This Day in Failure: March 16

2018: The men’s basketball team from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County defeats the University of Virginia, 74-54, marking the first time in 136 attempts that a No. 1 seed defeats a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Virginia was the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and considered the best team in college basketball, with a 31-2 record entering the game. Meanwhile, UMBC (which finished its season 25-10) got into the tournament by beating the University of Vermont on a buzzer-beater to win the America East tournament—ending a 23-game losing streak against the Catamounts.

Even more notably, the UMBC Retrievers—a 20.5 point underdog—won by 20 points, the largest margin of victory ever for a team seeded 14th or lower. It’s also the second time the University of Virginia suffers an infamous loss as a No. 1 team. On December 23, 1982, the then-undefeated and No. 1 ranked Cavaliers lost to the lowly Chaminade Silverswords, 77-72. 

The loss also recalls another infamous date in NCAA tournament history. On March 14, 1991, the Syracuse Orangemen lost to the Richmond Spiders in the first round of the tournament, marking the first time that a No. 2 seed lost to a No. 15 seed. And, on March 14, 1998, No. 16 seeded Harvard defeated No. 1 seed Stanford in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, becoming the first No. 16 seed to win in women’s tournament history, a loss that snapped Stanford’s 59-game home winning streak.

2018: A malfunctioning chairlift at Gudauri Ski Resort in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia sends skiers flying. Video of the incident shows the lift running in reverse and at a much higher rate of speed than normal. When the individual chairs reach the loading station skiers are thrown clear like ragdolls. Making matters worse, the chairs become disconnected at the same point, creating a mass of twisted metal with skiers trapped underneath. Eight individuals are injured in the accident, according to Reuters.

2008: JP Morgan Chase & Co. agrees to purchase Bear Stearns Cos. for the fire-sale price of $2 per share (or $236 million) capping a stunning collapse of the 85-year-old firm, which had been valued at $3.5 billion less than 48 hours earlier.

2003: The NCAA Selection Committee assigns Brigham Young University (BYU) a #12 seed in the 2003 tournament’s South Regional, accidentally putting the Mormon Church-owned school on course to play on Sunday, March 30. The mistake—considered the worst scheduling gaffe in NCAA tourney history—forces the committee to concoct a plan to switch BYU to the Midwest bracket should the Cougars advance to the Sweet 16, thereby honoring the school’s longstanding tradition of not playing athletics on Sundays. The potentially disruptive situation is averted when BYU is eliminated in the first round, losing 58-53 to Connecticut.

1994: Tonya Harding is banned from amateur figure skating after pleading guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up the attack on her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan.

1978: The super tanker Amoco Cadiz runs aground on Portsall Rocks, three miles off the coast of Brittany, when its steering mechanism fails. The ship is en route from the Arabian Gulf to Le Havre, France, when it encounters stormy weather that contributes to the accident. The ship’s entire cargo (over 1.6 million barrels of oil) spills into the sea, creating a slick approximately 18 miles wide and 80 miles long.