Thursday, April 18, 2024

Biggest Upsets and Blowouts by All-Time Great Men's and Women's Teams

Since inventing the Value Add Basketball Game five years ago, we have played 287 games between all-time great teams, and the biggest upsets to date have been by Auburn 2019, Stephen Curry’s Davidson, DePaul 1980 men and two by the Notre Dame 2019 women. We just finished double checking and updating all of our men's and women's scores.

The favorite in a given game can be calculated by subtracting one team’s “rating,” which appears above their player cards, from the other team’s rating. If one team is playing at home – meaning they are allowed to change any roll of 36 to 66 (to create a foul on the home team that was not called) or a 66 to 36 (to create a bad call against a visiting player) then adjust another three points in favor of the home team.

So far 20 of our 287 games were "even" ratings so there was no favored team.  In the other games:

Favored by                          Won       Upset        Win%
18 points or more150100%
10 to 17 points501281%
7 to 9 points33979%
1 to 6 points945464%
Total Favorites Record1927572%

Biggest Favorites and Blowouts So Far

The biggest favorites so far in our game were by UConn men’s and women’s teams.

Sue Bird's 2002 UConn team was a 26-point favorite against Elena Delle Donne’s Delaware, and after Delaware led at halftime UConn pulled away from a 75-46 win to actually cover.

UConn Men’s 2023 team was the only bigger favorite ever in our game, as a 29-point favorite against the Saint Peter’s 2022 team that made the Elite 8 despite not being in the top 100 teams in UConn made that hold up with a 77-39 win, a 38-point win that was the third biggest margin we’ve ever had in our game.

Houston 2021 beat Princeton 2023 by an 102-50 score for the biggest at 52-points, and UConn’s 2016 with perhaps the greatest player ever, Maya Moore, defeated the Long Beach State 1987 team 98-53 for a 45-point margin.

Biggest upsets

Auburn 2019 with Chuma Okeke was a 17-point underdog against Kentucky 2012 with Anthony Davis, but pulled off the 75-68 upset. While this was an upset, Auburn barely lost in the Final 4 on a tough call, and that was after Okeke had a terrible injury during Auburn’s blowout win against the 2019 Kentucky win. They were not as good as the 34-1 Kentucky 2012 team, but they were by far the best team at the end of the 2019 season before the injury. 

Davidson 2008 with Stephen Curry was a 16-point underdog against 2-time champion Florida 2006 with Joakim Noah and a host of NBA stars, but Curry went crazy in a 68-52 win. This game was before we invented the 20th century teams, so we had 21st century teams in conferences playing home and home series, and Florida had already beaten Davidson before this rematch.

DePaul 1980 with Mark Aguirre and Terry Cummings was a 16-point underdog against UCLA 1967 with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but stunned them 86-71. We thought Kareem’s team might have been the best team ever, but DePaul got up and down the court in the win. While DePaul never made the big run, they often seemed like the top team in the country during the regular season  but just couldn’t seem to avoid the early upset in March.

While we haven’t played as many women’s games since the stats were not filled in until a few years later, the two biggest upsets in a couple of dozen games were both by Notre Dame 2018 with Arike Ogunbowales, who made our first Women’s Final Four as our 11-seed.

We played our opening rounds of the women’s conference at home sites of the better seed, which changes about three calls a game for about a 3-point edge.

Notre Dame went on the road to Texas A&M as a 7-point underdog with the A&M home court advantage and overcame the bad calls in a 76-69 win. After another win, they advanced to the Final Four.

In the Final Four, Notre Dame was an even bigger 10-point underdog against Maya Moore and UConn 2016, which we consider one of the three best teams in the game.  The Irish pulled off a shocker 76-62.

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