunday when the selection committee did not call its name. This will be the first time since 1991 that the Wildcats are not in the Big Dance. It was the fifth-longest streak of all-time and the third-longest active streak.
16 -- Since the field expanded in 1985, 12-seeds have advances to the Sweet 16 a total of 16 times, or one in every two tournaments. However, those 12-seeds are just 1-15 in the regional semifinals, with the lone win belonging to Missouri in 2002. Last year, both Villanova and Western Kentucky managed to win their first two games. Western Kentucky has a chance to do it again and become the first school to advance to the Sweet 16 twice as a 12-seed.
15 -- Connecticut is 15-2 when placed in the West Region, where the Huskies are the No. 1 seed this year. That is the best win percentage of all-time for a team in a single region.
14 -- Only two 14-seeds have ever advanced to the Sweet 16, the lowest seed to ever make it that far. Both schools are back in the field for 2009. In 1986, Cleveland State upset Indiana and Saint Joe's before losing to David Robinson and Navy. That was Cleveland State's only prior NCAA tournament appearance before this year. In 1997, Chattanooga upset Georgia and Illinois before God Shammgod and Providence got the better of them. That was the first year after the Terrell Owens era for Chattanooga basketball.
13 -- North Carolina is a 1-seed for the 13th time in school history. Since seeding began in 1979, no other school has more. Next on the list would be Duke with 10, though the Blue Devils haven't been a 1 since 2006. Connecticut is a 1-seed for a fifth time, putting the Huskies in a tie for fifth all-time. Louisville is a 1-seed for the second time (1983), while Pittsburgh is experiencing it for the first time.
12 -- Connecticut became the 12th school to have a No. 1 seed in both the men's and women's NCAA tournament in the same year. It's the third time the Huskies have done so (1996 and 1999). Duke and North Carolina have accomplished it four times each, while Purdue was the first to do it back in 1994. Interesting to note: In each of the previous instances, one of the teams always made it to the Final Four, but never both.
11 -- There have been 11 coaches who have led their alma mater to a national championship. They include Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, Gary Williams at Maryland and Roy Williams at North Carolina. Those three are among the nine coaches in the 2009 tournament who are at their alma mater. The best bets to be added to that list? Probably West Virginia's Bob Huggins or Purdue's Matt Painter.
10 -- Purdue, which will face Northern Iowa on Thursday, has won 10 consecutive first-round games, the longest active streak in the country. The Boilermakers' last first-round loss came in 1993 to Rhode Island. Last season, Kentucky had its streak of 17 straight first-round wins snapped by Marquette.
9 -- Temple has won nine NCAA Tournament games while seeded lower than its opponent, something that could come in handy this year as an 11-seed. The school with the most wins a lower seed? It should come as no surprise that Villanova has the most with 13. After all, the Wildcats won the 1985 title as an 8-seed. Villanova is a 3-seed this year, and won't face a higher seed until the Sweet 16 at the earliest.
8 -- Louisville, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest all have eight wins against teams seeded ninth or better in this year's tournament, the most of any teams in the field.
7 -- A pair of Big Ten coaches made some history this year. Michigan's John Beilein and Minnesota's Tubby Smith are now among seven coaches to have led four different schools to the NCAA tournament. Beilein has done so at Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia, and now with the Wolverines. Smith previously led Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky to the tournament. The other five coaches are Lefty Driesell, Jim Harrick, Lon Kruger, Rick Pitino and Eddie Sutton.
6 -- There are six coaches in the field of 65 who are in their first year at their respective schools: Arizona's Russ Pennell, California's Mike Montgomery, LSU's Trent Johnson, Marquette's Buzz Williams, Oklahoma State's Travis Ford and Western Kentucky's Ken McDonald.
5 -- Since the advent of major college basketball -- or what we now call Division I -- in 1947-48, many teams have come and some have left D-I. However, only five have been playing major college basketball that whole time and never made the NCAA tournament. Northwestern, Army, William & Mary, Saint Francis (NY) and The Citadel were all part of the original 160 teams in D-I, but they are now a collective 0-310 in trying to make the NCAA tournament.
4 -- There will be four teams making their first NCAA tournament appearance in 2009. Binghamton (eighth D-I season), Stephen F. Austin (23rd) and Morgan State (25th) have all been waiting their turn. North Dakota State, on the other hand, is in its first season in Division I.
3 -- UCLA has reached the Final Four in the last three tournaments, and is back in 2009 looking to make it four. Amazingly, Memphis is the only other team to have even made the Sweet 16 in each of the last three years. Only four teams have reached at least three straight Final Fours since the field expanded in 1985, the last before UCLA being Michigan State from 1999-01. If the Bruins get back there again this year, they will be the first to make it four years in a row since Duke went to five straight from 1988-92
2 -- In a number that seems hard to believe, there are only two current NBA players who have won both an NCAA and NBA title. Nazr Mohammed won two titles at Kentucky and later in the NBA with the Spurs. Richard Hamilton accomplished the feat at Connecticut and with the Pistons. Those two are among 34 players who have both titles, a list that ranges from Michael Jordan to Howie Dallmar. There are 36 active NBA players who won the NCAA championship, but don't have an NBA ring yet.
1 -- Dick Vitale had one NCAA tournament win in his coaching career. His Detroit team beat Middle Tennessee State 93-76 in the 1977 first round. That is one more win than 23 of the coaches in this year's field, 14 of whom are in the tournament for the first time.
Researchers Paul Kinney, Mike Lynch and Katie Sharp contributed to this report.