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Princeton pulls off historic upset over Arizona to open NCAA Tournament

The Princeton Tigers men’s basketball program has done it. Taking on the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament Thursday afternoon, Princeton pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of March Madness.

Mitch Henderson’s squad defeated Arizona by the score of 59-55, finishing the game on a 9-0 run to stun a heavily favored Arizona squad in Sacramento. It was an entire scene a Princeton went up late in the second half, only to win it in the end.

Arizona entered this game averaging north of 80 points per game. Going up against a defensive-minded Tigers squad, the Wildcats scored just 55 points on 42% shooting from the field. This comes after Arizona took out UCLA to win the Pac 12 Conference Tournament during the weekend.

Talk about everything coming full circle. It was back in 1996 that late-great Princeton head coach Pete Carril led the program to a defining win over the aforementioned Bruins in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament. In what can’t be seen as a coincidence, Mitch Henderson was a player on that team.

Related: Biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history

Where Princeton’s win over Arizona racks up all-time in the NCAA Tournament

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Princeton vs Arizona
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the Tigers’ win on Thursday, 15 seeds were 10-138 against No. 2 seeds since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams back in 1985.

The most-recent 15th seed to take out a top-two seed was when Oral Roberts defeated Ohio State in the first round back in 2021.

Though, one of the most-iconic upsets was when Florida Gulf Coast defeated Georgetown in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Princeton’s win over Arizona will go down as one of the greatest upsets in Tourney history. Though, it does not compare to when the top-seed Virginia Cavaliers fell to Maryland-Baltimore County in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

Interestingly, Virginia became the first team to be upset in this year’s tournament when it fell to Furman earlier on Thursday.

March Madness, baby!

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