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Worst bad beats of the NCAA tourney so far

The USC Trojans were responsible for several bad beats over the first two rounds. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA tournament provides an abundance of games for bettors, which inevitably leads to some bad beats. Here are the five worst ones from the NCAA tournament's first two rounds.


Wednesday

USC Trojans vs. Providence Friars

Closing line: USC -2

You couldn't have asked for a better start if you took Providence, which led by 15 at halftime as two-point underdogs. The Friars extended that lead to 17 early the second half, before it all fell apart -- they made just three field goals in over a 10-minute span to let USC back in it.

After giving up the lead with under seven minutes left, Providence never got it back. The Trojans would go on to win by four, giving those who bet the Friars a rough start to this year's tournament. As for USC, it wouldn't be the last time it brought misery to bettors.

Final score: USC 75, Providence 71 (USC covers)


Thursday

Vermont Catamounts vs. Purdue Boilermakers

Closing line: Purdue -9

Vermont was riding the nation's longest winning streak at 21 games and jumped out to an early eight-point lead. The Catamounts were facing a Purdue team that had lost outright as eight-point favorites against Arkansas-Little Rock in the first round of last year's tournament.

Vermont would relinquish the lead, but it never trailed by more than eight in the first 38 minutes. With under two minutes left, Purdue's P.J. Thompson nailed a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 11. The Catamounts had one last chance for a backdoor cover, trailing by 10 with less than 30 seconds left, before their last possession resulted in Trae Bell-Haynes having his layup blocked by Caleb Swanigan.

Final score: Purdue 80, Vermont 70 (Purdue covers)


Friday

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Michigan Wolverines

Closing line: Michigan -2.5

No game in this year's tournament had more combined points than the 183 scored in Indianapolis between Oklahoma State and Michigan. The final three points provided those on Michigan -2.5 one the worst "bad beats" in recent tournament memory.

The Wolverines led by seven in the final minute, but a pair of missed free throws by Duncan Robinson -- both on the front end of a one-and-one -- opened the door for Oklahoma State. While two made free throws by D.J. Wilson sealed the win for the Wolverines by putting them up four with 3.7 seconds left, the spread was still in play. In what was a shot that will haunt those on Michigan for some time, Oklahoma State's Jawun Evans nailed an NBA-range 3-pointer at the buzzer to make the final margin one point.

Final score: Michigan 92, Oklahoma State 91 (Oklahoma State covers)

Saturday

Saint Mary's Gaels vs. Arizona Wildcats

Closing line: Arizona -5.5

A cold finish would prove to be too much to overcome for Saint Mary's on Saturday night.

The Gaels started off strong, building a 10-point lead in the first half. But after an Arizona run, the underdogs led by just one at halftime. Saint Mary's lost the lead but hung around throughout, never trailing by more than five during the first 33 minutes.

With 1:51 left, the Gaels were covering the spread as they trailed, 65-60. But they never scored again, missing each of their final five shots and lost by nine.

Final score: Arizona 69, Saint Mary's 60 (Arizona covers)


Sunday

USC Trojans vs. Baylor Bears

Closing line: Baylor -5

For the third time in five nights, USC faced a double-digit deficit. But as those on Providence and/or SMU in the previous games learned: Don't count out the Trojans.

Baylor led by 10 in the first half before allowing USC to come back and actually take the lead late in the second half. The Bears would regain control and looked to reward bettors who backed them by taking an 82-76 lead off of two free throws with 5 seconds left. But in one of the strangest tip-ins you'll see, USC's Chimezie Metu flicked the ball in at the buzzer, after rebounding a missed 3-pointer. The Trojans finished their tournament run by covering in all three of their games.

Final score: Baylor 82, USC 78 (USC covers)