NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament upsets
An upset is a victory by an underdog team. In the context of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, 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 the 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 are almost always considered upsets. Most victories by these teams in later rounds were usually against better seeded opponents as well.
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. As of the 2016 tournament, it has returned to being called the First Round. There have been ten wins by double-digit seeds in 2016, which is the most in tournament history. In 2001 and 2012, there were nine upsets during First Round play.
16 vs. 1
Excluding the play-in games, a 16-seed has never won a game in the men's tournament. There have been fifteen 1-seed vs. 16-seed games decided by single digits, the most recent occurring in 2014 when Arizona defeated Weber State 68–59, only one year after Gonzaga narrowly defeated Southern 64–58 in 2013. Sixteenth-seeded Murray State took top seeded Michigan State to overtime in 1990, but eventually lost 75–71. Two 16-seeds have come within two points 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 17-point first-half 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. 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. In 2014, Coastal Carolina was tied with Virginia with eight minutes remaining in the second half before Virginia pulled away for a 71–59 win.
15 vs. 2
|2016||Middle Tennessee||Michigan State||90–81|
|2013||Florida Gulf Coast||Georgetown||78–68|
|1997||Coppin State||South Carolina||78–65|
14 vs. 3
There have been twenty-one 14 seeds that have defeated 3 seeds (15.9%) in the first round:
|2016||Stephen F. Austin||West Virginia||70–56|
|1999||Weber State||North Carolina||76–74|
|1995||Old Dominion||Villanova||89–81 (3 OT)|
|Weber State||Michigan State||79–72|
|1992||East Tennessee State||Arizona||87–80|
|1988||Murray State||NC State||78–75|
|Arkansas–Little Rock||Notre Dame||90–83|
13 vs. 4
There have been twenty-six 13 seeds to defeat 4 seeds (19.7%) in the first round:
|2013||La Salle||Kansas State||63–61|
|2009||Cleveland State||Wake Forest||84–69|
|San Diego||Connecticut||70–69 (OT)|
|2002||UNC–Wilmington||Southern California||93–89 (OT)|
|Indiana State||Oklahoma||70–68 (OT)|
|1989||Middle Tennessee||Florida State||97–83|
12 vs. 5
There have been forty-seven 12 seeds to defeat 5 seeds (35.61%) in the first round:
|2016||Little Rock||Purdue||85–83 (2 OT)|
|2014||Stephen F. Austin||VCU||77–75 (OT)|
|North Dakota State||Oklahoma||80–75 (OT)|
|2009||Wisconsin||Florida State||61–59 (OT)|
|Western Kentucky||Drake||101–99 (OT)|
|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|
|Ball State||Oregon State||54–53|
11 vs. 6
There have been forty-nine 11 seeds that have defeated 6 seeds (37.12%) in the first round:
|North Carolina State||San Diego State||79–65|
|Old Dominion||Notre Dame||51–50|
|2008||Kansas State||Southern California||80–67|
|George Mason||Michigan State||75–65|
|Southern Illinois||Texas Tech||76–68|
|1991||Creighton||New Mexico State||64–56|
|1990||Loyola Marymount||New Mexico State||111–92|
|Evansville||Oregon State||94–90 (OT)|
|1986||Louisiana State||Purdue||94–87 (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. It is known as the Second Round as of the 2016 tournament.
There has only been one 15 seed that won its second-round game.
|2013||Florida Gulf Coast||(7) San Diego State||81–77|
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 higher seed with their victory being an upset strictly according to seeding.
|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. In eight of these cases, the opponent was a 13 seed, and thus the victory would not constitute an upset according to the seeding. However, in twelve of these cases, the opponent was a 4 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 twenty 11 seeds to win their second-round games and advance to the Sweet 16. Seeds of the losing teams are in parentheses. In five of these cases, the opponent was a 14 seed, and thus the victory would not constitute an upset according to the seeding.
|2017||Xavier||(3) Florida St.||91–66|
|2012||NC State||(3) Georgetown||66–63|
|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|
|1986||Louisiana State||(3) Memphis||83–81|
|Boston College||(3) Duke||74–73|
There has been only one 12 seed to ever win a Sweet 16 game.
There have been seven 11 seeds to win in the Sweet Sixteen and advance to the Elite Eight.
|2011||VCU||(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||Louisiana State||(2) Georgia Tech||70–64|
There have been three 11 seeds to win in the Elite Eight and advance to the Final Four. However, all of these teams did not advance any further, losing their national semifinal matchups.
|2011||(11) VCU||(1) Kansas||71–61|
|2006||(11) George Mason||(1) Connecticut||86–84 (OT)|
|1986||(11) Louisiana State||(1) Kentucky||59–57|
There has been one 10 seed to win in the Elite Eight and advance to the Final Four. However, this team did not advance any further, losing in the national semifinals.
|2016||(10) Syracuse||(1) Virginia||68–62|
- Entered the game as the betting favorite in Las Vegas sports books.
- "NCAA tourney upsets match first-round record". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- "No. 1-seeded Sooners Struggle Past East Tennessee St., 72-71". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 17, 1989. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- since 1985, there have been 132 chances to win.
- Herwitt, Josh. "Top 10 Upsets of the NCAA Tournament". Fox Sports.
- Temple, Jesse (March 17, 2017). "Middle Tennessee's win over Minnesota an 'upset'? Not so fast". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 18, 2017.