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March Madness 2021: Fun facts to get ready for tournament tip-off

March Madness is back after the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the tournament in 2020. Here are some moments in basketball history that will continue to live on.

Without an NCAA men’s basketball tournament in 2020, it will be a historic moment when the 68 teams with championship dreams take the court this March. 

While the coronavirus pandemic will still alter the way March Madness looks this year, there are still some moments in basketball history that will continue to live on.

March Madness, as the tournament is called, is a competition between some of the best teams in NCAA Division I level basketball. Played in a single-elimination bracket form, the competition often spurs betting pools with winners trying to best predict who will make it to the Final Four and win the championship.

How is it working with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic?

The tournament was cancelled last year, for the first time in 81 years, due to the coronavirus pandemic. March Madness is back in 2021 but with new provisions to limit the spread of the virus.

For the first time ever, the tournament will be held in one state: Indiana. Most of the tournament’s 67 games will be played in Indianapolis, with some games played in West Lafayette and Bloomington.

According to the NCAA, to maintain distance, teams will live on assigned hotel floors with distanced meeting and dining room spaces. Secure transportation for teams will also be provided.

When did March Madness start?

March Madness began 82 years ago and has been held every year, except for the 2019-2020 season. Back in 1939, the Oregon Ducks were victorious against only eight teams. The tournament kept expanding until 1985 when the 64-team tournament format was established. More teams were added in the 2000s to bring a total of 68 teams to the tournament.  

History behind March Madness name

The phrase was traced back to Illinois high school official Henry V. Porter who used the phrase in 1939, according to the NCAA. However, the name didn’t make it to the tournament until CBS broadcaster and former Chicago sportswriter Brent Musburger used the phrase during coverage of the 1982 tournament.

RELATED: March Madness 2021: Download printable brackets

RELATED: NCAA to play all 67 March Madness games in Indiana

Highest Paid NCAA coach

While NCAA athletes remain unpaid, the head coaches’ salaries make up for it with their hefty salaries. According to USA Today Sports, University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari made $8,158,000, more than any other NCAA basketball head coach, in 2020. Following Calipari, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Mick Cronin of UCLA make $7,256,924 and $5,500,00, respectively. Rounding out the top five: Tennessee’s Rick Barnes making $4.7 million and Texas Tech’s Chris Beard making $4.4 million

Perfect Bracket chances

For many, making a solid bracket may lead you to some cash or some serious bragging rights among friends or family. But for any experienced bracket maker, they know some luck is involved too.

Although, picking the perfect bracket is nearly impossible. 

According to the NCAA, the chances of having a perfect bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (9 quintillion) if you guess or flip a coin. For those who know a bit more about basketball your chances increase to 1 in 120.2 billion.

In previous years, billionaire Warren Buffet has offered $1 billion to anyone who has had a perfect bracket, no one claimed the prize when he offered it in 2014. He even offered $1 million a year to any of his employees who correctly predicted which teams made it into the Sweet 16 of the men’s tournament. However, no one could even guess that.

Biggest upset in history

In 2018, 16-seed University of Maryland – Baltimore County upset 1-seed Virginia with a 74-54 win. It was the first time in tournament history that a 16-seed beat a 1-seed. It instantly became one of the greatest upsets in March Madness history. 

Just one year later, Virginia would beat Texas Tech in Overtime to win the 2019 NCAA championship. 

NCAA Tournament appearances and wins

The University of Kentucky has appeared 58 times in the tournament and has had 129 NCAA tournament game wins. The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill follows Kentucky in both categories with 50 tournament appearances and 126 tournament wins.

Kentucky only falls behind the University of California – Los Angeles for the number of NCAA champion wins. UCLA has 11 championship wins compared to Kentucky’s eight wins.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this, March 20, 2019, file photo, a basketball with March Madness 2019 logo sits in a rack before Michigan's practice at the NCAA college basketball tournament in Des Moines, Iowa.