NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship upsets
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An upset is a victory by an underdog team. In the context of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, a single-elimination tournament, this generally constitutes a higher-seeded team defeating a lower-seeded (and thus higher-ranked) team; a widely recognized upset is one performed by a team ranked substantially lower than its opponent.
This is a list of victories by teams seeded 11 or higher in the tournament since it expanded to 64 teams in 1985; as these high-seeded teams were automatically paired against lower-seeded teams at the start of the tournament, their opening victories were necessarily upsets. Any victories by these teams in later rounds were often against higher-ranked opponents also.
Round of 64
This round was called the First Round until 2011, when the introduction of the First Four caused the round to be renamed the Second Round.
16 vs. 1
Excluding the play-in games, a 16-seed has never won a game in the NCAA Tournament. There have been thirteen 1-seed vs. 16-seed games decided by single digits, the two most recent occurring in 2013 when Kansas defeated Western Kentucky 64-57, and Gonzaga defeated Southern 64-58. Two 16-seeds have come within one point of upsetting a #1 seed, both in 1989. In the East Regional, Georgetown hung on to win 50-49 against a Princeton squad who were 23 point underdogs. Princeton had the opportunity to win the game with the last shot, but Alonzo Mourning blocked the last two attempts to secure the victory. In the Southeast Regional, Oklahoma fought back from a first-half 17-point deficit to take the lead over East Tennessee State with 1:21 remaining. ETSU also had a chance at a last-second win, but Alvin West's shot from halfcourt was deflected and Oklahoma defeated ETSU 72-71. Sixteenth-seeded Murray State took top seeded Michigan State to overtime in 1990, but eventually lost 75-71. In 1996, Western Carolina missed a three-pointer to win and a two-pointer to tie in the final seconds, losing 73-71 to Purdue.
15 vs. 2
There have been seven 15 seeds to defeat 2-seeds in the first round of the tournament.
|2013||Florida Gulf Coast||Georgetown||78-68|
|1997||Coppin State||South Carolina||78-65|
14 vs. 3
There have been seventeen 14 seeds that have beaten 3 seeds in the first round:
|1999||Weber State||North Carolina||76-74|
|1995||Old Dominion||Villanova||89-81 (3OT)|
|1995||Weber State||Michigan State||79-72|
|1992||East Tennessee State||Arizona||87-80|
|1988||Murray State||NC State||78-75|
|1986||Arkansas-Little Rock||Notre Dame||90-83|
13 vs. 4
There have been twenty-five 13 seeds to defeat 4 seeds in the first round:
|2009||Cleveland State||Wake Forest||84-69|
|2008||San Diego||Connecticut||70-69 (OT)|
|2002||UNC-Wilmington||So. California||93-89 (OT)|
|2001||Indiana State||Oklahoma||70-68 (OT)|
|1989||Middle Tennessee||Florida State||97-83|
12 vs. 5
There have been forty-one 12 seeds to defeat 5 seeds in the first round:
|2012||Virginia Commonwealth||Wichita State||62-59|
|2009||Wisconsin||Florida State||61-59 (OT)|
|2008||Western Kentucky||Drake||101-99 (OT)|
|2001||Utah State||Ohio State||77-68 (OT)|
|1997||College of Charleston||Maryland||75-66|
|1993||George Washington||New Mexico||82-68|
|1992||New Mexico State||DePaul||81-73|
|1991||Eastern Michigan||Mississippi State||76-56|
|1990||Ball State||Oregon State||54-53|
11 vs. 6
There have been thirty-nine 11 seeds to win their first round games against 6 seeds:
|2012||North Carolina State||San Diego State||79-65|
|2010||Old Dominion||Notre Dame||51-50|
|2008||Kansas State||So. California||80-67|
|2006||George Mason||Michigan State||75-65|
|2002||Southern Illinois||Texas Tech||76-68|
|1991||Creighton||New Mexico State||64-56|
|1990||Loyola Marymount||New Mexico State||111-92|
|1989||Evansville||Oregon State||94-90 (OT)|
|1985||Boston College||Texas Tech||55-53|
Round of 32
This round was called the Second Round until 2011, when the introduction of the First Four caused this round to be renamed the Third Round.
There has been one 15 seed that has won its second-round game.
|2013||Florida Gulf Coast||(7) San Diego State||81-71|
There have been two 14 seeds to win their second-round games. Both were against 6 seeds.
|1986||Cleveland State||(6) St. Joseph's||75-69|
There have been six 13 seeds to win their second-round games. Seeds of the losing teams are in parentheses. In every case, the 13 seed faced a lower seed and their victory was by definition an upset; note, however, that in three of these cases, the opponent was a 12 seed, constituting a less drastic "upset" in the usual sense of the term.
|2013||La Salle||(12) Mississippi||76-74|
|2012||Ohio||(12) South Florida||62-56|
|1998||Valparaiso||(12) Florida State||83-77 (OT)|
|1988||Richmond||(5) Georgia Tech||59-55|
There have been twenty 12 seeds to win their second-round games. Seeds of the losing teams are in parentheses. Note that in eight of these cases, the opponent was a 13 seed, and thus the victory would not constitute an upset in itself - just further success for the 12 seed.
|2013||Oregon||(4) Saint Louis||74-57|
|2011||Richmond||(13) Morehead State||65-48|
|2009||Arizona||(13) Cleveland State||71-57|
|2008||Western Kentucky||(13) San Diego||72-63|
|2005||UW-Milwaukee||(4) Boston College||83-75|
|2002||Missouri||(4) Ohio State||83-64|
|2001||Gonzaga||(13) Indiana State||85-68|
|1999||Missouri State||(4) Tennessee||81-51|
|1994||Tulsa||(4) Oklahoma State||82-80|
|1993||George Washington||(13) Southern||90-80|
|1992||New Mexico State||(13) Southwestern Louisiana||81-73|
|1991||Eastern Michigan||(13) Penn State||71-68 (OT)|
|1990||Ball State||(4) Louisville||62-60|
There have been fifteen 11 seeds to win their second-round games and advance to the Sweet 16. Seeds of the losing teams are in parentheses. Note that three of these victories were against lower-ranked 14 seeds; thus the wins were not upsets in themselves, though they did constitute further success for the 11 seed.
|2012||North Carolina State||(3) Georgetown||66-63|
|2011||Virginia Commonwealth||(3) Purdue||94-76|
|2010||Washington||(3) New Mexico||82-64|
|2006||George Mason||(3) North Carolina||65-60|
|2002||Southern Illinois||(3) Georgia||77-75|
|1990||Loyola Marymount||(3) Michigan||149-115|
|1988||Rhode Island||(3) Syracuse||97-94|
|1985||Boston College||(3) Duke||74-73|
There has been only one 12 seed to ever win a Sweet 16 game.
There have been five 11 seeds to win in the Sweet 16 and advance to the Elite 8.
|2011||Virginia Commonwealth||(10) Florida State||72-71 (OT)|
|2006||George Mason||(7) Wichita State||63-55|
|2001||Temple||(7) Penn State||84-72|
|1990||Loyola Marymount||(7) Alabama||62-60|
|1986||LSU||(2) Georgia Tech||70-64|
There have been three 11 seeds to win in the Elite 8 and advance to the Final Four. However, all three of these teams did not advance any further, losing their national semifinal matchups.
|2011||Virginia Commonwealth||(1) Kansas||71-61|
|2006||George Mason||(1) Connecticut||86-84 (OT)|
-  No. 1-seeded Sooners Struggle Past East Tennessee St., 72-71