No. 16 UMBC Shocks No. 1 UVA in Biggest Upset in March Madness History

Before this season, NCAA men’s basketball had never seen a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1. There have been several close calls in the past, such as Michigan-Murray State in 1990, and Gonzaga-Southern in 2013. This year was different, though. In stunning fashion, No. 16 University of Maryland, Baltimore County was able to upset No. 1 University of Virginia.

The aptly-named UMBC Retrievers pulled off the unthinkable, and not just against the No. 1 seed in the South region, but the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament this year. In ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, 96.6 percentage of brackets had UVA beating UMBC in the round of 64, and 18.5 percentage even had the Cavaliers winning the National Championship. The 135-game win streak No. 1 seeds had achieved over the years had finally come to an end.

This game, much like many other opening round games during March Madness, was blowout.  This time, however, it was the 16 seed that balled out. UMBC hung around early and even managed to head into the locker room tied at halftime. The basketball world took notice of this surprisingly close game, and all eyes were on the Retrievers as they took the court in the second half, poised to complete the previously unimaginable.

UMBC came out firing, drilling effortless three pointers from all over the court. The Cavaliers were no match for the Retrievers’ hot shooting, as UMBC went on to hit 12 threes and shoot 54.2 percent from the floor. UVA simply could not respond, finishing with a dismal 18.2 percent from beyond the arc.

This incredible game will go down in the books as the greatest upset in NCAA tournament history. Not only did a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed, but it crushed a team that was heavily favored. Regardless of UMBC’s disappointing seven-point loss to Kansas State in the round of 32, this game will nonetheless put UMBC on the map as the first team that ever managed to pull off the impossible.

Contact Ethan Marchetti at [email protected].