There is always a magic surrounding the NCAA tournament, filling out brackets, rooting for upsets, cheering Cinderellas. But how about March’s math? In honor of the 64-team field (68 still doesn’t feel right), here’s the best numbers of March’s Madness.
64: Teams invited to the ’85 tournament, the first time the field was expanded to that size.
63: Years in between Holy Cross’ NCAA tourney wins after Wednesday’s victory over Southern.
62: Points scored in the second half by Ole Miss last year, to rally from a 17-point deficit and beat BYU in the First Four.
61: Austin Carr’s record total of points scored in ’70 against Ohio, still a tourney record.
60: Points scored by Kansas in the ’08 title game before Mario Chalmers’ Miracle three with 2.1 seconds left, which sent the game to OT. The Jayhawks would prevail there.
59: Year (1959) Jerry West won the Most Outstanding Player award despite losing in the championship game to Cal, after scoring 160 points in the tourney.
58: Points scored by 15-seed Hampton in one of the biggest upsets in tourney history, defeating 2-seed Iowa State 58-57.
57: Total points scored by UCLA’s Bill Walton, perhaps the greatest college player ever, in the ’72 tournament to go along with 41 rebounds.
56: Points scored by Danny Manning in the ’88 Final Four, winning MOP and leading Kansas’ Danny and the Miracles to the title.
55: Seasons of Cleveland State basketball before the Vikings miraculous run to the Sweet 16 in ’86 as a 14-seed.
54: Total points scored by Most Outstanding Player Carmelo Anthony in the ’03 Final Four in wins over Texas and Kansas.
53: Total points scored by Magic Johnson in the ’79 Final Four, earning him MOP and leading Michigan State to the title.
52: Austin Carr’s point-total in Notre Dame’s second game in ’70 vs. Kentucky, following up his 61 performance.
51: Age of Rollie Massimino when his 8-seed Villanova Wildcats improbably won its first championship in ’85.
50: Rebounds in the ’56 Final Four by Bill Russell en route to a championship, a record total.
49: Points scored by Larry Bird in his final home game for Indiana State, before marching through the postseason and into the title game.
48: Millions of dollars CBS paid to broadcast the NCAA tournament in its first deal after the birth of modern March Madness with Magic vs. Bird in ’79. That tripled the previous deal.
47: Tournament appearances by UCLA, which is second all-time to Kentucky’s 54.
46: Points scored by Dave Corzine in DePaul’s double-overtime win over Louisville in the ’78 Sweet 16.
45: Minutes of Hell defending champion Arkansas needed to play in back-to-back games of the ’95 tourney. The Hogs outlasted Syracuse and Memphis in overtime to advance to the Elite 8 before losing in the title game to UCLA.
44: Seconds left on the clock when Jim Valvano called a timeout in the ’83 championship game, setting up the most famous play in title game history.
43: Three-pointers attempted by St. Joe’s vs. Boston College in ’97, an NCAA tourney record.
42: Coaching wins by Louisville’s Denny Crum in the NCAA tourney, including two national titles.
41: Sweet 16 appearances by Kentucky, an all-time record.
40: Points Steph Curry lobbed in vs. Gonzaga in the first round of Davidson’s magical ’08 run to the Elite 8.
39: The year (1939) the term “March Madness” was first used by the NCAA in its first postseason tournament.
38: Rebounds grabbed by Lew Alcindor, an NCAA legend, in the ’67 tourney, earning him MOP.
37: Points scored by Georgetown in its first game, a 37-36 win over SMU, of the ’84 tourney. This was the Hoyas only national championship.
36: Points scored by freshman Pervis Ellison in the ’86 Final Four, leading Louisville to the title and earning him the nickname “Never Nervous Pervis.”
35: Million people who watched the ’79 duel between Bird and Magic, still a record rating for the NCAA final.
34: Points scored by Jimmer Fredette in a Round of 32 win over Gonzaga, pushing Jimmer-Mania and BYU into the ’11 Sweet 16.
33: Jersey number of Larry Bird in ’79 (and throughout his NBA career) when he led Indiana State to an incredible berth in the championship game.
32: “Round of 32” has been used to describe the tournament’s second set of games after the NCAA tried to officially rename it the “third-round” in ’11 with the advent of the First Four. It has since gone back to the “second-round.”
31: Average victories per season for Geno Auriemma at UConn over his three decades there, including 10 national championships.
30: Margin of victory by UNLV over Duke in the ’91 championship game, stamping the Runnin’ Rebs their place in college basketball lore.
29: Distance in feet of the dramatic three-pointer Vermont hero T.J. Sorrentine heaved to beat Syracuse in one of the most stunning upsets in memory. Or as Gus Johnson would say, “From the parking lot!”
28: Shot attempts by Villanova in the ’85 title game, 22 were made. It’s a record shooting percentage (78.6%).
27: Scoring average (27.8) of Fennis Dembo in the ’87 tourney, leading to his famous SI cover dressed as a Wyoming cowboy.
26: Average games started in the ’91-’92 season by Michigan’s Fab Five freshman. They reached the championship game but lost to Duke.
24: Jersey number of Bryce Drew when he hit Valpo’s three-point buzzer beater to become the face of Cinderella
23: Number retired by North Carolina, in honor of Michael Jordan, who hit the game winning shot of the ’82 National Championship.
22: Percentage increase in vasectomies delivered by a Cape Cod clinic while giving away free pizza and suggesting scheduling it around the NCAA tournament.
21: Feet away from the basket (approximately) Michael Lee’s game-tying three-pointer was released from before Hakim Warrick swatted it to secure Syracuse’s first national championship in ’03.
20: Percentage of Americans who join office pools for their NCAA brackets.
19: Losses by UConn in Jim Calhoun’s first season as head coach (’86-’87) before building a program where he won three national championships.
18: Record number of assists dished out by UNLV’s Mark Wade in ’87.
17: Seconds left in ’82 title game when Michael Jordan took his famed final shot to win it.
16: Seconds left in the ’93 title game when Chris Webber got away with an uncalled travel, which set up his ill-fated timeout.
15: Seed of Richmond in its opening round upset of Syracuse in ’91, the first time a 15-seed had ever won.
14: Seed of Georgia State in its shocking upset of Baylor in ’15, sending coach Ron Hunter flying off his sideline stool.
13: Seed of David Robinson’s Navy team that destroyed 4-seed LSU 78-55 in ’85, the largest margin of victory ever by a 13-seed.
12: National title game appearances for Kentucky and UCLA, the all-time record.
11: Billion dollars the current TV deal costs CBS and Turner over 14 years to broadcast every game of the tourney.
10: National championships won by UCLA and John Wooden in a 12-year span from ’64 to ’75.
9: Seed of Cinderella Wichita State in its ’13 run to the Final Four.
8: Seed of Miracle Villanova in ’85 becoming (and still is) the lowest seed ever to win the national title.
7: Final Four appearances for Tom Izzo since ’99, which is fairly insane. He reaches the Final Four every 2.28 seasons.
6: Points Rhode Island led Stanford by late in the ’98 Elite 8, but the Cardinal roared back to win. It’s the closest the Rams have ever come to the Final Four, and one of the most unpredictable runs in the tourney.
5: National Championships for Coach K, which means since his first in ’91, Duke averages one title every five seasons. No wonder people hate them.
4: Players selected in the first round from Kentucky’s 2012 national championship team. Three of those were one-and-done’s, proving you could win a title with a core of players only on campus for one season.
3: Tenths of a second remaining as Christian Laettner’s turn-around left his hand, as Duke stunned Kentucky in ’92 as the greatest moment in tourney history.
2: Consecutive national championship games Butler advanced to in ’10 and ’11, coming out of the Horizon League. Still hard to fathom that happened.
1: The odds in 9.2 quintillion that you can fill out the perfect bracket. Which is still what makes this month so great.
D.A. hosts 6-10pm ET on the CBS Sports Radio Network. He has hosted The D.A. Show (aka “The Mothership”) in Boston, Miami, Kansas City and Ft. Myers, FL. You can often catch him on the NFL Network’s series “Top 10.” D.A. graduated from Syracuse University in ’01, and began looking for ways to make a sports radio show into a quirky 1970’s sci-fi television series. Follow D.A. on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page. D.A. lives in NYC, and is a native of Warwick, NY.