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The Lighter Side (Feb 2019)

February 21, 2019

Luck abounds if you do find a four-leaf clover

Like the discovery of a heads-up penny or the act of tossing spilled salt over your left shoulder, finding a four-leaf clover is considered good luck to those of us with a superstitious bent. But while your chances of stumbling upon the penny are 50-50 and you can toss that salt any old time, what are the odds of finding the four-leaf clover?
 
About 1 in 10,000!
 
Dr. John Frett, professor of Landscape Horticulture and Director of the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens, was quoted on marthastewart.com as saying the 1 in 10,000 chance is for a typical group of plants that represents the statistical norm for the population. On the other hand, in 2014, a woman in Sydney, Australia, happened upon 21 of the lucky clovers in her front yard.  So there's that.
 
One website devoted to clovers warns against buying imposters. The real deal, according to clovers.com, comes from the White Clover plant, or the trifolium repens. The site even includes diagrams to educate the public on genuine versus fake four-leaf clovers.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Let the madness begin.

Over the next three weeks, sports fans will be anxiously checking their phones for scores and sports bars will be flooded with TV-viewing patrons as March Madness unfolds.

On April 2 the Final Four will kick off in Houston with the last teams remaining competing to be the new NCAA men's basketball champion.

Before that one shining moment occurs, here's a look at some NCAA tournament records, surprising facts and stats that you might not have known about March Madness.

The UCLA Bruins have won the most championships.

The UCLA Bruins have won 11 NCAA Tournament championships, trailed by the Kentucky Wildcats with eight.

Ten of UCLA's wins came within a tight span, between 1964 and 1975, under the leadership of legendary coach John Wooden.

But the Bruins' big winning streak is long over:  Since their last championship in 1995, the team has only made it to the title game once, losing to Florida in 2006 by a score of 73-57.

Overall, the Bruins have made 47 tournament appearances and have faced off in the Final Four 18 times.  This year, UCLA didn't make the tournament field.

Only one school has won the men's and women's championships in the same year.

The University of Connecticut has swept the competition on both the men's and women's side not once, but twice, winning the two titles in 2004 and again 10 years later.

The Huskies' success may not be all that surprising, as the women's team is a perennial powerhouse in basketball and has won 10 championships, all under head coach Geno Auriemma.  The UConn men, on the other hand, have won four championships.

It seems unlikely there will be a repeat this year, with the women's team a No.1 seed in its tournament, but the men's team is seeded ninth.

Your bracket isn't perfect.

Think you filled out the perfect bracket this year? Odds are you haven't.

The likelihood all of your selections being correct is slim, to say the least, with calculations running from about 1 in 9 quintillion to the better-by-comparison 1 in 128 billion.  There is no record of anyone ever beating these overwhelming odds.

To put this in perspective, your chances of becoming president of the U.S. reportedly are 1 in 10 million.  You're also much more likely to be killed by a shark or struck by lightning than to have a perfect bracket.

So, good luck.

Vasectomy appointments see a spike.

What do vasectomies have to do with March Madness?  More than you might think.

Many men who are ready for a vasectomy conveniently schedule their appointment during the tournament, when they can recover while watching the madness ensue – hence the phrase "Vas Madness."

An increase in vasectomies in March has become a known phenomenon, hyped by the media in recent years. For some men who are reluctant to get the procedure, the thought of having an excuse to sit back and follow their favorite team for a few days makes the idea seem a bit better.

And urologists have played into this behavior. One group in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, attempted to entice men to schedule their appointment during the competition several years back, reportedly offering them free pizza with the procedure. In an ad, the group tempted men with the phrase, "Want to watch college basketball guilt-free?"

"We want the patient to rest for two or three days after the procedure," Evan Cohen, a practice coordinator for Urology Associates of Cape Cod, told ABC News in 2013. "This way they can put their feet up, watch a game and have a pizza," he said.

Unsurprisingly, the practice reportedly saw a 22 percent increase in business thanks to the pizza deal the year before.

A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed.

A No.16 seed has never won a game against a No. 1 seed.

This year, the No. 16 seeds are Hampton, Holy Cross, Austin Peay and Florida Gulf Coast.

Virginia, Oregon, Kansas and North Carolina are each seeded first in their respective regions.

At least one of the No. 1 seeds has made it to the Final Four almost every year since seeding began in 1979, while the lowest-seeded team ever to win the championship was Villanova, a No. 8 seed in 1985.  Nova won its first tournament title by beating No. 1 seed Georgetown 66-64. 

The tournament record for most points scored by a player in a single-game is 61.

Shooting guard Austin Carr scored 61 points for Notre Dame against Ohio in the first round of the tournament in 1970.

More than 40 years later, his record still stands strong. Carr went on to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA.

Preoccupied workers could cost employers $4 billion.

Workers who are busy following March Madness could cost employers nearly $4 billion during the first week of the tournament due to lost productivity, according to global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Up to 20 percent of employed Americans could join pools at their offices this year, the company added, and it expects about $1.3 billion in lost productivity every hour of the workday.

Tournament-related productivity drains include activities like compiling brackets and streaming games. Last year saw a record 80.7 million live video streams during the tournament.

By Casey Leins, U.S. News

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