Ranking the 10 Biggest Upsets So Far in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystMarch 25, 2013

Ranking the 10 Biggest Upsets So Far in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

0 of 10

    Once again, we've learned to expect the unexpected when tourney time arrives.

    Seeds are paramount on Selection Sunday, but those distinctions hardly matter once the madness tips off. Conference superiority, program clout and player notoriety have no effect on the scoreboard when unfamiliar opponents clash on the path to a national title.

    The field of 64 commenced Thursday, and the curtain closed on Sunday evening with just 16 squads remaining. More than a few favorites fell by the wayside during the tournament's opening four-day span. 

    Here's a look at the games that captured our attention and reminded every wannabe bracketologist that there's little rhyme or reason to what occurs on the court in the latter stages of March.

10. West Region: No. 10 Iowa State over No. 7 Notre Dame

1 of 10

    How It Happened

    Iowa State eliminated the Fighting Irish in dominant fashion. The Cyclones led by double digits throughout the second half and cruised to a 76-58 victory. 

    Star of the Show  

    Freshman Georges Niang netted 19 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the floor and was a power in the paint all night. Aided by frontcourt mate Melvin Ejim, Niang provided the Cyclones with a tenacious interior presence that Notre Dame failed to match.

    Shock Factor: 7/10 

    Iowa State was a formidable Big 12 squad, surprising many with a strong regular season run. The Cyclones never allowed Notre Dame to grow comfortable in its half-court set, pushing Mike Brey's program around from start to finish. 

9. Midwest Region: No. 12 Oregon over No. 4 St. Louis

2 of 10

    How It Happened

    Oregon opened with an energetic effort and intimidating defensive approach. The Ducks dismantled St. Louis early, sprinting out to a 35-19 advantage at intermission before cruising to a 74-57 win.

    The Billikens were held to 3-of-21 shooting from three-point territory, while the Ducks made an astounding 8-of-11 long-range attempts. 

    Star of the Show

    Freshman Damyean Dotson is maturing on the biggest stage of his basketball career. The guard netted a career-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting against St. Louis. 

    Shock Factor: 7/10

    The Pac-12 tournament champions continue to prove the NCAA selection committee made a crucial error in slotting the Ducks as a No. 12 seed. Oregon was 4-1 against Top 25 squads during the season and entered the tourney hot, so it's hard to view the team as an extreme underdog like some of the other lower seeds on this list.

8. South Region: No. 11 Minnesota over No. 6 UCLA

3 of 10

    How It Happened

    The Gophers gained early momentum and led 35-25 at intermission. UCLA failed to build any semblance of momentum during the second half and suffered an embarrassing 83-63 loss. 

    Star of the Show

    Andre Hollins lit up the Bruins from beyond the arc, burying five three-pointers. The sophomore guard scored a game-high 28 points while chipping in nine rebounds and five assists. 

    Shock Factor: 8/10

    The biggest surprise here is the final score. Minnesota dismantled the Bruins and this result was hardly ever in doubt. 

    The Gophers' victory was the final straw for UCLA coach Ben Howland, who was dismissed shortly after the affair. 

     

7. East Region: No. 12 California over No. 5 UNLV

4 of 10

    How It Happened

    California held UNLV to 32 percent shooting from the floor and the defense stood tall during the final stages of a 64-61 victory. The Runnin' Rebels didn't score for an 11-minute stretch during the second half.

    Star of the Show

    Junior guard Allen Crabbe came up big throughout the contest, pouring in 19 points and pulled down nine boards. His late three-pointer from the corner helped lock up a Cal victory.

    Shock Factor: 8/10  

    Cal is among a slew of Pac-12 squads that began tournament action underrated and underseeded. The Golden Bears bullied UNLV defensively, which allowed the team to build a second-half cushion. 

6. West Region: No. 12 Ole Miss over No. 5 Wisconsin

5 of 10

    How It Happened

    The Rebels outscored Wisconsin 35-21 in the second half, upending the Badgers 57-46. Ole Miss held the Badgers to 25 percent shooting from the floor.

    Star of the Show

    Marshall Henderson may have emerged as one of the most reviled players in the 2013 postseason, but he picked up the Rebels when they needed him most. Henderson finished the game with 19 points despite scuffling from the field, hitting just 6-of-21 shots. 

    Shock Factor: 8/10

    Ole Miss emerged as the unlikely SEC tournament title winner and carried the momentum into this opening-round matchup against Wisconsin. Many had the defensive-minded Badgers in mind as a dark horse Final Four qualifier, but they fell apart against an upstart Ole Miss squad.

5. West Region: No. 13 La Salle over No. 4 Kansas State

6 of 10

    How It Happened

    La Salle surged to a 44-26 halftime advantage and held on late to win 63-61. The Explorers hit 14-of-16 free throw attempts.

    Star of the Show

    Sophomore Jerrell Wright scored 21 points on perfect 6-for-6 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. The forward also provided excellent defensive coverage from arc to rim.

    Shock Factor: 9/10

    La Salle was the least known member of Philadelphia's Big 5 to advance to the tourney (Villanova and Temple also put on their dancing shoes this March). The way the Explorers overwhelmed Kansas State definitely put the Wildcats' seeding into question. 

     

4. South Region: No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 7 San Diego State

7 of 10

    How It Happened

    The Eagles stayed hot from beyond the arc, burying 56 percent of their shots en route to an 81-71 victory. Florida Gulf Coast outscored San Diego State 47-36 in the second half to cement its second stunner of the tournament.

    Star of the Show

    Sophomore guard Bernard Thompson scored 23 points for the second straight game. He connected on 9-of-15 field goal attempts was a thief on the defensive end, recording five steals.

    Shock Factor: 9/10

    For Florida Gulf Coast, the secret was out after Friday's convincing victory over Georgetown. The Eagles didn't fly under the radar going into Sunday's meeting with the Aztecs, but few could have predicted another complete performance from the first-time tourney team. FGCU is the first No. 15 to advance to the Sweet 16.

     

     

3. West Region: No. 9 Wichita State over No. 1 Gonzaga

8 of 10

    How It Happened

    The Shockers shot 50 percent from the floor and torched Gonzaga with 14 three-pointers in a 76-70 win. Wichita State built a five-point halftime advantage and kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard late in the contest to seize the program's first Sweet 16 appearance since 2006.

    Star of the Show

    Cleanthony Early emerged from the Shockers bench to give the team a shot in the arm. The junior forward scored 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds in a reserve role.

    Shock Factor: 9/10

    Wichita State was able to defeat Pittsburgh in its opening game of the NCAA tournament despite shooting just 2-of-20 from beyond the arc. This time around, the Shockers overwhelmed top-seeded Gonzaga with a barrage of long-distance conversions. 

    Whether you agree with Gonzaga's seeding as No. 1 or not, this was a banner day for the Wichita State basketball program.

     

2. West Region: No. 14 Harvard over No. 3 New Mexico

9 of 10

    How It Happened

    Harvard hit 52 percent of its shot attempts on the way to a 68-62 win. The Crimson converted 16-of-20 attempts from the free-throw line to put the game on ice.

    Star of the Show

    Laurent Rivard was red-hot from the outside. The junior guard boosted Harvard's upset hopes with five three-pointers on his way to a 17-point, five-rebound night. 

    Shock Factor: 10/10

    This was Harvard's first victory in NCAA tournament history. Though it was a back-and-forth matchup for most of the game, the Crimson outmatched New Mexico late, derailing a promising Lobos season.

1. South Region: No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 2 Georgetown

10 of 10

    How It Happened

    The Eagles' up-tempo approach quickly took Georgetown out of rhythm and didn't let up as Florida Gulf Coast surged to a shocking victory. The Hoyas were unable to overcome a sizable second-half deficit, suffering a 76-68 loss to the tournament's ultimate Cinderella. 

    Star of the Show

    Sherwood Brown stepped up as an overnight tourney star, delivering a nationally televised pregame speech before pouring in 24 points against Georgetown. He went toe-to-toe with Big East Player of the Year Otto Porter and never blinked. 

    The senior guard relished the moment in the game's closing seconds, celebrating with Eagles fans who journeyed to Philadelphia for the game. 

    Shock Factor: 10/10

    Florida Gulf Coast is only the seventh No. 15 seed to eliminate a second-seeded opponent. The Eagles became eligible for Division I postseason play in 2011 and the program wasted little time leaving its mark on March Madness lore.