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.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.