Every basketball fan’s favorite month is March. And how could it not be? 68 college basketball teams fighting their way through a 7-round tournament over 6 weeks – what’s not to love?
Not only does March Madness come with the excitement of non-stop matchups for over a month. But the structure of the tournament and its qualifying rounds means that any team can win.
Much like Soccer’s FA Cup, March Madness often pitches the best of the best against teams most people have never heard of before. Not only does this offer a great opportunity to shine a light on the sport’s underdogs, but it also leads to some huge upsets.
Today, we’re going to cover some of the biggest March Madness upsets in NCAA history.
#3 – Villanova Beats Georgetown, 1985
Let’s kick off this list with a classic March Madness Upset. People on the East Coast probably have family members that still talk about this one.
This game deserves a spot in the top-3 for two reasons. First, Villanova getting to the National Championship in 1985 was an upset on its own. They took out both Memphis and Michigan on their way to the final match.
Secondly, not only was Georgetown the top seed that year, but they had flattened everyone else they’d played to get to the final game. That team was playing so well, the idea of them losing seemed impossible.
But they did – to a #8 seed – which goes to show that anything can happen in the Big Dance.
#2 – Florida Gulf Coast Beats Georgetown, 2013
Sometimes the stars align and a coach is given the right team at the right time. That’s exactly what happened with Andy Enfield and the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles in 2013. That year, the Eagles stormed their way into the Sweet 16.
Sadly, their 2013 performance was enough to earn Enfield job offers from all over the country. And the Eagles haven’t made an impact on March Madness since he left.
But, let’s take things back to Philadelphia in 2013.
The 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast Eagles were set for what should have been the toughest challenge of their career against Georgetown. Georgetown was #2 seed and played incredibly well – until their meeting with the Eagles.
In the past, people have mocked the Eagles for their ‘Dunk City’ slogan. But that night they justified it. Not only did the 15-seed team beat Georgetown, but they hung 78 points on them!
The game ended 78-68, with the Eagles moving on to knock San Diego out in the next round.
#1 – UMBC Beats Virginia, 2018
I think we can all agree that this game was the BIGGEST March Madness upset of all time.
The UMBC Retrievers were the first team in March Madness history to win a game as a 16th seed. Not only did they break that record, but they did so by knocking out the #1 seed in the tournament.
Virginia was not only seeded 1st in its Regional Bracket but the Cavaliers were ranked #1 for the entire tournament. On paper, not only does it sound ridiculous but it also seems impossible.
The game ended 74-54. Not only did UMBC knock out the 1st seed, but they also beat them by a jaw-dropping 20 points.
At halftime, the match was 21 all. In the second half, the Retrievers put in an incredible performance and put 53 points past the top team in the nation. By the end of the game, Virginia was clearly frustrated and the team committed fouls left, right, and center. UMBC coolly took advantage of them and sunk four free throws.
This game was so shocking because it wasn’t a fluke. UMBC played out of their skins and outclassed their opponents at every turn.
We have to say, we are very jealous of the 17,000 people who saw that game in person. And anyone who put money on the UMBC Retrievers to knock out tournament favorites Virginia.
If you think you can predict the next big March Madness upset, you might be able to make yourself a lot of money by betting at www.fanduel.com/sbk/nba-odds.
Is there a game we missed? Let us know on Twitter!
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