The Biggest March Madness Bracket-Busters of the Millennium
March Madness is just around the corner, and that means it’s almost time to start rolling on your office pools, buddy pools, and solo pools if you have no friends to gamble with. The hardest part is, of course, picking the correct upsets at the right time — and there are always a few which make massive waves. Here are the biggest bracket busters of this millennium so far.
2013: Florida Gulf Coast Knocks off Georgetown
Florida Gulf Coast had only been eligible for Division I play for two seasons when they earned the moniker “Dunk City.” Entering the tournament as a 15 seed, they announced their presence in a big way when they offed Georgetown 78-68 after leading for most of the game. Though Georgetown has a long history of dropping to low seeds, Florida proved their win wasn’t just a fluke when they later popped off against 7 seed San Diego State to become the first 15 seed to make the Sweet 16.
2006: George Mason Takes Down UConn
UConn had just finished a historic season, going 30-3 and absolutely dominating every team in their path. That is, until George Mason came to the court ready to play. The Patriots had been unranked all but one week of the season, and were heavy underdogs entering the tournament. However they pushed past the first two rounds, having been ranked an undeserved 11 with a squad that featured no future NBA players and nobody over 6’8. They managed to get a buzzer beater in against the Huskies, forcing overtime, where they dueled the best squad in the nation, winning 86-84 to advance to the Final Four.
2016: Middle Tennessee Blasts Michigan State From Distance
If Michigan State wasn’t the best squad in 2016, they were in the top two. Picked second most of any team in online brackets, and featuring more Vegas money than any other team, the Spartans cost a lot of people a lot of money when the Blue Raiders came in and absolutely dominated the court by lobbing 11 out of 19 threes. Michigan State’s players and coaches began to play frustrated, then angry, and you just can’t do that. In the end, the number 15 Blue Raiders topped the number 2 Spartans with a cool 90-81 final.
2012: Norfolk State Overcomes Missouri
At one point before the game, Missouri was favored by an outlandish 21.5 points. But these Spartans came to prove a point–or 2. Bolstered by Kyle O’Quinn’s 26 points and 14 boards, Norfolk State managed to hang on for a 86-84 victory, pushing into the second round and sending the vaunted Tigers home with their tails between their legs.
2012: Lehigh Drops Duke
Not to be outdone by the Norfolk State upset earlier in the day, Lehigh came into Duke’s backyard and stunned the early favorite, led by future NBA star C.J. McCollum’s 30 points. The Blue Devils were considered among the best not only that season but of all time, and the shockwaves could be felt in North Carolina and beyond. The Mountain Hawks had proven that upsets didn’t have to be rare, and that no foe is unbeatable. Keep that in mind when you’re making your picks in a few weeks.
(Image courtesy of Skot Llindstedt via Flickr.)