There will be four teams playing in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Sprint Center starting on Thursday. You likely know all about Kansas, which is the top seed in the region.
But here are nine things to know about the other three schools that will take the court for games that will be held Thursday and Saturday.
1 You won’t find a more interesting tale than that of Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan.
An ESPN story noted that he weighed 360 pounds the summer before eighth grade. That story also revealed that Swanigan spent part of his childhood going “between unstable housing situations and homeless shelters, back and forth between Indianapolis and Utah, as his mother, Tanya, tried to stabilize her life with six children, all while his father, Carl Swanigan Sr., wrestled with a crack-cocaine addiction.”
2 If Michigan ends up winning the NCAA Tournament, there will be a movie made. Guaranteed. And the opening scene will be of the Wolverines boarding a plane in Ypsilanti, Mich., ahead of the Big Ten Tournament. That plane had an aborted takeoff due to high winds and skidded off the runway.
Fortunately, no one was injured. Michigan left the next day and played its first conference tournament in practice jerseys because its uniforms were under the plane that crashed. Michigan won the Big Ten tournament and has yet to lose since that scary day.
3 Oregon won the first NCAA championship in 1939. They have not been back to the Final Four since.
4 You may recall that Purdue coach Matt Painter was reported as the new Mizzou coach at one time. There were stories in 2011 that he’d been hired. That proved to be false. Instead, Painter accepted a new eight-year deal to remain with the Boilermakers.
5 Michigan led all Division I schools in fewest turnovers (9.3 per game) this season.
6 The Ducks lost senior forward Chris Boucher to an injury (torn left ACL) during the Pac-12 Tournament. He was Oregon’s third-leading scorer, second-leading rebounder and leading shot-blocker.
7 The last time Purdue beat KU in the NCAA Tournament was in 1994. As BTN.com writer Tom Dienhart noted, the Boilermakers won that game 83-78 as Glenn Robinson scored 44 points and new Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin added 29.
8 The Wolverines were 10th in college basketball in free-throw shooting during the regular season, making 77.6 percent of their attempts.
9 Do you remember Oregon’s Dillon Brooks? He’s the player who may or may not have received a scolding from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for showing off during the Ducks win over the Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament a year ago.