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The Five Biggest Upsets in March Madness History

5. No. 15 Middle Tennessee State over No. 2 Michigan State, 90-81, 2016

Michigan State were heavy favorites this tournament to cut down the nets in the end. This team had Tom Izzo, and many seniors who were familiar with the tournament, including Denzel Valentine. Michigan State did not play too bad offensively. They shot well. It was the turnovers that were costly. They finished with 14 turnovers, which Middle Tennessee capitalized on. The Blue Raiders exploded offensively. Every starter for them scored double digits. The main guy was Reggie Upshaw Jr. with 21 points. Clutch bucket after clutch bucket down the stretch gave Middle Tennessee the victory and a rare 15 seed defeating a 2 seed.

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4. No. 11 VCU over No. 1 Kansas, 71-61, 2011

VCU was already having an incredible run in this tournament. This was an Elite Eight matchup heavily favorited by the Jayhawks, who were 35-2. VCU took off, and they didn’t slow down. They took a 14 point lead into the second half and Kansas could never find their way back. Kansas only shot 35 percent from the field in this loss. VCU went from a play in game all the way to the Final Four in this tournament. A huge upset and run by the Rams.

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3. No. 11 George Mason over No. 1 UConn, 86-84, 2006

UConn was arguably the best team in the nation this season. They were in the greatest conference in the nation. They finished 30-3 and beat nearly every ranked team they matched up against. An amazing stat for everyone to know is that they were never ranked lower than No. 3 throughout the entire season. George Mason was already having a remarkable run. I believe it is one of the best Cinderella stories in March Madness history. They already had defeated Michigan State, North Carolina, and Wichita State to get here. Despite trailing in the first half and early in the second half, George Mason used a sweet-shooting start to the final 20 minutes of play to get back in it and keep things close. Moreover, after pushing the game to overtime, they were lights-out in the extra frame to secure an unforgettable Elite Eight victory and move on to the Final Four, where they lost to the eventual National Champions, the Florida Gators.

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2. No. 8 Villanova over No. 1 Georgetown, 66-64, 1985

I wrote about this game when I talked about the top National Championship games of all time. Georgetown was the defending National Champion, and they had potential No. 1 pick Patrick Ewing. They were heavy favorites to win this game, and repeat as National Champions. Villanova shot an incredible 79 percent from the field. Villanova slowed the pace of this game and they played their game. What’s amazing, is that Villanova only missed one shot in the second half. They needed to be perfect to defeat the Hoyas, and that they were. Giving them their first title in school history and one of the biggest upsets ever.

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1. No. 16 UMBC over No. 1 Virginia, 75-54, 2018

Here it is, the biggest upset in March Madness history. It is extremely rare to see a No. 16 seed defeat a No. 1 seed. What makes it even more surprising, is that UMBC won the game by 21! UMBC came out firing, hitting shot after shot from 3-point range. They jumped out to an earl 17-3 lead and never looked back. They absolutely dominated Virginia. The way they dominated the entire game against such a good team, this was the only choice as the biggest upset in March Madness history.

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