The Five Biggest March Madness Upsets

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Upsets are the essence of the NCAA Tournament, and every year people try to predict the top Cinderella stories when filling out their brackets. Since the late ‘90s, there have been five upsets that were so shocking, they surprised even the most keen sports handicappers.

 

1. No. 15 Norfolk State upsets No. 2 Missouri

2012 NCAA Tournament
Round of 64
As 21.5-point favourites, the Missouri Tigers were expected to beat the measly No. 15 seeded Norfolk State with ease. However, Norfolk State went all in, edging the Tigers 86-84. Norfolk State was one of two No. 15 seeds to win that day, as Lehigh also upset Duke (–12).  

 

2. No. 15 Coppin State upsets No. 2 South Carolina

1997 NCAA Tournament
Round of 64
South Carolina was an 18.5-point favourite over Coppin State, who not only upset South Carolina, but blew them out 78-65. To this day, that’s the largest margin of victory by a No. 15 seed in a March Madness affair.

 

3. No. 15 Hampton upsets No. 2 Iowa State

2001 NCAA Tournament
Round of 64
Hampton made their first NCAA Tournament appearance a memorable one. They stunned the 17.5-point favourites, Iowa State, 58-57. Iowa State had won the Big 12 regular season title and was ranked the No. 7 team heading into the Tournament.

 

4. No. 15 Middle Tennessee upsets No. 2 Michigan State

2016 NCAA Tournament
Round of 64
Michigan State went to the Final Four in 2015 and seemed poised for a similar run in 2016. They won 29 games and the Big Ten Tournament. However, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, 16.5-point underdogs, disrupted Michigan State’s plans. The Blue Raiders led the entire way in a shocking 90-81 victory.

 

5. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast upsets No. 2 Georgetown

2013 NCAA Tournament
Round of 64
In 2013, Florida Gulf Coast made their first NCAA Tournament appearance and handed Georgetown their second outright loss as a double-digit favourite in four seasons. After the first half, both teams had a combined 46 points. Florida Gulf Coast rallied and scored 54 in the second half, resulting in a 78-68 win.

 

Honourable Mentions

No. 5 Indiana upsets No. 1 Duke

2002 NCAA Tournament
Sweet 16
The biggest upsets in the NCAA Tournament have all been in the Round of 64. However, Indiana’s win over Duke is the biggest non-Round of 64 upset. Not only did Indiana close as a 13-point underdog, they trailed by 17 before coming back to win 74-73.

 

Connecticut upsets No. 1 Duke

1999 NCAA Tournament
National Championship Game
In the last 20 college basketball seasons, the biggest underdog to win the National Championship game was the 1999 Connecticut Huskies team. Duke entered the contest on a 32-game winning streak, but fell apart. Connecticut took control in