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If you’re a college basketball fan, we are quickly coming upon the best time of the year; March Madness. The best part of March Madness is the inevitable upset. The tournament is full of them. We love to watch the underdog somehow take down the top dog who is guaranteed to win. In fact, it’s the entire reason the NCAA tournament is called March Madness to begin with. Things don’t always go as planned.
Since the beginning of the 1980’s, the greatest teams in college basketball history have been blown away during March Madness. With March Madness on the horizon, let’s take a look at the 10 greatest upsets of NCAA tournament history.
1988 - Kansas vs Oklahoma. During the season, Oklahoma was 35-3. They had won the big 8 title, the very top season chosen to win the tournament. Not to mention, they had beat Kansas twice that season. Nothing to lose. Kansas finished the season 18-11. No one thought they looked good coming into the NCAA’s. The only hope Kansas had was Danny Manning. He ended up scoring 31 points in this game with 18 rebounds. Which led Kansas to winning the national title in one of the greatest college basketball upsets ever.
1966 - Texas Western vs Kentucky. In 1966, Kentucky was ranked first in the nation.Texas Western, even though they were a very good team, were unknown to many. Their team entered the tournament 28-1. Texas was actually the better basketball team, but this one is included because Texas Western were really on no one’s radar during this time. Texas took the lead from the beginning of the game and never backed down.
2012 - Norfolk State vs Missouri. Norfolk State came into the tournaments having lost to every major conference school that year. Coming to the tournament against Missouri, it was a no brainer who would win. Missouri was on a 30 game winning streak and number 1 seed; a complete powerhouse in the sport. Norfolk State played their hearts out and came out ahead by 2 points.
2006 - George Mason vs UConn. For sure, Connecticut was the best team in the nation. They had finished the season 30-3 and had beat almost every ranked team they had played that year. Now, George Mason didn’t have any NBA players on their team. The tallest player they had was 6 foot 8 inches. Most sport enthusiasts were pretty critical of George Mason’s placement in the tournament. But they came in and beat Uconn to advance to the final four.
1991 - Richmond vs Syracuse. Prior to 1991, the number 1 and number 2 seeds were the exact same thing. Both were undefeated teams. Also, a number 15 seed had never won; until this game. Syracuse came into the tournament as a number 2 seed and were ranked seventh in the nation. During this game, Richmond completely shocked the college basketball fans. By halftime, they were up by 8 points and never surrendered that lead.
2011 - Virginia Commonwealth vs Kansas. Kansas had amazing talent all over their team. They had five NBA draft picks on their lineup that year. They finished regular season at 32-2. Kansas was beating all top ranked teams, had one the title three years earlier, and they were ready to do it again. They didn’t see Virginia Commonwealth coming. With a horrible season and no NBA players on their team, they pulled off a great upset to make it to the Final Four.
1993 - Santa Clara vs Arizona. This upset is so shocking not because Arizona was so good, but because Santa Clara was so bad. Santa Clara could have easily been considered the worst in the NCAA at the time. In the regular season, they were losing to the worst teams in the country. They did have Steve Nash though, but he was just a freshman and averaging less than 10 points a game. Nash played one of his best games, they shocked everyone with a 64-61 win.
1991 - Duke vs UNLV. Here we had a rematch of the same two teams in the final four. The previous year, UNLV beat Duke with no problem. They were the first and only team to score more than 100 points in a championship game. The following year, UNLV only got better. They were ranked number 1 opening the season and they never lost a game all year. No one could take this team down. And just like that Duke, who couldn’t catch a break, lost three of their four top scorers to injuries. But this is why we love March Madness. Duke completely upset this undefeated team and ended up with the national title.
1985 - Villanova vs Georgetown. Georgetown had future NBA players Patrick Ewing, Reggie Williams, and David Wingate on their team. They came into the final with a winning streak of the last 16 games. Villanova, on the other hand, had started the season pretty good, but come to tournament time they had lost half of the last 20 games they had played. It didn’t look good for Villanova. But Villanova gave one of the greatest shooting performances in history at finals. They made 79% of their field goals and took the game.
1983 - North Carolina State vs Houston. North Carolina had struggled through the regular season. Then wasn’t making much progress barely squeaking through the first round of the tournament. Here they were against a complete powerhouse of a team. The Houston Cougars team was completely stacked with great players and then add on top of that two of the greatest players of all time; Clyde Drexler and Akeem Olajuwon. Houston had received the nickname “Phi Slama Jama” during the tournament as they just beat one team after another dunking on people. It’s only fitting that this is the number 1 upset because North Carolina State beat Phi Slama Jama on a last second dunk.
So, there you are. The top ten upsets during March Madness. We are in for an exhilarating month of basketball. Let’s get those basketball hoop inspections done, so you can spend time watching basketball and not fixing problems. ADP Lemco inspectors are available to service any hoop in the country.