What was the biggest upset in tourney history?

8 Comments

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.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

Leave a comment

Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

Baylor Athletics
Leave a comment

Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.