6. Cleveland State over Indiana
1986, First Round: #14 Cleveland State 83, #3 Indiana 79
The 1986 tournament saw a number of early surprises. Arkansas-Little Rock upset third-seeded Notre Dame in the first round; in the second round, Navy, led by junior center David Robinson, beat second-seeded Syracuse by twelve at Syracuse. But the signature upset of the first round saw Cleveland State, making its first appearance in the tournament, use its quickness to press the third-seeded Hoosiers into an early exit. A year later, the core of this Indiana team – Steve Alford, Daryl Thomas, Ricky Callaway – would win a national title. The Cleveland State story was somewhat different.
A win over St. Joseph’s put the Vikings into the round of 16, where they lost to Navy on a Robinson buzzer-beater; their next NCAA tournament game will be tonight, against Wake Forest. Two months later, forward Paul Stewart died playing a pickup game. Then a published report revealed that the team’s leading scorer had played the season while on probation for a felony conviction. By December, the school was on probation for recruiting violations. And in 1990, coach Kevin Mackey was arrested coming out of a crack house with his mistress. Who’d have thought Bob Knight would be the less troublesome coach in the matchup?