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Trivial pursuits

The NCAA basketball tourney and Illinois have a long history. Impress your friends with some fun facts.

 (Photograph: Provided by Loyola University)
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Photograph: Provided by Loyola University

Ramblin� men
The only team from Illinois to win the NCAA Men�s Division Ib-ball tourney was the 1962-63 Ramblers from Loyola University Chicago. They went into the championship game perceived as underdogs, despite boasting the best offense in the country. Their opponent, Cincinnati, owned the best defense. But the Ramblers pulled out a 60-58 victory in overtime. For more info on the team and its winning season, visit loyola63.com, or check out a new book, Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 - The Team That Changed the Color of College Basketball by Michael Lenehan.

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What�s in a name?
The term �March Madness� originated in the Land of Lincoln. In 1939, H.V. Porter, an administrator with the Illinois High School Association, used it in reference to the state high-school basketball tournaments and all the frenzied excitement they generate every spring. He published an essay titled �March Madness� in the IHSA magazine, Illinois High School Athlete, and later incorporated it into his dramatic poem, �Basketball Ides of March,� printed in 1942. (Dude liked to write!) It wasn�t until 1982 that it became associated with college hoops. Sportscaster Brent Musburger, who came across the term while working as a reporter in Chicago, said it during a telecast of a tournament game. And the rest is history.

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Fighting Illini
The men�s basketball team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign came close to winning the Big Dance in 2005. After going 29-0 in the regular season, it won the Big Ten Tournament and advanced all the way to the finals during March Madness, falling to the University of North Carolina with a score of 70-75. Still, the Illini tied for the NCAA record of most wins in a season (37).

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