ONE FACT ABOUT EVERY SCHOOL IN THE SWEET 16
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- •Before going with Blue Devils, Duke considered Blue Eagles, Royal Blazes, Blue Warriors, and Polar Bears.(The Blue Devil mascot was inspired by "les Diables Bleus," French WWI soldiers who wore blue uniforms with capes and berets.)
- •Oregon’s athletic teams were originally known as the Webfoots.
- •Villanova closed in 1857 due to a shortage of priests. The school reopened after the Civil War.
- •The Miami Hurricanes colors come from the Florida orange tree. Orange for the oranges, green for the leaves, and white for the blossoms.
- •Texas A&M has an official greeting—"Howdy." It "sets us apart as the friendliest campus in the world."
- •A "Sooner" was someone who managed to legally enter the Oklahoma Territory and pick his or her piece of land early on the day of the Oklahoma Land Run.
- •Although Dr. James Naismith invented basketball, he’s the only Kansas Jayhawks basketball coach with a losing record.
- •Larry David was a history major at Maryland. "You never know when you might run into a discussion of the Franco-Prussian War," he said.
- •The Iowa State Cyclones' mascot is a cardinal because the school couldn't make a costume "that would remotely resemble a column of wind."
- •The list of notable University of Virginia alumni includes Katie Couric and Tina Fey. Edgar Allan Poe also briefly attended.
- •Wisconsin is the Badger State because the area's lead miners spent winters in tunnels burrowed into hills.Like badgers.
- •Fictional Notre Dame alumni include President Bartlet and reporter Danny Concannon from The West Wing, and Li'l Sebastian from Parks and Rec (honorary degree — That's Dr. Li'l Sebastian to you.)
- •Gonzaga is named for an Italian Jesuit saint. St. Aloysius Gonzaga worked with plague victims in the 16th century.
- •Want to be Otto the Orange at Syracuse? Tryouts involve "an interview, open handbook quiz, and 1-2 minute skit with three props to music."
- •Indiana does not have a mascot. The Hoosiers used to be represented by a bison in the late 1960s, but according to the school's website, the costume was considered an “embarrassment.”
- •What's Tar Heel? There are two origin stories. The first points to British troops under General Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War. Legend states they forded a river in NC and were slowed by the sticky tar beneath their feet—tar that was either naturally occurring due to the surrounding pine trees or put in the river by local residents.The second story comes from the Civil War. After suffering heavy defeats, hordes of Confederate troops threatened to abandon the fight and were met with threats of feet-tarring from their fellow soldiers in order to keep them on the battlefield.