The most exciting month of college basketball is upon us. March Madness is full of unforgettable moments that will either live on in infamy or haunt teams for years to come.
Below, Johnny Avello, Head of Race and Sportsbook for DraftKings, recalls some of the biggest NCAA Tournament upsets we’ve seen of all time.
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NO. 15 RICHMOND // NO. 2 SYRACUSE
“Richmond became the first 15-seed to beat a 2-seed in NCAA tournament history. Spider-coached teams by Dick Tarrant were no strangers to consistently pulling off tournament upsets but this one was the biggest by far, 73-69.” – Johnny Avello, Head Of Race and Sportsbook, DraftKings
NO. 13 PRINCETON // NO. 4 UCLA
“Coach Pete Carrill’s Tigers were always a handful for opponents with that slow-down tempo and backdoor plays for easy buckets— that’s exactly the play they used to make the final field goal of this game against the defending champs, leading them to a 43-41 victory.” – Johnny Avello, Head Of Race and Sportsbook, DraftKings
NO. 11 GEORGE MASON // NO. 1 UCONN
“All five starters for the Patriots finished the game with double figures and the team shot 50% from three-point-land to upset the 30-4 first-seed Huskies in overtime at the regional finals in Washington, D.C. Although the Huskies were the top seed and the Patriots were the 11-seed, the spread was only eight points, and George Mason ended up with a 86-84 win.” – Johnny Avello, Head Of Race and Sportsbook, DraftKings
NO. 15 LEHIGH // NO. 2 DUKE
“To this day, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks believe they were the better team. Led by CJ McCollum, who had 30 points, they won the contest as a 12.5-point underdog. Duke was not a good team to their backers that year as they were a combined 13-20 against the spread. Leigh ended up with a five-point win at 75-70.” – Johnny Avello, Head Of Race and Sportsbook, DraftKings
NO. 15 FLORIDA GULF COAST // NO. 2 GEORGETOWN
“It was just the Gulf Coast Eagles’ second year of eligibility when they pulled off this stunner. During the regular season, they played Miami, Florida, Duke, St. John’s, VCU and Iowa State to prepare for the tournament. Looking back, maybe the Hoyas (25-7) didn’t deserve to be the 2-seed, as they lost 78-68.” – Johnny Avello, Head Of Race and Sportsbook, DraftKings
NO. 14 MERCER // NO. 3 DUKE
“The school from Macon, Georgia, with a student enrollment of 8,300, shocked the Blue Devils as a 13-point underdog. The team led with its starting lineup of five seniors and went on a 20-5 run late in the game, which clinched the biggest victory in school history with a 78-71 win. As Marvin Gaye would say, Mercer, Mercer Me.” – Johnny Avello, Head Of Race and Sportsbook, DraftKings
NO. 16 UMBC // NO. 1 VIRGINIA
“It was just a matter of time before the inevitable would happen: a 16-seed beating the top seed. Until this day, number one-seeds were 125-0 in tournament play. This particular game was even more outrageous because of the final score of 74-54. The UMBC Retrievers destroyed the 31-3 top college basketball team in the country by 20 points despite the Cavaliers being a 21-point favorite to win the game. The Retrievers were also 20-1 on the moneyline (odds to win the game straight up) and rewarded their backers handsomely. Now that game was truly a bracket buster.” – Johnny Avello, Head Of Race and Sportsbook, DraftKings
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