In the 34 years the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament had featured at least 64 teams, never had a team seeded No. 16 within any region defeated its respective region’s No. 1 seeded team…until Mar. 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina when the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers became the first 16 seed to ever beat a 1 seed. It was also the university’s first-ever tournament victory.
The No. 1 seeded team that was on the short end of this historic game were the Virginia Cavaliers which entered the tournament as the nation’s top-ranked team (according to the Associated Press) and the most popular pick to win the entire tournament, based on ESPN Tournament Challenge entries (and, the second most popular pick on Yahoo!’s Tourney Pick’Em).
Even more eye-opening was the game wasn’t even close: UMBC defeated Virginia 74-54.
Virginia’s 20-point loss is tied for the 3rd-worst loss by a 1-seed in NCAA Tournament history, regardless of opponent’s seed. UMBC is the second double-digit underdog to win a game by 20+ points in the NCAA Tournament. (Utah beat Arizona by 25 in the 1998 Elite 8 as a 10.5-point underdog).
On Jan. 21, 2018, this same UMBC team had lost to Albany 83-39.
Highlights of the night: