The 2023 NCAA Tournament has arguably been the most chaotic in the history of the tournament. We’ve seen a 16 take out a 1 for the second time in history and a 15 advance to the Sweet 16. This tourney also marks the first time where all four No. 1’s have failed to reach the Elite Eight. The number of upsets have been staggering and that begs the question what year has featured the most upsets in NCAA Tournament history?
According to the NCAA, 2014 featured the most upsets with 19. Now, it should be noted that the NCAA’s website itself defines an upset as a game where the winning team was seeded at least two seed lines lower than the losing team. So that eliminates your 9 over 8’s, 10 over 7’s, etc. I mean, NCAA, you’re the ones seeding the higher and lower ranked teams and all upsets should count. But for the sake of time, we’ll take your word on this.
Anyway, the 2014 tourney was pure chaos from the jump as the first round featured three No. 12’s, three No. 5’s, two No. 11’s, and a No. 14 all advance. The following round saw No. 11 Dayton advance as well as No. 10 Stanford. Things remained pretty static in the Sweet 16 before the Elite Eight saw No. 8 Kentucky take out No. 2 Michigan. Then the Final Four semifinals themselves featured some upheaval as No. 7 UConn downed No. 1 Florida and No. 8 Kentucky took out No. 2 Wisconsin.
As of this writing, 12 upsets have occurred in this tournament per NCAA upset criteria. We’ll see if more will take place.