Need help filling out your bracket? If you don’t want to heed actual wisdom, then perhaps these fun facts will inspire you when you get stuck in certain matchups.
Easter egg: one team is out of alphabetical order. First one to find it and comment wins!
Alabama: The nickname Crimson Tide originated during a particularly mucky football game, where it looked like the players were running in a sea of red mud.
Arizona: Revenge of the Nerds (1984) was shot at the University of Arizona. The Alpha Beta “jock” fraternity is based on the Phi Delta Theta Frat house.
Arizona State: Arizona State is reputed to be the most-haunted campus in the United States, and it has been subject to many different paranormal investigations. It also has some of the lowest admissions requirements among March Madness schools. It’s unclear if the two are related.
Arkansas: In one of strangest traditions in college sports, University of Arkansas students “Call the Hog” as a rallying cry for their sports team.
Auburn: Charles Barkley, the greatest player in Auburn history, declared he would run for Governor of Alabama in 2008. He has yet to do so.
Bucknell: Bucknell has 25 varsity sports teams, and none have ever won a Division I national championship.
Buffalo: The official name of the school is the “University at Buffalo,” even though the school is actually located in Amherst, a Buffalo suburb with a population of 122,000.
Butler: Butler University admitted women and African Americans on equal footing as white males in 1855, which was unprecedented for the time period.
Cal State, Fullerton: Fullerton is a lot better known for its baseball team than its basketball team. The school has won four College World Series, even though it was only founded in 1957.
Cincinnati: Alumnus William Howard Taft is the only person to ever serve both as US President and Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.
Clemson: Clemson was a military school until 1955. In 1917, the entire senior class of Clemson enlisted in World War I.
College of Charleston: The varsity teams at the school were nicknamed the Maroons until 1971, when the name was changed to “Cougars.” Ostensibly, the name honors a cougar in a nearby zoo, but rumor has it they were tired of being insulted by Bugs Bunny.
Creighton: Creighton’s campus proudly boasts a six-foot statue of Chef Boyardee.
Davidson: Every year, Davidson hosts a “cake race,” where freshman compete in a 1.7 mile race for homemade cakes donated by the Davidson community. Also, Steph Curry went here!
Duke: Coach Mike Krzyzewski has been with the team for over 35 years (1980), the second-longest tenure in the country, behind only Jim Boeheim at Syracuse (1976).
Florida: Gatorade was invented in 1965 at the University of Florida. There have been zero dehydration-induced deaths at the school since then, according to our very minimal internet research.
Florida State: In the late 60s and 70s, FSU was nicknamed “Berkeley of the South” due to the preponderance of radical activity within its student body.
Georgia State: In 2015, the Panthers pulled off one of the biggest upsets in March Madness history when RJ Hunter sank a buzzer-beater that simultaneously knocked third-seeded Baylor out of the tournament and his dad/coach, Ron, out of his chair.
Gonzaga: The “Zags” have won nine straight first-round games, but last year was the first time they reached the Final Four.
Houston: Between 1947 and 1989, the University of Houston used five different live cougars as Mascots. They abandoned this practice after the last cougar, Shasta V, died in 1989.
Iona: “American Pie” singer Don McLean graduated from Iona College with a degree in Culinary Arts & Symbolism. I mean Business Administration.
Kansas: The Jayhawks have qualified for March Madness 29 straight seasons, the longest streak ever.
Kansas State: The Kansas State Wildcats play in the Bramlage Coliseum, which is less than one mile away from a fully functional nuclear reactor.
Kentucky: The 2010 Kentucky team was nicknamed “The Draft Cats” after they set an NCAA record with five players selected in the first round of the NBA draft: John Wall (1st), DeMarcus Cousins (5th), Patrick Patterson (14th), Eric Bledsoe (18th), and Daniel Orton (29th).
Lipscomb: Lipscomb has never lost an NCAA Tournament game. Lipscomb has also never won an NCAA Tournament game. This is Lipscomb’s first NCAA Tournament.
LIU Brooklyn: We saved LIU Brooklyn to the end, and that was a mistake, because they’re already out of the tournament after losing to Radford in the First Four on Tuesday.
Loyola-Chicago: In 1961, Loyola was the first school to dress more than three African American players in one game. This broke the unspoken, racist norm that dominated college basketball, and broke new ground for equality and acceptance of diversity within all college sports.
Marshall: Marshall University, mostly of We Are Marshall fame, is located in West Virginia. (Seriously, did you know that? None of us knew that.)
Miami: From 1961 to 1968, the University of Miami leased several buildings on its South Campus to the CIA so it could wage covert operations on Fidel Castro’s Cuba more effectively.
Michigan State: Michigan has had 60 total NBA draft picks, with 19 selections in the first round, six selections in the top ten, and one first-overall selection (Magic Johnson).
Missouri: Missouri’s mascot, Truman the Tiger, has been awarded best mascot in the nation many times, most recently in 2014.
Montana: The University of Montana used live bears as mascots for their athletic teams from 1897 to 1960. The bears were housed in a cage located on campus.
Murray State: USA Today ranked Murray, KY, as the #1 friendliest small town in the entire United States.
New Mexico State: The first atomic bomb was detonated a short distance from New Mexico State, all the way back in 1945.
Nevada: Lightning rod (ex-)NFLer Colin Kaepernick played football for Nevada and became the only player to ever record 10,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards. He was also selected by the Cubs in the 43rd round of the 2009 MLB draft.
North Carolina: UNC is the oldest public university in the US (oh, and the reigning March Madness champions).
North Carolina Central: NC Central is by far the lowest-ranked team in the tournament on KenPom, the college basketball world’s most authoritative measure of team strength, sitting 309th out of 351 Division I programs.
North Carolina State: In 1947, the NC State football team brought a live timberwolf to a football game to mingle amongst the crowd. The experiment didn’t end well, as the timberwolf was sold to a travelling circus after it terrorized the crowd.
Ohio State: OSU has a multibillion-dollar endowment, named the Student Investment Management Program. Upper-level finance students manage a $20 million fund, which frequently outperforms both the S&P 500 and the university’s own professional fund managers.
Oklahoma: The Gallagher-Iba Arena, where Oklahoma state plays, is nicknamed “Madison Square Garden of the Plains.”
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania only accepts 9% of applicants, making it the hardest to get into of the schools in the tournament.
Providence: Providence College ranks #1 in The Princeton Review’s “Lots of Hard Liquor” category for American higher educational institutions.
Purdue: Orville Redenbacher, founder of the eponymous popcorn brand, graduated from Purdue in 1928 with a degree in Agronomy.
Radford: The Highlander’s (Radford’s Mascot) favorite movie is Braveheart, and his favorite play is Macbeth. The Highlander is an homage to the Scottish-Irish heritage of Southwest Virginia.
Rhode Island: Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn graduated from URI in 1981. The university is 4,546 miles from Moscow.
San Diego State: Julie Kavner, the voice of Marge Simpson, studied drama at San Diego State, graduating in 1971.
Seton Hall: The Pirates share the Prudential Center with the New Jersey Devils, making them one of two college basketball teams to share a stadium with a professional sports team (along with Villanova, which has been sharing the Wells Fargo Center with the Philadelphia 76ers during renovations on the Pavillion).
South Dakota State: The Dairy Science Department at South Dakota State invented cookies and cream ice cream. They say, “you’re welcome.”
Stephen F. Austin: Stephen F. Austin, the school’s namesake, is known as the “Father of Texas.” He was the empresario who led the first successful colonization of the territory in 1825.
St. Bonaventure: Boasting one of the best journalism programs in the world, six St. Bonaventure alumni have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize.
Syracuse: The school originally chose orange for its team color because of the “historical affinity that once existed between the Colony of New York and the House of Orange.”
TCU: The Texas horned lizard (the basis of TCU’s Horned Frogs nickname) squirts blood out of its eyes as a defense mechanism. The basketball team gives up 75.9 points per game (270th overall) and employs no such defense mechanisms.
Tennessee: The “Volunteers” are named after the massive number of Tennessee residents who volunteered to fight in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War. This nickname was first used in 1902.
Texas: Best Actor Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey is a Texas alum and will be cheering for the Longhorns this March. Alright, alright, alright.
Texas A&M: Johnny Manziel’s notoriety began at Texas A&M, where he won the Heisman Trophy before being drafted by the Browns.
Texas Southern: Texas Southern is one of just two Historically Black Colleges/Universities in the 2018 tournament, and they play the other one (NC Central) in the First Four on Wednesday.
Texas Tech: Bobby Knight coached Texas Tech from 2001-2008. As far as we know, he did not choke anyone during his seven-year tenure.
UCLA: The Bruins have won the most NCAA basketball national championships ever (11), but none since 1995.
UMBC: The UMBC team ranks first in the country in “Luck,” which, in essence, means that they are not nearly as good as their 24-10 win-loss record would suggest.
UNC Greensboro: The school started life as the “North Carolina State Normal and Industrial School.” A “normal school” is the old name for a teacher’s college.
Villanova: Villanova’s Alumni Hall, which was used as a military hospital in the Civil War, is rumored to be (read: definitely is) haunted.
Virginia: UVA scored 39 points when they lost to Florida in the Round of 32 last year, the lowest total in the entire tournament. Also Dr. Seuss’ Whoville is rumored to be a pun on the UVA’s nickname, “Wahoos.”
Virginia Tech: Every year, the Cadets and the Civilian sectors of the Virginia Tech student body split up and have a campus-wide snowball fight.
West Virginia: The legendary pitchman Billy Mays, who passed away in 2009, was a linebacker for the Mountaineers football team.
Wichita State: The Wichita State Mascot, the WuShock, is one of the most distinctive mascots in college basketball. The manager of Wichita’s football team in 1904 selected the name because most of the players spent the off-season harvesting, or “shocking” wheat in the fields surrounding Wichita State.
Wright State: The sports teams at Wright State are known as the Raiders. The logo for Wright State is, inexplicably, a wolf.
Xavier: This is the first year Xavier has ever been a #1 seed and the school has never reached the Final Four, despite qualifying for the tournament 27 previous times.