Biggest NCAA Tournament Upsets
Middle Tennessee over Michigan State (2016)
Reggie Upshaw (30) scored 21 points to lead the balanced 15th-seeded Blue Raiders, who shut down player of the year candidate Denzel Valentine, to a 90-81 win over No. 2 Michigan State in the first round of the tournament. Middle Tennessee never trailed the Spartans in one of the biggest upsets since the tournament began seeding teams in 1985.
UAB over Iowa State (2015)
William Lee scored the last four points for 14th-seeded UAB, and the Blazers knocked off third-seeded Iowa State 60-59 in their opening game in the NCAA Tournament. UAB came in with the youngest team in the tourney and with nobody having played in this tournament before. They wound up winning the program's first NCAA game since 2005 and ran over to celebrate in front of the fans of a school that shut its football program down in December.
Mercer over Duke (2014)
The 14th-seeded Bears stunned the No. 3 Blue Devils, 78-71. Jakob Gollon led Mercer with 20 points, shooting 9-for-9 on free throws, while Duke's freshman star Jabari Parker struggled, turning the ball over four times. Mercer scored 11 straight points during a late 20-5 run that clinched the biggest victory in school history.
Florida Gulf Coast over Georgetown and San Diego State (2013)
Florida Gulf Coast opened its doors to students in 1997 and wasn't even eligible for postseason play until last year. In their first-ever NCAA tournament game, the 15th-seeded Eagles busted brackets everywhere with a win over Georgetown, a game in which they took control with a 21-2 run in the second half. FGCU became just the seventh No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2, winning 78-68. The Eagles then became the first 15 to reach the Sweet 16, beating seventh-seeded San Diego State 81-71 following a 17-0 run.
Harvard over New Mexico (2013)
Laurent Rivard scored 17 points, including five threes, to help 14th-seeded Harvard pull off a 68-62 win over No. 3 New Mexico. The Ivy League advanced for the first time since Cornell made the regional semifinals in 2010. It also was Harvard's first NCAA tourney win.
Lehigh over Duke (2012)
The Mountain Hawks carried an eight-game winning streak into the tournament, but that was as far as it was supposed to go. C.J. McCollum scored 30 points as Lehigh went into its first-round matchup against Duke without fear and reaped the rewards, winning 75-70 and becoming the second No. 15 seed to upset a No. 2 seed in the 2012 tournament.
Norfolk State over Missouri (2012)
Kyle O'Quinn put together the finest game of his career at the biggest moment in the history of Norfolk State basketball. The senior finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds, helping the No. 15 seed Spartans to an 86-84 victory over the second-seeded Tigers.
Northern Iowa over Kansas (2010)
The top-seeded Jayhawks were a favorite to challenge for the title in Detroit, but their trip ended early. Wasteful against Northern Iowa in the second round, the Panthers took advantage of Kansas' weakness to eek out a 69-67 victory and punch their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen.
George Mason over UConn (2006)
George Mason could have been forgiven for deciding two upsets against sixth seed Michigan State and third seed UNC were enough for one tournament. But Jim Larranaga's team proved just as unintimidated by top seeded UConn, and, after a thrilling 86-84 overtime victory, joined the nation's basketball elite in the Final Four.
Bucknell over Kansas (2005)
14-seed Bucknell certainly fit the underdog billing. The Bison had only five scholarship players and had to borrow the band from Northern Iowa because theirs was on spring break. Bucknell's Chris McNaughton banked in the winning hook shot with 10.5 seconds to go, and Wayne Simien missed a jump shot at the buzzer as Kansas lost 64-63. It was the first opening-round loss for the Jayhawks (3-seed) in their past 21 tries and the first tournament win ever for the Bison (or any team from the Patriot League, for that matter).
Hampton over Iowa State (2001)
This first-round shocker produced one of the most indelible images in NCAA tournament history: Hampton coach Steve Merfeld pumping his arms and legs in jubilation as a player lifts him off the ground following the 15th-seeded Pirates 58-57 victory over the No. 2 Cyclones.
Weber State over North Carolina (1999)
Weber State hadn't qualified for the tournament since 1995, while UNC hadn't failed to make it past the first round since 1980. The Tar Heels went into halftime with a 26-24 lead but it would be their last as the Wildcats went on a 9-2 run after intermission and held on for a 76-74 victory.
Valparaiso over Mississippi (1998)
Gut check time came early for No. 13 seed Valparaiso as it trailed No. 4 seed Mississippi by two with just 2.5 seconds left. Nonetheless, the Crusaders had a little more in them as Bill Jenkins' inbounds pass found Bryce Drew, son of coach Homer Drew, and Bryce sank a three-pointer at the buzzer for the 70-69 win.
Coppin State over South Carolina (1997)
The Coppin State Eagles came out of the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference, which couldn't boast of a single win in the tournament. The Eagles toppled SEC champions South Carolina by 13 points, 78-65, the biggest margin ever for a No. 15 seed to upset a No. 2 seed.
Princeton over UCLA (1996)
Pete Carril watched his system come to fruition in his last year as Princeton coach, with his Tigers putting an end to UCLA's title defense in the first round. The game-winner came from Gabe Lewullis with just 3.9 seconds left to sink the Bruins in dramatic fashion, 43-41.
Santa Clara over Arizona (1993)
Even Santa Clara coach Dick Davey didn't think his No. 15 seed Broncos had a chance against No. 2 Arizona, especially after the Wildcats went on a 25-0 run in the second half. That still wasn't enough to hold back a young Steve Nash as he led his squad to just the second ever 15 over 2 seed upset, 64-61.
Richmond over Syracuse (1991)
Richmond became the first 15 seed to win a first-round game by knocking off the Orangemen of Syracuse, 73-69. Richmond jumped out to an early lead and never trailed the rest of the game.
Duke over UNLV (1991)
The Blue Devils avenged their 30-point loss to the Runnin' Rebels in the national title game the year before. Duke had to end UNLV's 45-game winning streak to do it, prevailing 79-77 and earning a second chance at the championship in the process.
Richmond over Indiana (1988)
13-seed Richmond drew Keith Smart, the Most Outstanding Player in the 1987 Tournament, and his defending national champion Hoosiers in the first round. With Indiana down one-point late in the game, Smart missed a shot which led to a Ken Atkinson fast break to give the Spiders a 72-69 victory. Richmond went on to beat Georgia Tech to advance to their first ever Sweet Sixteen.
LSU over Kentucky (1986)
Three losses to Kentucky already didn't bode well for coach Dale Brown and the Bayou Bengals when they crossed paths with the Wildcats for a fourth time, in the Elite Eight. But LSU wasn't to be stopped this time, having upset Purdue, Memphis State and Georgia Tech already and edging past Big Blue, 59-57, to become the first 11 seed in the Final Four.
Cleveland State over Indiana (1986)
Kevin Mackey's 14th-seeded Vikings stunned Bobby Knight's 3rd-seeded Hoosiers, 83-79, with an aggressive "Run n' Stun" style. Cleveland State advanced to the Sweet 16, where it lost to David Robinson and Navy.
Arkansas-Little Rock over Notre Dame (1986)
Digger Phelps' Irish came into this game as 17-point favorites, but they couldn't contain hot-shooting Arkansas-Little Rock. In the second half, the Trojans shot 15-for-19 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free throw line en route to the memorable 90-83 upset win.
Villanova over Georgetown (1985)
With stars like Patrick Ewing, Reggie Williams and David Wingate, Georgetown was the obvious favorite in the '85 final, especially since it had beaten Villanova twice in the regular season. The Wildcats shot 78.6 percent in the second half, though, defeating the Hoyas 66-64.
NC State over Houston (1983)
Sixth-seeded NC State was all but counted out against Houston and Phi Slamma Jamma. It was just inches from being another almost-was when Dereck Whittenburg's air ball began dropping just shy of the net until Lorenzo Charles rose to dunk the ball home at the buzzer and snatch the championship for the Wolfpack.
Texas Western over Kentucky (1966)
Now immortalized in the movie "Glory Road," Texas Western was the first team to have five African-American starters. The Miners, coached by Don Haskins, fought through a field of 22 teams to face Kentucky in the championship game, in which they upended the heavily favored, and all white, Wildcats, 72-65.
Canisius over NC State (1956)
Ranked No. 2 in the country, NC State were heavy favorites against unranked Canisius, a school that Wolfpack head coach Everett Case stated he couldn't even spell or pronounce. Cainisius stunned NC State with a 79-78 victory in quadruple overtime in the first great upset in NCAA Tournament history.