March Madness’s top 5 Biggest Upsets

5. UCLA (11) vs. University of Michigan (1)

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Michigan opened the scoring with a two-pointer that started a back and forth affair at the beginning of the game. Michigan proceeded to take control and take a seven-point lead about four minutes into the game. Michigans lead would hold for the majority of the half, locking down UCLA’s offensive efforts. That was until UCLA started to hold down defensively and started to gain momentum, stalling the Wolverine’s offense to four points for five minutes. During those five minutes, UCLA managed to score 11 points to take a 20-17 lead. UCLA kept their advantage heading into the half, 27-23.

UCLA expanded the lead by five about three minutes into the second half. But Michigan started clawing back into the game by stopping the UCLA attack for six and a half minutes. During that time, the Wolverines made it only a three-point contest with 11 and a half minutes left. It took Michigan around five minutes, but they did grab a one-point lead with a Mike Smith three-point shot. Both teams took turns with the advantage, then a two-point layup and a defensive stand by UCLA made this a three-point game with a minute to go. Two foul shots by Michigan cut the lead to one with 44 seconds to go. Michigan tried to go up on a layup, but they instead got called for a foul that expanded UCLA’s lead. Michigan had two last-second chances to win the game, but both failed. The final score was 51-49, a very defensive and low-scoring battle.

4. University of Texas (3) vs. Abilene Christian University (14)

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Mark Humphrey.

Texas got the quick start in the first half, jumping to a five-point lead in the first minute. ACU would respond by tying up the game with a three-point shot from a broken play and later taking a one-point lead. The first half was contentious as both teams were trading off one-point advantages. A missed shot from ACU and a last-second dunk from Texas made it 28-23, favoring Texas at the half. Analogous to the first half, Texas came out and scored five unanswered and left Abilene Christian in a nine-point hole. The Longhorn’s lead would crumble over time, and ACU would find themselves in the driver’s seat up 37-36. They continued to be in front until the 4:50 mark when Matt Coleman hit a three to take the lead for Texas 47-45. ACU responded by tying the game and converting on a crucial lay-up and a foul to put them ahead by three late. Again, Texas came back and made a three-pointer late to put them in front by one. But disaster struck when they committed a foul with 1.2 seconds left in the game. Abilene Christian converted on both, and they won 53-52. 

3. University of Illinois (1) vs. Loyola (8) 

On March 21, Illinois was tied for second-best odds of winning the tournament, according to oddshark.com, and had a -7 spread against Loyola.

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Mark Humphrey.

They lost by 13, almost double the number of points that oddshark.com projected Illinois to win by. Loyola dominated the opening half 33-24 with solid defensive play and good ball movement. It was the same story in the second half; Loyola looked like a complete unit against Illinois, a team that 15.2 percent of people thought would win the entire tournament according to the SportsCenter bracket challenge. It was a steamrolling of a potential bracket winner.

 

2. University of Florida (7) vs. Oral Roberts (15)

AP Photo/AJ Mast

Both teams came out the gate on fire, shooting left, right and center. After the dust settled, the Gators would control most of the first half, but Oral Roberts was always within striking distance. The start of the second half looked good for Florida, coming out with a nine-point lead and making key defensive plays. Throughout the half, the Gators had a significant edge until a three-point shot and a takeaway opportunity made it a one-point game. ORU pulled out in front with a huge three-pointer from DJ Weaver to make it 80-78, and the Gators went scoreless for two minutes to seal the win for ORU. For the second time in NCAA history, a 15-seed went to the sweet 16.

1. Ohio State (2) vs. Oral Roberts (15)

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Robert Franklin.

Oral Roberts opened up the game with a seven-point lead, which Ohio State took back three minutes later, making it a 13-10 game for the Buckeyes. Ohio State would hold on to that lead for most of the half until Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas hit a long three to put his team up by one with five minutes to go. Oral Roberts held onto their lead, heading into halftime.

After the break, Ohio State quickly came out on top. Oral Robert’s Kevin Obanor responded with a three-pointer that took the lead back, which would hold for a couple of minutes until Ohio tied the game 42-42. Oral Roberts scored seven straight, but Ohio climbed back to keep the game close at 51-50. For the rest of the half, the game was a tight affair where both teams would hold leads, only to have the other team storm back. Two Oral Roberts foul shots sent the game into OT. When OT started, Oral Roberts grabbed the lead early and never looked back, as Ohio State’s Duane Washington missed the game-tying three-point shot. This is only the ninth time a 15-seed beat a two-seed, and this shocking upset sent shock waves across the internet.