Princeton became the 11th No. 15 seed to defeat a No. 2 seed when it shocked Arizona, 59-55, in the first round of the 2023 NCAA tournament.
It marked the third year in a row a 15 downed a 2, as Saint Peter's took down Kentucky in 2022 and Oral Roberts upset Ohio State in 2021.
History of 15 seeds vs. 2 seeds in March Madness
Ten 15 seeds have upset 2 seeds in the NCAA tournament history. Going into 2022, 15 seeds had an 10-138 all-time record against 2s, a 6.25 win percentage.
Here are all of the times it's ever happened.
|1991||Richmond def. Syracuse||73-69|
|1993||Santa Clara def. Arizona||64-61|
|1997||Coppin State def. South Carolina||78-65|
|2001||Hampton def. Iowa State||58-57|
|2012||Lehigh def. Duke||75-70|
|2012||Norfolk State def. Missouri||86-84|
|2013||Florida Gulf Coast def. Georgetown||78-68|
|2016||Middle Tennessee def. Michigan State||90-81|
|2021||Oral Roberts def. Ohio State||75-72|
|2022||Saint Peter's def. Kentucky||85-79|
|2023||Princeton def. Arizona||59-55|
A few more tidbits:
- Roughly 25 percent of the matchups have been decided by single digits, almost double the amount of No. 16 seeds.
- Louisiana Monroe and Belmont own the most No. 15 seed appearances, as both the Warhawks and the Bruins have four berths at that slot since tournament expansion.
- Only two No. 15 seeds have advanced past the second round. Florida Gulf Coast made it to the Sweet 16 in 2013 and Oral Roberts became the second to do so in 2021.
The most noteworthy times a 15 almost beat a 2
Winthrop vs. Tennessee, 2006
Winthrop, a 15-seed, nearly shocked No. 2 Tennessee in 2006. But then, Chris Lofton happened:
Lofton was only 5-of-14 for the game, but he hit the shot that mattered most.
Belmont vs. Duke, 2008
Belmont led Duke by one with two minutes to play, but the Blue Devils ultimately pulled out the win, 71-70. Gerald Henderson scored 21 points to lead Duke.
Robert Morris vs. Villanova, 2010
It took overtime for Villanova to defeat Robert Morris in 2010. The Wildcats prevailed by a score of 73-70:
Robert Morris led Villanova by six at halftime and held the Wildcats to 22 points in the opening 20 minutes. But Scottie Reynolds put 'Nova on his back, scoring 20 in the game.