While March brings upsets and buzzer-beaters, it also needs to bring caution

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Mar 25, 2022, 9:28 AM | Updated: 9:42 am


In March, basketball fans around the country glue themselves in front of a television for almost 11 hours for four consecutive days.

College basketball’s tournament brings the most unpredictable comebacks, upsets and buzzer-beaters, giving fans and players memories for a lifetime.

Besides all of the madness that comes with brackets and the tournament, March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. For some, gambling can have negative effects on health, finances and relationships.

The American Gaming Association conservatively estimates 45 million Americans will bet around $3.1 billion legally on March Madness and around 36.5 million people will bet on something involving a bracket. Chances are you filled out a bracket or two.

According to OddsShark, the total amount of money wagered in Las Vegas on the NCAA Tournament since 2004 reached $501.5 billion in 2021.

If you have a problem with sports gambling, visit the Arizona Division of Problem Gaming at for more information. You can also call 1-800-NEXT-STEP or text NEXT-STEP to 53342 for information or help.

Signs that you may need to take a closer look at your gambling:
• Lying
• Chasing ‘losses’
• Borrowing money
• Gambling to solve financial problems
• Always betting more
• Being obsessed with gambling
• Being unable to stop gambling
• Gambling to forget
• Stealing or committing fraud to gamble
• Gambling because it is the most important thing to do in the world

With the spirit of March and college basketball, here are some of the greatest upsets and comebacks in NCAA hoops tournament history that every fan should know about:

No. 16 University of Maryland – Baltimore County 74, No. 1 Virginia 54 (2018)

Before the 2018 tournament, a No. 16 seed had never beaten a No. 1 seed, let alone the top-seeded team in the tournament. The record heading into this game was 0-135 all-time.

On paper, this should have been a rout. Virginia was a 20.5-point favorite and had lost two games by a combined eight points all season.

From the opening tip, the game was never close. This was not the story of a small dog overcoming the Goliath, but rather looked as if UMBC was the heavily favored team.

The Retrievers shot 12-of-24 from three and 54.2% from the field. They ended up emptying the bench well before the buzzer sounded.

The 20-point defeat is still one of the wildest results in the tournament.

Virginia is still the only No. 1 seed to fall to a No. 16 seed, but the Cavaliers rebounded the next year to win the national championship.

No. 14 Brigham Young 78, No. 14 Iona 72 (2012)

This contest between two No. 14 seeds in Dayton, Ohio, was a play-in game for the right to play No. 3 Marquette.

Iona dominated the first half, scoring a staggering 55 points. It held up to a 25-point lead late in the first half.

The Cougars stormed back, outscoring Iona 38-17 in the second half and ended up winning by six.

Noah Hartsock added 16 in the second half for BYU for what is still the largest comeback in tournament history.

BYU went on to be eliminated in the first round 89-69 by Marquette.

No. 7 Texas 87, No. 10 Arizona State 85 (2014)

Fans around the Valley remember this game well.

Point guard Jahii Carson and the Sun Devils trailed for a majority of the contest.

ASU trailed by 14 midway through the second half, but behind four three-pointers from Jonathan Gilling and a barrage of free throws from Carson, the Sun Devils fought back.

On what ended up to be the last play of the game, Texas’ Cameron Ridley got a rebound in the paint, lifted the ball from his knees and scored a buzzer-beater to give the Longhorns the win.

The shot ended the Sun Devils’ season but produced a meme of a shocked ASU bench, one of the many great aspects of basketball in March.

While many fans will place bets on the tournament to add a little rooting interest to the games all day, an estimated 6.6 million people in America struggle with gambling addiction. Others could develop a gambling problem in the future.

Find out if you or someone you know needs help after developing a gambling problem, and visit the Arizona Division of Problem Gambling to take the Problem Gambling Self Screening Quiz

If you answered yes to any of the questions, consider seeking more information and further assistance. Visit the Arizona Division of Problem Gaming to find a trained professional who can identify and help with a betting addiction.

Arizona Department of Gaming

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While March brings upsets and buzzer-beaters, it also needs to bring caution