5 Biggest March Madness Upsets Based on Spread Since 2000
March Madness is that time of year to watch underdogs topple favorites and for the tale of David vs. Goliath to play out.
One of the biggest sporting events of the year isn’t always kind to some. For the risk takers though, March Madness can be one of the most fulfilling events for sports bettors to partake in.
Will there be any upsets in this year’s March Madness bracket? It may not be as uncommon as you think, with some of the biggest upsets against the spread occurring in recent years.
Here's of list of the biggest upsets since 2000 based of games' point spreads.
5. #2 Georgetown (-14) vs #15 Florida Gulf Coast
Recap: One of the more famous upsets saw Florida Gulf Coast take out Otto Porter’s Georgetown Hoyas, grabbing the attention of the nation and earning the nickname ‘Dunk City.’
Porter finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds but had a much worse game than that. Porter only saw three of his 2-point shots go in, shooting an unbearable 27 percent from inside the arc. As a team, Georgetown only shot 38 percent.
For Florida Gulf Coast, it was all about two players: Sherwood Brown and Bernard Thompson. The two combined for 19 free throws made, as the team made 30 out of a ridiculous 44 free throws compared to Georgetown’s 13 made.
Both Brown and Thompson shot 50 percent from 3-point range and finished with over 20 points. Brett Comer also had a double-double for Florida Gulf Coast, posting 12 points and 10 assists.
4. #2 Michigan State (-16.5) vs #15 Middle Tennessee State
Recap: Lots of well-known names played in this game, including Bryn Forbes, Denzel Valentine, Giddy Potts and Reggie Upshaw. This contest was Potts and Upshaw’s coming-out party.
The two combined for 40 total points, as all five starters for Middle Tennessee scored 11 or more points. Also, four of the five starters hit 50 percent or better from 3-point range.
Valentine was the bright spot for Michigan State, finishing the game with 13 points, six rebounds and 12 assists.
3. #2 Iowa State (-17.5) vs #15 Hampton
Recap: Perhaps the biggest surprise in this game is that Hampton saw three players score the same amount or more points than Iowa State’s leading scorer. Hampton also hit 13 free throws compared to Iowa State’s six.
Tarvis Williams was the real difference in this game, proving that one ‘hot’ player can carry any team in this event. Williams played under 30 minutes (the only starter under 30) but finished with the most points (16) and rebounds (13).
2. #1 Virginia (-20.5) vs #16 UMBC
Recap: Perhaps the biggest upset in March Madness history, considering UMBC wasn’t even supposed to win its conference tournament. The biggest differences in this game were 3-pointers made and assists.
UMBC shot 50 percent from beyond the arc, going 12 for 24 in the game. Virginia only made four 3-pointers on 22 attempts. UMBC had 16 assists in the game compared to UVA’s five. UMBC also made six more free throws and won the rebounding battle by 11.
1. #2 Missouri (-21.5) vs #15 Norfolk State
Recap: Norfolk State’s biggest weapon in this game was Kyle O’Quinn, who went off for 26 points and 14 rebounds. O’Quinn is the only player in this game to actively play in the NBA today, earning a spot on the Indiana Pacers who are pushing for a playoff push.
Besides having a future NBA player on team, Norfolk State saw a few more advantages in this one. The Norfolk State bench had zero points, but it utilized its entire 10-man rotation in the game while Missouri only saw seven players touch the floor.
All five starters for Norfolk State shot 50 percent or better from the field, and it won the rebounding battle by 12.
Highlights from Norfolk State's Historic Win vs Missouri
Who's the Biggest Favorite This Year?
There are currently two games in this year’s first round that have winning odds for a team over 99.5 percent. Those two teams are North Carolina (-24 vs Iona) and Virgina (-24 vs Gardner-Webb).
Both UNC and UVA are favored to win by 24 points or more, which would be one of the biggest upsets in March Madness history if either were to lose.
UNC faces a tournament-experienced program in the Iona Gaels. Many may not have heard of Iona before, but it is somewhat a dynasty within its conference (MAAC).
Iona has been to seven MAAC title games in a row, and this year marks the fourth straight March Madness appearance.
Virginia draws Gardner-Webb in this year’s first round, as it faces another team that wasn't supposed to win its conference tournament.
If Gardner-Webb pulls off the impossible, it would definitely still be one of the greatest upset of all-time, even if many see this one coming as opposed to prior seasons.
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