- 2018: #16 UMBC vs #1 Virginia (74-54 1st Rnd)
Maryland-Baltimore County was making their 2nd tournament appearance after winning their conference (AEC) tournament. Virginia was the #1 overall seed having lost only twice during the regular season and had the best defense in the nation allowing only 54 points per game. The Retrievers kept it close in the 1st half and were tied with the Cavaliers at halftime (21-21). After shooting 35% from the field in the 1st half, UMBC caught fire in the 2nd and shot 68% from the field. The Retrievers scored the first 6 points and led from then on eventually outscoring the Cavaliers 53 to 33. UMBC shot the ball brilliantly from behind the arc (12 of 24) compared to Virginia’s lack luster performance (4 of 22). With their improbable victory, UMBC became the first ever #16 seed to beat a #1 seed and did it in dominating fashion.
- 2019: #5 Auburn vs #12 New Mexico State (78-77 1st Rnd)
The Auburn Tigers led by as many as 13 points in the 2nd half but the tenacious and tough-minded New Mexico State Aggies refused to go away. With less than a minute left, the Aggies trailed by 7 points (73-66) but a pair of turnovers by the Tigers allowed them to trim the deficit to just 1 point (73-72) with 28 seconds left. A wild finish would ensue with New Mexico State shooting 3 free throws in the closing seconds and a chance to take the lead. After making only 1, the Aggies still had a shot at the upset but a 3 pointer from the corner as time expired didn’t go and the Tigers got the win. Although Auburn did everything they could to lose that game, they survived and advanced. They would go on to beat #4 Kansas, #1 North Carolina and #2 Kentucky to advance to the Final Four for the first time in school history. In their match-up against #1 Virginia, another wild finish would ensue eerily similar to their 1st round game. Another last second foul by the Tigers on a 3 point shooter put the Cavaliers to the line shooting 3 free throws and a chance to take the lead, which they did. Although Auburn’s season ended in heartbreak, it was a historic tournament run that will be remembered in the years to come.