Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Top 25 NCAA Tournament upsets since 2000

UMBC Retrievers. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
UMBC Retrievers. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Villanova Wildcats
Villanova Wildcats. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images) /

Every year, the NCAA Tournament crowns a national champion, but it also provides us with incredible drama and stunning upset wins. Let’s take a closer look at the 25 greatest NCAA Tournament upsets of this century.

If you look closely at the top of rankings, polls, and rating systems, you’ll see a load of teams from power conferences like the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12. These high-profile programs have the best coaches, the largest budgets and the best facilities. They often plan on television. That being said, they aren’t always guaranteed of success in March.

There are 32 conferences in college basketball, and each one of them gets to send their tournament’s champion to the NCAA Tournament. Every league is represented and every team that makes the Tourney gets that same opportunity.

Clearly, not all teams are created equal. Regular season success plays a great deal in determining the likelihood of March Madness success. A team earning a 2-seed is more likely to succeed than a 5-seed, but the same principle is important for those smaller conferences. These 12 and 13-seeds fought hard to make the Tournament. They are not pushovers by any stretch.

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Each season these smaller, lesser-known programs pull off incredible upsets over the bigger teams, giving us memorable March Madness moments. The elite teams in the country almost always win the championship, but the efforts of these lower-seeded teams cannot be denied.

We’re going to take a closer look at some of the most incredible upsets of this century, keeping in mind that even a power conference team can pull off a major upset.