One of the great thrills of the early-round games of the NCAA Tournament -- those No. 1 vs. No. 16 and No. 2 vs. No. 15 yawners -- is that occasionally, they produce blowouts of epic (or comic) proportions. Most of the tournament's largest blowouts occurred during those early rounds after the tourney expanded beyond 32 teams, but some were unexpected, like UCLA's romp over Houston in the 1968 semis.
In any case, enjoy the early-round mismatches. Take a No. 16 seed, but ask for 50 points. Itıll be a heckuva exciting game.
Have a look at at our list of the biggest blowouts in men's NCAA Tournament history. Then vote in the poll to crown the biggest yawner of all-time.
1. Loyola 111, Tennessee Tech 42
(South regional first round, 1963)
Both teams set tourney records in this game -- Loyola, which went on to win the championship, still holds the mark for largest margin of victory (69 points), and Tennessee Tech can still boast the all-time lowest field goal percentage in an early-round game, shooting 22 percent on 18-for-82 from the field.
2. UNLV 103, Duke 73 (final, 1990)
|"Mike Krzyzewski looked like a stunned kid getting off his first roller coaster ride."|
In the biggest final-game rout ever, the Runnin' Rebels ran off 18 consecutive second-half points to pull out to a 75-47 lead with 13:17 left in the game. With five minutes to go, Jerry Tarkanian started giving his bench players some time. And still, UNLV set a record for the most points scored and the largest margin of victory in the NCAA title game.
"It was a pounding, a hammering, a relentless force blowing aside an overmatched foe, and it dazed those most intimately involved in it," wrote Skip Myslenski in the Chicago Tribune. "Mike Krzyzewski, the Duke coach, looked like a stunned kid getting off his first roller-coaster ride."
3. Michigan State 101, Penn 67 (national semifinal, 1979)
At the intermission, the score was Penn 17, Magic Johnson 15. Unfortunately for Penn, Magic's teammates tossed in another 35, giving the Spartans a record 50-17 halftime lead. Magic finished with a 29-10-10 triple-double -- and Michigan State got some practice before taking on Larry Bird and Indiana State.
Why the embarrassing end to Penn's great Cinderella season? The Washington Post broke it down in this stunning nutshell of analysis: "Most of Penn's problems centered on its inability to put the ball in the basket."
4. Kansas 110, Prairie View 52
(Midwest regional first round, 1998)
No. 1 seed vs. No. 16 seed.
The Prairie View Panthers boasted a 13-17 record, Kansas boasted All-Americans Paul Pierce and Raef LaFrentz and a 35-3 mark. The Jayhawks broke into a 20-5 lead and had a 60-24 cushion at halftime. That's when things picked up for Prairie View -- their pep band aced the halftime show and got a huge ovation. Still, the Panthers lost by the second-largest margin in NCAA tourney history. How did the Jayhawks pull it off? "We're more gifted, naturally, than they are," coach Roy Williams explained.
Print And Pick
The NCAA Tournament brackets are set, so sharpen your pencil and get busy. Whether it's for fun, bragging rights or maybe even a few greenbacks, we've got everything you need -- a printable bracket and free entry to the world's largest office pool, Tournament Challenge, where you can form group competitions among friends.
Printable bracket: gif | pdf
ESPN.com's tourney coverage
5. Michigan State 69, Alabama State 35 (South regional
first round, 2001)
The defending champs were a little rusty coming out of the gate, nursing a 29-25 halftime lead against 16th-seeded Alabama State. After the game, Spartans coach Tom Izzo said he had been "a little concerned" at the break, "but at the start of the second half, once we got our running game going, I thought we responded well."
|Not even the victor could bear to watch this brutal blowout.|
Michigan St. went on a 26-0 tear and outscored the Hornets 40-10 after the intermission. Alabama State shot just 13 percent from the field (4-for-30) in the last 20 minutes. The Hornets had the dubious distinction of setting a record for the fewest points scored in South Region history, and tied the tournament record for fewest points in a half since the introduction of the shot clock.
6. UCLA 101, Houston 69 (national semifinal, 1968)
Houston, starring Elvin Hayes, entered the game ranked No. 1 in the country, due in part to its huge victory over the Bruins earlier in the season in front of 52,000-plus fans at the Astrodome and a national TV audience. But UCLA left no doubt as to who was the superior team. Hayes, who otherwise had an incredible tourney, scored only 10 points against Lynn Shackelford's tenacious D, and he grabbed only five rebounds, far short of his tourney average of 19.4.
After the Bruins romped in the semis, they also cakewalked the final, trouncing North Carolina 78-55.
7. Syracuse 101, Brown 52 (East regional first round, 1986)
Brown's first NCAA tourney appearance in 47 years did not go well, even before it started -- the game would be played at the Syracuse Carrierdome. But the 16-10 Bruins had a game plan against the 25-5 Orangemen. "If we can take away their fast break and their offensive rebounding, then we're as good a team as they are," coach Mike Cingiser said.
Surprisingly enough, the Bruins and Orangemen matched up well for the first few minutes, with Brown rolling to an early 9-8 advantage. But the momentum soon switched to Syracuse, which reeled off 21 straight points and went into the locker room with a 51-23 lead. Dwayne "Pearl" Washington put on a great show while playing only 13 minutes in the first half, scoring 17 points with some fancy moves.
8. Texas A&M 78, North Carolina 61 (Midwest Regional second round, 1980)
This was really a five-minute blowout. The two teams were tied at 53-53 at the end of regulation, then battled to a scoreless first OT period. In the second extra period, A&M set a tourney record for the most points in an overtime, scoring 25 to UNC's 7.
9. Princeton 118, Wichita State 82 (consolation game, 1965)
Wichita State probably wished it never traveled to Portland for the Final Four. UCLA pummeled the Shockers in the semis, setting a Final Four record with 65 first-half points (the score was UCLA 65, Wichita State 38 at the intermission), and won easily, 108-89. Then in the third-place game, Bill Bradley set a tournament record with 58 points as the Tigers rolled, 118-82.
It was the end of a bad-break, good-break season for Wichita State. They lost All-Americans Dave "The Rave" Stallworth and Nate Bowman midway through the season for eligibility reasons, but still managed to win the Missouri Valley Conference title.
10. Indiana 48, Springfield 24 (1940 East regional final)
OK, this was almost prehistoric, but still -- Springfield set a record that still stands, shooting 8-for-63 for a 12.7 percent field-goal percentage.
Also receving votes:Kansas State 68, Oklahoma A&M 44 (Western final, 1951)
Oklahoma 124, Louisiana Tech 81 (South regional second round, 1989)