Top March Madness Games Played In Pennsylvania

Written By Corey Sharp on March 7, 2023
March Madness has provided plenty of great moments for games played in Pennsylvania.

March Madness got the nickname because of the upsets and wild finishes NCAA Tournament games have provided over several decades.

Some of the best games, most magical runs and notable March Madness betting upsets took place in Pennsylvania.

PlayPennsylvania counts down the top games and runs that happened within the Keystone State.

Top 5 March Madness games played in PA

No. 5 – Big 5 basketball meets in the first round

The last two Philadelphia-area schools to meet in the NCAA Tournament came in 1978 at The Palestra on Penn’s campus.

Villanova and La Salle represented the area well in their hometown. The Wildcats won a crazy contest, 103-97, over the Explorers.

The game was carried by each team’s five starters. Each side recorded only two bench points. Keith Herron led Villanova with 24 points, followed by Reggie Robinson and Alex Bradley’s 22 points apiece.

La Salle got 35 points from Michael Brooks, who was drafted No. 9 overall by the San Diego Clippers.

That matchup was the last time two Philadelphia-area schools faced off against each other in the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats beat Indiana, 61-60, before falling to Duke in the Elite 8.

No. 4 – Double overtime in Pittsburgh

Another classic of a game went into double overtime in Pittsburgh, and also featured a sizable upset in 2002.

UCLA, an eight seed, topped the No. 1 seed Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Bruins had four players in double figures, including future Sixers Matt Barnes and Jason Kapono. Kapono finished with 19 points and Barnes added 17.

Leonard Stokes scored a game-high 39 points in the contest for Bob Huggins’ Bearcats.

The Bruins traveled to San Jose for the Sweet 16, where they fell to Missouri, 82-73.

No. 3 – Florida Gulf Coast’s Sweet 16 run

Florida Gulf Coast took the nation by storm in 2013, when the Wells Fargo Center hosted the darling of the dance.

The 15-seed upset Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in a 78-68 route.

The Eagles followed up with a win in the second round, topping 7-seed San Diego State, 81-71, at the Wells Fargo Center.

The 2013 Eagles earned the nickname “Dunk City from all of the alley-oops, putbacks and breakaway dunks during the magical run.

Florida Gulf Coast became the first 15-seed to ever reach the Sweet 16. Though the Eagles’ run ended against Florida at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, no one will ever forget their run started in Philadelphia.

No. 2 – No. 15 seed reaches Elite 8 in thriller

One of the best games to happen in Pennsylvania happened last March Madness.

Saint Peter’s became the second team to reach the Sweet 16 as a 15-seed after beating Kentucky and Murray State.

The Wells Fargo Center hosted the East Regional semifinals and finals. The Peacocks then became the first team to ever reach the Elite 8 as a 15-seed after a thrilling 67-64 victory over No. 3 seed Purdue.

Saint Peter’s overcame future NBA lottery pick Jaden Ivey, holding him to nine points. It also held 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey, this year’s frontrunner for Player of the Year, in check with 11 points and five rebounds.

Ivey missed a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded and the Wells Fargo Center erupted into a frenzy.

Saint Peter’s magical run ended two nights later in the Elite 8 to No. 8 seed North Carolina.

No. 1 – ‘The Shot’ from 1992

One of the best NCAA Tournament games of all time took place at the Philadelphia Spectrum in 1992.

Duke played Kentucky in the 1992 Elite 8. With 2.1 seconds remaining, Grant Hill threw a baseball pass from the opposite baseline. Star forward Christian Laettner took a dribble with his left hand and drilled a turnaround jumper as time expired. The Blue Devils beat Kentucky, 104-103, in an instant classic.

The thrill of victory on the Duke faces told it all.

The Blue Devils would beat Indiana and Michigan in the National Semifinal and National Final, respectively, to win their second straight National Championship.

Photo by Amy Sancetta / AP
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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