FOX Sports South offers 20 fun and oh-so-random facts to enjoy during Championship Week -- or at least before the majority of national heavyweights take the court in their respective conference tournaments. (Photos: Joe Nicholson/Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports ... Assorted Images)
The pursuit of perfection
RANDOM FACT #1 -- Top-ranked Kentucky stands as the second 18-0 regular-season champion in SEC history -- a standing shared by the 2014 Florida Gators. On the way to their unblemished 31-0 record (the best start in Kentucky history -- duh), Willie Cauley-Stein (pictured) and the Wildcats have enjoyed 12 routs of 20-plus points ... and just three victories of six points or fewer.
Pockets of mortality
RANDOM FACT #2 -- Here's a great example of the North Carolina/Duke dominance in league circles: In the 60-year history of the ACC tourney, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils -- as a pairing -- have failed to win the conference-tourney crown over a three-year cycle just three times: 1954-56 (North Carolina State claiming back-to-back-to-back titles), 1983-85 (N.C. State, Maryland, Georgia Tech) and 2012-14 (Florida State, Miami, Virginia). (Photos: Bob Donnan/Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports ... Assorted Images)
RANDOM FACT #3 -- It's a good thing No. 22 SMU (24-6, 15-3 in American Athletic) has already locked up a bid to the NCAA tournament (or so we believe). The Mustangs have produced 14 (various) regular-season league championships in their history but have claimed only one conference tourney title -- 1988 in the now-defunct Southwest Conference.
Something to talk about
RANDOM FACT #4 -- Of the last 10 national champions, four teams -- 2005 North Carolina, 2009 North Carolina (left), 2012 Kentucky (middle), 2014 Connecticut (right) -- failed to win its respective conference tournaments. (Assorted Images)
RANDOM FACT #5 -- As of March 11, the Big 12 Conference boasts five teams (left to right -- Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Baylor, West Virginia) with nine or fewer overall losses this season. No other Division I league shares that distinction. (Photos: Raymond Carlin III/Jim Cowsert/Alonzo Adams/Lester Medford-USA TODAY Sports)
The No. 5 curse
RANDOM FACT #6 -- In the respective histories of the ACC tournament (1954-2014) and Big Ten tourney (1998-2014), the No. 5 seed has never claimed the conference tournament title -- which doesn't bode well for this year's No. 5s, North Carolina (led by Marcus Paige -- right) and Iowa (led by Aaron White -- left). (Photos: David Banks/Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)
Exceptions to the rule
RANDOM FACT #7 -- In the 60-year history of the ACC men's tournament, the conference's top seed has failed to reach the semifinal round only twice -- North Carolina State in 1989 (blowout loss to Maryland) and Duke in 1997 (upended by N.C. State in the quarterfinals). (Photos: Assorted Images)
An either/or situation
RANDOM FACT #8 -- No. 4 Villanova, which is enjoying the best 31-game start in school history (29-2), has advanced to the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight (or higher) six times since joining the Big East in 1980. But none of those signature teams ever won the Big East tourney. The Wildcats' lone title came in 1995.
RANDOM FACT #9 -- The top seed hasn't won the Pac-10/Pac-12 tournament since 2008, when UCLA -- led by Kevin Love (right) and Russell Westbrook (left) -- slipped past Stanford in the championship. From that point forward, the league's No. 1 seed has fallen in the title game four times. (Photos: Assorted Images)
Arizona's fait accompli
RANDOM FACT #10 -- Speaking of top seeds, it would be quite a shock if No. 5 Arizona (the first 'Cats squad to enter the postseason with three or fewer defeats since 1988) didn't win the Pac-12 tournament. Against Utah, Oregon and UCLA -- the other three teams with 10-plus conference wins -- the Wildcats posted a 5-0 record ... with an average victory margin of 15.2 points.
RANDOM FACT #11 -- Oklahoma guard Hollis Price (left -- 2002-03) and Kansas forward Paul Pierce (right -- 1997-98) are the only two-time conference tournament MVPs in Big 12 tournament history. Both stars earned their coveted awards in back-to-back tourneys. (Photos: Assorted Images)
Crimson (and cream) shame
RANDOM FACT #12 -- In the 16-year history of the Big Ten tournament (1998-2014), only seven schools have seized the title: Wisconsin, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa and Illinois. The most surprising program to go championship-free during this span? Indiana ... with only one title-game appearance (2001).
Two upstarts enter ... one may leave
RANDOM FACT #13 -- Texas A&M (double-OT defeat on Jan. 10) and LSU (71-69 loss; blew late six-point lead) came the closest to knocking off No. 1 Kentucky (31-0) in SEC play. For what it's worth, the Aggies (20-10, 11-7) and Tigers (22-9, 11-7) are in the same SEC tourney sub-bracket with the Wildcats ... although only one (or none) can encounter Kentucky in the SEC semis. (Photos: Kim Klement/John Reed-USA TODAY Sports)
RANDOM FACT #14 -- Kansas and Iowa State, the 1-2 seeds in this year's Big 12 tourney, have split the previous two conference tournament championships (2013-14). But here's the deal: In the 17-year history of this tourney, the Jayhawks (nine titles) and Cyclones (two titles) have never faced each other in the final. (Photos: Scott Sewell/Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
RANDOM FACT #15 -- It's easy to focus on Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky's superb averages in points (18.6 per game), rebounds (8.1) and blocks (1.6). But the National Player of the Year candidate has also produced seven outings of four or more assists-- easily tops among the 7-footers in college basketball this season.
RANDOM FACT #16 -- The Conference USA tournament has produced two champions with losing league records during the regular season -- Houston (left -- 7-9) in 2010 ... and Saint Louis (right -- 7-9) in 2001. This year's potential giant killer? North Texas (14-16, 8-10), which knocked off regular-season champ Louisiana Tech on Jan. 22. (Photos: Frank Victores/Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports)
For all the marbles
RANDOM FACT #17 -- Harvard (led by Wesley Saunders -- left) and Yale (led by Justin Sears -- right) will stage a one-game playoff on Friday night, with the winner capturing the Ivy League crown and an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament. Yale, which last claimed a share of the Ivy title in 2002 (along with Penn and Princeton), hasn't been to the NCAA tourney since 1962. On the flip side, home-standing Harvard (for Friday's playoff) has a streak of three consecutive berths in The Big Dance. (Photos: Bob DeChiara/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Slow and steady wins the race
RANDOM FACT #18 -- By all accounts, Maryland's first season in the Big Ten (14-4, second place) was a rousing success. But here's an interesting nugget about the 26-5 Terrapins, who could be a 3-seed in the NCAA tournament: In Big Ten play (18 games), Maryland eclipsed the 75-point mark just once -- during a 76-73 road victory over Penn State on Valentine's Day. For what it's worth, Dez Wells (pictured) paced the Terps with 22 points.
RANDOM FACT #19 -- Yes, undefeated Kentucky only has two scorers averaging in double figures (Aaron Harrison, Devin Booker), but that's a misleading stat in this regard: Freshman Karl-Anthony Towns (above -- 9.7 ppg/6.6 rpg), who could be the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NBA draft, has notched six double-doubles this season ... and five games with six or more blocks.
Derick E. Hingle
Sharing the wealth
RANDOM FACT #20 -- Of the seven major conferences in college hoops (including the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac-12, SEC, Conference USA), only the Atlantic 10 touts a different tournament champion for every year of this decade -- Temple (2010), Richmond (2011), Saint Bonaventure (2012), Saint Louis (2013) and St. Joseph's (2014). And that trend may continue in 2015 ... with Davidson (left -- 23-6 overall), Dayton (right -- 23-7), Rhode Island (21-8) and VCU (22-9) owning the top four seeds. (Photos: Amber Searls/Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)