Sports Briefs: What I Learned From All the 2015 NCAA Tournament Schools

(Sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt)

Joe: I learned that Albany is a state university in New York and, of course, is located in the capital city. In four appearances in the Division I NCAA tourney, Albany has never made it past the second round.

Chris: I learned that "Sesame Street" creator Joan Ganz Cooney graduated from Arizona, which can only mean there may have been a few professors who bore a suspicious resemblance to Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird and Snuffleupagus.

Ralphie: I learned that Arkansas's Michael Qualls graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA and was one of the Top 12 in his class.

 
Joe: I learned that the Baylor Bears mascots of Baylor University are two black bears named Judge Joy and Judge Lady. Their colors are green and gold.

Chris: I learned Belmont has employed Coach Rick Byrd since 1986, before which time he coached Lincoln Memorial. While Byrd may not be well known, but he must be supremely talented and patient to have taught a national monument how to make a bounce pass.

Ralphie: I learned that Boise State's Donte Deayon and Montigo Alford were classmates in high school.

Joe: I learned Buffalo University is appropriately located in Buffalo, N.Y., is nicknamed the Bulls and was founded in 1846. Wow, how did they stand those snowy winters?

Chris: I learned that while Butler basketball may have a cult following, Butler's scholars should refrain from actually forming a cult, lest they be compared with alumni Jim Jones.

Ralphie: I learned that BYU's Nate Austin ranked 53rd in the nation last year in total rebounds and 97th in rebounds per game.

Joe: I learned that Cincinnati University has over 31,000 students, and their mascot is the Bearcat. Their motto is "Strength is Unity." Well, the Bearcats had better unify in a hurry if they want to stay in the tournament very long this year.

Chris: I learned Coastal Carolina should make it a requirement to educate students on what their mascot, a chanticleer, is: a "proud and fierce" rooster, according to the school, with a comb that makes him look like Elvis.

Ralphie: I learned that Davidson has formed a partnership with a professor to determine the effectiveness of different lineups.

Joe: I learned Dayton University is a private coeducation school and affliliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The Flyers colors are red and blue.

Chris: I learned Duke's Jahlil Okafor is distant cousins with Emeka Okafor, meaning their family reunions surely have competitive pickup games, assuming no injuries occur to any Okafor who is eating, sitting down or getting out of the car.

Ralphie: I learned that Eastern Washington has a German, a Ukrainian, and 3 Australians playing for them.

Joe: I learned Georgetown has been in the Final Four five times, the championship game three times, and national champ once. The Hoyas have made 30 appearances in big tournament.

Chris: I learned that, with some sunlight and planted in large pots, it is still almost impossible for hedges to live indoors, giving Georgia more reason to ponder having their basketball team play between the fake hedges.

Ralphie: I learned that Georgia State's coach sometimes coaches barefooted to show support for Samaritan's Purse, a charity that helps provide shoes to needy children.

Joe: I learned Gonzaga University is located in Spokane, Wash. The Bulldogs (or Zags) have three team colors: blue, red and gray.

Chris: I learned Hampton's guard's name, Quinton Chievous, sounds just like "Chivas" when announcers say it. "Chivas" means "goat" in Spanish. And "Goat Boy!" seems like an ideal taunt to use when Chievous is shooting free throws.

Ralphie: I learned that Harvard's coach used to play for Duke.

Joe: I learned Indiana University, located in Bloomington, Ind., has nine campuses and over 110,000 students. The cream and crimson colors were adopted for the university founded in 1820.

Chris: I learned that not only did "The Music Man" creator Meredith Wilson "give Iowa a try," he also wrote the University of Iowa's fight song.

Ralphie: I learned that Iowa State's coach was once Iowa's top quarterback.

Joe: I learned Kansas University was established at the end of the Civil War, and the almost 30,000 students are located in Lawrence, Kan.

Chris: I learned a more complimentary nickname for the University of Kentucky could have been the Lions, the Heavyweights or the Rock'em Sock'em Robots, had the head of the school's military department better described the football team's combat skills than saying they "fought like wildcats" after a victory in 1909.

Ralphie: I learned Lafayette keeps renewing their coach's contract even though he has a losing record.

Joe: I learned the Louisville Cardinals team colors are, of course, cardinal red and black. The team's home games are played in the delicious KFC YUM! Center.

Chris: I learned LSU either did not have an inspiring cooking school in the 1930s or that their English professors forbid use of the word "garontee," considering Louisiana native and eventual celebrity chef Justin Wilson spent five years there before dropping out.

Ralphie: I leaned that Manhattan Jaspers are named after the man people say started the 7th-inning stretch tradition.

Joe: I learned the Maryland Terrapins have four team colors. That's right, four. Red, white, black and gold. That could get expensive buying all those school color clothes. Did you know the University of Maryland was founded by Charles Calvert in 1856?

Chris: I learned Michigan State's coach Tom Izzo began this season by dressing up as a member of KISS for the team's Midnight Madness practice. Surprisingly, this turned out to be a more flattering choice than dressing up as an actual Spartan.

Ralphie: I learned that Mississippi lost to four of their last five competitors.

Joe: I learned the New Mexico State University Aggies have appeared in 21 NCAA tournaments, with a record of 10-23.

Chris: I learned that when listening to NC State games while half awake, hearing BeeJay Anya not only causes me to hear "onion" but to dream about onions.

Ralphie: I learned that Northeastern plays in an arena where Babe Ruth once skated for hockey scrimmages.

Joe: I learned the North Carolina Tar Heels are located in Chapel Hill, N.C., and their mascot is Rameses. The nickname Tar Heel is in reference to the state's 18th century prominence as a tar and pitch producer.

Chris: I learned North Dakota used to receive Phil Jackson's tuition, and that he also preferred sitting next to Tex Winter in classes and using a booster seat in his desk, giving the impression that he was 9 feet tall.

Ralphie: I learned that Northern Iowa has only sent one player to the NBA: Jason Reece.

Joe: I learned the North Florida Ospreys sport the blue and gray team colors. This Jacksonville, Fla., university has the motto: No one like you. No place like this.

Chris: I learned that, depending on one's perspective, Notre Dame's "Word of Life" mural, affectionately known as "Touchdown Jesus," could also be known as "3-Point Jesus."

Ralphie: I learned that Ohio State has played in the NCAA tournament every decade since it started in 1939.

Joe: I learned the Oklahoma Sooners are located in Norman, Okla., and have a combination mascot: Boomer and Sooner, two ponies that pull the Sooner Schooner Conestoga Wagon.

Chris: I learned that Oklahoma State offered Garth Brooks a track scholarship, allowed him to throw the javelin and then graduated him in 1984. What did he think of college, the place where one typically makes the best friends in life? Six years after graduating, Brooks wrote "Friends in Low Places."

Ralphie: I learned that Oregon Ducks play on a court lined with silhouettes of fir trees.

Joe: I learned Providence University has some prominent former players and coaches who have gone on to become basketball icons in the coaching world, such as Rick Pitino, Billy Donovan, Lenny Wilkens, Pete Gillen, Rick Barnes, Johnny Egan,and John Thompson.

Chris: I learned Purdue University must offer some otherworldly classes, having graduated 23 astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, along with countless Men in Black agents.

Ralphie: I learned that Robert Morris's basketball tradition is based on the Moon Township, PA campus.

Joe: I learned St John's University is named after the apostle John and is a private Roman Catholic coeducational university. The Red Storm basketball team has the seventh-most NCAA tournament appearances (27).

Chris: I learned San Diego State has an Undie Run twice a year during finals week of the fall and spring semester. The fact that the Undie Run is a jaunt in nothing but one's briefs must mean campus police are either severely understaffed and not able to arrest anyone for indecent exposure, or they are taking part in said run, with the hope of visually dissuading others from joining.

Ralphie: I learned that SMU's coach has coached 9 different NBA teams.

Joe: I learned Stephen F Austin is located in __________? If you said Nacogdoches, Texas, you are right. The Lumberjacks colors are purple and white.

Chris: I learned Texas' pep band's version of "Shake It Off" is better than Taylor Swift's, which also means the Longhorns may soon be mentioned in a negative connotation in a future Swift song.

Ralphie: I learned that Texas Southern is led by a coach who took over for a coach who was fired.

Joe: I learned the UAB Blazers are the Birmingham campus of the University of Alabama and have been in its shadows in sports, especially football. Recently the UAB Board of Directors voted to terminate the UAB football program. Will the basketball program be next? UAB has appeared in 15 NCAA Tournaments, with a combined record of 10–14.

Chris: I learned that UC Irvine's campus is most likely the picnic capital of the world. Any ants attempting to make off with scholars' lunches are shortly introduced to the school's mascot, Peter the Anteater.

Ralphie: I learned that UCLA's coach once played with Michael Jordan on the US Olympic team.

Joe: I learned University of Utah mascot is Swoop, a red-tailed hawk. The university introduced Swoop with the consent of the tribal council of the Ute tribe in 1996. Originally, the school's mascot was an American Indian, but was dropped when the school stopped using the Redskins nickname.

Chris: I learned Valparaiso is located in Indiana, but should I admit to a graduate from said university that I was previously unaware of that fact, I would probably get laughed at, though hopefully it would be by the Crusader who provided the voice for the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Ralphie: I learned that VCU's coach is named after a famous Zula warrior.

Joe: I learned Villanova was formed in 1841 by two Augustinian Friars in Villanova, Penn. The Wildcats mascot is appropriately named Will D. Cat. Villanova has the distinction of being the tournament champion of the first 64-team field.

Chris: I learned Virginia, although officially known as the Cavaliers, are also referred to as the Wahoos (or Hoos for short). And while the name originates from an Native American yell, it isn't the Politically Correct Brigade the Hoos need to be afraid of - instead, I'd be wary of the Grinch.

Ralphie: I learned that West Virginia almost won the national championship in 1959 versus the University of California.

Joe: I learned the Wichita State Shockers have made 11 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, ending in the Final Four twice, the Elite Eight twice, and the Sweet 16 once.

Chris: I learned Wisconsin has never graduated an actual United States president, but the university has produced a fictional one. President Shepherd from "The American President" is a Badger.

Ralphie: I learned that Wofford University has made the NCAA tournament field four years since 2010 even though their school is small with only 1600 students.

Joe: I learned University of Wyoming Cowboys are located in Laramie, Wyo., and the team mascot is none other than Cowboy Joe. The Mountain West Conference Cowboys have the unusual team colors of brown and gold.

Chris: I learned Xavier was founded as a "school for gifted youngsters" by a bald man in a wheelchair named Charles Xavier. Many of these youngsters have unique talents, such as the ability to fly or control the weather, and apparently formed a fraternity known as the X-Men. It sounds like this may give Xavier an unfair advantage in the tournament.


Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.
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