The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The Midwest
We're going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament. Last up, the Midwest!
(1) North Carolina
Yearning to learn more about your kidneys? Head to the University of North Carolina’s Carl W. Gottschalk Collection. The 12,400-item collection houses legendary medical professor Gottschalk’s passion: historical items related to the study of kidneys. Gottschalk’s medical research focused on the kidneys, and throughout his life he managed to collect texts, engravings, woodcuts, and other relics on the subject that dated back to the 16th century.
Vermont shares an uncommon nickname with Western Carolina University — the Catamounts. Another name for a wild cat, the catamount is the state animal and appears on the back of the 1927 Vermont commemorative half-dollar.
The Creightones are a men's a cappella group at Creighton.
In 2010, an Alabama staffer was fired for playing “Take the Money and Run” on the football stadium PA system while Cam Newton and Auburn warmed up.
You know who met while attending Temple? Hall and Oates.
(12) South Florida
South Florida was the southernmost public university in the state when it was founded in 1956. Some of the other proposed names for the school included Citrus State University, Sunshine State University, and the University of the Western Hemisphere.
All three crew members aboard the 1971 Apollo 15 mission to the moon had ties to the University of Michigan. They left a charter for a U of M Alumni Association branch on the lunar surface.
Ohio University has appeared on the Princeton Review’s list of the nation’s top party school 12 times since 1997 – including #1 on the most recent edition.
(6) San Diego State
San Diego State established the first Women’s Studies department in the United States in 1970. The department granted its first degrees in the mid-1980s.
(11) North Carolina State
In North Carolina State’s “Krispy Kreme Challenge,” students meet at the Bell Tower on campus, run 2.5 miles to the Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back to the Bell Tower. This feat must be accomplished in one hour.
Georgetown is the setting of St. Elmo’s Fire, but the on-campus scenes of the 1985 Brat Pack film were filmed at the University of Maryland. Georgetown administrators reportedly wouldn’t allow Joel Schumacher to shoot on campus because they didn’t condone premarital sex. It should be noted that The Exorcist was shot in Georgetown in 1973.
Belmont is located in Nashville. The university owns and operates its own recording studios, which are used both by students and for profit. One, the well-known Ocean Way Nashville, has been utilized by artists that range (alphabetically and style-wise) from Alan Jackson to Yo-Yo Ma.
(7) St. Mary's
In 1959, 22 students stuffed themselves in a phone booth and were featured in LIFE magazine. According to the school's director of media relations, the photo "evolved from a late 1950s international fad of telephone booth stuffings on college campuses."
Purdue would dominate a basketball game played on the moon. Twenty-two Purdue graduates, including Neil Armstrong, have been selected for space travel, and Purdue alumni have flown on nearly 40 percent of all human U.S. space flights.
Though Dr. James Naismith invented basketball, he’s the only KU basketball coach in history with a losing record.
The University of Detroit-Mercy purchased a historic Detroit firehouse as a facility to hold free legal clinics.
(Eliminated in Round One) California
Cal boasts many famous alumni, including cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who graduated with a College of Mining degree in 1904. Goldberg designed sewers in San Francisco and worked as a sports cartoonist at the San Francisco Examiner before moving to New York in 1907.
(Eliminated in Round One) Lamar
Lamar originated as South Park Junior College in 1923. South Park graduate Otho Plummer won a contest to rename the school in 1932. His winning suggestion honored Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second president of the Republic of Texas.
Your esteemed fact-finding crew: Jamie Spatola, Stacy Conradt, Ethan Trex, Colin Perkins, Scott Allen and Meg Evans. Enjoy the Tournament!