Right about now, sports fans would be shocked about incredible upsets, unbelievable plays and crying over busted brackets; but alas, there is none of that this year with the NCAA Tournament canceled. Still, it's great to look back at the better times when the tournament brought us joy (and pain) and we at The Tylt wanted to hand out some superlatives to some of the best and brightest plays, players and moments the competition has ever seen. Vote below for our faves! 🏀
The 11 seeds are supposed to be happy to just be in the NCAA Tournament, but these two took their opportunity to shock college basketball over and over again. Loyola-Chicago rode a basketball-crazy nun all the way to the Final Four while George Mason ran through powerhouses like Michigan State, North Carolina and Connecticut. Who had the better Cinderella run?
UMBC made history by being the first 16-seed to upset a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament, but North Carolina State won the tournament as an eight-seed on a last shot dunk, beating a Houston team with two Hall of Famers: Akeem (now Hakeem) Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. What was the bigger upset?
A buzzer-beating shot to win is already one of the most electrifying plays in all of sports, but a buzzer-beater to win a national championship just hits differently. Kris Jenkins had a shot for the ages to power Villanova to their first national championship in 31 years. Still, there may be no more iconic buzzer-beater than Lorenzo Charles putting back a desperation airball by Dereck Whittenburg to cap one of the greatest runs in the tournament's history. Which one gets you more pumped?
Christian Laettner remains one of the coldest college basketball players to ever step onto the hardwood, coming with clutch performances that resulted in Final Four trips and two national championships. Still, there may be no player more clutch than Arike Ogunbowale, who sank two game-winning shots in the Final Four and National Championship Game to power Notre Dame to a national championship. Who would you want taking the last shot?
Buzzer-beater shots live forever in NCAA Tournament lore. No matter how the team finishes, the shot is always remembered. Two shots, in particular, are shown every year on every promo: Christian Laettner's turnaround jumper for Duke and Valparaiso's miracle "Pacer" play. Laettner's 1992 Elite Eight jumper simply called "The Shot" helped Duke get into the Final Four. But Valparaiso became a mid-major legend with one iconic play in 1998. Which buzzer-beater was better? 🏀
Bill Raftery has provided college basketball fans with classic calls, whether it's "with a little kiss" off the glass or when a player "sends it in." Still, for many, Dick Vitale is college basketball, with his trademark enthusiasm and iconic "BABY" and "primetime player" contributions. Who would you rather have call a game?