With the tournament now -- if you can believe it -- actually less than 30 hours away, I wanted to give you a treasury of stats and facts about this year's field. In reality, you could fill out a post like this from here to infinity, so I had to stop somewhere. But if you want a little extra nudge or reason to pick (or not pick) a team as you fill out your bracket (or five), then use this info as you wish. Thanks to all who alerted or tipped me off to certain nuggets below. Here goes.
-- This is the 75th NCAA tournament. There have been 35 programs who've won it all, the first was Oregon and the most recent was Kentucky. The highest-seeded team this year without a national title (aside from Gonzaga, of course) is Miami, a No. 2.
-- Most wins entering this year's tournament: Gonzaga (31).
-- Most losses: Liberty (20), only the second team in NCAA history to reach the Big Bracket with 20 Ls.
-- Longest winning streak entering the tourney: Davidson (17).
-- Highest-scoring team in the field: Northwestern State (81 points per game).
-- Lowest-scoring team in the field: North Carolina A&T (62.2 points per game).
-- Fastest team: Northwestern State (73.5 possessions per game).
-- Slowest team: Pittsburgh (60.2 possessions per game)
-- Best free-throw shooting team: Davidson (80.1)
-- Worst free-throw shooting team: Wisconsin (63.3).
-- Best 3-point shooting team: Creighton (42.1)
-- Worst 3-point shooting team: Marquette (30.1)
-- Most efficient offenses, adjusted points scored per 100 possessions:
-- Most efficient defenses, adjusted points allowed per 100 possessions:
-- Best scorer in the tourney: Creighton's Doug McDermott (23.1).
-- Coaches in tournament with 110 wins or more since Shaka Smart was hired at VCU in 2009: Bill Self, Mike Krzyzewski, Thad Matta, Jim Boeheim -- and Smart.
-- Nine coaches in this field have won a combined 14 national titles.
-- States shut out of the NCAAs: Texas (first time since 1977), Utah (first time since '94), Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, West Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey.
-- "The last time that Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama all missed the NCAA tournament was 1974." (H/T, @ESPN).
-- It's the first time the First Four hasn't featured a team from a Power Six conference.
-- Coaches with top-four seeds who've never made a Final Four:
- Mark Few (Gonzaga)
- Steve Alford (New Mexico)
- Buzz Williams (Marquette)
- Jim Crews (Saint Louis)
- John Beilein (Michigan)
-- Fifteen years after he did this, Bryce Drew returns to the NCAA tournament, this time coaching his alma mater.
-- Lon Kruger made history by becoming the first coach to bring five schools to The Dance. He's done it with K-State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and now Oklahoma.
-- Longest tourney streak that just ended: Texas (14).
-- Kentucky is the fifth team since the field went to 64 to fail to make the tourney after winning it all the previous year. Via Elias, UK is the first team since Louisville in 1986-87 to not make the tourney after being ranked top-three in the preseason.
-- Team in the field with most tourney appearances without a Final Four: Missouri (24).
-- This is North Carolina A&T's 10th appearance. They have the most NCAA bids of any school without a Big Dance win.
-- The NCAA has distinguished the No. 1 overall seed since 2004. Only Florida in 2007 and Kentucky in 2012 have won the title while carrying the crown. Louisville is the No. 1 overall this year.
-- Jim Larranaga and Miami are in the East region. If the Hurricanes make the regionals, they'll play in the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., where Larranaga won the region to get to a Final Four with George Mason in 2006.
-- Similarly, also in 2006, Albany was a No. 16 playing in Philadelphia, when it almost beat UConn -- which was eventually felled by George Mason. This year, Albany is back, but as a 15 -- and playing in Philly against Duke.
-- Multiple-bid conference rundown (H/T, CBT):
Big East: Eight
Big Ten: Seven
Atlantic 10: Five (tied for most in league history)
Mountain West: Five
Missouri Valley: Two
Sun Belt: Two
-- Highest RPI for at-large team: California (53).
-- Lowest RPI for a team that didn't make it: Southern Miss (34).
-- Miami is not the oldest team in this tournament. Valparaiso is, with 2.72 years of experience according to KenPom.com. But like Miami, Valpo has 0.0 years of NCAA tournament experience with this group.
-- Ten coaches in the South Regional have made a Final Four. (H/T, @ESPN)
-- Fifty-two of the 68 schools are Nike schools. Adidas has 13 and Under Armour has three (Temple, La Salle, South Dakota State). If you want the list of all the Nike schools, click here. (H/T, @chrislittmann)
-- Gonzaga has not been to the Elite Eight since 1999, its only trip to the regional finals.
-- Gonzaga is the fifth team from a nonmajor conference to earn a No. 1 seed since UNLV. No such team has ever won a title as a No. 1. Memphis in '08 came the closest.
-- Florida Gulf Coast is the only first-timer.
-- Picking 13s over 4s is the new 12s over 5s; a 13/4 upset has happened the past five years.
-- UNC has never received worse than an eight seed, and the last time it did, it made the Final Four (2000).
-- Since making the Final Four in 2007, Georgetown has been to four NCAA tournaments and gone 2-4, losing to two 11 seeds, a 14 seed and a 10 seed. The second-seeded Hoyas play No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast, which beat Miami -- also a two seed -- earlier this season. (H/T, @HorowitzJason)
-- Duke has never made the Final Four in the past 17 seasons without being a No. 1 seed. This year it is a No. 2.
-- More proof that the Midwest is by far the toughest region. Seven of its teams are in the top 20 on KenPom.com. (H/T, @AndyGlockner)
-- When playing on Saturday or Sunday in the NCAA tournament's first two weekends, Tom Izzo is 17-3. (HT, @D1scourse)
-- No. 1 seeds have more national titles (19) than the rest of the seeds combined (15). (HT, CBB Nation)
-- Ten of the past 15 national champions have come from teams that won a major-conference tournament.
-- The most notorious stat of this bracket: Florida is 0-6 in games decided by single-digits.
-- Most remarkable Saint Louis stat to me: The Billikens have lost once in regulation since Nov. 29. Once.
-- For the 13th straight season, Bill Self coached his way into the NCAAs with a No. 4 seed or better.
-- Colorado is playing in its first back-to-back NCAA tournaments since 1962-63. (H/T, @HorowitzJason)
-- No tournament team made a bigger leap in preseason KenPom.com rankings than No. 14, Northwestern State, which ends the season 122 spots north of where it was in October.
-- Virginia was the highest ranked team by KenPom.com to not make the tournament (27). Lowest: Liberty at 251. (H/T, @JamesonFleming)
-- One last Pomeroy note. If you're still filling out your brackets, take it under consideration. This is in regard to making it to the Final Four.
Teams with the easiest draws (according to their Pomeroy strength): 1) Miami, 2) Kansas, 3) New Mexico, 4) Syracuse, 5) Georgetown— Nathan Walker (@bbstats) March 18, 2013
Teams with the hardest draws (according to their Pomeroy strength): 1) Pittsburgh, 2) St. Mary's, 3) Colorado St., 4) Missouri, 5) MTSU— Nathan Walker (@bbstats) March 18, 2013
For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the thrice-a-week podcast on iTunes. You can follow Matt Norlander on Twitter here: @MattNorlander.