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The biggest blowouts in March Madness history

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Dan Halverson

March 15th, 2022

While March Madness is remembered for the buzzer beaters, nothing in the rule book says blowouts can’t happen, as well. For fans and bettors of teams involved, they can be just as memorable.

Let’s look at five of the biggest blowouts in NCAA Tournament history.

5. Connecticut 103, Chattanooga 56 (2009)

A loaded UConn team that eventually made it to the Final Four flexed its muscle in this pretty standard No. 1 vs. No. 16 blowout. The Huskies had eventual second-overall NBA Draft pick Hasheem Thabeet, as well as current NBA star Kemba Walker. A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien each got NBA opportunities, as well, and it was actually Stanley Robinson who led the way with 24 points. Chattanooga went through a nearly 12-minute stretch without scoring a point.

4. Kansas 110, Prairie View A&M 52 (1998)

It turns out that No. 16 Prairie View was no Rhode Island. Despite achieving the second-highest winning margin in NCAA tournament history, No. 1 Kansas lost the very next game to the 8th-seeded Rams. Kansas was led by Paul Pierce in this game, as he scored 25 points. Fellow future NBA player Raef LaFrentz also contributed 20 points and 15 rebounds.

3. UNLV 103, Duke 73 (1990)

In terms of margin of victory, this isn’t anywhere near the top of the list, but it was the biggest blowout in a national title game. The No. 1 Runnin’ Rebels absolutely destroyed No. 3 Duke, with 18 consecutive second-half points to put the game out of reach. UNLV scored an amazing 1.27 points per possession, an even more impressive feat, considering it was done before an era of prolific three-point shooting. The Rebels also forced Duke into 23 turnovers. It was domination on the sport’s biggest stage.

2. Villanova 95, Oklahoma 51 (2016)

This is the biggest blowout in a Final Four matchup in tournament history. No. 2 Villanova had six players score in double digits, and Josh Hart led the way with 23. The Wildcats shot 71.4% from the field and held No. 2 Oklahoma to 31%. Oklahoma's star, Buddy Hield, was held to just nine points. Since 1949 no top 10 team had ever lost by more than 43 points.

1. Loyola-Chicago 111, Tennessee Tech 42 (1963)

Loyola started its championship run with the largest margin of victory in tournament history. The 69-point gap has yet to be topped, and it’s hard to imagine it ever will be. Tennessee Tech shot 22% from the floor and faced a 41-point halftime deficit.