Last Updated 10:38 AM, March 31, 2021

We're tracking upsets in the 2021 NCAA tournament

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UCLA vs. Michigan: Extended highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament
9:12
1:59 pm, March 31, 2021

Elite Eight upset tracker

No. 11 UCLA 51, No. 1 Michigan 49

UCLA survives Michigan, 51-49

How it happened

Johnny Juzang here, Johnny Juzang there, Johnny Juzang everywhere. The Kentucky transfer scored 28 of UCLA’s 51 points. He was 11-for-19 in shooting, and everyone else in powder blue uniforms was 10-for-35. Clearly, he was the main force in building a lead that Michigan huffed and puffed against but could never blow in. The Wolverines’ last field goal came with 5:22 left, their last 2-pointer with 8:18 to go. They had four chances in the final 11 seconds. Airball, contested layup. and two 3-pointers that bounced away, their fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth misses in a row.

What it means

Make way for unheralded and unsung little guy . . .  UCLA? Sure. Never mind the 11 national championships or 19 Final Four trips. The Bruins are only the fifth No. 11 seed to get this far and only the second team to go from the First Four to the Final Four, along with 2011 VCU.  And they’re only the second Pac-12 team to get to the Final Four in the past 12 tournaments. It’s been a tight squeeze. Of their five NCAA tournament wins, two have been in overtime, and this victory by two points. As for Michigan and the Big Ten, sigh. All nine teams gone, and the national title-less streak will go into its 22nd year.

What they said

Michigan coach Juwan Howard: "Both teams missed some shots that we normally make. If you look at the shooting percentage, it was truly a Big Ten style of play with 51-49 and with UCLA shooting 38.9 percent and Michigan shooting 39 percent from the field. Fortunately enough for them, they were 6 for 7 from the free throw line and we were 6 of 11."

UCLA coach Mick Cronin: "What you try to preach when you're building a program . . . I spell fun w-i-n. Our scoring has been elite but tonight it was our defense. You have to find a way to win and these guys are having most fun they have ever had in their life back in that locker room because they won."

9:51 pm, March 27, 2021

Sweet 16 upset tracker

No. 12 Oregon State 65, No. 8 Loyola Chicago 58

Oregon State vs. Loyola Chicago: Highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

How it happened

It’s not often a team can score six points in the first 10 ½ minutes, only 24 by halftime and still lead most of the game. Behold the effect of the Oregon State defense. Loyola missed 18 of its 23 attempts from the 3-point line, fell behind by 13 and never could get past the Beavers. The Ramblers had two streaks of missing 11 and eight shots in a row. But so it has gone for Oregon State in Indianapolis. The Beavers’ three NCAA Tournament opponents have shot only 31.3 percent and 23.1 percent from the arc against their mix of zone and man-to-man. When Oregon State needs points, there’s Ethan Thompson, who had 22 against Loyola and is averaging more than 20 in the tournament.

What it means

Move over, Missouri. No. 12 seeds had gone 1-20 in regional semifinals, with the 2002 Tigers the lone winner. The Beavers have now joined them. So happens Missouri beat an 8-seed as well, in UCLA.  This was also the fifth ranked opponent Oregon State has defeated this season, its most in at least 41 years. The Beavers are now in their first regional championship game in 39 years, with a chance to go to their first Final Four since 1963. If they win Monday, they'll be the lowest seed ever to play in a Final Four. Alas, Loyola’s Sister Jean will now go home.

What they said

Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle: "There's no doubt in our guys' minds. They really believe that this is their time. It's what we said before we left the locker room, that we're not going to get rattled. This is our time. It's meant to be. Let's go play ball."

Loyola coach Porter Moser on the Oregon State defense: "Everyone you talk to said the exact same thing, they're bigger in person than they are on film. And it is so true. They get that zone going and they are huge."

No. 11 UCLA 88, No 2 Alabama 78, OT

UCLA stuns Alabama in overtime thriller

How it happened

Free throws can be a bear. Alabama shot 25 of them, missed 14, and that left the door ajar for UCLA to bust through. So it didn’t matter that the Bruins blew an 11-point lead in the second half, and then a seven-point lead, and then were tied at the buzzer of regulation by a 3-pointer. It didn’t matter that UCLA missed its first 11 shots coming out of halftime or was 1-for-12 from the 3-point line in the second half or had to play the last stretches of the game minus fouled-out season leading scorer Johnny Juzang. When Alabama imploded at the line – the Tide made one its last seven – UCLA had the chance it needed. The Bruins scored only 25 points the entire second half . . . but 23 in overtime, the big baskets coming from Jaime Jaquez Jr.

What it means 

The Bruins’ victory guaranteed the Pac-12 three seats at the Elite Eight table, which few would have imagined two weeks earlier, especially with Oregon State seeded 12th and UCLA 11th. The Bruins haven’t gotten this far in March since the Ben Howland days 13 years ago. This was the fifth overtime game of the tournament, and UCLA has won two of them.

7:30 pm, March 21, 2021

Second round upset tracker

Trevor Ruszkowski | USA TODAY Sports Images Loyola Chicago men's basketball No. 8 Loyola Chicago stunned No. 1 Illinois, 71-58, on Sunday, March 21, to advance to the Sweet 16.

No. 8 Loyola 71, No. 1 Illinois 58

How it happened

No stunning rally or last-second shot was required as the Ramblers led for 38 minutes and 42 seconds. That was a long time for Illinois to be trying to rally. Loyola led the nation in fewest points allowed per game and now everyone knows why, as the Illini labored to breathe on offense, none more than Ayo Dosunmu. The All-American was limited to nine points and had six turnovers, or two more than he had field goals. They played a collected, precise offensive game and shot 51 percent, with Cameron Krutwig, one of the main faces from the 2018 Final Four team, leading the way with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

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What it means

March Madness never hits high gear until the No. 1 seeds start falling. One just did. It was the first time Loyola had beaten Illinois in 34 years. And now the echoes from 2018, right down to Sister Jean in the stands, will be impossible to ignore.  And when it comes to coach-hiring time, a lot of schools are going to be asking for Porter Moser’s cellphone number.  For Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, who delayed the NBA to do great things in Champaign, this is not the ending they had in mind. Nor was it a good look for the Big Ten to have its conference tournament champions convincingly beaten.

What they said

Loyola coach Porter Moser on the similarity to 2018: "It's just a group of guys believing and playing for each other. They listen, they lock in, they execute, they defend, and those are similarities. They don't believe what all the outside noise is. We control what we can control. I think that's a similarity.

Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu: definitely felt like I let my team down today, but I can take it. I can take the criticism. I can take whatever may come. I've been through it all. It's another bump in the road."

No. 11 Syracuse 75, No. 3 West Virginia 72 

Syracuse vs. West Virginia - Second Round NCAA tournament extended highlights

How it happened

West Virginia should have been wary at halftime, down 35-29 and Syracuse’s Buddy Boeheim only 1-for-6 with three points. It wouldn’t figure to stay that way. It didn’t. Boeheim scored 22 points in the second half and more or less carried his father to another Sweet 16. That the Orange shot 52 percent West Virginia 37 suggested a more comfortable win for Syracuse, but a 14-4 edge in second chance points by the Mountaineers kept them in. As they were cutting an 11-point deficit to two in the final two minutes, someone had to hit the late free throws for the Orange. Boeheim, who else?

What it means

A 20th Sweet 16 for Jim Boeheim. Regular season woes often don’t mean much to Syracuse in March. In the past nine years, Boeheim has taken three teams with double-digit losses to at least the Sweet 16. These Orange lost only nine games, but then it was a shortened season. The longer this goes, the more traction the father-son nature of the Syracuse story will get. West Virginia showed early season possibilities that were never answered in the end but the Mountaineers departed the season with one honor – as of the second round, they were still the only team this season to play Gonzaga to single digits.

What they said 

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins on Jim Boeheim's zone defense for Syracuse: "You don't just roll out of bed and play two-three zone the way they do. He's the best that's ever coached the two-three zone, and they're the best to ever play it."

Syracuse's Buddy Boeheim on the Orange's late-season surge: "This means everything. If you were to ask me a month or two months ago, where I think we would be, I don't think I would say Sweet 16, that's for sure. This team just never gave up. We just kept playing."

No. 15 Oral Roberts 81, No. 7 Florida 78

Oral Roberts vs. Florida: Highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

How it happened

Florida will be wondering that for quite some time. The Gators were in the lead nearly all night, by as many as 11. Oral Roberts’ shooting was loitering under 40 percent, and there was no reason to foresee what would happen next. With time getting short, the Golden Eagles hit a shot, and then another, and then another. Five out of their last six, in fact. The Gators melted, and went the last 2:29 without a point. As what happened with Ohio State, Florida fell victim to Oral Roberts’ two-man onslaught with 28 points from Kevin Obanor and 26 from Max Abmas. But it was DeShang Weaver’s only basket of the game, a 3-pointer from the corner with 2:09 left, that put the Golden Eagles in front to stay. And as is Oral Roberts’ custom, the nation’s best free throw shooting team made 19 of 23.

What it means

More history for this tournament. Oral Roberts joins Florida Gulf Coast of 2013 as the only No. 15 seeds to advance to the Sweet 16. Before this week, the Golden Eagles had not won an NCAA Tournament game in 47 years. Obanor and Abmas are writing one of the most sensational two-man tales in recent March history.

What they said 

Oral Roberts' Kevin Obanor: "We're not just satisfied with the bare minimum. We don't let people put a number behind our school and just let them tell us that we can't do this and that. That's not what gritty people do. We are going to prove people wrong."

Florida coach Mike White on Obanor and Max Abmas: "I think they have to be in the conversations nationally for just how elite they are."

No. 12 Oregon State 80, No. 4 Oklahoma State 70 

Oregon State upsets Oklahoma State, 80-70

How it happened

The game came in two acts. Act I: Oregon State built an 18-point lead in the first half. Act II: The Beavers desperately fought off the Cowboys the rest of the night in a physical and frantic affair that included 73 free throws taken. Oregon State missed all 10 3-pointers it put up in the second half and committed 20 turnovers overall but got away with it because of Ethan Thompson’s 26 points and because Oklahoma State simply could not find the Hinkle Fieldhouse baskets. The Cowboys shot under 28 percent, and their 8-for-29 from outside the arc was not to be confused with their 10-for-36 inside it. They cut the margin to two points but could not make the last push. One thing the Beavers did do was make free throws. Lots of them. As in 32 of 35.

What it means

This will be Oregon State’s first trip to the regional level in 39 years, something hardly expected four months ago when the Beavers were picked to finish last in the Pac-12. They were the third double-digit seed of the day to get to the Sweet 16. Sunday was also the likely end of the brief and sometimes glorious Cade Cunningham era at Oklahoma State. The probable No. 1 pick in the NBA draft went out with 24 points, but 6-for-20 shooting.

What they said 

Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton on Cunningham: “He’s a special dude. I certainly look forward to cheering him on and watching him on TV a lot. He allowed me to coach him, he allowed me to hold him accountable. Because of that experience our team had the chance to have a special season . . . I hope he had as good an experience playing as I did coaching him.”

No. 7 seed Oregon 95, No. 2 seed Iowa 80

How it happened

This matchup was bad news from the start for Iowa, a defensively challenged team that struggled with opponents who could score. And Oregon could certainly do that. Any idea the Ducks might be rusty from missing their first round game against VCU was discarded as quickly as it took Oregon to score 56 points in the first half. The Ducks ran with – and often past – the Iowa defense with 56 percent shooting, Chris Duarte’s 23 points and LG Figueroa’s five 3-pointers. Luka Garza had 36 in likely his final game for the Hawkeyes.

What it means

The Pac-12 cannot be stopped. Oregon joined Oregon State in the Sweet 16 with more chances ahead. A conference that has bristled at its lack of national respect had to be loving every second of this.  Garza provided one last offensive show and left broken-hearted he could not do more.

What they said 

Oregon coach Dana Altman, on what he told his players about the long layoff before they played:  "I said, fellas, we've been out for 10 days. Our advantage may be in the second half when we're a little fresher, but that first ten minutes they've got a big advantage. They've played a game. . . I thought the first 10 minutes was very important for us, and I thought we handled it okay."

Iowa's Luka Garza: "I just feel bad that I wasn't able to lead this team to where it needs to go, and we did a lot of really, really good things this year, and it just hurts that we weren't able to do it when it mattered most, and that's something that's going to haunt me forever."

No. 6 seed USC 85, No. 3 seed Kansas 51

USC knocks off Kansas

How it happened

Quickly. Completely. Ruthlessly. It took Kansas nearly five minutes to score against USC’s long-armed defense,  and by then the Trojans were gone for good. From USC’s 57 percent shooting, to its 11 3-pointers in 18 attempts to its 43-27 gap in rebounding, this game was the epitome of a beatdown.  Five Trojans scored in double figures. Marcus Garrett scored 15 points for Kansas; the other 12 Jayhawks who played combined for 36.

What it means

Great history for USC. This is the Trojans’ first Sweet 16 in 14 years. Awful history for Kansas. The Jayhawks had never lost an NCAA tournament game by more than 18 points.  They were down to USC by 19 at halftime and it only got worse. The last game of the second round also competed a virtuoso Pac-12 showing in the first week of the tournament; a 9-1 record with four teams moving on to the next week.

What they said

USC coach Andy Enfield: "USC basketball is on the rise. Over the last 80 years, it's been like a roller coaster, a lot of great players, great coaches, great teams, but we're trying to sustain the success, build the program and sustain the success."

Kansas coach Bill Self on the season: "It's been difficult. I'm proud of our guys that we made it to the tournament. I'm proud of the guys that we were a 3 seed. I'm proud of the guys that we won a game in the tournament. I'm just not leaving out of here, nor are they, remotely proud about how we performed prepared or got them ready tonight. To me, Kansas deserves better."

3:30 am, March 21, 2021

First round upset tracker

Oral Roberts upset Ohio State Oral Roberts beat Ohio State to become the ninth No. 15 seed to win a game in NCAA tournament history.

No. 15 Oral Roberts 75, No. 2 Ohio State 72 (OT)

Oral Roberts shocks Ohio State in OT

How it happened

A quick glance at the box score might be confusing. The Golden Eagles shot under 36 percent, were crushed in rebounding 48-33 and outscored in bench points 16-2 and points in the paint 40-26. Besides that, they had an unimposing 16-10 record and hadn’t won an NCAA tournament game in 47 years. Are they sure about that final score? But then look closer. Oral Roberts was entirely unfazed by the moment, committing only six turnovers, while the Ohio State had 15. There were monster games from Kevin Obanor and Max Abmas — the nation’s leading scorer — with 30 and 29 points each. In the end, it came down to what most basketball games do; who makes the shots and who doesn’t. In this case, a lot of big ones from the free throw line. Ohio State missed nine of 18, which is asking for trouble. Obanor sank two must-make free throws with 14 seconds left in regulation, and two more with 13 seconds left in overtime.

What it means

The Big Bad Ten — mightiest conference in the land — has taken some early blows. First Michigan State to UCLA, now Ohio State, both in overtime, and both in Mackey Arena. Purdue’s revenge? Meanwhile, Oral Roberts could be a testament to life in the bubble. The Golden Eagles were one of the first teams to arrive last Saturday afternoon, so they’ve been here a while. They won’t mind at least two days longer, as the ninth 15th seed to knock off a No. 2.

What they said

Obanor: "When they rank them, it was only just a number at the end of the day . . . We just had the mindset of, 'Show us you deserve to be No. 2.'"

Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann: "This is obviously a really, really bitter end to a terrific season, but we’ll own that and accept it, and we’ll move forward."

No. 12 Oregon State 70, No. 5 Tennessee 56

Oregon State vs Tennessee: Highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

How it happened

Those clanks you hear are Tennessee jump shots. The Vols made only 33.3 percent of their shots, and missed 21 of 26 attempts from the 3-point line. That’s no way to survive or advance against a team that has been on a tear. For a 12-over-5 seed upset — this is the 51st time that’s happened, by the way — it had markedly little drama. Oregon State led for nearly 39 minutes and was up by as many as 20. It was a steamroll. Tennessee could have used injured shooter John Fulkerson.

What it means

Might be a March fairy tale in the making. Last week, the Beavers won their first Pac-12 tournament title ever, after being picked to finish last. This week, it’s their first NCAA tournament victory in 39 years. Yeah, that’s being on a roll. For Tennessee, it’s the end of a season that never quite matched its hopes. The Vols were preseason favorites in the SEC, and Alabama ran away with that. Now they’re one-and-gone in the NCAA tournament.

What they said 

Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle: "We know that there were some doubt and stuff like that along the way. We always ignore that stuff, and we just told our guys to continue to grind. I think it was in the first 40 days we only had 7 days where we had our whole team at practice. We suffered from tough losses, but we never threw in the towel. We never doubted ourselves. We just do what we do."

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes: "It's been a hard year. If I said anything otherwise, it wouldn't be honest."

No. 13 North Texas 78, No. 4 Purdue 69 (OT)

North Texas vs Purdue: Highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

How it happened

Start with Javion Hamlet, His averages in the Conference USA tournament were 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, seven assists and more than 39 minutes a game. News flash: He was named the tournament MVP. He did unto Purdue what he did unto his league with 24 points and 11 rebounds in 43 minutes, and twice had personal eight-point spurts to keep the Mean Green mean. Between Hamlet and the Boilermakers’ shooting woes, an upset was born. Purdue managed to get the game to overtime but then missed 11 of 14 shots. This was hardly a fluke. North Texas led for more than 40 minutes.

What it means

Get out the North Texas record book, this could take a while. It’s the Mean Green’s first NCAA Tournament win in school history, their first victory over a ranked opponent in 50 years, their first win over a Big Ten opponent since 1967. In other words, they’re going to remember this day in Denton. Meanwhile, the Big Ten will try to forget three of its teams losing in overtime inside of 24 hours. And from this moment on, the state of Indiana is hosting a tournament with no Indiana teams.

What they said 

North Texas coach Grant McCasland on Hamlet: “Every night, 8 to 10, he's in the gym, and we practice in the morning. So it's anchored in effort. It's anchored in hard work. But his belief and how he actually lives it out on the court is just tremendous.”

Purdue coach Matt Painter on the Big Ten:  “I think from 1 to 14 (it was) obviously the best conference. And when you do that and you get the most teams in, and then you have some really close losses, people want to push back and say, ‘well, you didn't maybe have quite the year that you thought.’ We had a great year as a conference.”

No. 10 Rutgers 60, No. 7 Clemson 56 

Rutgers vs Clemson: Highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

How it happened

Rutgers won it by committee, with no one scoring more than 13 points. Geo Baker did a lot of the late heavy lifting, including a 3-pointer and a layup that sealed the decision. The biggest key of all for Rutgers might have been avoiding overtime. Big Ten teams seem to be having a little trouble with that at the moment.

What it means

When Rutgers hired Steve Pikiell, this is what it had in mind. The Scarlet Knights had waited 30 years to get back into the tournament, so they might as well stick around. This was their first NCAA victory since 1983, and was a welcome change of direction for a Big Ten reeling from three overtime defeats. Clemson played its part in a bad day for the ACC.

What they said

Baker on his critical late shot: “That made it March. All of these game are going to be like that. It was everything I hoped for . . . . This is something we've all imagined for a long time and it was crazier than I'd even pictured.”

No. 11 Syracuse 78, No. 6 San Diego State 62

Syracuse vs San Diego State: Highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

How it happened

So how did you enjoy trying to score against the Syracuse zone, San Diego State? The Aztecs shouldn’t feel bad, lots of teams have seen their offenses go into a stall the first time up against the Orange. In the first half, they shot under 23 percent, missed 17 of 20 from beyond the arc, and managed only 18 points. Syracuse was up 14 by then and gone for good, especially with Buddy Boeheim’s 30 points.

What it means

The tournament has seen this movie before. Syracuse barely slides into the bracket, then won’t leave because the Orange can be so hard to score against. They’re 9-1 in their past 10 NCAA Tournament openers. On a day North Carolina was rolled over and Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia Tech were all eliminated, the ACC could use the good news.

What they said

Buddy Boeheim: “We did everything we needed to on the defensive end. We walled guys up and we knew who the shooters were. It was a great 40 minutes of defense."

No. 13 Ohio 62, No. 4 Virginia 58

Ohio vs. Virginia: Extended highlights from 2021 NCAA Tournament

How it happened

COVID didn’t knock Virginia out of the tournament the way it did its state cousin VCU, but close. The Cavaliers’ hectic week, late arrival in Indianapolis and rushed preparation made them very hittable targets for a capable underdog such as Ohio. The Cavaliers shot only 35 percent, were outrebounded by nine and let a seven-point lead get away in the second half, getting outscored 18-4 in one stretch. Ohio’s leading scorer with 17 points was Ben Vander Plas, whose father is a close friend of Virginia coach Tony Bennett. So close that Ben’s actual first name is Bennett, so he just helped beat the coach he was named after. Jason Preston add 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

What it means

It’s not 2018 and UMBC all over again for Virginia. Way too many complications for that. What the Cavaliers went through this week will be remembered as long as the fact they lost. It also continued a very bad first round for the ACC. Ohio is no stranger to moving on in the tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2012, and the Mid-American Conference the Bobcats represent is a known troublemaker in March. Also, Florida 2006-07 will remain as the last repeating national champions.

What they said

Ohio coach Jeff Boals about the Bobcats' 2012 Sweet 16: I look at the banners every single day that I walk in. From my press conference two years ago to every single practice. I think something like that shows that it can happen.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett: "We thought we had a chance. We certainly did. I don't know if it would have mattered if it was a normal prep or not. How can you say? We played a good team, and that's this tournament." 

No. 10 Maryland 63, No. 7 Connecticut 54

Maryland vs. UConn: Highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

How it happened

One team shot 51 percent, the other 32 percent. Guess who won? Take your time. Maryland’s defense made it a hard night for nearly all the Huskies, including star James Bouknight, holding him to 15 points and 6-for-16 shooting. UConn lost despite a massive 22-4 edge in offensive rebounds, 18 coming in the first half. Eric Ayala led the Terrapins’ charge with 23 points

What it means

Another merit badge for the Big Ten, which didn’t have nearly as bad a first round as it seemed when Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue all went down in overtime. The Terrapins were the sixth conference team to advance. In the past 11 NCAA tournaments, UConn has won two national championships, but only one game the other nine years.

What they said

Maryland's Eric Ayala: "A lot of people didn't really think much of us. A lot of experts didn't think we'd win this game. A lot of people had us last in the Big Ten. And to beat those odds, my whole life I've been beating odds and beating statistics. And that's the most soaking-in moment for me, I'm still beating them."
 
Connecticut coach Dan Hurley:  "I''ve never seen a team get 18 offensive rebounds in a half and I just think the amount of close-in shots we missed rattled us."
 

No. 11 UCLA, No. 6 BYU 62

UCLA vs. BYU: Highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

How it happened

Johnny Juzang put on a shooting display in the first half, hitting eight of 11 attempts for 19 points to push UCLA to a 38-27 lead it would never lose. He finished with 27. The Bruins also took care of the basketball with only four turnovers. BYU could never get its perimeter game going to make a serious charge, missing 14 of 17 from the 3-point line.

What it means

The First Four strikes again. It’s the ninth time in 10 tournaments that a First Four victor won its next game as well. Also, let’s have a round of applause for the Pac-12, 6-0 through the first round if you count Oregon’s free pass with VCU. Juzang has 50 points in his first two NCAA tournament games.

No. 14 Abilene Christian 53, No. 3 Texas 52

Abilene Christian vs. Texas: Extended highlights from 2021 NCAA Tournament

How it happened

The biggest win in Abilene Christian history came with the Wildcats shooting 29.9 percent, going 3-for-18 in 3-pointers, and having nobody score more than 11 points. Can we have a big so what?  None of that mattered when Joe Pleasant – with a 58.8 free throw percentage that is  worst free throw shooter in the starting lineup – stood at the line with 1.2 seconds left and made two of them.  Abilene Christian was in that position because its wilting pressure defense had forced the Longhorns into 23 turnovers.

What it means

A day to savor in Abilene. It was the first NCAA tournament win in school history, not to mention a victory over the state flagship in their first meeting ever. As for Texas, a team with big plans in March, this one really hurt in many ways.

What they said

Abilene Christian's Joe Pleasant on the winning free throws:  "Awas visualizing the free throws going in. Before I even shot them, I was just trying to key in on the rim, just lock in, block out the noise and just put into practice what I've done countless times beforend just trust in my work I put in before.

Texas' Matt Coleman III: "It just doesn't feel real. I feel like I'm going to wake up from a bad dream."

4:00 pm, March 19, 2021

Welcome to the 2021 NCAA upset tracker

Welcome to March Madness and welcome to the upset tracker. This is the spot where we'll catalog every upset that happens during the 2021 DI men's basketball tournament. We define an upset as a game where the winning team is seeded three or more spots "worse" than the team it beats. So 10 over 7 is an upset, but not 9 over 8.
8:28 pm, March 4, 2021

The upsets that happened in 2019

Auburn basketball celebrates.

Here's every upset that happened in 2019.

By Mike Lopresti

No. 10 Minnesota 86, No. 7 Louisville 76

HOW IT HAPPENED

You know the tournament has truly started when things start happening that, on paper, aren’t supposed to. A Minnesota team averaging five 3-pointers a game buried 11 of them – two by Jordan Murphy, who had six all season. A freshman averaging under 10 points a game, Gabe Kalscheur, scored 24. An offense averaging 12 turnovers committed only five, and went 26 minutes without any.  Minnesota pulled this off without one point from its reserves, getting outscored 29-0 in bench points.

WHAT IT MEANS

Somewhere in Greece, there’s a happy father. Leaving aside the fact Rick Pitino’s career blew up in Louisville, that was his son getting his first tournament coaching victory. It was only the Gophers’ second NCAA win since their 1997 Final Four, and put them on the path to a possble second round all-Big Ten match with Michigan State. And it left Gabe Kalscheur the most famous product of Edina, Minn., since Kirby Puckett. Louisville’s revival is a work in process – the Cardinals have won one NCAA tournament game in four seasons.

WHAT THEY SAID

Jordan Murphy, on beating Louisville for the Pitinos: “Like I said two days ago, this wasn’t really about getting a win for Coach P. It was about getting a win for our team in general and making sure we advance to the next round.”

Murphy on the Gophers:  “I think there are very few teams that can stop us, and you saw that today.

Pitino on Kalscheur’s guitar-strumming motion after making a shot: “He can do whatever he wants if he hits five 3’s.”

No. 12 Murray State 83, No. 5 Marquette 64

HOW IT HAPPENED

Two words will explain. Actually, only one. Ja. Now, even more of the nation knows what the fuss has been about. Ja Morant’s 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds formed the first triple-double in the tournament since Michigan State’s Draymond Green seven years ago, which was bad news for Marquette. More bad news, Morant wasn’t alone. Well-fed by their spectacular guard, three other Racers scored in double figures. Maybe the most amazing part was how Morant owned the stage and the moment, and took only nine shots. Markus Howard’s 26 points for Marquette were the proverbial spitting into the winds of Hurricane Ja.

WHAT IT MEANS

It’s a more entertaining tournament with Morant in it, and now we know there's at least one more act. Next, let’s see what happens against one of the ACC meanies, Florida State. Also, the trouble-making reputation of No. 12 seeds was enriched a little more. This is the 41st year of seeding – and the 33rd year at least one 12 seed has won a game. Meanwhile, put Marquette’s mashing next to what happened to St. John’s at the First Four, and that’s a bleak start in this tournament for the Big East.

WHAT THEY SAID

Murray State’s Shaw Buchanan on playing with Morant: “He makes our job easier. Once their men take their eyes off us, we just have to find the open spot. He sees us and we make the defense pay.”

Murray State coach Matt McMahon: “Ja deserves every bit of credit he gets, and then some. But we have a very balanced team.”

Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski on his team’s defensive game plan: “Ja Morant makes a lot of plans look bad. I’ve been in this for a while. He’s as good as any guard I’ve coached against, or played against, and I’ve coached against and played against some outstanding ones." 

No. 10 Florida 70, No. 7 Nevada 61.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Florida defense has spoken. Again. The Gators held 11 major college opponents at least 19 points under their average during the season, and on Thursday, nothing had changed. Nevada came in scoring 80.7 points a game, but the Gators hit the mute button. The Wolf Pack shot 34.5 percent, missed 19 of their 24 3-pointers, and managed only 19 field goals. That’s how a team could dominate rebounding 40-31, not allow a single fast break point, and still lose. Nevada had its customary second half charge, cutting an 18-point Gator lead to two, but Florida had the poise to go with the defensive muscle.

WHAT IT MEANS

That mini-slump at the end of the season for Florida – the Gators dropped four of their last six – turned out to be nothing but a head cold. Defense got them here, defense may get them further. For all those Nevada seniors who were in the Sweet 16 last March and came back to do it again, this was not the way it was supposed to end.

Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Florida Gators: Game Highlights

WHAT THEY SAID

Florida coach Mike White on the big lead that almost got away: “My brain is fried.”

White, on the resolve of his team: “This team early in the year I thought had a little bit of toughness. I think this team now possesses a lot of toughness, and mentally we’ve probably made a bigger improvement than the physical level of toughness, in that it’s more important to our seniors late in the year, and our freshmen have grown up a lot.”

Nevada senior Cody Martin on his feelings: "I would say more irritating than anything, just because there was a lot of goals that we wanted to accomplish that we didn't meet. You kinda just gotta live with that." 

No. 10 Iowa 79, No. 7 Cincinnati 72

HOW IT HAPPENED

Hard to hold back a team that shoots 65 percent the second half, which is what Iowa did. But there was no clue of that early, when Cincinnati sprinted out to an 18-5 lead and had the semi-home crowd in Columbus, Ohio roaring. Three things sent the game into a U-turn. The Bearcat offense never seemed to adjust when the Hawkeyes changed to a zone. Cincinnati had no answer for Luka Garza, who scored inside and out and finished with 20 points. And Iowa’s feared 3-point game arrived in the second half, the Hawkeyes making seven of 11 after halftime.

WHAT IT MEANS

About that 2-6 tailspin Iowa went into at the end of the regular season. Never mind. The Big Ten answered the NCAA Tournament bell in a big way; this made the league 6-0 in the first round. Meanwhile, playing so close to home didn’t help Cincinnati much.

WHAT THEY SAID

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, on how to react to such a bad start. "I think the most simple approach is -- it was 35 minutes to go, so no time to panic . . .We made some adjustments, we changed the defense, we changed some personnel a little bit. You start pushing some different buttons. But I think the critical thing is that the players maintained confidence. You don't start screaming and yelling at them."

McCaffery on dealing with Cincinnati's home crowd advantage: "The critical thing is to know and understand what do we have to do to beat Cincinnati, what do they do well, what can we take away, what can we do to exploit them? And not worry about who's in the 15th row yelling, for one team or another."

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin: "We're not going to win when we give up 79 points. I don't remember the last time Cincinnati won a game where we've given up 79 . . . They put 40 minutes of offensive pressure on your defense. At the end of the day, our defense wasn't good enough today.

No. 13 UC Irvine 70, No. 4 Kansas State 64

HOW IT HAPPENED

Kansas State seemed vulnerable at the start, facing one of the nation’s best defenses without injured star Dean Wade. It showed. The Wildcats shot 37 percent, and though they led by 10 in the first half and were in front for 25 minutes, the Anteaters owned the stretch. They got 19 points from Max Hazzard, grandson of the late Walt Hazzard, who helped John Wooden to his first national championships. Kansas State leading scorer Barry Brown Jr., who missed time with foul trouble, was held to five points and 2-for-9 shooting. UC Irvine is fifth in the country in field goal percentage defense, so this was not exactly out of character.

UC Irvine shocks Kansas State with the 70-64 upset

WHAT IT MEANT

The moment it happened, it became the biggest upset -- seed-wise -- of the tournament so far. UC Irvine made its first NCAA Tournament appearance four years ago and just missed against Louisville 57-55. The Anteaters weren’t going to a victory slip away this time. They’ve won 31 games this season, 17 of them in a row, and since the Big West tournament started, have outscored four opponents 156-76 in the paint. This is no fluke. Talk about your mood killer for Kansas State, after sharing the Big 12 season title.

WHAT THEY SAID

Max Hazzard: “I know my grandfather is looking down on me and the rest of the squad, smiling, and that means a lot to me.”

UC Irvine coach Russell Turner: “UC Irvine folks, I don’t know, live in the shadow, live like little brothers to UCLA and SC and maybe some others; Cal, Stanford, San Diego State. Maybe like little brothers. Well, little brother has been in the weight room getting better, getting ready for a chance like this.”

No. 12 Oregon 72, No. 5 Wisconsin 54

Oregon comes up with huge Wisconsin upset

HOW IT HAPPENED

Oregon’s defense. Oh, and Oregon’s offense, too. Wisconsin was stifled, but that’s become a common lot these days. The Badgers became the seventh of the Ducks’ last nine opponents held to 54 points or under, with Kenny Wooten blocking four shots. But the day was just as bleak at the other end for the Badgers. While Wisconsin was shooting 33 percent for the game, it was being shredded in the second half by Oregon’s 70.8 percent onslaught. The Ducks took 24 shots in the second half and missed only seven.

WHAT IT MEANS

Oregon has become a defensive monster. Four weeks ago, the Ducks were in 10th place in the Pac-12 and had just given up 62 points in the second half to UCLA. In the nine wins since, only one opponent has managed to score that many in an entire game. What a defy-the-odds second round game has been created. No. 12 seed Oregon against No. 13 UC Irvine. Wisconsin’s loss ended the Big Ten first round winning streak at six. And Ethan Happ’s career ended quietly with 12 points, eight rebounds and no assists.

No. 12 Liberty 80, No. 5 Mississippi State 76

Liberty upsets Mississippi State 80-76

HOW IT HAPPENED

All seemed well for Mississippi State with seven minutes left, and a 10-point lead. Then the Bulldogs suffered an attack of Caleb Homesley. He scored 22 of his 30 points in the second half to keep the Flames lit, but it was a 3-pointer taken from the next zip code by Lovell Cabbil Jr. with 1:16 left that gave them the lead for good. They finished the job by refusing to miss free throws. Meanwhile, Mississippi State’s offense was crashing. The Bulldogs missed 10 of their last 11 shots.

WHAT IT MEANS

Beware No. 12 seeds. We’ve heard that for years but never was it more vivid than 2019. Liberty’s win made the No. 12’s 3-1 against No. 5 seeds in the first round. Had New Mexico State found one more basket against Auburn, it would have been a four-game sweep. For Mississippi State, the first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 10 years ended too quickly.

No. 11 Ohio State 62, No. 6 Iowa State 59

HOW IT HAPPENED

It wasn’t settled until Iowa State’s last 3-point attempt clanged away in the final seconds. Ohio State advanced without a lot of depth – outscored 26-4 in bench points – and despite shooting under 40 percent. The Buckeyes lost a late seven-point lead, but Kaleb Wesson and Keyshawn Woods got them through. Wesson scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, Woods seven of his 19 in the last 3:08. Iowa State fell despite shooting nearly 58 percent the second half.

WHAT IT MEANS

All hail, the Big Ten. Eight teams in the tournament, seven playing on the weekend. This also makes Chris Holtmann 5-0 in the first round at Butler and Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ late-season woes -- a Wesson suspension, seven losses in their last 10 games – seem a long time ago. Iowa State was coming off winning the Big 12 tournament. So much for momentum.  

WHAT THEY SAID

Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann on Ohio State barely making the tournament: “You could say it validates the committee's decision, but we really felt like we had put together a really strong body of work and that our guys had earned it.”

Iowa State coach Steve Prohm: “If you get beat, you want to be at your best. Credit Ohio State for defensively being able to keep the pace the way they wanted.”

No. 5 Auburn 97, No. 1 North Carolina 80

Go inside Auburn's locker room after their Sweet 16 win over UNC

HOW IT HAPPENED
 
Whoooosh. That was Auburn. The Tigers are the nation’s most fearless up-tempo bombs-away team, setting an SEC record for most 3-pointers in a season, and by the time they were done routing North Carolina with 17 of them – tied for second most ever in a regional game -- their total for the year was 438. That tied 2009 VMI for the third most in NCAA history. And they figured to have many more to take. Eight different Auburn players hit at least one 3-pointer in this fireworks show, six scored in double figures, and the Tigers had 21 assists. When they banked in a shot in the second half from way, way out front, the Tar Heels had to know they were in trouble. It didn’t help North Carolina that season leading scorer Cameron Johnson and tournament leading scorer Nassir Little both had 100-degree temperatures Thursday.

WHAT IT MEANS
 
Thirty-three years ago, Auburn made its one and only appearance in the Elite Eight. Until now. The Tigers have turned into a gale force blowing through the month, moving to 10-0 in March, with the SEC tournament title included. And they seem to be on a blueblood bludgeoning tour, beating North Carolina by 17 six days after whipping Kansas by 14. One Auburn cloud over the win was Chuma Okeke leaving with a knee injury after 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Tar Heels were first in one area they’d much rather not – the first No. 1 seed to lose.

WHAT THEY SAID
 
Auburn coach Bruce Pearl, on winning but also losing Chuma Okeke to a knee injury: “We’re pretty emotional because it’s a bittersweet accomplishment because of Chuma getting hurt. . . Nobody works harder, nobody gives us more courage. When it gets tough and you’ve got to a matchup, we got (No.) 5 and you don’t. That’s how we felt.”
 
Pearl on the 3-point bank shot the Tigers hit in the second half:  “Well, we made 16 other ones that didn’t even hit the backboard.”
 
North Carolina coach Roy Williams: “I’ll never use my halftime talk again because it sure as dickens didn’t work tonight.”

No. 5 Auburn 77, No. 2 Kentucky 71,OT

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Auburn Tigers: Game Highlights

HOW IT HAPPENED

Emotion, and two unstoppable guards named Jared Harper and Bryce Brown. Harper had 26 points and Brown 24, including 35 of the Tigers' 47 after halftime. Auburn wiped away an early 11-point Kentucky lead, fought to a tie in regulation, then put away Kentucky with 17 points in overtime. The Tigers got a huge emotional push at the sight of Chuma Okeke behind the bench in the second half. Okeke had torn his ACL two days before in the semifinals, and his teammates made his misfortune their win-one-for-Chuma cause. The Wildcats didn’t help stem any of that karma by going 12-for-21 at the free throw line or 5-for-21 in 3-pointers.  

WHAT IT MEANS

First, history. This ain't football. Auburn had never been to the Final Four, and this was only its second regional title game ever. Also, it gave the Tigers a victory lap through a pack of heavyweights, by beating Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky on their way to the Final Four. Before this tournament, those three had been to a combined 52 Final Fours, Auburn none.  

WHAT THEY SAID

Bruce Pearl on his team, “Obviously they’re the Cinderellas of this tournament. And that’s what makes March so special, which team is it going to be?”

Jared Harper:   “This one was all for Chuma.”

John Calipari: “We got outplayed, got outcoached, and still had a chance to win.”

AUBURN TO FINAL FOUR: Tigers take down Kentucky in overtime to book a ticket to Minneapolis