Top Upsets in NCAA History - Mens Basketball

Every year the NCAA picks 64 teams to play in THE tournament of all college basketball tournaments. Dubbed “March Madness” for the frenzy it causes amongst sports enthusiasts, the NCAA basketball tournament has broken hearts and given us some of the biggest upsets in sports history. We’ve outlined some of the greatest moments in the history of this tournament, moments that shocked us all and undoubtedly brought tears to the eyes of many. From the first round to the final four, they’re all laid out. This is the top upsets in NCAA Basketball history.


Weber State v. North Carolina, 1999

In this wild first round upset, 3rd seed North Carolina was defeated by the under dog Weber State ranked as a 14th seed. Harold “The Show” Arceneaux led his team to victory scoring 36 points, 20 of which were in the second half.


George Mason v. UConn, 2006

11th seeded George Mason pulled out 86-84 win against top seeded UConn in this legendary game. Winning themselves a spot in the Final Four, George Mason became the first team from the Colonial Athletic Association to reach the final four and the first 11th seed to make it that far since 1986.


Arkansas-Little Rock vs. Notre Dame, 1986

The second on our list, Arkansas-Little Rock #14 seed beat out #3 seed Notre Dame in this historic game that set the bar for surprise winners. Pete Meyers future NBA player was dubbed an all time Cinderella for his performance in this game scoring 29 points in 29 minutes. The fighting Irish apparently could not stop the Trojans in the second half.


Valparaiso vs. Mississippi, 1998

Another first round shocker Valparaiso beat Mississippi 70-69 in this historical shocker. With Mississippi leading during the final few seconds of the game, they were expected do win, that is until Bryce Drew hit a leaning three pointer right at the buzzer to give his team this amazing victory.


Santa Clara vs. Arizona,  1993

Santa Clara #15 certainly was a match for #2 seed Arizona in this first round shocker. Arizona, led by Khalid Reeves and Damon Stoudamire, looked dominant at times, especially during its 25-0 run in the middle of the game. But a plucky point guard for Santa Clara by the name of Steve Nash led the Broncos to victory, sealing the win by hitting six straight free throws down the stretch. Arizona had a chance to tie at the end, but Stoudamire's three-pointer fell short, and the Broncos became just the second No. 15 seed to advance to the second round.


Richmond vs. Syracuse, 1991

It was a long fall from grace for Syracuse, a #2 seeded team , when they were defeated by #15 seeded team Richmond. What’s most interesting about this game is, the Spiders got an early lead and never trailed they hit 3 free throws in the final minutes to cement their position. 


Princeton vs. UCLA, 1996

Trailing by seven point with six minutes to go, Princeton shut out UCLA the rest of the way. UCLA’s Toby Bailey sealed the deal after his last chance to save the Bruins failed, he missed a shot at the buzzer. Princeton #14 seed beat #4 seed UCLA 43-41.



Duke vs. UNLV, 1991

Although Duke was #2 and UNLV was #1 this game is still widely known as one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history. Ending their winning streak and beating UNLV in the finals seemed unlikely for Duke as they had taken a serious beating from UNLV the previous year. Everyone was surprised to find just the opposite, with a final score of 79-77. The ending highlight…. with 12 seconds to go Christian Laettner made 2 free throws while UNLV’s last ditch attempt at the win failed. 


Villanova vs. Georgetown, 1985

An old one but still one for the history books, Villanova #8 beat out Georgetown #1 in a game ending a tight 66-64. This game was close the entire way through with Villanova not taking the lead for good until there were only 2 minutes 39 seconds left in the game. This legendary game gave Villanova the title as the lowest seeded team to ever win the championship. 


North Carolina v. Houston, 1983

North Carolina #6 beat Houston #1 in this historical event. The Cougars started out very slowly, and NC State actually led at the half. Houston then went on a 17-2 run at the beginning of the second half to take a 43-35 lead. State's Dereck Whittenburg brought the Wolfpack back, though, to tie the score at 52 and set up what is arguably the most fantastic and improbable finish in NCAA tournament history. After the Cougars' Alvin Franklin missed a free throw, NC State rebounded and held the ball until the game's final seconds. A pass to Whittenburg was deflected by Drexler, but the NC State player managed to grab the ball and heave a lob at the net from 30 feet away as time wound down. The ball was short of the rim, but Lorenzo Charles caught the ball in midair and slammed it down for the winning basket as time expired.


There you have it, a full list of crazy moments that shocked the college sports world. This list is only the beginning as there are sure to be many more for the record books. 

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March 26. 2008 07:54


It's NC State (NCSU) vs. Houston, not North Carolina (UNC). They are not the same school!!!

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April 1. 2008 13:19


#14 Austin Peay 68 #3 Illinois 67
March 12, 1987
Birmingham, Alabama

The high-flying Illini, led by Kendall Gill, Nick Anderson and Ken Norman, were grounded by Austin Peay. Tony Raye hit a pair of free throws with two seconds left to lift overwhelming underdog Austin Peay to a 68-67 win over Illinois. Austin Peay coach Lake Kelly said their strategy was to "Sic 'em. If we had to play the Lakers and Celtics combined Saturday night, it wouldn't have made any difference." Darryl Bedford led Austin Peay with 24 points, 15 on 3-pointers. Norman paced the Illini with 17

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