No. 13 Valparaiso 70, No. 4 Ole Miss 69 (1998)
This was college basketball’s version of Hoosiers. Valpo was led by Bryce Drew, who was a schoolboy legend in the State of Indiana after leading Valparaiso High School to the Indiana State Basketball Finals. This Valpo team was given no chance to get by Ole Miss. But someone obviously forgot to tell Bryce Drew. Drew hit maybe the greatest buzzer-beater in tournament history and Valpo did not stop there, as they made a run all the way to the Sweet Sixteen before losing a close game to Rhode Island.
No.15 Florida Gulf Coast 78, No. 2 Georgetown 68 (2013)
No first-round Cinderella has captured the imagination of the United States quite like “Dunk City”. FGCU was lead by Sherwood Brown, who scored 24 against the Hoyas, and the high-flying Eagles also went on to beat No. 7 San Diego State to advance to the Sweet 16.
No. 14 Austin Peay 68, No. 3 Illinois 67 (1987)
Let’s go Peay! Seriously, the student section chanted this during games. Darryl Bedford scored 24 and Lawrence Marshall added 22 to lead the Governors past Lou Henson’s talented Illini in a shocking upset. In the second round, they lost by just three points to eventual Final Four participant Providence.
No. 15 Norfolk State 86, No. 2 Missouri 84 (2012)
Kyle O’Quinn scored 26 points with 14 rebounds for Norfolk State to lead a shocking upset against Missouri. Anytime a 2-seed beats a 15 it is a shocker, but I bet people before this game looked at their bracket and thought what the hell is a Norfolk State?
No. 15 Coppin State 78, No. 2 South Carolina 65 (1997)
Coppin State didn’t just win this game, they dominated the Gamecocks behind 22 points from Danny Singletary and 20 points from Antoine Brockington. They almost advanced to the Sweet Sixteen but they came up just short, losing by a point to Texas.
No. 15 Hampton 58, No. 2 Iowa State 57 (2001)
Tarvis Williams hit the game-winning shot with just under 10 seconds left and Iowa State’s Jamal Tinsley missed a buzzer-beater. Probably the most remembered part of this upset was Hampton coach Steve Merfield running around the court in the aftermath of the game.
No. 14 Cleveland State 83, No. 3 Indiana 79 (1986)
The Indiana Hoosiers in 1986 came into the tournament looking like title contenders. Coach Bob Knight’s team had rebounded from a 1985 season that saw them fail to even qualify for the NCAA tournament. The Cleveland State Vikings were a team that came out of nowhere to shock the Hoosiers. The Vikings were led by Clinton Ransey, who scored 27 points. Ken “Mouse” McFadden became a household name after the Vikings’ upset win. The Vikings would make it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen where they would lose 71-70 to the David Robinson led Midshipmen of Navy.
4) No. 15 Lehigh 75, No. 2 Duke 70 (2012)
C.J. McCollum scored a game-high 30 points to lead Lehigh to a shocking first-round upset against the Duke Blue Devils in Greensboro, N.C. Lehigh would lose by 12 to Xavier in the second round.
Nobody had ever heard of Santa Clara or a guard by the name of Steve Nash before this game. After this game they would never forget them, especially if you are an Arizona fan. Arizona was led by Chris Mills, Khalid Reeves and Damon Stoudamire.
No. 15 Richmond 73, No. 2 Syracuse 69 (1991)
This was the first time that a 15-seed had ever beaten a number 2-seed. The Spiders were led by Curtis Blair, who scored 18 points. The Spiders had to hold off a late Syracuse rally led by Billy Owens, who would score 22 points for the Orangemen.
No. 16 UMBC 74, No. 1 Virginia 54 (2018)
You had to know that this was coming? To quantify this upset, Virginia dominated the ACC which most “experts” claim is the best conference in America. UMBC, on the other hand, lost by double digits this year in games against Vermont (81-53), Albany (83-39), Towson (78-65), Vermont (71-56), Maryland (66-45), Army (81-70), and Arizona (103-78). A 16-seed beat a 1-seed, so I guess it’s obvious what number one would be, but when I looked up the season UMBC had it became even more amazing what they accomplished on Friday night against Virginia.