It had never happened before 2018’s NCAA tournament: A No. 1 seed losing to a No. 16. But Virginia did just that when they got blown out by UMBC in the first round. 16-seeds are now 1-135 against against 1s all-time. But if you think that’s the most embarrassing loss in college basketball history, a different UVa loss would like a word.
Back in 1983, Virginia lost to Chaminade, 77-72.
You’ve probably never heard of Chaminade, but the Silverswords pulled off the greatest regular season upset in the history of college basketball. Chaminade was at the time a good basketball program ... in the NAIA. It’s now a Division II program, but at the time it was in college sports’ lower division.
Now, this wasn’t just any UVa team Chaminade beat that day. Those Cavs were the No. 1 team in the country, and had one of the best college basketball players in history: 7’4 Ralph Sampson. Chaminade’s 6’7 Tony Randolph grew up with Sampson and dated his sister when they were younger.
Virginia was undefeated coming into the game and had beaten both Georgetown and Houston (without Sampson) earlier that season. Georgetown was led by the legendary Patrick Ewing, and the Phi Slamma Jamma Houston team would end up losing in the national championship game at the buzzer.
Chaminade shot nearly 50 percent in the upset, and vanquished the Cavs.
Chaminade (10-2) now has beaten two Division I opponents in seven days, having defeated the University of Hawaii on its home court Dec. 17. In between, the Silverswords lost to Wayland Baptist. “We were still thinking about the Hawaii game and had started thinking about U-Va., so we kind of overlooked them,” said Randolph.
Asked if this was the biggest upset in college basketball history, Holland nodded affirmatively.
”Ever?” Holland was asked.
”It has to rank right up there,” he replied.
The upset was so epic that it was memorialized in the NCAA March Madness video game back when it was still around.
Our Kofie Yeboah played the challenge.
To win, I had to sub the center in as the point guard and post him up the entire game. I also had to press. I’m not proud of it ... but after 29 tries I don’t care. Also, unlike most of the other College Classics, you have to play all 20 minutes of the game instead of just a short period of time. There is little room for error, and whatever strategy you decide, you have to stick to it for the whole game. Some people went through significant parts of their childhood trying to beat this level. Some never do, and I don’t blame them. Since this game is known as one of, if not the greatest, upsets of all-time it only makes sense that it’s hard in the video game. The gameplay doesn’t have your back, either.
So while this NCAA tournament loss had the postseason stakes to it, don’t forget about the Chaminade game.
At least UMBC is Division I.