The 25 Most Shocking Upsets of the Year in College Basketball

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2013

The 25 Most Shocking Upsets of the Year in College Basketball

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    The 2012-13 college basketball season could be called "The Attack of the Killer Upset."

    Very few, if any, seasons have had the kinds or the quantity of underdogs knocking off the favorites.

    And we're not even officially to March Madness yet.

    Here are the 25 most shocking college basketball upsets of 2012-13.

    In most years, you might be hard-pressed to have enough legitimate options to move forward in creating a list like this.

    In 2012-13, the number of stars and subs is so large that it would be nearly impossible to keep track of all those players who have been a key part to knocking off a quality ranked team.


    All stats and team information comes from

25. Texas 85, (23) North Carolina 67

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    This one was worse than the score indicates.

    The Tar Heels looked lifeless and uncaring.

    Even with Texas PG Myk Kabongo watching from the sidelines, North Carolina was no match for the inexperienced Longhorns.

    It was a tough shooting night for Roy's boys. UNC connected on 31.3 percent of its shots from the field and 15.8 percent from beyond the arc.

24. Maryland 51, (14) North Carolina State 50

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    Four days after the Wolfpack took down Duke in Raleigh, NC State went on the road and managed to mess up its big win by losing to Maryland in College Park.

    Terrapin center Alex Len tapped in a missed shot with less than a second to give Mark Turgeon a signature win.

    This was not a pretty game, but someone had to get the W. The halftime score was Maryland 22, North Carolina State 16.


    Both teams shot poorly: Maryland shot 31.1 percent from the field and NC State connected on 34.4 percent.

23. Saint Joseph's 79, (20) Notre Dame 70

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    After using an 8-0 run to send the game into OT, St. Joseph's outscored ND 13-4 in the extra period.

    This was not the way that the Fighting Irish wanted to play in their first game in the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

    The Hawks used balanced scoring to earn this victory. Five players scored in double figures.

22. Virginia Commonwealth 78, (19) Memphis 65

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    In the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, Shaka Smart's squad was in rare form.

    The Rams forced 22 turnovers (no surprise) and hit 13 of 22 three-pointers (big surprise) to take down the Tigers.

    VCU hit almost twice as many threes (13) as Memphis attempted (seven).

21. Miami (FL) 67, (13) Michigan State 59

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    November victories don't always mean much, but this one launched the Hurricanes' 2012-13 season.

    Michigan State was up by four at the half, but Jim Larranaga's crew outscored the Spartans, 40-28, after the intermission.

    Miami's senior wing Trey McKinney-Jones used 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc to score a career-high 18 points to pace the Canes.

20. Baylor 64, (8) Kentucky 55

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    At this point of the season (Dec. 1), we really didn't know what was ahead for either of these teams.

    However, Baylor did what few teams have been able to do over the years: come out of Rupp Arena with a victory.

    This loss ended Kentucky's 30-game home win streak and gave a preview to how wet behind the ears the Wildcats were.

19. (15) Ohio State 56, (2) Michigan 53

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    For much of the 2012-13 season, Ohio State has flown under the Big Ten radar.

    The Buckeyes didn't mind preventing Michigan from moving into the No. 1 spot in the polls.

    OSU took a solid 12-point lead into halftime. The Wolverines didn't check out, but they didn't have enough in the tank to come all the way back on the road.

    Aaron Craft was his usual menacing self on D.

18. Boise State 83, (11) Creighton 70

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    Boise State basketball coach Leon Rice knows that his school is known for a blue-turf football field, not a high-quality hoops program.

    Beating an established mid-major opponent like Creighton on the road is a step in the right direction toward being recognized on the hardwood too.

    The Broncos shot 60.4 percent from the floor and 52.6 percent from beyond the arc to knock off the Bluejays.

    ESPN's Stats and Information indicated that this was “only the second time in school history that Boise beat a ranked opponent on the road.”

17. South Florida 61, Georgetown 58

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    Maybe John Thompson III and his Hoyas were enjoying the Tampa sunshine more than they should.

    USF guard Anthony Collins scored 14 points in the second to propel the Bulls to their first Big East win for the season.

    Georgetown squandered an eight-point halftime lead. USF came roaring back in the second half in spite of shooting 8-of-27 from beyond the arc (29.6 percent) for the game.

16. Villanova 73, (5) Louisville 64

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    Louisville's coach, Rick Pitino, made Villanova's upset victory very simple when he said (h/t the Associated Press,, "We did a lot of things wrong tonight, and they did a lot of things right."

    It was a team win for the Wildcats. Five Nova players scored in double figures.

    The Cardinals' poor foul shooting (12-of-24; 50 percent) was a huge contributing factor to this unexpected loss.

15. Villanova 75, (3) Syracuse 71

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    Villanova did it again. It followed up its upset victory of Louisville from four days before with another huge win against Syracuse.

    According to STATS LLC, Nova was the "first unranked team to beat two top-five teams in the same season since Florida State in 2011-12."

    The Wildcats only hit 9-of-27 shooting for three-point attempts for the game. But they used the long ball to send the game into OT and gain the victory by knocking down consecutive threes in the extra period.

14. Virginia 73, (3) Duke 68

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    Duke found out that Virginia is tough at home.

    The Cavaliers rode Joe Harris' dynamic 36-point performance to their 16th straight home victory.

    While this win alone does not secure the UVa’s Selection Sunday fate, it sure helps to beat a team like Duke this late (Feb. 28) in the season.

13. Wisconsin 64, (2) Indiana 59

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    Some teams just own others. For whatever reason, right now the Wisconsin Badgers own the Hoosiers.

    By beating Indiana in Bloomington, Bo Ryan’s boys have taken down IU in 11 straight games in the series.

    Wisconsin brought its customary shutdown defense to Assembly Hall. It held the Hoosiers to 25 percent shooting (3-of-12) from beyond the arc.

12. Georgia Tech 71, (6) Miami (FL) 69

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    All of a sudden, Miami has gone from being an exceptional team to one that is trying to figure out what is going on.

    Up until Wednesday night, the Canes were undefeated at home and Georgia Tech had only won two road games this year.

    Miami was up by 11 at the half, but it did not take care of the ball or the game during the final 20 minutes of this one.

11. (20) North Carolina State 84, (1) Duke 76

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    North Carolina State needed an early signature win if it was going to fulfill the prediction that it would win the ACC regular-season title.

    On Tobacco Road, it doesn’t get much bigger than beating the Blue Devils.

    Not too many teams have two players put up double-doubles in the same game.

    The Wolfpack's Richard Howell scored 16 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. Lorenzo Brown dropped in 12 points and handed out 13 assists.

10. Temple 83, (3) Syracuse 79

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    Khalif Wyatt chose a big game on a big stage (Madison Square Garden) to have his career-best performance.

    Wyatt’s 33 points, three rebounds and four assists went a long way toward sending the Orange home with an “L.”

    The Owls suffocated Syracuse beyond the arc. Temple held Jim Boeheim’s bunch to 16.7 percent shooting (2-of-12) from downtown.

9. Maryland 83, (2) Duke 81

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    If you told me that Maryland would turn the ball over 26 times against Duke, I would be confident that the Terrapins would be trying to shake off a difficult loss.

    But Mark Turgeon’s team overcame such a challenge by hitting 60 percent (27-of-45) from the field, knocking down 25 free throws and out-rebounding the Blue Devils, 38-17.

8. Penn State 84, (4) Michigan 78

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    The Nittany Lions have struggled through most of the last two Big Ten seasons.

    When the Wolverines came to Happy Valley, they left wondering how in the heck they became Penn State's first "W" in 15 conference games.

    PSU held Michigan to 25 percent (5-of-20) shooting from beyond the arc.

7. Wake Forest 80, (2) Miami (FL) 65

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    Was this an upset that was created by the Canes looking ahead seven days to their showdown with Duke?

    Or was it a moment of great execution and performance by the Demon Deacons? I'm going with the latter.

    Wake was up by 13 at the half and never looked back as it handed Miami its first 2012-13 ACC loss after 14 consecutive wins.

6. Minnesota 77, (1) Indiana 73

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    Minnesota was facing a "must-win" situation when Indiana came to Minneapolis.

    The Golden Gophers stepped up and played their best game of the season in beating IU.

    ESPN Stats and Information reported that Indiana is the third team in NCAA history to “lose 3 times to unranked opponents as the No. 1 team in the same season.”

5. Illinois 74, (1) Indiana 72

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    Sometimes when teams jump out to a lead, they shift from "playing to win" to "playing not to lose."

    Indiana was up by 12 points at the half and extended its lead to 14 in the second, before the Fighting Illini came roaring back.

    Tyler Griffey's uncontested layup with less than a second left gave Illinois one of its biggest wins in...forever.

4. Butler 88, (1) Indiana 86

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    Okay... Does anyone see a pattern here?

    Some games should be played every single season. This is one of those games.

    You have to respect Brad Stevens' ability to prepare his Butler teams for these types of contests.

    The Bulldogs played hard, played smart and never gave up. Sounds cliche but that's what put Alex Barlow in position to pull off the miracle last-second shot to win the game.

3. (25) Miami (FL) 90, (1) Duke 63

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    At this point in the season, we didn't fully know how good Miami was.

    Sure, it was already 13-3 and had won its first four ACC games.

    However, this was the Canes' announcement to the college basketball world to take notice.

    Miami held Duke to 19 first-half points and 17.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc.


2. TCU 62, (5) Kansas 55

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    Kansas had just lost at home to Oklahoma State. It would have been very easy to feel sorry for TCU because everyone expected the Jayhawks to come to Fort Worth and drill the Horned Frogs.

    Someone forgot to tell TCU that it was supposed to roll over and play dead.

    The Frogs held KU to 13.6 shooting (3-of-22) from beyond the arc.

    This was TCU's only Big 12 win so far in its first year in the conference.

1. Cal Poly 70, (11) UCLA 68 (Nov. 25)

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    No, UCLA was not a No. 1-ranked team when it played Cal Poly in its sixth game of the 2012-13 season.

    The Bruins were No. 11 at the time and this game against the Mustangs was supposed to be an automatic win for the Bruins.

    UCLA sleep-walked to a two-point halftime lead, but it let Cal Poly hang around.

    Kyle Odister hit two free throws with 12 seconds on the clock.

    UCLA still had enough time to launch two three-pointers.

    But they were both off the mark.

    And they were dancing in the streets of San Luis Obispo!