It’s highly unlikely, of course, that North Dakota State will take down Duke tonight in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It would take so many scenarios to go the Bison way that it’s practically unthinkable. That being said, upsets do happen in this tournament. Last year, nobody outside of Baltimore heard of the University of Baltimore Maryland County until the Retrievers defeated Virginia in last year’s first round.
UMBC was a 16 seed, Virginia a No. 1.
How would a Bison win rank? ESPN has a list of the all-time greatest upsets:
1. U.S. beats Soviets Olympic ice hockey, 1980
2. New York Jets defeat Baltimore Colts, Super Bowl III, 1969
3. Villanova tops Georgetown to win 1985 NCAA championship
4. Buster Douglas KOs Mike Tyson for heavyweight championship, 1990
5. Man O’ War loses only race, to 100-to-1 shot Upset, 1919
6. Denver Nuggets eliminate Seattle SuperSonics in 1994 NBA playoffs
7. Jack Fleck beats Ben Hogan at 1955 U.S. Open
8. New York Mets defeat Baltimore Orioles for 1969 World Series
9. Rulon Gardner overpowers Alexander Karelin for Greco-Roman wrestling gold, 2000
10. N.C. State knocks off Houston to win1983 NCAA championship
The Bison wouldn’t crack this list simply because of the magnitude of those 10 compared to an NCAA first round. But you get the idea.
A good showing for NDSU tonight would be a loss by 20 points or less. To do that, the Bison will need to take a page out of the 2006 upset of the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers shot 22 percent from the field, 17 percent in the first half, and NDSU hung on for a 62-55 win. The Bison won the battle of the boards outrebounding the Badgers 45-39 with Andre Smith (16 points, 13 boards) and Brett Winkelman (12 boards) leading the way. Ben Woodside was ice down the stretch and finished 11 of 13 from the free throw line.
The Badgers were nationally ranked. Duke is the tourney’s top seed. Duke would probably handle that Wisconsin team. Do you believe in miracles? Probably not tonight.