Close mobile menu

March Madness is upon us.

After the excitement of Selection Sunday, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship is primed to kick off. The teams are seeded, the favorites are clear, but the real magic lies in the unexpected upsets that await.

Brace yourself for the rollercoaster of emotions, from jubilation to heartbreak, as the tournament unfolds. And if you’re itching to dive into the action, look no further than Bovada’s College Basketball lines and futures.

We’re all geared up for March Madness 2024, and to get you in the spirit, let’s revisit the 10 biggest March Madness upsets in the history of March Madness… Let’s go.


View the latest Odds at Bovada!

#10 – Santa Clara (15) over Arizona (2)

The only team on this list to become an NBA MVP (he won twice, in fact), Santa Clara had a secret weapon heading into this 1993 upset.

Freshman Steve Nash was still early in his college career, but he scored a clutch six straight free throws in the final minutes of the game to down the Wildcats 64-61.

#9 – Coppin State (15) over South Carolina (2)

Pop quiz: do you know where Coppin State is? Answer: Baltimore, Maryland. This tiny school of around 3,000 annual students took down the Gamecocks (student pop: 35,000+) for their first-ever win in the men’s Division 1 tournament.

Games like this are what give March Madness its magic every year, without fail, it seems. But back in 1997, this was an even rarer upset than today. The Eagles were just the third #15 seed to beat a second seed in the history of the tournament. Their 78-65 win even prompted the creation of a documentary film called “On & Coppin”.

#8 – Lehigh (15) over Duke (2)

The year 2012 was a big one for March Madness upsets (keep reading below for more), especially a 15 taking down a number two!

The Duke Blue Devils are one of the most legendary teams in the NCAA tournaments, with Coach K seemingly having the best recruiting class every year. They had eight future NBA players on their roster heading into this game.

The Lehigh Mountain Hawks, meanwhile, had CJ McCollum. Now a 10-year NBA vet, McCollum’s 30 points led Lehigh to its first-ever win in the tournament.

#7– Florida Gulf Coast (15) over Georgetown (2)

Remember “Dunk City”? The only 15th seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen in March Madness history, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles caught fire for three games in the 2013 tournament, and their players had a bunch of highlight reel jams.

Making it even sweeter is the fact that it was FGCU’s first time ever in the big tournament. Compare that to Georgetown’s 29th appearance, and the legendary John Thompson at the helm for the Hoyas.


Sign up to Bovada today!

#6 – Norfolk State (15) over Missouri (2)

March Madness can create a new life for players who shine on the big stage.

With his 26 points and 14 rebounds in the upset win for the Spartans, Kyle O’Quinn moved way up the draft board and was selected 49th overall that year, and he went on to have an 8-year career in the NBA and cool $25 million in career earnings.

#5 – Oral Roberts (15) over Ohio State (2)

This was a true March Madness classic.

In 2021, the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles took the Buckeyes all the way to overtime, winning 75-72. Kevin Obanor, now a G League player, scored a massive 30 points for the Golden Eagles in the win.

They were down late too, only tying the game up at 64 in the final seconds. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, shot a dismal 5 for 23 from beyond the arc and committed 15 turnovers as well. Talk about March sadness!

#4 – Saint Peter’s (15) over Kentucky (2)

If you’re reading this list from number one upwards, you’re probably noticing a trend here; a lot of the biggest upsets in March Madness history seem to be happening in recent years.

Why is that? One might guess that college basketball doesn’t produce dynasties anymore, with few players sticking around for their full eligibility. This means they don’t have a roster containing a team that has played together for very long.

Whatever the reason, in 2022, the Saint Peter’s Peacocks took advantage of this trend and sent the Kentucky Wildcats home with an 85-79 win. The Peacocks proudly took that win and a few others to the Elite Eight.

#3 – Princeton (15) over Arizona (2)

The third-highest pick on our list of the 10 biggest upsets in March Madness history also happens to be one of the most recent.

In the 2023 men’s Division 1 basketball tournament, Ivy League standout Princeton took down the Arizona Wildcats in the opening round, 59-55.

It was a game that didn’t quite have March Madness vibes, with both teams unable to hit the side of a barn most of the night, shooting in the low 40’s. In fact, Princeton had only one player scoring in double digits, and the Wildcats went pointless in the last five minutes of the game!

#2 – Fairleigh Dickinson (16) over Purdue (1)

Something was in the water in 2023, as it also features the second-biggest upset on our list.

Fairleigh Dickinson, a private New Jersey school with 12,000 students, took on Purdue in the 2023 version of March Madness. The Boilermakers of Purdue are a perennial tournament team with over 52,000 students.

It was only the second time in the history of the NCAA tournament that a 16th seed defeated a #1 seed. The Knight’s 63-58 win broke a million brackets before the opening round was even finished and gave the fans of March Madness yet another reason to tune into every second, just like we do at Bovada.

#1 – UMBC (16) over Virginia (1)

Ever heard of UMBC? To be fair, many of us haven’t. But in 2018, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, became the first-ever 16th seed to knock off a number one. That’s 33 years of March Madness history to overcome.

The Virginia Cavaliers had the second-best odds to take home the championship trophy heading into March Madness that season. But they got dominated from the opening tip in this game, losing 74-54.

The Retrievers (with such a friendly team name, maybe Virginia underestimated their bite…) entered the tournament for only the second time in their school’s history. That’s five fewer than the number of times the Cavaliers have won the tournament, and it’s part of the reason many call this the greatest upset in March Madness history.

Bovada’s college basketball lines, props, and overall March Madness mastery is always clutch too. Pick your upsets and get ready to watch the madness ensue.


Enjoy crypto gambling at Bovada