The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The East

We're going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament.

(1) Syracuse

Syracuse’s colors were originally pink and blue, but the class of 1890 changed it to orange. A member of that class explained the switch at his 50th reunion in 1940: "What kind of 'whoopee' can be made with pink and blue, the pale kind you use on babies' what-do-you-call-thems? It just couldn't be done!" (Note: The Syracuse University Archives say pink and blue. Student Affairs mentions a pink/pea green combo.)

(16) UNC-Asheville
The school's mascot was originally called Puck, after the character in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The bulldog was later known as Chug-a-Lug, and then Winston (for Winston Churchill's bulldog jowls). In 1995, the athletic department held a contest to name the dog, and the winning entry was "Rocky"—a tribute to Rocky Balboa.

(8) Kansas State
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s brother Milton was the president of Kansas State from 1943 to 1950.

(9) Southern Miss
In 1940, Southern Mississippi voted to change its name to “The Confederates,” though they changed it to “The Southerners” a year later. Their mascot was General Nat, named after Confederate leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. They adopted the current Golden Eagles name in 1972.
(5) Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt was endowed in 1873 when Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt donated $1 million to build a university in the South. His purpose was "to contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all of our common country."

(12) Harvard
Besides Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, other famous Harvard dropouts include Robert Frost, Matt Damon, William Randolph Hearst, and Pete Seeger.
(4) Wisconsin
The Onion was started in 1988 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by a pair of third-year undergraduates. The name may have derived from the fact that the founders were so poor, they resorted to eating onion sandwiches.

(13) Montana
Rolling Stone magazine declared that Montana had the “most scenic campus in America.”
(6) Cincinnati
Joseph Strauss fell in love with bridges while a student at Cincinnati. Years later, as the chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge, Strauss placed a brick from a demolished UC campus building inside the bridge’s south anchorage.

(11) Texas
Texas has its share of famous dropouts, too, including Michael Dell, David Geffen, Farrah Fawcett, and Janis Joplin.
(3) Florida State
If you feel drawn to Florida State when applying to colleges or filling out your bracket, there may be a scientific explanation. FSU is home of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory which houses the world’s most powerful magnets.

(14) St. Bonaventure
St. Bonaventure is named after—you guessed it—a Catholic saint named Bonaventure. Born John of Fidanza, Bonaventure got his new name when, as a sick child, Francis of Assisi prayed with his mother for healing, crying “O Buona Ventura!” (“Oh, good fortune!”) with regard to the child’s promising future.
(7) Gonzaga
Gonzaga awarded Bing Crosby an honorary degree in 1936. The singer and actor had studied law at the Spokane school before dropping out to pursue a music career.

(10) West Virginia
Students at West Virginia celebrate the university’s Appalachian heritage during “Mountaineer Week.” And since 1949, many have celebrated by participating in a beard-growing contest. The contest begins and ends with a group shave, the latter taking place in front of the panel of judges who then determine the winner.
(2) Ohio State
OSU’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library is “the largest and most comprehensive academic research facility documenting printed cartoon art.” The current holdings include more than 450,000 original cartoons and over 2.5 million comic strip clippings.

(15) Loyola Maryland
Loyola's alumni include Mark Bowden, who wrote Black Hawk Down, and Tom Clancy, author of The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears.

See Also...

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The West, The South

Your esteemed fact-finding crew: Jamie Spatola, Stacy Conradt, Ethan Trex, Colin Perkins, Scott Allen and Meg Evans. They'll be back with another region this afternoon.

Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in May

Netflix is making way for loads of laughs in its library in May, with a handful of original comedy specials (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Carol Burnett, Tig Notaro, and John Mulvaney will all be there), plus the long-awaited return of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Here’s every new movie, TV series, and special making its way to Netflix in May.


27: Gone Too Soon

A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana


Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1

Beautiful Girls


God's Own Country

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City

Mr. Woodcock

My Perfect Romance

Pocoyo & Cars

Pocoyo & The Space Circus

Queens of Comedy: Season 1

Reasonable Doubt

Red Dragon

Scream 2


Simon: Season 1

Sliding Doors


The Bourne Ultimatum

The Carter Effect

The Clapper

The Reaping

The Strange Name Movie

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Season 2




A Little Help with Carol Burnett


Busted!: Season 1

Dear White People: Volume 2

End Game

Forgive Us Our Debts

Kong: King of the Apes: Season 2


My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey

No Estoy Loca

The Rain: Season 1


Faces Places


The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale



Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives


Dirty Girl

MAY 11

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 3

Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Spirit Riding Free: Season 5

The Kissing Booth

The Who Was? Show: Season 1

MAY 13

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife

MAY 14

The Phantom of the Opera

MAY 15

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 4

Grand Designs: Seasons 13 - 14

Only God Forgives

The Game 365: Seasons 15 - 16

MAY 16


Mamma Mia!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The Kingdom


MAY 18


Catching Feelings

Inspector Gadget: Season 4

MAY 19

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7

Small Town Crime

MAY 20

Some Kind of Beautiful

MAY 21

Señora Acero: Season 4

MAY 22

Mob Psycho 100: Season 1

Shooter: Season 2

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 2

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here

MAY 23


MAY 24

Fauda: Season 2

Survivors Guide to Prison

MAY 25


Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life

The Toys That Made Us: Season 2

Trollhunters: Part 3

MAY 26

Sara's Notebook

MAY 27

The Break with Michelle Wolf

MAY 29

Disney·Pixar's Coco

MAY 30

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4

MAY 31

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Howard Stern

The First-Ever Troop of Homeless Girl Scouts Just Crushed Their Cookie Sales Goal

Selling 32,500 boxes of cookies in a single week would be noteworthy for any team of Girl Scouts, but it's an especially sweet achievement for Troop 6000: The New York City-based chapter is the first-ever Girl Scout troop composed entirely of children living in homeless shelters.

According to NBC News, this season marked the first time the troop took part in the organization's annual cookie sale tradition. In early April, they received exclusive permission to set up shop inside the Kellogg's Café in Union Square. They kicked off their inaugural stand sale aiming to sell at least 6000 boxes of cookies: At the end of six days, they had sold more than 32,500.

Some customers waited in line an hour to purchase boxes from the history-making young women. Others gave their money directly to the troop, collectively donating over $15,000 to fund trips and activities. After purchasing their cookies, customers could also buy special Girl Scout cookie-inspired menu items from the Kellogg's store, with all proceeds going to Troop 6000.

The troop formed in 2016 as a collaboration between the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Mayor de Blasio, and the city Department of Homeless Services. Meetings are held in shelters across the city, and many of the troop leaders, often mothers of the scouts, are homeless women themselves. About 40 percent of New York's homeless population are children, and Troop 6000 had to expand last summer to accommodate a flood of new recruits. Today, there are about 300 girls enrolled in the program.

[h/t NBC News]


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