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Ranking March Madness' best No. 15 over No. 2 upsets, starting with Middle Tennessee State

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The Blue Raiders are the new upset kings of the NCAA Tournament.

On Friday, Middle Tennessee State pulled what instantly seemed like the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history. It's also unquestionably the best No. 15 over No. 2 upset in the growing list of seismic March Madness stunners.

There have only been eight No. 15 over No. 2 upsets since the NCAA Tournament went to its seeding format in 1985, but they're becoming more and more common -- four of them have happened since 2012.

Here's how those upsets should be ranked.

1. No. 15 Middle Tennessee State 90, No. 2 Michigan State 81 (2016)

And it's not just for recency, either: Michigan State was justifiably one of the favorites to win this year's national championship. Between player of the year candidate Denzel Valentine leading the nation's best team from beyond the arc, and Tom Izzo's bulletproof reputation as a postseason and in-game coach, the Spartans were slight betting favorites in Las Vegas despite being shunted to the No. 2 seed line.

As it turns out, that probably helped get Sparty broomed out of this NCAA Tournament. Michigan State never led, as Middle Tennessee State shot 55 percent from the field and caught fire from beyond the arc, making 11-of-19 threes. After the Blue Raiders took a 15-2 lead early, the Spartans rallied to get within a point in the first half, then again with under four minutes to play -- but never even tied the game. This was as impressive a performance as a No. 15 seed has ever had, and it came against an arguably underseeded No. 2 seed that played fairly well in its own right. We have a new gold standard for unfathomable NCAA Tournament upsets.

2. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast 78, No. 2 Georgetown 68 (2013)

The 2013 NCAA Tournament belonged to the Eagles of Dunk City for the first weekend or so, as they became the first and only No. 15 seed to make the Sweet Sixteen. It was their first upset's sheer audacity, as FGCU dunked a sluggish Georgetown team out of March Madness, that make the Eagles legends, and it's still the second-biggest No. 15 over No. 2 upset in terms of margin of victory.

3. No. 15 Santa Clara 64, No. 2 Arizona 61 (1993)

Lute Olson's record in the NCAA Tournament prior to the 1993 edition wasn't so strong, with his Wildcats having made the 1988 Final Four behind a fiery ambassador's son named Steve Kerr and made just one other trip to the Sweet Sixteen in his nine previous seasons in Tucson. And Arizona had been ushered out of the 1992 NCAA Tournament in the first round as a No. 3 seed.

This game, though, gave the world its introduction to Steve Nash, and his Santa Clara Broncos erased a 13-point Arizona lead in the second half on the way to the greatest victory in program history. That counts for plenty.

4. No. 15 Hampton 58, No. 2 Iowa State 57 (2001)

The Pirates were making their first NCAA Tournament appearance, and the Cyclones were considered potential title-winners, with a trio of seniors led by Jamaal Tinsley having done more in the regular season than Iowa State could a year prior despite the presence of Marcus Fizer. Then no Cyclone topped 10 points in the game, and Iowa State went 6-for-16 from the line, gagging up an 11-point lead in the second half and allowing Hampton to earn a stunning win on a shot by Tarvis Williams with 6.9 seconds left.

5. No. 15 Richmond 73, No. 2 Syracuse 69 (1991)

The original No. 15 vs. No. 2 upset, and one that's worse the wear for history. Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone being shot through by an unknown team was a novelty then, but ask virtually any fan under the age of 40 about a memorable Syracuse NCAA Tournament upset, and you'll hear about Vermont's T.J. Sorrentine beating the Orange "FROM THE PARKING LOT," as Gus Johnson memorably bellowed. Richmond also more or less controlled the game, leading by eight at halftime and 10 in the second half before a Syracuse rally late.

Still, the novelty of a No. 15 over a No. 2 was greater when it was actually new, rather than rare.

6. No. 15 Coppin State 78, No. 2 South Carolina 65 (1997)

The most lopsided No. 15 over No. 2 game ever, and maybe the most meaningful in certain senses: Coppin State was the first team from the historically black school-stocked Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference to ever win an NCAA Tournament game, and did so over a team from the flagship school of a state that was still flying the Confederate Flag at its Capitol.

But the political overtones of the win weren't actually played up in the less racially fraught 1990s. And Fang Mitchell's Eagles, 30-point underdogs, have largely faded from memory despite falling a point short against Texas in the second round, making one of the strangest and most memorable things about this upset now the fact that South Carolina was once a No. 2 seed. (And the Gamecocks losing in the 1998 NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed doesn't help the legacy of this upset, either.)

7. No. 15 Lehigh 75, No. 2 Duke 70 (2012)

8. No. 15 Norfolk State 86, No. 2 Missouri 84 (2012)

Before he became Damian Lillard's running mate in Portland, C.J. McCollum beat Duke almost by his damn self. McCollum had 30 points, outdueling the highly touted Austin Rivers, and the Mountain Hawks gave the winningest coach in NCAA Tournament history the honor of being involved in one of its biggest upsets. That Duke team was overrated and overhyped for much of the season, though, and didn't even finish in the top 20 of Ken Pomeroy's efficiency ratings at year's end.

And Lehigh didn't even have the only No. 15 vs. No. 2 upset of that day, much less the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Kyle O'Quinn and the Spartans were unstoppable against Missouri's iffy defense, but, despite the Tigers' No. 3 national ranking, they were the No. 8 overall seed and not considered a title contender. Norfolk State would go on to get obliterated by No. 7 Florida in the second round, the worst loss by a No. 15 seed in the second round, and one that made Missouri's seeding even more head-scratching.