In a history making stunner, No. 16 seed Maryland Baltimore County upsets No. 1 seed UVA in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
History was made on Friday night.
Maryland Baltimore County became the first No. 16 seed in 135 tries to slay down the Goliath No. 1 seed. Except this was more like a bulldozer than a sling. UMBC crushed top overall seed Virginia by 20 points.
Gut reactions — on social media and in sports bars alike — called for this as the greatest upset of all-time. Heck, it might even be up there with Miracle on Ice. We’re talking sports history, not just college basketball history.
But before we get carried away, we have to pay our due diligence to the history that came before these lovable Retrievers that have redefined what Cinderella means in the NCAA tournament.
Here’s the top 10 upsets in college basketball history — of all-time.
1. No. 16 UMBC over No. 1 Virginia, 2018. Jairus Lyles’s floaters and playmaking will live on in March Madness lore forever. And national coach of the year Tony Bennett’s loss will haunt Cavalier fans forever. But don’t let the highlight-reels overshadow how ridiculously better Virginia was supposed to be as the best overall seed in the field of 68. The Cavaliers had the nation’s best defense, were 31-2 and had claimed both the ACC regular-season and tournament titles. Yet the Retrievers shot the lights out at 54% from beyond the arc, dictating the tempo against the country’s best tempo-controlling program, and punching so hard no counter-punch from the heavily-favored Cavaliers would land.
2. No. 8 Villanova over No. 1 Georgetown, 1985. Often cited as “The Perfect Game,” this Rollie Massimino-coached Villanova team stunned defending national champion Georgetown and Patrick Ewing, 66-64. That Wildcats team remains the lowest seeded team to win the tourney.
3. Texas Western over Kentucky, 1966. Inspiration for the movie, Glory Road, Texas Western’s history-defying team broke down racial barriers by beating Adolph Rupp’s No. 1-ranked Kentucky Wildcats and reshaping the history of sports.
4. N.C. State over Houston, 1983. Jim Valvano’s Wolfpack team stunned Houston in the national championship game on a memorable air ball-turned alley-oop. Valvano, whose legacy still resonates for his later fight with cancer, was seen running in glee after his team did the unimaginable.
5. No. 15 Middle Tennessee over No. 2 Michigan State, 2016. That Spartans team, featuring national player of the year, Denzel Valentine, very well could have been a No. 1 seed. It was coach Tom Izzo’s most painful loss, as the hot-shooting Blue Raiders (led by Giddy Potts) became an instant darling after the 90-81 win.
6. No. 11 George Mason over No. 1 UConn, 2006. The Patriots didn’t just put on the glass slipper. They wore it the whole tournament. After knocking off No. 6 Michigan State, No. 3 North Carolina and No. 7 Wichita State, George Mason bounced No. 1 UConn in the Final Four before falling to eventual champ Florida. Jim Calhoun’s Huskies that year were considered the favorite to cut down the nets.
7. No. 11 VCU over No. 1 Kansas, 2011. Shaka Smart’s havoc-wreaking Rams were a No. 11 seed that barely got in as an at-large bubble team and started their journey in the First Four. VCU went on to stun No. 1 seed Kansas in the Elite Eight to become the first double-digit seed to reach the Final Four.
8. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 2 Georgetown, 2013. Who could forget Dunk City? The Eagles stunned No. 2 seed Georgetown and did it in such a highlight-reel, photogenic way that no Cinderella had before.
9. No. 15 Lehigh over No. 2 Duke, 2012. Led by C.J. McCollum’s memorable performance and crossover dribbles helped pilot Lehigh past a heavily-favored Blue Devils team that featured Austin Rivers, Seth Curry and the Plumlee brothers.
10. No. 11 Loyola Marymount over No. 3 Michigan, 1990. The lead-up is what made this Elite Eight Cinderella run so special. The team’s hyper-kinetic, run-and-gun style, which enabled LMU to average a Division I-record 122.4 points per game that season, highlighted an entertaining chapter in college basketball history. But it was the emotional chord that captivated the nation, as LMU staged its run and beat dispatched Michigan after the tragic early-March death of star Hank Gathers.
Just missed: Davidson (2008), Gonzaga (1999), Richmond (1991), Northern Iowa (2010), Georgia State (2015).