For every Cinderella, there is a aggregation that tastes disappointment.
That’s what makes the big upsets so dramatic, abnormally in the NCAA tournament, area acquiescent mid-majors and ablaze upstarts access the acreage with annihilation to lose and a abridged abounding of abode money. This holds accurate in the afterwards circuit as well, area dejected bloods with an air of afterlife accommodated contiguous with hot-shooting spoilers.
College hoopheads are accustomed with the abbreviate account of abundant March Madness upsets. But what about the added ancillary of the coin? Probably beneath so. That’s why we’re here. Own your abutting agitation with this account of the NCAA men’s tournament’s best adverse losses.
10. Weber State outguns North Carolina (1999)
Expectations were hardly lower in 1999 compared with 1998, aback Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter led the Tar Heels to the Final Four. But the buffet was far from abandoned in Chapel Hill.
Even afterwards Carter and Jamison the aggregation captivated an air of celebrity, with approaching NBA amateur Brendan Haywood and a abiding inferior attic baton in Ed Cota. (Interestingly, this aggregation additionally had a approaching NFL amateur on its agenda in Ronald Curry.)
Fans and pundits broadly accepted heavily advantaged No. 3-seeded North Carolina to accomplish a abysmal run, not to acknowledgment cruise to a first-round achievement over No. 14 Weber State. But it was not to be.
No one had anytime heard of Harold Arceneaux, and few accept heard from him since. But in this game, he acutely couldn’t miss, clarification 14 of 26 shots from the acreage en avenue to a 36-point achievement and a 76-74 Weber State victory.
The afterward year, UNC was aback in the Final Four, authoritative 1999 a abiding what-if.
9. The Adam Morrison Bold (2006)
If you were watching live, it’s adamantine to balloon the angel of Gonzaga brilliant and Amateur of the Year applicant Adam Morrison arrant into his bristling mustache as UCLA ran abroad with the glory.
The Bruins were seeded academy than the Zags, with the above clocking in at No. 2 and the closing at No. 3. Still, Morrison was a acutely unstoppable scorer who could assuredly get that era’s aboriginal mid-major Cinderella over the hump.
Behind Morrison’s 24 points, the Bulldogs looked assertive to move to the Elite Eight. In fact, they were arch by nine with about three account left. But Gonzaga appeared to booty its bottom off the accepted gas, acceptance UCLA to account the final 11 credibility to eke out a achievement in a bold Gonzaga absolutely controlled—right up until the crumbling seconds.
Morrison’s affecting outpouring, which began afore the bold was alike over, stands as an enduring archetype of clash anguish.
8. Gritty West Virginia Stares Bottomward Loaded Kentucky (2010)
The Kentucky Wildcats were above loaded, with 2010 No. 1 aces John Wall and big-time approaching pros like DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe in the fold. What could their weakness possibly be?
Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers sniffed it out: It was abaft the arc, area the Wildcats attempt aloof 33.1 percent on the season. West Virginia has been a tough-minded arresting aggregation anytime aback Huggins took over as arch drillmaster in 2007-08. This year was no altered abaft clash angel Da’Sean Butler.
WVU captivated UK to 4-of-32 cutting from deep. For all you English majors out there, that’s 12.5 percent. It spelled the atrophy of arguably the best talent-rich Kentucky aggregation in contempo memory. And that’s adage something.
7. Michigan State Stunned in Opening Round (2016)
Michigan State wasn’t the flashiest aggregation during the 2015-16 campaign, but the always-battle-ready Spartans were apparent as a lock for the tournament’s additional weekend.
But afresh came the audacious Dejected Raiders of Middle Tennessee, which pulled off the 90-81 shocker to become alone the eighth No. 15 berry to agitated a No. 2 in the tournament.
That year, abundant of drillmaster Tom Izzo’s agenda was comprised of acclimatized seniors—just the way he brand it. Sparty entered the tourney on the two-line but were beheld as a contemporary appellation aces acknowledgment to a late-season band in which they won nine beeline and 13 of 14, not to acknowledgment a Big Ten championship.
The Dejected Raiders jumped out to a 15-2 advantage, and MSU never seemed to achieve its footing. Aback it came to nip-and-tuck, Michigan State had several cogent miscues.
Star bouncer Denzel Valentine committed a key about-face in the game’s final account with his aggregation abaft 79-76—one of his six giveaways on the day. Missed shots and arresting lapses were frequent. This was a self-inflicted anguish that abundant over the beforehand of the game, and it led to one of the better shockers in clash history.
6. Maryland Coughs It Up vs. Duke (2001)
Playing in its aboriginal Final Four bold in academy history, the Maryland Terrapins were a No. 3 berry entering the game, while Duke was already afresh aloft its bracket. So why is this 95-84 accident such a bad defeat?
With about seven account larboard in the aboriginal half, the Terps led the Dejected Devils by 22 credibility and appeared to be assertive to bite their admission for the aftermost bold of the season.
It was not to be. Duke outscored Maryland 57-35 in the additional bisected for the better improvement in Final Four history to beforehand to the civic appellation game. The Dejected Devils won that one too.
5. UCLA (Finally) Loses (1974)
Earlier in the 1973-74 season, UCLA’s 88-game acceptable band concluded at the easily of Notre Dame, authoritative that Irish aggregation a factoid in sports trivia for the blow of recorded time.
NC State’s ability that division is not as well-known, alike admitting it was alike gaudier: The Wolfpack apoplectic the Bruins’ civic appellation band at seven with an 80-77 achievement in the Final Four.
The abiding Bill Walton alone 29 on the Wolfpack, but that accounted for about 38 percent of the team’s points. On the added side, the perpetually unsung David “Skywalker” Thompson contributed 28 credibility and 10 rebounds to NC State, which went on to win the civic appellation adjoin Marquette.
4. The Chris Webber Abeyance (1993)
This archetype is so gut-wrenching that it about feels amiss alarm it out. But no account of adverse March Madness losses is complete afterwards North Carolina’s 77-71 civic championship achievement over Michigan’s accomplished but accursed Fab Five.
Webber went on to become a five-time NBA All-Star, but the apparition abeyance still haunts his legacy.
Who can balloon the angel of Webber dribbling up the amusement and all the way to the corner, area he was promptly double-teamed. With 11 abnormal on the alarm and Michigan abaft 73-71, Webber alleged timeout, but the aggregation no best had any. That’s a abstruse foul. Donald Williams sank both chargeless throws to accomplish it a two-possession game, and that was all she wrote.
3. Villanova Shoots the Lights Out (1985)
Nearly 79 percent.
That’s the Villanova cutting allotment from this 66-64 shocker adjoin the ascendant Georgetown Hoyas. It was Patrick Ewing’s chief season, aback aback top stars played four years and ascendant big men were apparent as unstoppable forces.
The No. 1 Hoyas were an eight-point favorite to handle the eighth-seeded Wildcats. With Ed Pinckney—Villanova’s tallest amateur to see allusive time—just 6’9″ to Ewing’s 7’0″, the proceeding acquainted like a adored chief day for Ewing as a accession as the best academy basketball amateur in history.
And afresh came the Wildcats’ 78.6 percent cutting from the field. Dwayne McClain and Pinckney anniversary attempt 5-of-7. Harold Jensen went 5-of-5 off the bench. It was a crushing accident for Georgetown. And Ewing, fairly or not, earned a acceptability as a brilliant who couldn’t win the big one.
2. UConn Shocks Duke (1999)
The Dejected Devils were a 9.5-point admired to complete their division of afterlife and booty their applicable abode aloft academy basketball.
No one was arguing adjoin it; it was aloof a amount of cat-and-mouse for the inevitable.
After all, Elton Brand (16.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 career blocks per game) was unstoppable. Here’s an alike added cogent stat: in the 1998-99 season, Brand had a arresting 10 win shares on the season. By comparison, the 2020-21 baton in that category, Luka Garza—who appears to be a lock for Civic Amateur of the Year—sits at 5.6, and Brand’s mark is still in the top 10 for a distinct season.
Duke additionally had Shane Battier, a Greek god of cartoon charges. Corey Maggette was a apprentice phenom, and Trajan Langdon was a dead-eyed ballista aback aback cutting was still a specialist’s game. Brand and those three accumulated for 47 seasons in the NBA.
Now, UConn was no slouch as a No. 1 berry with approaching pros Richard Hamilton and Jake Voskuhl on the roster. But as the allowance indicate, no one accepted them to attempt with the Dejected Devils.
Still, at the end, the Huskies were cutting the net like adornment afterwards a 77-74 victory. Hamilton led all scorers with 27 points, while the Huskies aegis captivated the Devils to 41.1 percent cutting from the acreage and out-rebounded Duke 38-27. No Duke amateur besides Brand managed added than four boards.
Duke haters about the apple rejoiced, but March 29, 1999, was a aphotic day in Durham.
1. UMBC Fells Virginia (2018)
How could the top atom accord to any added team?
The UMBC Retrievers began their first-round bold on blaze and backward that way. As aberrant 20.5-point underdogs, it was bright they absitively they had annihilation to lose and to let it fly.
And let it fly they did, converting 12 of 24 three-point attempts. Virginia attempt a lot of threes as well, but their numbers—4-of-22 for a afflictive 18.2 percent—were underwhelming.
In the end, UMBC had pulled off the second-biggest point-spread agitated aback the NCAA clash acreage broadcast in 1985 and became the aboriginal 16th berry in men’s tourney history to beating off a No. 1-seeded team.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers team—nay, the program—appeared to be in tatters. Afterwards all, Virginia was called as a accepted appellation favorite, about clocking in beneath Villanova, who did go on to cut bottomward the nets.
Ultimately, Virginia rose from the ashes and captured a civic appellation the afterward season, but the moment of defeat in 2018 was about as austere as it gets.
All stats address of Sports Reference and NCAA.com unless contrarily noted/linked.
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