NCAA Tournament 2012: 7 Biggest Championship Game Upsets

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIMarch 31, 2012

NCAA Tournament 2012: 7 Biggest Championship Game Upsets

0 of 7

    The national championship game is something everyone gets excited about.

    From games between the top two teams (the way you hope it is) to games between mid-majors and a powerhouse, the national title game has something for everyone.

    From the first title won by Oregon (1939) to last year's champion (Connecticut), there have been 35 different schools that have won national titles, with UCLA winning the most with 11.

    The following is the top seven upsets of all time in the national title game.

    It would have been eight had Gordon Heyward's halfcourt shot gone in in the 2010 title game against Duke.

    Although there have been 72 title games, for the most part the better of the two teams have won the game—except for these seven.

7. 2006: Florida 73, UCLA 57

1 of 7

    This one is a mild upset considering Florida and UCLA came into the game with records of 32-6.

    However, I think that UCLA was a better team throughout the season; it's just Florida outplayed them in the championship game.

    Joakim Noah had 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocks to lead the Gators, while Al Horford added in 14 points and seven rebounds.

    Florida outscored UCLA 36-25 in the first half and coasted on its way to the win in the second half.

    For some reason, other than Jordan Farmar the Bruins couldn't get much from their players, as Ryan Hollis and Arron Affalo each contributed 10 points.

    From the outside, it may not be considered an upset at all. But UCLA's players were highly touted in high school and were expected to lead the Bruins to a title while they were on campus.

6. 1993: North Carolina 77, Michigan 71

2 of 7

    This is another game that the result wasn't an upset, but it was an upset in the manner that it happened.

    "The Timeout," as it's officially known, as will go down as the lowest point in the career of Chris Webber.

    It's easy to forget that mistakes happen, but fans always seem to make those mistakes at key moments seem bigger than they really are.

    Michigan didn't lose the game because Webber called a timeout. They had multiple opportunities to win the game before that even took place.

    One play doesn't decide a championship.

    Although it's sad what happened, it's a part of the game and it's what makes this an upset.

5. 1997: Arizona 84, Kentucky 79

3 of 7

    Arizona became the first school to knock off three No. 1 seeds en route to the title in 1997.

    In the title game, Miles Simon scored a career-high 30 points as the Wildcats won this game in overtime.

    The biggest difference in the game was Arizona having a 34-9 edge in free throws made, which helped them get past the fact that they shot 38 percent from the field.

    Kentucky was trying to be the second team to repeat since UCLA's seven-year dynasty that ran through 1973.

    It's a shame, too, because throughout the season Kentucky seemed to be the better team.

4. 1988: Kansas 83, Oklahoma 79

4 of 7

    Danny Manning scored a game-high 31 points and Milt Newton scored 15 as the No. 6-seeded Jayhawks upset the No. 1 seed Sooners.

    Oklahoma had balanced scoring throughout, as all of its starters were in double figures.

    The ironic thing about the Jayhawks was the fact that they didn't have to play the top three seeds in their region as they were all upset before Kansas would have met them.

    Then, in the Final Four, Kansas would have been on a collision course with the No. 1 team in the nation, Temple. But the Owls lost to Duke in the Elite Eight to give the Jayhawks another good team they didn't have to play.

3. 1966: Texas Western 72, Kentucky 65

5 of 7

    This game changed the course of college basketball forever.

    Texas Western came into the game against the No. 1-ranked Wildcats as the No. 2 team in the nation having lost only one game on the season.

    What makes this game so interesting is the fact that it was the first time that five African-American players started for one team.

    It had never happened before, and was thought to be a slap in the face to Adolph Rupp, the famed head coach of Kentucky.

    In the game, people got exactly what they expected—great play from both sides.

    The only reason this counts as an upset is because it was in a historical sense.

    Never was it thought that five black players could beat five white players.

    Don Haskins and the Miners proved them wrong.

2. 1983: N.C. State 54, Houston 52

6 of 7

    Not only is this one of the greatest upsets in any national title game, it also goes down as one of the best finishes ever in an NCAA tournament game.

    Lorenzo Charles had the game-winning dunk on what looked like a missed shot from outside. Thurl Bailey scored 15, and Dereck Whittenburg had 14 to help get the Wolfpack in that position.

    Houston, on the other hand, was highly ranked entering the tournament and got 20 points from Akeem Olajuwon.

    How could Houston let the game stay this close?

    This should have been an easy win for them, but they allowed N.C. State to hang around and it cost them.

1. 1985: Villanova 66, Georgetown 64

7 of 7

    The greatest upset of all time in the history of the championship game.

    Villanova was led by Dwayne McClain with 17 points, while Wayne Pinckney had 16.

    For Georgetown, David Wingate had 16 and Patrick Ewing had 14.

    In that game, the Wildcats played perfectly, while "the Evil Empire" did just about the same.

    Georgetown had beaten Villanova twice during the season, and Villanova was lucky to just make it into the tournament.

    But, as we've seen in recent years, the teams that just make it into the tournament could end up being the most dangerous teams in the field.