Greatest upsets in the last two weeks of the NCAA basketball tournament

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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Now that we’re down to the last two weeks of the college basketball season, let’s take a look at the upsets that have shaped the final rounds of the tourney. The criteria I’m using is to look at the seeds of each team and the biggest difference in those seed numbers by teams that were ranked lower than the team they defeated. There are three Sweet Sixteen match-ups on Thursday and Friday that could join the upsets listed below if the lower seeds can win: Xavier (#10 seed) vs. Baylor (#3), North Carolina (#1) vs. Ohio (#13), and Kansas (#1) vs. North Carolina State (#11).

Here are the greatest upsets in the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four and Championship Game in the NCAA tournament since 1979 when all teams were seeded in the brackets. (To qualify for the list the team that won had to have been seeded five spots or more lower than the team they defeated.)

SWEET SIXTEEN, seed difference, year, teams

9     1986: LSU (#11 seed) defeated Georgia Tech (#2 seed)

7     1987: LSU (#10 seed) defeated DePaul (#3 seed)

7     1991 Temple (#10 seed) defeated Oklahoma (#3 seed)

7     2002: Kent State (#10 seed) defeated Pittsburgh (#3 seed)

7     2008: Davidson (#10 seed) over Wisconsin (#3 seed)

5     1979: Penn (#9 seed) over Syracuse (#4 seed)

ELITE EIGHT, seed difference, year, teams

10     1986: LSU (#11 seed) defeated Kentucky (#1 seed)

10     2006: George Mason (#11 seed) defeated Connecticut (#1 seed)

10     2011: VCU (#11 seed) defeated Kansas (#1 seed)

6      1985: Villanova (#8 seed) defeated North Carolina (#2 seed)

6      2011: Butler (#8 seed) defeated Florida (#2 seed)

5      1983: North Carolina State (#6 seed) defeated Virginia (#1 seed)

5      1987: Providence (#6 seed) defeated Georgetown (#1 seed)

5      1992: Michigan (#6 seed) defeated Ohio State (#1 seed)

FINAL FOUR, seed difference, year, teams

6     1985: Villanova (#8 seed) defeated Memphis State (#2 seed)

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, seed difference, year, teams

7     1985: Villanova (#8 seed) defeated Georgetown (#1 seed)

5     1983: North Carolina State (#6 seed) defeated Houston (#1 seed)

5     1988: Kansas (#6 seed) defeated Oklahoma (#1 seed)

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