CHARLOTTE, NC – MARCH 16: K.J. Maura #11 and teammate Jourdan Grant #5 of the UMBC Retrievers celebrate their 74-54 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
2:37 PM 03/19/2018
The hottest debate in sports right now seems to be whether or not UMBC’s historic upset of Virginia is more impressive than the Miracle on Ice.
UMBC became the first 16-seed in the history of March Madness to win a game, and for obvious reasons is being discussed as one of the greatest upsets in sports history. There’s no doubt that it’s one of the biggest upsets we’ve ever see.
However, it’s not even close to beating out the Miracle on Ice. I put this question to the Twitter fans, and the poll’s results overwhelmingly agree with me so far.
What is the bigger upset?
— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) March 19, 2018
Here’s the reality of the situation, and everybody who knows anything about college basketball knows it’s the truth. There has been growing parity in college basketball over the course of the past 20 years. Small schools can play with big schools now because the talent pool for recruits is growing at a rapid rate. There isn’t a ton of talent difference for the kid ranked 100th in the country and the kid ranked 300th.
For proof of this look no further than the fact Butler went to back-to-back national title games and did it with kids that Duke, Kentucky and UNC would never give the time of day to. Don’t get me wrong here. UMBC’s win is incredible, but we all expected the day to one day come.
The Miracle on Ice is a totally different story. The equivalent would be if a college all-star team beat the NBA champions. The Russians were unstoppable, and yet, a group of young American men took it to them on their way to a gold medal.
There was no parity between the Russians and any other hockey team. It was the Russians and then everybody else was a mile behind.
Here’s another example of how much bigger the Miracle on Ice was. The betting odds of the USA winning that game were 1,000/1. The odds of UMBC beating were 20/1. That’s a pretty significant difference.
What UMBC did was incredible, but it’s not even in the same ballpark as the Miracle on Ice. Not even close.