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What was the biggest upset in tourney history?

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UPDATE: It only makes sense that, after we do some research and put together a post on the biggest NCAA tournament upsets that less than two hours later, another No. 2 seed goes down in the opening round. If you missed it (and I’m sure you didn’t), Duke lost to Lehigh and their demigod point guard CJ McCollum. Before today, a No. 15 seed had four wins. They picked up two more in the span of two hours.

To be fair, this game is no where near the magnitude of the Norfolk State-Missouri upset. Duke is far from the Duke that we are accustomed to seeing, and they were playing without their most important piece. But this was still a team with McDonald’s all-americans and top 100 recruits up and down their roster while Lehigh is, frankly, Lehigh.

8:24 p.m. ET — For just the fifth time in the history of the NCAA tournament, a No. 15 seed has beaten a No. 2 seed. This year, the honor is bestowed upon tiny Norfolk State from Norfolk, Va, the champion of the MEAC, who knocked off Missouri in Omaha.

Never has a No. 1 seed fallen in their first round game, and given that Missouri was favored by 21 points, there is an argument to be made that this was the biggest upset of all-time. The Spartans were the largest underdog in the history of the NCAA tournament to win a game.

Think about it: the Big 12 tournament champions and the No. 3 team in the country lost to a program finished second in the regular season in one of the country’s worst conferences. The craziest part? This wasn’t a fluke. Norfolk State flat-out beat Missouri.

How about this stat: 1.2 percenty of the brackets on ESPN.com had Norfolk State winning a game. 7.1 percent had Missouri winning the national title. That’s wild.

See the Spartans’ victory in photos

What else could rank as the biggest upset of all-time?

No. 9 Northern Iowa 69, No. 1 Kansas 67, 2nd round, 2010: Another in a long string of disappointing tournament appearances for the Jayhawks, as the Missouri Valley champs avoided a late collapse to advance to the Sweet 16. Kansas was the favorite to win the title coming in. The most memorable moment came via Ali Farokhmanesh.

No. 15 Santa Clara 64, No. 2 Arizona 61, 1st round, 1993: Led by a scrappy Canadian point guard by the name of Steve Nash, Santa Clara pulled off arguably the most impressive upset in tournament history, as they beat the Wildcats despite giving up a 25-0 run and trailing by as much as 13 in the second half.

No. 15 Richmond 73, No. 2 Syracuse 69, 1991, 1st round: Richmond had a reputation for slaying giants coming into this game, and continued that legacy. There was more significance to this game, however. It was the first time CBS had the rights to broadcast the tournament. This upset was shown in primetime nationally. Now, CBS has a $10.8 billion contract with the NCAA.

No. 15 Hampton 58, No. 2 Iowa State 57, 1st round, 2001: The Cyclones had two first round picks and a one point lead in the final minute, but Tarvis Williams hit a jumper and Jamaal Tinsley missed a layup at the buzzer. This upset will forever be remembered for this image.

No. 11 George Mason 86, No. 1 UConn 84, Elite 8, 2006: The Patriots were one of the last at-larges candidates to be let into the tournament, but they ran through Michigan State, Wichita State, North Carolina and a UConn team loaded with lottery picks to reach the Final Four.

No. 11 VCU 71, No. 1 Kansas 61, Elite 8, 2011: VCU played in the First Four, but caught fire during the right month as they won five straight games to become just the third No. 11 seed to make the Final Four. Kansas made a second half run, but the Rams dominated this game.

No. 15 Coppin State 79, No. 2 South Carolina 65, 1st round, 1997: The Golden Eagles took the lead with six minutes left and pulled away down the stretch. This was the first of three wins for the MEAC over a No. 2 seed.

No. 13 Princeton 43, No. 4 UCLA 41, 1st round, 1996: An Ivy League team beating UCLA in the tournament is crazy enough, but it gets all the more unexpected when you consider that the Bruins were the reigning national champs.

No. 6 NC State 54, No. 1 Houston 54, Final, 1983: Jim Valvano, Lorenzo Charles and a game-winning dunk. What else do you need?

No. 8 Villanova 66, No. 1 Georgetown 64, Final, 1985: The perfect game. At the time, Villanova was the lowest seed in the tournament, and while they may have been a Big East member, no one expected them to beat the mighty Hoyas. It required a 79.7% shooting performance.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Johnson, Paige help No. 9 Tar Heels roll past Panthers 85-64

North Carolina's Isaiah Hicks (4) dunks against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Brice Johnson scored 19 points to lead a dominating offensive performance that helped No. 9 North Carolina beat Pittsburgh 85-64 on Sunday.

Marcus Paige added 15 points for the Tar Heels (21-4, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 59 percent to stay atop the league ahead of the next renewal of their fierce rivalry with Duke.

UNC had plenty of balance, shared the ball and got out in transition in arguably their best performance in weeks, using a 13-0 second-half burst to blow the game open. UNC finished with 26 assists on 32 baskets, 24 points off turnovers and scored 16 fast-break points after managing a combined five in the past two games.

Michael Young and James Robinson each scored 15 points to lead Pitt (17-7, 6-6). But the Panthers shot 37 percent and committed 19 turnovers, and a strong effort on the glass did little to offset their troubles.

The Tar Heels were playing their first home game in two weeks after a difficult three-game road trip that started with losses at Louisville and Notre Dame. Then came Tuesday’s game at Boston College, where the Tar Heels struggled against a winless league team then had a scare when Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams briefly collapsed in a second-half huddle after an attack of vertigo and had to leave the sideline for the rest of the game.

Williams was back in the office on Wednesday’s off day, returned to practice Thursday and told reporters Friday he was fine and even cracked jokes about a two-decade history with vertigo dating to his Kansas years.

Getting back home certainly helped everyone feel better. After wrestling with shooting struggles for much of the past month, UNC’s offense kicked back into an efficient and balanced gear, while Paige – the player the Tar Heels are practically begging to jolt free from a prolonged shooting slump – looked more like his old self against the Panthers.

That included one second-half play in which he caught a crosscourt pass from Theo Pinson in transition and made sure to step back behind the arc before burying a 3-pointer.

The Panthers had lost three of four since a 5-2 league start coming in, including 65-63 on a late tip-in at No. 12 Miami on Tuesday. And Pitt again had trouble getting their offense going, failing to crack 70 points for the third straight game.

TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: Second-leading scorer Jamel Artis scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting. … Pitt finished with a 41-29 rebounding advantage. … Pitt made 9 of 21 3-point attempts.

UNC: Justin Jackson scored 14 points. … UNC made 8 of 15 shots from 3-point range and 13 of 15 free throws. … Jackson and Pinson had six assists each. … UNC managed just one offensive rebound.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh hosts Wake Forest on Tuesday.

UNC hosts Duke on Wednesday.

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP’s college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Denzel Valentine dominant as No. 8 Michigan State whips Indiana

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) shoots over Indiana's Kevin Yogi Ferrell during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis
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Trailing by one point at the half, Indiana appeared to be in good shape at No. 8 Michigan State. However the fact that they were unable to slow down Denzel Valentine, who scored 15 first-half points, was a major concern for Tom Crean’s Hoosiers. Sure enough the national Player of the Year candidate continued on his tour de force in the second half, scoring another 15 points and dishing out seven assists as the Spartans rolled to an 88-69 victory.

For the game Valentine finished with 30 points, five rebounds, 13 assists and just one turnover. Of Michigan State’s 48 second half points, Valentine had a hand in 29 of them with all seven of his assists resulting in Michigan State layups. It was a dominant performance from one of the nation’s best players, a versatile guard whose four games missed due to injury may have led to some overlooking him when it comes to those national Player of the Year conversations.

When Valentine’s on everything else flows smoothly for Tom Izzo’s team, as his ability to both score and create results in quality looks for teammates who would struggle if they had to get that part of the job done themselves.

The biggest beneficiary Sunday afternoon was forward Matt Costello, who finished the game with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Of Costello’s ten made field goals (10-for-12 FG) five were assisted by Valentine, and he accounted for 13 points and seven rebounds in the second half. As a team Michigan State shot 63.3 percent from the field and assisted on 16 of their 19 made field goals in the second half, turning a tight contest into a blowout.

Tum Tum Nairn returned the court for the first time in seven games, but he played just two minutes and his time on the court will be managed carefully by Izzo moving forward. For many teams not having your point guard at full strength would represent a crippling blow, but that hasn’t been the case for Michigan State thanks in large part to Valentine. Michigan State went 4-3 in those seven games without Nairn, but the three losses were by a total of three points.

Valentine’s ability to make his teammates better will be a key factor down the stretch for Michigan State, and that skill was what led to the Spartans blowing out Indiana on Sunday.