Seen on:
as known from New York Timesas known from USA Todayas known from yahoo!
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Grueling Truth's Top 10 Sports Lists / Top 10 Greatest First Round Upsets in NCAA Tournament History

Top 10 Greatest First Round Upsets in NCAA Tournament History

Top 11 Tournament Upsets
Publish Date: 03/18/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

It’s time for another year of March Madness, and as always, the upsets are the main thing—they’re what make March Madness! Ever since Larry Bird and Magic Johnson exploded on the scene, the upsets have been the magnet that draws everyone to the Tournament. Today, we will look at the greatest upsets in the first-round history.


10) No. 15 Norfolk State 86, No. 2 Missouri 84 (2012)

Kyle O’Quinn scored 26 points and 14 rebounds for Norfolk State, leading a shocking upset against Missouri. Anytime a 2-seed beats a 15, it is a shocker, but I bet people looked at their brackets before this game and thought, what the hell is a Norfolk State? Check out for the best sites to bet the NCAA Tournament in your state!

Video: Norfolk State upsets Missouri (2012): Final minute

Norfolk State upsets Missouri (2012): Final minute

9) 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.

Video: 1997 NCAA Tournament First Round

1997 NCAA Tournament First Round

8) 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.

Video: 20 Years ago - Hampton 58, Iowa State 57

20 Years ago – Hampton 58, Iowa State 57

7) 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.

Video: Indiana vs Cleveland State (NCAA Tournament 1st Round) - 3/14/1986

Indiana vs Cleveland State (NCAA Tournament 1st Round) – 3/14/1986

6) 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.

Video: Lehigh shocks Duke: Final 3 minutes

Lehigh shocks Duke: Final 3 minutes

5) No. 15 Santa Clara 64, No. 2 Arizona 61 (1993)

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.

Video: Santa Clara upsets Arizona (1993): Final 2 minutes

Santa Clara upsets Arizona (1993): Final 2 minutes

4) No. 15 Saint Peter’s over No. 2 Kentucky

The Peacocks put on a three-point clinic back in 2022 it seemed like everything they shot went in, nailing over 52% of their shots from downtown on the way to a shocker over Kentucky 85-79. The Peacocks dodn’t stp their as they would pull off more shockers and advance all the way to the Elite Eight.

This game showed the equalizing effect that the three-point shot can have on the game today.

3) 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.

Video: 1991 - Richmond Spiders vs. Syracuse Orangemen | NCAA Tournament 1st Round

1991 – Richmond Spiders vs. Syracuse Orangemen | NCAA Tournament 1st Round


3) No. 15 Princeton over No. 2 Arizona(2023)

Princeton furthered the 2023 first-round surprise factor when they delivered Arizona its second opening-round loss ever (more on that shortly). Although neither team produced much offense during a lackluster game, both eventually found some success, as Arizona faltered for nearly the final five minutes, allowing Princeton to secure their 59-55 win.

Princeton ended up advancing to the Sweet 16 and proved that the win over Arizona was no fluke.

2) 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.

Video: Instant classic: Relive UMBC’s incredible win over Virginia in 8 minutes

Instant classic: Relive UMBC’s incredible win over Virginia in 8 minutes

1) Fairleigh Dickinson over No. 1 Purdue (2023)

Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off one of the biggest and most shocking upsets in last season’s NCAA tournament by defeating Purdue 63-58. This was only the second time an unexpected 16 seed defeated one of its top seeds after round 1.

Purdue was a dominant team all year and FDU only made the tourney because they won the conference tournament. Zach Edey was the national player of the year and was head and shoulders towering above FDU. FDU was aggressive from the outset and took it to the bigger and more talented Boilermakers.

Honorable Mentions

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. 15 Oral Roberts over No. 2 Ohio State (2021)

An overtime thriller made even more memorable by its restrictive atmosphere–with very few in attendance–Oral Roberts made history in 2022 with their upset of Ohio State 75-72. It provided fans with a feel-good story.

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 three points to eventual Final Four participant Providence.


Thanks for Source:

Read Also
Top 10 College Basketball Players of all time
This list only considers college achievements and the professional careers of these ...
The State of Indiana’s Top 20 Basketball players of all time
This list will comprise anybody born in Indiana and went on to ...
Bet365 Promo
We got the Return of Celtic Pride Part I: How the 1983-84 Celtics returned to their heritage
In the fall of 1982, Billie Charles Fitch was wearing his welcome ...
How Larry Bird and Magic Johnson Saved the NBA
The NBA today is somewhat of a juggernaut. Even as viewership has ...
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
The Greatest College Basketball Team of All Time
Rating the greatest college basketball teams ever has been done many times ...
Indiana Basketball Weekly
Welcome to Indiana Basketball Weekly, your dedicated podcast for all things Indiana ...
Come Fly with me: How the 1988-89 Chicago Bulls pushed forward to an NBA dynasty.
Find the best sportsbook to bet on the NBA Playoffs! Prologue: By ...
Grading every NFL team’s picks from the 2021 NFL Draft
Quickly, click away if you’re going to get upset by reading draft ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Latest Sport News
Top 14 Backup Quarterbacks in NFL History
It's hard enough to be a starter in ...
Top 10 Greatest wins by Roberto Duran
Roberto Duran is considered by many to be ...
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

21+ and present in VA. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

Virginia Town HallCloudflareSSL
Your Promo Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Play now