March Madness by the numbers

The NCAA College Basketball Championship will begin Sunday, March 15 with Selection Sunday and continue on to the championship game April 6. For all those cooped up preparing their brackets for the annual tournament, The Times has gathered a collection of March Madness facts and figures to break out during those commercial breaks.

1939: The first NCAA college basketball championship was held with only eight schools participating. Today, 68 schools participate in the championship games.


16: The term "Sweet Sixteen" is legally owned by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, which licenses the term to the NCAA each year for the tournament.

1962: The first year the NCAA Championship Game was televised. The game was aired the next day as part of ABC's "Wide World of Sports." In 1969, they began airing the games live for the first time.


4: Number of television stations that currently carry NCAA tournament games, CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV.

11: Number of titles held by UCLA, the most of any team in the tournament.

10: Number of championships by coach John Wooden of UCLA.

35: Number of schools that have won championships in the 76-year history.

64: Number of years between Harvard's first appearance in 1946 and second appearance in the tournament in 2012, the longest gap between tournament appearances.

5: Number of schools that have never appeared in the tournament despite being present from the beginning of the competition.

1971: The Houston Astrodome hosts the final four, the first time the games were held in a domed stadium.

1959: Louisville Cardinals played a Final Four game on their home court, the only time this has ever happened. They still lost to West Virginia.


2: Number of stadiums banned from hosting tournament games based on South Carolina's refusal to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the statehouse. The Colonial Life Arena was built expressly to host the tournament.

$500 million: The amount of revenue for the NCAA from the annual CBS broadcasting of games. This money makes up more than 90 percent of their annual revenue.

1999: DirecTV begins offering the Mega March Madness premium package broadcasting all games in the tournament. The price was $39 for the tournament package, which provided 34 out of market broadcasts from the first three rounds of the tournament. Individual games could be purchased for $14.95 each.

7: Number of undefeated teams going into the championship that went on to win the tournament.

5: Number of coaches that have led the Kentucky Wildcats to a championship, the most of any team.

30: Largest margin of victory in a championship game as University of Nevada, Las Vegas beat Duke 103 to 73 in 1990.


1957: The championship game went into double and then triple overtime as North Carolina and Kansas faced off. The North Carolina Tar Heels won on two free throws.

6: Number of championship games decided by a single point.

6: Number of consecutive Final Four matchups held at Madison Square Garden in New York City from 1943 to 1948. Following the 1948 tournament, no venue would hold the Final Four more than two years in a row.

1939: First printed use of the phrase March Madness to describe Illinois High School Basketball by H.V. Porter. It wasn't until the 1980s when the term began to refer to the NCAA tournament.

112: A number 16 seed has never beaten a number one seed in the opening of the tournament in any of the 112 instances of this match-up. The early games are structured so that the best teams of the season play the worst.

March Madness Gambling


1 in 9.2 quintillion: According to mathematics professor Jeff Bergen at DePaul University, these are the odds of fulfilling a completely accurate March Madness bracket based on completely random guesses. Knowledge of basketball can help raise the odds to 1 in 128 billion.

50 percent: Percentage of bosses who feel company March Madness activities have a positive effect on employee morale according to an OfficeTeam survey. In the same survey, 15 percent said they felt March Madness would have a negative effect on employee productivity.

$3 billion: Amount of money it is estimated workers put into March Madness office pools.

50 million: Number of Americans expected to participate in office pools according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. If each participant spent an hour working on their bracket, at an average hourly wage of $24.31, then the U.S. would lose $1,215,500,000 in worker productivity.

32: Number of players who accepted bribes from gamblers between 1947 and 1950 to fix the point spreads of games.

4: Number of states where sports betting is legal, Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. According to the American Gaming Association, the illegal market for sports gambling is 38 times greater than the legal one.


Reach staff writer Jacob deNobel at 410-857-7890 or