What was the biggest upset in tourney history?


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.

POSTERIZED: Monmouth bench mob goes insane after huge dunk

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Monmouth has arguably been the most entertaining team in college basketball through the season’s first three weeks.

Let’s start with the obvious: They’re a mid-major outfit with a 5-foot-8 point guard that headlines a talented back court, one good enough to have notched upsets at UCLA and, this week, over No. 17 Notre Dame and USC at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.

It’s pretty incredible, to be honest. They’ve managed to amass one of college basketball’s best resume despite being a MAAC program with a grand total of four NCAA appearances in their luxurious history.

But what makes this team so much fun isn’t just that they can’t seem to stop beating high-major competition, it’s that, in the process, their bench mob has become one of college basketball’s best.

Want some proof? Watch what happens after this Deon Jones poster dunk:

And here’s the wild part: that wasn’t even close to the best thing the bench did this week.

This was:


But there’s so much more.

Like, for example, the three arrows:

The touchdown pass:

The bench poster:

The heart attack:

They … caught a fish?

And, finally, the ‘OH SHHHHHHHHHHHH’:

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.