Anything can happen in a college basketball game. That’s why NCAA basketball scores Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-12 can get so wild at times. In this post, we’re not just going to cover the highest-scoring games of all time--we’re going to cover any game that has an odd score, for whatever reasons. Let’s dive into the antics of wild NCAA basketball scores Big Ten.
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Highest Scoring College Basketball Games and Teams
Highest Scoring March Madness Games: It’s Mostly Loyola Marymount
- Loyola Marymount, the 11th seed, knocked off the 3rd seeded Michigan in 1990. Loyola put up 149 points in the game and Michigan scored 115.
- When Loyola scored those 149 points in 1990, the Wolverines should have had a little bit of warning. Because only 2 years prior, in the 1988 tournament, the 10th seeded Loyola team put up 119 against the 7th seeded Wyoming team. Wyoming, not to be outdone, also put up 115. Apparently Loyola thought that the game was too close for comfort, because it led to them scoring 149 points 2 years later.
- For whatever reason, Loyola gets themselves into high scoring games. They’re also in the next three, though they managed to lose all three of them. In the 1990 tournament after they beat Michigan, Loyola went up against UNLV, the top-seeded team. UNLV put up 131 points to the 101 points of Loyola.
- The fourth highest-scoring game came in the 1989 tournament, when Arkansas needed most of their 120 points to top Loyola’s 101 points.
- The fifth highest-scoring game, also a classic featuring Loyola, came after Loyola topped Wyoming by four points. Loyola put up 97 points in the game, but UNCs 123 was too much to handle.
- You have to go to the sixth-highest scoring game in the history of March Madness before you get a game without Loyola Marymount. In this contest, the seventh-seeded West Virginia put up 111 points to top the 105 points of the second-seed, Wake Forest. The 2005 thriller is the highest scoring March Madness game of the 2000s.
- The seventh highest-scoring game comes between the heavy underdog, 12-seed Tulsa, and the powerhouse of college basketball, UCLA. UCLA was the fifth seed and had been crushing teams during their 1994 season. They felt they were underseeded and were out for revenge. But although UCLA put up 102 points, Tulsa managed to score 112 to win the game.
- Most of the high scoring games come early in the tournament. But when Duke and Kentucky met in the Elite Eight in 1992, fans knew it was going to be a shootout. Duke was down 102 to Kentucky’s 103 with 2.1 seconds left in the game. But Duke had Christian Laettner and Grant Hill. Grant Hill tossed a court length pass to Christian Laettner who caught the ball, juked to the right, dribbled, and nailed a jumper as time expired to put Duke over the top, 104-103. It’s widely recognized as one of the best sports moments of all time, and perhaps the greatest college basketball game of all time.
Highest Scoring College Basketball Teams Of All Time
We’ve already covered the biggest March Madness upsets of all time, but those are only the top 64 or 68 teams. Some of the really wild games occur when the field is still hundreds of teams.
In 1992, a couple of smaller teams met for the highest-scoring game of all time. The Devry Hoyas scored 141 points, which alone would be enough to win most college basketball games in the history of college basketball. But their opponents, the Troy State Trojans, put up 258 points. That means that the combined score of the game was 399 points, a score that seems almost impossible to beat.
What’s perhaps most shocking about the box score is that no single player had more than 50 points in the game. In fact, the most points scored by a single player was 42. When the Trojans went to score 258 points, there was one player with 41, one player with 37, and three players with 29. Everyone else scored less points.
The tactics of Don Maestri, the head coach of Troy State, were pretty simple. The Trojans would attempt a steal on every possession that the other team had the ball. And if they missed the steal, they would allow the other team to basically score as long as it was quick. This style allowed the other team to score a lot of points, but it allowed Troy State to run up the score as well.
Highest Scoring Player of All Time
Pete Maravich’s LSU team from 1967-1970 also deserves a spot on the list. Not because the LSU team was particularly great. They didn’t even make the tournament with Maravich. But in an era, before the 3-point line even existed, Pistol Pete put up 3,667 points in his college career, more than 400 points more than the second-highest scoring college basketball player of all time.
Surprising College NCAA Basketball Scores
When you’re making a March Madness bracket, there was some foolproof wisdom around what you would pick for the 1-16 matchups. Never pick the 16 seed to win. That was because, in the entire history of March Madness, a 16 seed had never won a game and had never advanced to the second round of the tournament. You had plenty of problems when picking 15 seeds and 2 seeds, because 2 seeds had a storied history of upsets along the way. But 1 seed was a solid, everyday pick--until UMBC topped #1 Virginia. And they didn’t just top them, they crushed them by 20 points when the game was over.
If you’ve got the crowd at your back, you’re more likely to put up scores that totally crush the competition. The best arenas in college sports are also places where you can put up the biggest scores. When Florida Gulf Coast took on Georgetown in the 2013 tournament, nobody knew who Florida Gulf Coast was. But that team put an entire college on the map by taking out the #2 seed in the first round of the tournament with a simple strategy: dunk the ball. FGC had a ton of dunks in the tournament, topping a couple of great teams before losing a close one to Florida.
Of course, one way to score a ton of points in your college basketball game is to carry one of the best college basketball players of all time into the game. When Steph Curry played for Davidson, they went on an incredible run in the 2008 tournament. Curry stepped up in the second half of the first round against a great Gonzaga team, putting up 30 points in the second half to take Davidson to the upset. In the second round, Curry ran up against the #2 Georgetown team, and Curry scored 30 points to give Davidson the 4-point lead. As Davidson heads into the Sweet 16, the world starts watching. Curry scores 33 points in the game to top the #3 Wisconsin team. The run only ended in the Elite Eight when Kansas barely beat them by 2 points.