NCAA Tournament Fun Facts: The Midwest Region

Little-known facts about the 16 schools that make up the Midwest Region

By SHARE

1. The University of Kansas' (public, founded in 1865) famous "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" chant originated in 1886 as "Rah, Rah, Jayhawk"—the cheer of the school's Science Club. The Jayhawks (32-2) play Lehigh on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. in Oklahoma City.

2. Only 24 students were present for Ohio State University's (public) first classes in 1873. Today, the school's enrollment is now more than 63,000. The Buckeyes (27-7) play UC–Santa Barbara on Friday at 9:35 p.m. in Milwaukee.

3. Georgetown University's (private, founded in 1789) blue and gray school colors were implemented in 1876 as a symbol of the unity of the North and South after the Civil War. More than 100 Georgetown students and alumni lost their lives during the war. The Hoyas (23-10) play Ohio on Thursday at 7:25 p.m. in Providence, R.I.

4. A Thanksgiving dance in 1912 sparked a fire that wiped out half the classrooms and every dormitory on the University of Maryland's (public, 1856) campus. No one was hurt or killed. The Terrapins (23-8) play Houston on Friday at 9:40 p.m. in Spokane, Wash.

5. Michigan State University (public, founded in 1855) was known as Michigan State University of Agriculture and Applied Science until Jan. 1, 1964. The Spartans (24-8) play New Mexico State on Friday at 7:20 p.m. in Spokane.

6. The University of Tennessee's (public, founded in 1794) buildings served as hospitals for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War and were taken over by Union troops near the war's end. The Volunteers (25-8) play San Diego State on Thursday at 9:45 p.m. in Providence.

7. Oklahoma State University (public, founded 1890) started as an agricultural and mechanical school. The first academic building didn't open until the school had been operating for four years. The Cowboys (22-10) play Georgia Tech on Friday at 7:15 p.m. in Milwaukee.

8. In 1973, the University of Nevada–Las Vegas (public, founded in 1957) hired men's basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. He would go on to make four Final Four appearances and compile a 509-105 record in his 19 seasons at the helm. The Rebels (25-8) play Northern Iowa on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. in Oklahoma City.

[Check out our full March Madness coverage.]

9. The University of Northern Iowa (public, founded in 1876) plays its home games in the UNI Dome, which is the only domed stadium in the state of Iowa. The Panthers finished the season with a 28-4 record.

10. The Georgia Institute of Technology's (public, founded in 1885) campus played host to more than 15,000 athletes when it was used as the official Olympic Village during the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets finished the season with a 22-12 record.

11. While serving as president of the United States and five months before his assassination, John F. Kennedy gave the commencement address for the class of 1963 at San Diego State University (public, founded in 1897). The Aztecs finished the season with a 25-8 record.

12. The New Mexico State University (public, founded in 1888) system spans five campuses throughout the state that are home to more than 30,000 students. The Aggies finished the season with a 22-11 record.

13. Every year since 1940, students at the University of Houston (public, founded in 1927) attend the Frontier Fiesta, which is highlighted by a barbecue cooking competition. The Cougars finished the season with a 19-15 record.

14. Ohio University (public, founded in 1804) is often overshadowed by its larger cousin, Ohio State, but is the oldest institution in the state and the ninth oldest in the country. The Bobcats finished the season with a 21-14 record.

15. During the 1971–72 school year and in the wake of anti-Vietnam War unrest at the University of California–Santa Barbara (public, founded in 1909), then Gov. Ronald Reagan set a curfew on campus that was enforced by National Guard troops. The Gauchos finished the season with a 20-9 record.

16. Women were not admitted into Lehigh University's (private, founded in 1865) undergraduate programs until 1971, but they now make up 40 percent of each new class. The Mountain Hawks finished the season with a 22-10 record.