Biggest College Basketball Postseason Upsets

Last Wednesday in the American East Tournament, Hartford defeated Albany in one of the biggest upsets of the season. The seventh-seeded Hawks, who finished the season with a 9-22 record, closed as 18.5-point underdogs against the second-seeded Great Danes (24-7). Many sportsbooks didn’t bother posting a moneyline, but Hartford closed at +3750 on the moneyline at Pinnacle.

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Hartford went on to win by 9-points, resulting in the second biggest moneyline upset of the season trailing only Western Illinois (+6500) unthinkable victory over Wisconsin back in November.

Clearly this was an unbelievable accomplishment for Hartford, but we wanted to know how it stacked up against some of the all-time upsets. To accomplish this, we chose to comb through our historical database to find the biggest postseason upsets of all-time.

Note: Our archive dates back to the start of the 2004-2005 college basketball season.

Tournament Date Underdog Favorite Underdog Line Score
American East Tournament 3/2/16 Hartford Albany +3750 68-59
NCAA Tournament 3/16/12 Norfolk State Missouri +2250 86-84
WAC Tournament 3/14/13 Texas State Denver +1139 72-68
Pac-12 Tournament 3/8/07 California UCLA +1040 76-69
WAC Tournament 3/10/05 Boise State Nevada +1030 73-72
NIT Tournament 3/16/10 Jacksonville Arizona State +1025 67-66
Conference USA Tournament 3/10/05 South Florida Cincinnati +992 80-68
NCAA Tournament 3/19/15 UAB Iowa State +991 60-59
Big Ten Tournament 3/13/14 Northwestern Iowa +929 67-62
NCAA Tournament 3/18/10 Ohio Georgetown +925 97-83

As you can see, Hartford’s victory actually ranks as the biggest upset in college basketball postseason history. The second most surprising result came almost four years ago when 15-seed Norfolk State knocked off 2-seed Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This is one of just seven instances in which a 15-seed defeated a 2-seed.

Readers may be interested to know that moneyline underdogs of +900 or greater have won just 4% of their postseason games over the past decade plus, but that doesn’t mean that bettors should be hammering these massive moneyline favorites. In these lop-sided games, the favorites have gone 239-10 (+1.25 units won) overall and, quite frankly, the risk simply is not worth the reward.

Make sure to bookmark our free college basketball odds page for the latest March Madness lines, injuries, public betting trends and more. Our Best Bets have performed exceptionally well during the tournament, so sign up for our $49 Pro trial for Best Bets, steam moves, reverse line movement alerts, money percentages and much more.

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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@SportsInsights.com

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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