It is almost that time of year again, the annual March Madness. Everyone is getting anxious to find out what region their favorite team will be placed in and what seed they get. Every year this tournament brings exciting games and huge upsets. I will talk about some of the biggest upsets that have happened in this tournament.
One of the first upsets that comes up in my mind is the 1983 title game between the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the mighty Houston Cougars. Nobody game North Carolina State a chance in this game. They were lucky to even be in the tournament at all. It took winning the ACC tournament and getting the automatic bid just to get in. North Carolina State did have three very talented players in Forward Thurl Bailey and guards Dereck Whittenburg and Sidney Lowe but it was nothing like the talent laden roster of Houston that featured two future NBA Hall of Famers. The downfall that night for Houston was to many mental mistakes, a few bad calls and the famous missed shot. Everyone remembers Dereck Whittenburg throwing the shot up, Lorenzo Charles catching the errant shot and dunking it to seal the win and causing the huge upset over the Houston Cougars.
Another big upset in the tournament hits home personally for me, it is the 1984 North Carolina loss to an Indiana team that started four freshmen and a 7’2″ center named Uwe Blab. This game still stings. North Carolina was an extremely talented team lead by Michael Jordan and they had 10 players drafted into the NBA. Going into the game North Carolina was ranked #1, had only 2 loses and was a heavy favorite to win the National Championship. Indiana was outmatched at every position. This should have been an easy victory for the Tar Heels and it might have been if not for bad luck. The first piece of bad luck happened earlier in the year when Kenny Smith broke his wrist. He played against Indiana but was only a shell of himself. The other bad luck was Michael Jordan picking up two early fouls. He eventually fouled out that game. This North Carolina team may have been considered the greatest of all time had they been able to beat Indiana.
Last season on a Friday afternoon an upset was brewing. The 15 seed Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders were taking on the 2 seed Michigan State Spartans. The Michigan State team was often mentioned as a final four candidate and potential National Champion. Michigan State came out flat! They scored on their first possession and didn’t score again until it was 15-2. Middle Tennessee started out hot and managed to keep Michigan State at bay. By the end of the game Middle Tennessee’s early big lead proved to much for the Spartans. This was another lost chance for coach Izzo.
Throughout the years there are many great games that feature upsets or near upsets. So far a number one seed has never been upset. There have only been eight 15 seeds to pull off the upset. I am sure that this year will have a few more upsets that people will be talking about for years to come. In a one and done tournament if you do not play your best game you could be sitting at home very early.