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March Madness Seeds: 2 vs 15

In 10 March Madness brackets between 2002 and 2011, no No. 15 seed had upset a No. 2 seed. But in 2012, it happened twice, throwing fear into bettors and knocking many brackets into disarray.

It happened again in 2013 as little-known Florida Gulf Coast made a Cinderella run, starting with a first-round upset of No. 2 Georgetown 78-68 as a 13-point underdog and becoming the first No. 15 seed to ever make it all the way to the Sweet 16. Florida Gulf Coast eventually lost to No. 3 seed Florida 62-50 in the third round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament but still covered the spread as a 14.5-point underdog after upsetting No. 7 San Diego State 81-71 as a 7.5-point dog.

But it was Norfolk State that pulled off the biggest upset in modern March Madness betting history, taking out Missouri 86-84 as a 21-point underdog in 2012. On the same day, Lehigh defeated Duke 75-70 as an 11-point underdog. Ironically, it was No. 7 seed Florida that ended Norfolk State’s run in the second round with an 84-50 victory as a 14-point favorite. Lehigh fell to No. 10 seed Xavier 70-58 in the second round as a 4-point underdog.

In 2014, there were no upsets in the four matchups between No. 15 and No. 2 seeds, although Eastern Kentucky did cover the spread as a 13-point underdog against Kansas in an 80-69 loss. The other three games were all decided by 17 points or more with Wisconsin turning a close game early on against Wisconsin-Milwaukee into a 75-35 blowout win to easily beat the number as a 13.5-point favorite.

Only four other times in NCAA Tournament history prior to 2012 has there been an upset with a No. 15 seed defeating a No. 2. Richmond was the first to accomplish the feat in 1991 with a 73-69 victory against Syracuse. Steve Nash’s Santa Clara team did it two years later with a 64-61 win over Arizona and then Coppin State posted the largest margin of victory ever for a No. 15 by routing South Carolina 78-65 in 1997. Four years after that, Hampton took out Iowa State by the smallest margin for a No. 15, 58-57.

Seed vs Seed Stats: 1 vs 16 | 2 vs 15 | 3 vs 14 | 4 vs 13 | 5 vs 12 | 6 vs 11 | 7 vs 10 | 8 vs 9

#2 Seed vs #15 Seed
#2 Seed Score #15 Seed Score Date ATS Win Win Seed ATS Seed
Kansas 80 Eastern Kentucky 69 2014-03-21 Eastern Kentucky 2 15
Villanova 73 Wisc-Milwaukee 53 2014-03-20 Villanova 2 2
Michigan 57 Wofford 40 2014-03-20 Michigan 2 2
Wisconsin 75 American 35 2014-03-20 Wisconsin 2 2
Ohio State 95 Iona 70 2013-03-22 Ohio State 2 2
Georgetown 68 Florida Gulf Coast 78 2013-03-22 Florida Gulf Coast 15 15
Miami 78 Pacific 49 2013-03-22 Miami 2 2
Duke 73 Albany 61 2013-03-22 Albany 2 15
Kansas 65 Detroit 50 2012-03-16 Kansas 2 2
Duke 70 Lehigh 75 2012-03-16 Lehigh 15 15
Missouri 84 Norfolk State 86 2012-03-16 Norfolk State 15 15
Ohio State 78 Loyola 59 2012-03-15 Ohio State 2 2
North Carolina 102 Long Island 87 2011-03-18 Long Island 2 15
Notre Dame 69 Akron 56 2011-03-18 Akron 2 15
Florida 79 Santa Barbara 51 2011-03-17 Florida 2 2
San Diego State 68 Northern Colorado 50 2011-03-17 San Diego State 2 2
Ohio State 68 Santa Barbara 51 2010-03-19 Santa Barbara 2 15
West Virginia 77 Morgan State 50 2010-03-19 West Virginia 2 2
Kansas State 82 North Texas 62 2010-03-18 Kansas State 2 2
Villanova 73 Robert Morris 70 2010-03-18 Robert Morris 2 15
Michigan State 77 Robert Morris 62 2009-03-20 Michigan State 2 2
Oklahoma 82 Morgan State 54 2009-03-19 Oklahoma 2 2
Duke 86 Binghamton 62 2009-03-19 Duke 2 2
Memphis 81 CS Northridge 70 2009-03-19 CS Northridge 2 15
Texas 74 Austin Peay 54 2008-03-21 Texas 2 2
Georgetown 66 UMBC 47 2008-03-21 Georgetown 2 2
Tennessee 72 American 57 2008-03-21 American 2 15
Duke 71 Belmont 70 2008-03-20 Belmont 2 15
Wisconsin 76 Texas A&M C.C. 63 2007-03-16 Wisconsin 2 2
Memphis 73 North Texas 58 2007-03-16 North Texas 2 15
UCLA 70 Weber State 42 2007-03-15 UCLA 2 2
Georgetown 80 Belmont 55 2007-03-15 Georgetown 2 2
Texas 60 Pennsylvania 52 2006-03-17 Pennsylvania 2 15
Ohio State 70 Davidson 62 2006-03-17 Davidson 2 15
UCLA 78 Belmont 44 2006-03-16 UCLA 2 2
Tennessee 63 Winthrop 61 2006-03-16 Winthrop 2 15
Connecticut 77 Central Florida 71 2005-03-18 Central Florida 2 15
Oklahoma State 63 Southeastern Louisiana 50 2005-03-18 Southeastern Louisiana 2 15
Wake Forest 70 Chattanooga 54 2005-03-17 Chattanooga 2 15
Kentucky 72 Eastern Kentucky 64 2005-03-17 Eastern Kentucky 2 15
Mississippi State 85 Monmouth 52 2004-03-19 Mississippi State 2 2
Oklahoma State 75 Eastern Washington 56 2004-03-19 Oklahoma State 2 2
Gonzaga 76 Valparaiso 49 2004-03-18 Gonzaga 2 2
Connecticut 70 Vermont 53 2004-03-18 Vermont 2 15
Pittsburgh 87 Wagner 61 2003-03-21 Pittsburgh 2 2
Florida 85 Sam Houston State 55 2003-03-21 Florida 2 2
Wake Forest 76 East Tennessee State 73 2003-03-21 East Tennessee State 2 15
Kansas 64 Utah State 61 2003-03-20 Utah State 2 15
Oklahoma 71 Illinois-Chicago 63 2002-03-15 Illinois-Chicago 2 15
Connecticut 78 Hampton 67 2002-03-15 Hampton 2 15
Oregon 81 Montana 62 2002-03-14 Montana 2 15
Alabama 86 Florida Atlantic 78 2002-03-14 Florida Atlantic 2 15
Arizona 101 Eastern Illinois 76 2001-03-16 Arizona 2 2
North Carolina 70 Princeton 48 2001-03-16 North Carolina 2 2
Kentucky 72 Holy Cross 68 2001-03-15 Holy Cross 2 15
Iowa State 57 Hampton 58 2001-03-15 Hampton 15 15
Temple 73 Lafayette 47 2000-03-17 Temple 2 2
Cincinnati 64 UNC Wilmington 47 2000-03-17 UNC Wilmington 2 15
St. John's 61 Northern Arizona 56 2000-03-16 Northern Arizona 2 15
Iowa State 88 Cent Conn State 78 2000-03-16 Cent Conn State 2 15
Utah 80 Arkansas State 58 1999-03-12 Utah 2 2
Miami 75 Lafayette 54 1999-03-12 Miami 2 2
Maryland 82 Valparaiso 60 1999-03-11 Maryland 2 2
Stanford 69 Alcorn State 57 1999-03-11 Alcorn State 2 15
Purdue 95 Delaware 56 1998-03-13 Purdue 2 2
Kentucky 82 South Carolina State 67 1998-03-13 South Carolina State 2 15
Cincinnati 65 Northern Arizona 62 1998-03-12 Northern Arizona 2 15
Connecticut 93 Fairleigh Dickinson 85 1998-03-12 Fairleigh Dickinson 2 15
Duke 71 Murray State 68 1997-03-14 Murray State 2 15
Utah 75 Navy 61 1997-03-14 Navy 2 15
South Carolina 65 Coppin State 78 1997-03-14 Coppin State 15 15
UCLA 109 Charleston Southern 75 1997-03-13 UCLA 2 2
Cincinnati 66 UNC Greensboro 61 1996-03-15 UNC Greensboro 2 15
Georgetown 93 Miss Valley State 56 1996-03-15 Georgetown 2 2
Kansas 92 South Carolina State 54 1996-03-15 Kansas 2 2
Wake Forest 64 Ne Louisiana 50 1996-03-15 Ne Louisiana 2 15