Highest Scoring March Madness: When it gets mad in March, there’s really nothing like it. The craziest time of year, the time when there are games that aren’t like anything else, March Madness is a world unto itself. Here, you can find the craziest games, the buzzer beaters, all of that. But, often, folks wonder about: where is the O? Sure, plenty of teams win March Madness and titles based on having the best defenses imaginable. However, that’s not what separates some teams from the rest. Instead, it’s about having the best offense. It could also be winning a shootout.
So, What’s the Highest Scoring March Madness Game of All Time?
If someone were to ask you, “who won the highest scoring March Madness game of all time,” what would you guess? Would you think it was Duke? North Carolina? Some other traditional power? You might, but you’d be wrong.
By that same token, imagine if someone asked you “who lost the highest scoring March Madness game of all time?” In that case, you might think of a traditional power but maybe one that you don’t associate with offense. Indiana. Michigan. Michigan State. The Illini. Someone like that. There, you would be right. Michigan lost the highest scoring game of all time.
That said, they contributed. After all, they put up 115 points. On most nights (on just about every night, in fact) if you put up 115 points, you deserve to win the game. However, that’s not what happened for the Wolverines on this night. Instead, they ran into the offensive juggernaut that was Loyola Marymount in the late 80s and early 90s. This particular game between Big Blue and Loyola was in 1990. Michigan, as you might imagine, was a number three seed (and thus, much higher than Loyola, which was an 11).
But, the only numbers that counted were 149-115. That’s right. 264 points were scored in this game. That’s more than many teams score in multiple games. That number has stood for more than three decades and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get knocked down any time soon.
Who Won the 2nd Highest Scoring March Madness Game of All Time?
Now that we’ve asked you “who would you assume would win a game with this much scoring” and you may have erroneously suggested that it was the Blue Devils, the Tar Heels, or something of that nature, you can now open up your mind to the possibility that it’s one other team, maybe someone that you’ve heard of or someone that you haven’t.
Well, the (at least somewhat shocking) truth is that it is someone that you’ve heard of, specifically, someone that you’ve heard of in the very recent past: Loyola Marymount. Instead of winning this game in 1990, they did so in 1988.
However, just as surprising as the fact that Loyola Marymount is the winner (again) there’s the question of who they beat. Again, it wasn’t a traditional power, someone that’s always in the top of the rankings, battling for championships. Instead, it was number seven seed Wyoming. Yes, Wyoming, a team that you don’t typically see when it comes to big title contenders.
But, they put on a show in this game. Loyola Marymount scored a lot of points, yes, but they needed just about all of them. That was the only way they were going to be able to hold off Wyoming, winning a tight but wild one, 119-115. That’s the second highest scoring game ever in tournament history. Perhaps wilder still, it happened in the first round.
What Are Some of the Other Highest Scoring March Madness Games?
Perhaps the maddest thing about all of this high scoring in March Madness is how much Loyola Marymount was a part of it. Indeed, Loyola Marymount, from 1988 to 1990, played in the five highest scoring games in NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament history. Note: they didn’t play in “five of” the highest scoring games in history, they played in all five of them.
Now, the other thing to remember about this is that Loyola Marymount only won two of them. They won the two highest scoring games of all time. However, they lost the 3rd, 4th, and 5th highest scoring games of all time. They did so to traditional powers, as well. They lost by 30 points (131 to 101) to the number one seed UNLV in 1990 in the Elite Eight, just outside of the Final Four.
In 1989, they went out in the first round in the 4th highest scoring game of all time, falling to number five seed Arkansas, 120-101. And in 1988, they went out in the second round to number two seed North Carolina, falling 123 to 97. You may not have seen a lot of defense with the late 80s, early 90s Loyola Marymount, nor may you have seen a championship, but wow did you see a lot of scoring.
The highest scoring game of all time in March Madness that didn’t include Loyola Marymount was in the second round in 2005 as West Virginia held off Wake Forest, 111 to 105.
Who knows what’s going to happen this year? If you know, you should get a bet down on it.