The 10 biggest March Madness upsets of all time



March Madness is made for moments like these.

The Post weighs in on the 10 biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history. From two shocking championship games to the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1.

10. No. 15 Hampton 58, No. 2 Iowa State 57 (2001)

Hampton’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance produced one of the spectacle’s most memorable scenes — coach Steve Merfeld being lifted in the air by forward David Johnson. Tarvis Williams gave the Pirates — 17½-point underdogs — the lead with 6.9 seconds left, and Cyclones star guard Jamaal Tinsley’s layup at the buzzer wouldn’t fall.

Coming off a Big Ten Tournament title, Tom Izzo’s team was given the second-best odds to win the national title, but Denzel Valentine and the Spartans — 16½-point favorites — fell behind 15-2 at the start, and never recovered, as the Blue Raiders hit 11 of 19 3-pointers.

Led by Rudy Gay, the Huskies were 30-3 and the favorites to win the national championship, but Jim Larranaga and the Patriots overcame a 12-point deficit in the Elite Eight and took the top-ranked team to overtime, where they hit 5-of-6 shots to become just the second double-digit seed ever to reach the Final Four.

7. No. 15 Santa Clara 64, No. 2 Arizona 61 (1993)

Unknown Canadian guard Steve Nash introduced himself to America by hitting six late free throws, helping the Broncos become just the second 15-seed to win an NCAA Tournament game.

Longtime coach Pete Carril — in his final year at the school — and the Tigers couldn’t have beaten the defending national champs in a more appropriate fashion, stunning the Bruins with Gabe Lewullis’ back-door layup with 3.9 seconds remaining.

5. No. 15 Richmond 73, No. 2 Syracuse 69 (1991)

A 15-seed had never defeated a 2-seed until the Spiders — 20-point underdogs — shocked Billy Owens and the Big East champions, resisting a late Syracuse surge in a late-night upset.

The Runnin’ Rebels recorded the biggest blowout in title game history the year prior — beating the Blue Devils by 30 — and Larry Johnson and the defending champions had won 45 straight games entering another Final Four, but Christian Laettner’s game-winning free throws with 12.5 seconds propelled Duke to the first of back-to-back national championships.

The Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 with their shocking 20-point undressing of the tournament’s top overall seed. UMBC, led by 28 points from Jairus Lyles, turned a 21-21 halftime tie into a blowout thanks to a 3-point exhibition. Virginia would get redemption the next year, winning the national championship. 

The Wildcats were nine-point underdogs after losing two regular-season meetings by a total of nine points, but the Hoyas probably could have given 90 and felt like a good bet. To win its first national title, against Patrick Ewing and the defending national champs, Villanova approached perfection, shooting 78 percent from the field, while missing just one shot in the second half.

The Wolfpack needed to win the ACC Tournament just to get into the NCAA Tournament, and were certain to get annihilated by Clyde Drexler, Akeem Olajuwon and Phi Slama Jama — which had won 26 straight games — but Derrick Whittenburg’s air-ball became a championship-clinching alley-oop to Lorenzo Charles at the buzzer, sending Jim Valvano in search of someone to hug.


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