Mar 18, 2023 - Sports

Charted: March Madness' biggest first-round upsets

Data: NCAA; Note: No games held in 2020; Chart: Rahul Mukherjee and Simran Parwani/Axios

Fairleigh Dickinson's stunning win against Purdue on Friday makes it the second No. 16 team to ever beat a No. 1 seed — after UMBC's 2018 victory over Virginia (charted above).

Zoom in: An Axios analysis of men's March Madness first-round matchups shows which seeds have pulled off the most upsets since 1985, when the tournament expanded to 64 teams.

  • A No. 12-seed pulls off an upset almost 50% more often than a No. 13-seed in the round of 64.
  • No. 10 and No. 11-seeded teams have about the same winning percentage as No. 12 seeds. All three won between 35 to 40% of first-round games.

Between the lines: Princeton's win on Thursday over No. 2 seed Arizona marks the third straight year a No. 15 seed has won a first-round game.

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