10. Richmond over Syracuse
1991, First round: #15 Richmond 73, #2 Syracuse 69
“Our whole game plan,” said Richmond coach Dick Tarrant, “was to get the lead early, and pick up the 12,000 neutral people who were going to be with David against Goliath.” That’s a perfect statement of strategy for pulling off a big early round upset, and the Richmond Spiders followed it perfectly, taking the lead from the start of the game and never letting go.
Syracuse became the first 2-seed to lose in the first round since the tournament went to the 64-team format in 1985. The Orange inexplicably played the game at Richmond’s slower pace, negating their athletic advantages. Curtis Blair led the Spiders with 18 points against the Orange zone, which Syracuse kept deploying despite trailing by as many as ten points. Billy Owens and Michael Edwards both missed three-point attempts for Syracuse in the final minute that could have tied the score.