When Maryland-Baltimore County pulled off perhaps the most famous upset in men’s college basketball history, becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, UMBC was a 20-point underdog.
The largest upset in the NCAA tournament this century, in terms of the point spread, was Norfolk State as a 21.5-point underdog over Missouri in a 15 vs. 2 upset.
That should put Iowa’s loss on Wednesday into perspective.
Iowa was a 31.5-point favorite over Eastern Illinois at BetMGM. KenPom.com had Iowa projected to win by 32. And the Hawkeyes lost, 92-83. Eastern Illinois beat the spread by 40.5 points.
Again, UMBC’s spread against Virginia was 11.5 points lower than the one Eastern Illinois faced on Wednesday. Eastern Illinois, ranked 348th of 363 Division I teams at KenPom.com, can claim the biggest point spread upset in at least 30 years according to ESPN Stats and Info (via Max Meyer of Caesars Sports).
This one won’t be remembered like some classic NCAA tournament upsets, but it is historic.
Eastern Illinois, which ranked 354th in the nation in offensive efficiency, made 30-of-45 2-point shots. Iowa was cold from behind the 3-point line, hitting just 7-of-33. That was pretty much the difference in an upset that we might not see duplicated for a long time.
Eastern Illinois, which is 4-9 this season, probably isn’t going to go on to a big season in the Ohio Valley Conference. But their players can say they pulled off one of the biggest upsets ever.