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Who are the top scorers in March Madness history?

March Madness is finally here. College basketball's top prize is up for grabs over the next month as we await historic performances in the NCAA Tournament.

March Madness is finally here. College basketball's top prize is up for grabs over the next month as we await historic performances in the NCAA Tournament.
Chris JonesUSA TODAY Sports

March Madness tips off tonight, and the stars of tomorrow are going to become household names over the next month. Sixty-eight teams will be vying to get to New Orleans for the Final Four at the beginning of April and many players will have already have etched their name in the history of the tournament by that time.

Most records are from decades ago

You’ll notice that many of the names and the all-time records come from decades ago. Obviously there are more players leaving sooner out of college than there were in the middle and later part of last century.

Many of the talented underclassman that leave early had great games or runs through the tournament in their freshman or sophomore years, but the tournament is a different beast and upperclassmen that have been run through the mill a bit more and are more prone to tourney success.

Before the addition of the First Four in 2011 there were a maximum of six games that could be played by a team that went all the way to the Championship.

Laettner is the king of the Madness

Let’s say you are a four year starter that played in the tournament in each year of your college career. That would leave a maximum of 24 games in the NCAA Tournament throughout a college career.

Duke University’s Christian Laettner, other wise known as “Mr. March” played in 23 of those possible 24 games over his four year career from 1988-1992, reaching the Final Four in each of his years at Duke and went to three title games winning two of them.

In his four years in the tournament he scored 407 points, averaging 17.7 points a game in his career at the Big Dance.

Hayes with a tourney for the ages

Elvin Hayes sits in second with ten fewer games that Laettner. From 1966-68 Hayes played in 13 tournament games score 358 points and averaged 27.5 points per game. Although Houston didn’t get the chance to lift the National Championship trophy, Hayes did take Houston to two Final Fours.

Glen Rice had the best March Madness run ever when his Michigan Wolverines went to the title game and beat the Seton Hall Pirates to win the 1989 National Championship. In route to hoisting the trophy, Rice scored 184 points over the six games, averaging 30.6 ppg in Michigan’s title winning season.

When it comes to points per game no one will beat Notre Dame’s Austin Carr in 1970. In just three games he scored an average of 52.7 points per game. The Fighting Irish lost in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky ending their title run.

While it’s unlikely anyone will come close to Carr’s 52.7 ppg average this year, there will be some historic performances that will be remembered for years and decades to come. The action starts with Appalachian State and USC Upstate at 6:30 ET and the Madness won’t stop until the trophy is lifted in New Orleans on the 4th of April.