Published 12:38 AM EST Nov 13, 2019
Evansville’s shocking win over blue-blood Kentucky on Tuesday night tied for the third biggest college basketball upset in the past 15 seasons, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 2 in the coaches poll and No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, were 25-point favorites before the Purple Aces shocked the college basketball world in Lexington. Evansville was picked to finish eighth of 10 teams in the Missouri Valley Conference, while Kentucky had just knocked off preseason No. 1 Michigan State in its season-opener last week.
“I don’t know if anything matches this, other than winning a national championship,” Evansville coach Walter McCarty, who won a national title with Kentucky as a player, told reporters in his postgame news conference.
Uniquely, Kentucky’s loss to fellow mid-major Gardner-Webb in 2007 is the biggest upset in the last 15 years, per ESPN.
Here’s a look at how UK’s loss stacks up against other colossal non-NCAA tournament upsets of recent memory and yesteryear:
► In 2017 mid-major Wofford upset then-No. 4 North Carolina, the reigning national champions, on the road at Chapel Hill as 25.5 underdogs behind Fletcher Magee’s 27 points.
► Just six years ago, Kentucky was on the other end of a horrid upset. The Wildcats embarrassingly missed the NCAA tournament and that deflation hit a worse low when mid-major Robert Morris bounced the heavily-favored John Calipari team in the NIT.
► Alaska Anchorage, a Division II little engine that could, stunned then-No. 2 Michigan in a game three days after Christmas back in 1988. It was the first round the Seiko Classic Christmas tournament in Salt Lake City. Michigan was 11-0 and led by future NBA All-Star Glen Rice, but the Seawolves toppled Michigan, 70-66, in the same season the Wolverines went on to win the NCAA title.
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► Chaminade’s December win over Virginia in 1982 ranks as perhaps the biggest non-conference upset in the sport’s history. The Cavaliers, led by Naismith player of the year Ralph Sampson, had just beaten Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown team and Hakeem Olajuwon’s Houston team and scheduled lowly Chaminade for a cupcake game after returning from Japan. Yet, the NAIA Silverswords pulled off the stunner thanks to a controversial double-dribble call and Richard Haenisch’s 38 points.
► Notre Dame snapped UCLA’s dominant 88-game winning streak in January of 1974, upending a John Wooden-coached, Bill Walton-led squad in a 71-70 thriller. The Bruins led 70-59 with three minutes left before a furious rally for Digger Phelps’ Irish made history.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.