During spring break, I was hanging out with a former Lehigh center in the late 80’s right before his alma mater faced off against Duke. Scared of the matchup on paper, he didn’t even watch the game besides the casual glances at the television.
Two hours later, and you have the biggest upset not only of this year’s tournament, but also of all-time.
This was a good Duke team. They finished 13-3 in ACC play, and beat Michigan State, Kansas and North Carolina during the season. They were a trendy pick to reach the Elite Eight and to challenge Kentucky for a chance at the Final Four.
Yet it was a small university in Bethlehem, Penn., that upset one of the giants of college basketball. Only five other No. 15 seeds had ever outlasted a No. 2 seed in the first round, but none of them were as stunning as Lehigh from the Patriot League.
Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski has more wins than any other coach in NCAA Division I basketball history, and yet he couldn’t rally a top-10 team in the country over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
Duke didn’t shoot poorly. Lehigh didn’t shoot lights out. However, Lehigh willed its way to a victory – one of the most improbable wins of all-time.
Every year there are upsets in the NCAA tournament that leave brackets busted and people left shaking their head.
It’s what makes the tournament the greatest postseason in all of sports. In a one and done scenario anything can happen, no matter if your Lehigh playing Duke or Norfolk State going up against Missouri.
The biggest upset of this year’s tournament was No. 15 Norfolk State beating No. 2 Missouri. Who could have ever expected that one coming in?
We’re talking about a team that had never played in the NCAA tournament against a team that had been ranked in the top five for most of the season and had a shot at a No. 1 seed.
In the history of the tournament, there had been only four No. 2 seeds upset in the first round. Last Friday, there were two who went down, with Duke losing as well.
The recipe of an upset is never predictable, but when the game starts you can always see it. Norfolk State’s Kyle O’Quinn played the game of his life scoring 26 points and pulling in 14 rebounds.
While Norfolk State was pummeled in the third round by Florida it is an upset the Spartans won’t soon forget.