March Madness: Top 10 Upsets of the Last 5 Years

By Mike Bachini, CBS Connecticut

Connecticut (CBS) – The men’s basketball tournament is referred to as “March Madness” for a reason. It’s simply mad. 67 games full of crazy upsets, overtimes and buzzer beaters, all in 20 days. The Cinderella’s and the David’s vs. the Goliath’s, it’s all that makes sports, and especially college sports, great. To get you ready for the excitement and possible upsets that could occur today, I will rank the top 10 upsets of the last 5 tournaments.

TOP 10 BIGGEST UPSETS OF THE LAST 5 YEARS

10. (12 seed) Yale over (5 seed) Baylor – 2016

Yale came in to the game as champions of the Ivy League and with a record of 22-6. Baylor was 22-11. The game was also being played in Providence, just a quick trip from New Haven and full of Yale fans, or Duke fans that were Yale fans for just this game. It was a close game throughout, but Yale won the game by shooting 53% from the field with 14 more free throw attempts than Baylor.

9. (14) Stephen F. Austin over (3) West Virginia – 2016

Stephen F. Austin probably should have been seeded higher than a 14. They were extremely experienced and had won 27 games going in to the game. They handled the Mountaineers easily in this one.

8. (14) UAB over (3) Iowa State – 2015

A very close game throughout, UAB was the first 14 seed to take out a Big 12 team in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. More on that later.

7. (14) Harvard over (3) New Mexico – 2013

Harvard made the tournament the year before as a 12 seed and lost to Vanderbilt. They took care of business as an extreme underdog in this one, beating New Mexico 68-62 and even won a game the following season too as a 12 seed.

6. (14) Mercer over (3) Duke – 2014

The Jabari Parker-led Duke Blue Devils were no match for the champs from the Atlantic Sun on this night. A 14 beating a 3 is always special, but the fact that it came against one of basketball’s blue bloods in the state of North Carolina no less, made it that much more special.

5. (14) Georgia State over (3) Baylor – 2015

Just an hour after another #3 seed from the Big 12 conference went down to a #14 seed, another one was taken down. This time in more exciting fashion. There were so many storylines in this game. Coach Ron Hunter’s star player was none other than his son, R.J. Hunter. Ron Hunter also had to spend the game kneeling on a scooter after he blew out his achilles in the team’s conference title win. Kevin Ware was also making his first trip back to the NCAA Tournament after his gruesome leg injury while a member of the Louisville Cardinal two years earlier. What transpired was a thing of beauty. From R.J. Hunter hitting deep three after deep three, to his father falling off his scooter in pure emotion. This highlight will be played for many years to come. Fast forward to 1:10:10  in the video below for all the craziness.

4. (15) Florida Gulf Coast over (2) Georgetown – 2013

The birth of “Dunk City”. A team from the Atlantic Sun, dunking all over a team from the Big East. Georgetown never had a chance. The only reason this isn’t ranked higher is the fact that Florida Gulf Coast proved it was no fluke by beating #7 seed San Diego State in similar fashion just two days later to reach the Sweet 16.

3. (15) Norfolk State over (2) Missouri – 2012

The first of two 15’s over 2’s in the 2013 NCAA Tournament on the same day. Phil Pressey’s three pointer as time expired hit the back rim and the Spartans took down the Tigers in one of the biggest tournament upsets ever.

2. (15) Lehigh over (2) Duke – 2012

The second of Duke’s two big losses on this list, the first in chronological order. Lehigh was led by C.J. McCollum who is now an NBA star with the Portland Trail Blazers. Another example of how one dominant star can carry a team to a win or two in the NCAA Tournament, no matter the opponent.

1. (15) Middle Tennessee over (2) Michigan State – 2016

This is not ranked #1 because it is the most recent and therefor the most fresh. Even though Michigan State was a #2 seed, they were picked by many to win the whole tournament. They were thought to be the 5th #1 seed almost. This is the closest thing we have to a 16 beating a 1 to this point. This is without a doubt the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history. Usually when an underdog runs out to an early lead it’s all well and good, but in the back of your mind you know that the favorite is going to make a run and eventually take the lead. Michigan State fought as hard as they could, but Middle Tennessee had all the answers.

Disagree with the rankings? Did we forget a game? Follow Mike Bachini on Twitter @Mike Bachini and tell him which ones and why.

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