Florida Gulf Coast's improbable run to the Sweet Sixteen has stunned the sporting world and inspired us to take a look back at the most improbable, amazing, surprising, trailblazing, and bracket-annihilating moments in NCAA tournament history. Here are some of the best...
10. BYU vs. Iona, first round (2012)
Statistically speaking, the 2012 BYU team pulled off the biggest NCAA tournament comeback in history, rallying from 25 down to win 78-72. Even though Iona was known for tightening up in the second half, nobody could have predicted such a colossal meltdown in the tournament.
9. Hampton vs. Iowa State, first round (2001)
Both a huge upset and an amazing comeback, the 15-seed Hampton Pirates ended the game on a 14-2 run to outlast Iowa State and their two future first-round picks (Marcus Fizer and Jamaal Tinsley) 58-57. Side note: My brother, Paul played on that Iowa State team so F you Hampton.
8. Texas Western vs. Kentucky, Title Game (1966)
You know you have a pretty good season when they make a movie about it. The 2006 film, "Glory Road" documented Texas Western’s rise to basketball prominence as the first ever all-black starting lineup beat the national powerhouse Kentucky and legendary coach Adolph Rupp to win the 1966 NCAA Championship 72-65.
7. UCLA vs. Missouri, Second Round (1995)/Valparaiso vs. Ole Miss, First Round (1998)
Does the name Tyus Edney ring a bell? He single-handedly stomped on the hearts of all Mizzou fans as he raced down the court and ended the Tigers’ hopes of a win with a floater at the buzzer (75-74). All this after the Bruins faced their biggest halftime deficit of the season.
And while we're discussing buzzer beaters, we can't forget when Bryce Drew of 13-seed Valparaiso made a 23-foot 3 pointer at the buzzer to lead his team past 4-seed Ole Miss for the win (70-69).
6. Richmond vs. Syracuse, First Round (1991)
These days, a 15-seed upsetting a 2-seed is rare, but in 1991 it was mythic. The Richmond Spiders made basketball history by becoming the lowest seed to ever win a first round game (73-69). Not only did they single-handedly destroy brackets across the country, they did it against all-star Billy Owens and Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim.
4. Duke vs. UNLV, Final Four (1991)
What in the hell is a 2-seed (Duke) versus a 1-seed (UNLV) matchup doing on this list? Well mostly because that 1-seed was undefeated, on a 45 game winning streak, and started five players that would all be drafted into the NBA. Oh, and did we mention that Duke lost by 30 to UNLV in the previous year’s title game? Revenge is sweet. (Final score: 79-77)
3. Illinois vs. Arizona, Elite Eight (2005)
With four minutes to go, Arizona built a 75-60 lead that seemed insurmountable. But Illinois mounted it. Ending the game on a 20-5 run, the Illini pushed the game to overtime and went on to win 90-89. It stands today as one of the best comebacks in NCAA tournament history.
2. NC State vs. Houston, Title Game (1983)
You’ve seen the replays. It’s the game where the NC State guy lofts up a shot from near half-court and the other NC State guy dunks it home for the win (54-52). But there’s more to it than that. The Wolfpack came back from a 6-point deficit with only minutes to go against the famed Phi Slamma Jamma basketball fraternity that featured Hall of Fame players Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Oh, and they were a 10-loss 6-seed that nobody thought could win.
Next: NCAA Players With Famous Sports Fathers
1. Villanova vs. Georgetown, Title Game (1985)
The lowest seed (8) to ever win a national championship, the Villanova Wildcats shocked the world when they went toe-to-toe with Patrick Ewing and the defending national champion Hoyas from Georgetown (66-64). Adding to the odds against them, Villanova had lost to Georgetown twice already in the regular season. But with a second half that saw them only miss one shot, the upset was complete, shuffling it straight to the top of our biggest surprises in NCAA tournament history.