College Basketball's Top Moments in 2011-2012

Alex UmekiContributor IIFebruary 29, 2012

College Basketball's Top Moments in 2011-2012

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    Every year college basketball excites students and fans with the most unexpected and thrilling plays.

    Upsets, buzzer beating shots, and slow motion dunks are seen on ESPN highlights across the country everyday.

    While some plays are simply moments that cause a court rush others transcend the time and become defining moments of college programs and the sport. These plays are compiled in highlights every March and are the face of the college basketball season. 

    From causing mayhem in Bloomington to utter shock in Sin City, here are the top moments in college basketball so far. 

Creighton Who?

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    Creighton? Oh, yeah like the fabric right? 


    Who would have known about the small university in Omaha with more than 3,000 students. 

    The Blue Jays made some noise by defeating San Diego State in a thrilling 85-83 win at Viejas Arena. The Jays overcame a 17 point first-half deficit and stunned a sold out crowd of more than 12,000.

    Led by sophomore forward Doug McDermott, the Jays are 25-5 and continue to impress after great win against Long Beach. 

    McDermott leads the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring and Creighton leads the nation in field-goal percentage (.508) and is ninth in points per game (79.7)

    The team rebounded after being upset by Wichita State winning four straight games. Which puts them at 14-4 in conference play.

    The Jays are second in the MVC and got away from Indiana State on Saturday beating them 61-60.

A Showdown in Ohio

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    Bloody faces, right hooks, game suspensions and a tearful apology came after a fight broke out between crosstown rivals Xavier and Cincinnati.

    The fight broke out in the final seconds of the game when Xavier's Tu Holloway and Cincinnati freshmen Ge'Lawn Guyn exchanged some words. 

    Perhaps, the most embarrassing part of it all came during the postgame conference with comments made by Tu Holloway and Xavier teammate Mark Lyons. 

    "We got disrespected a little bit before for the game," said Holloway. "We're a tougher team, we grown men out here, we gotta whole bunch of gangsters in the locker room, not thugs but tough guys on the court." 

    Mark Lyons didn't make his team look any better by commenting, "Y'all (the media) amp it up so's like y'all make it an animosity. We didn't do this. This is a rivalry game. I don't know what y'all expect from us." 

    The two very different reactions from the coaches also make this an event to remember. Cincinnati's head coach Mick Cronin was clearly flustered after the game saying some decisions would be made about who would be on the team going forward. 

    "If my players don't act right they will never play another game at Cincinnati. I've never been this embarrassed. I made everyone take their jersey off. And they will not put it back on until they have a full understanding of where they go to school, and what the university is about, and how lucky they are to even be there."

    Xavier's head coach Chris Mack was more composed and less emotional. He started off by saying the game ended in disappointment but overall he was happy with the way his team played. "Disappointed in the way both teams conducted themselves down the stretch," said Mack.  

    Mack said there would be suspensions coming but did not comment further saying he had not seen the tape yet and an official review would take place.

    He was also quick to defend Holloway and Lyons comments, "I think at times they don't represent themselves with their use of words real well. How they present themselves in front of a microphone...they're not perfect." 

    Apologies were later issued by both teams in university press conferences. 

A Time Difference in Madison

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    When Wisconsin tipped off against top-ranked Michigan State, no one expected the OT thriller to end the way it did. 

    There was plenty of controversy surrounding the Spartans 63-60 win over the Badgers because of a last-second shot by Ryan Evans. His apparent game-tying three-pointer was disallowed after officials reviewed the play.

    When the play was reviewed, the time on the back board read differently than the time in the arena. Apparently, the clocks were synced incorrectly, the backboard read 0.00 while the arena clock read 00.2.

    Officials determined that the time on the backboard had indeed expired and the shot was not released in time.

    NCAA rules state that the time on the backboard must be followed. 

Notre Dame over Syracuse

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    Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim was denied is 877th win when his team was upset by Notre Dame in South Bend. He would have been fourth in all-time wins among Division I coaches.

    It was just the eighth time Notre Dame had beaten a No.1 team in the program's history.

    Their most dramatic win came in 1974 when they beat UCLA 71-70 ending their 88-game win streak.

    The Irish beat Syracuse by a final of 67-58 and shot 54.4 percent while holding the Orange to 2.6 percent in the first half.

    The unexpected win gave Notre Dame their 15th win of the season as Syracuse fell behind in the first half by as much as 18 points. 

    Notre Dame forward, Jack Cooley scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds in the team's win.

    Syracuse was without their starting center Fab Melo who was their leading rebounder averaging 5.7 a game.. 

    This marked Syracuse's first lost after 20 straight victories. 

Ohio State Falls in Ann Arbor

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    Jared Sullinger and the Buckeyes couldn't get it done against Big 10 rivals Michigan losing 56-51 in the conference match up.

    Ohio State struggled to finish shooting just 38.8 percent and hitting just 3 of 16 3-point shots. Sullinger went 6 for 14 and had three turn overs. 

    Michigan was led by Trey Burke, a true freshmen out of Columbus, Ohio, who finished with 17 points and ran the clock down with 11 seconds remaining. 

    The win stopped a 6-game losing streak against the Buckeyes and improved Michigan to 15-0 at the Crisler Center.

    The win also tied the two teams for second place in the Big 10 and put Michigan just a half game behind Michigan State.

Missouri's Last Trip to Allen Fieldhouse

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    Two of college's best teams squared off last Saturday for one of the biggest and most exciting games of the year.

    The Missouri Tigers traveled to Lawrence to take on the Kansas Jayhawks hoping to walk away with the top seed for the NCAA tournament

    Since it was the last meeting between the two teams it was only appropriate that game be decided in over-time. 

    Thomas Robinson's three-point play in the final seconds kept their historic rivalry alive and foul shots by Tyshawn Taylor gave the Jays a 87-86 victory over the No. 3 Tigers. 

    Missouri blew a 19-point second-half lead, and never had a chance after Taylor's two free throws.

    Micheal Dixon tried to get a last second shot off for Missouri but was cornered and the buzzer sounded giving Kansas the win. 

    The loss continued Missouri's woes at Allen Fieldhouse where they haven't won since 1999.

    Fortunately for Missouri, they won't be back in Lawrence ever again.

Mizzou's Success Under Frank Haith

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    Even though the Tigers suffered a heartbreaking loss to Kansas, that wiped away their hopes of being the top seed in the NCAA tournament, the team has been much more successful then anyone expected.

    The hire of University of Miami coach, Frank Haith, was not a popular move that caused distaste throughout Columbia.

    Mizzou was looking to rebuild a struggling program and was written off by Missouri fans and everyone else in college basketball after the announcement came from athletic director Mike Alden. 

    Haith attended Elon College (now Elon University), where he didn't even make the teams roster.

    Prior to coaching at Missouri Haith spent seven mediocre seasons at Miami where he never finished above .500 in the ACC. Haith made just one NCAA appearance as the Hurricanes head coach and went 120-101 overall. 

    Haith's departure from Miami was celebrated by fans who were enthusiastic about the pursuit of Kansas State's Frank Martin and were glad to be rid of a coach with lingering controversy to his name. 

    Haith was implicated in some NCAA rules violations while at Miami and was later suspected of tampering with former Pittsburgh star, Khem Birch. 

    Missouri is 25-4 this season and has held a top five ranking throughout the year. The Tigers are second in the Big 12 conference and are 12-4 in conference play. 

    The team is ranked No. 3 and will be a top seed in the NCAA tournament.


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    UNLV upsets No. 1 North Carolina.

    Now that is something to celebrate and many have called it the upset of the year. 

    The Rebels had been playing subtly getting their first six wins of the season by beating unranked teams. 

    UNC led 42-38 at the half but UNLV came out strong in the second going on a 14-0 run while the Tar Heels missed 10 straight shots. 

    One of the teams last meetings was in the 1977 Final Four, where UNC won 65-60

Christian Watford Takes Down Kentucky

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    Call this predictable but I would be crazy to make anything else number one on this list.

    It only took a last second shot to restore pride and confidence in Hoosiers fans across Indiana. The win solidified Tom Crean's place as head coach and Christian Watford will forever be known as the kid who took down the Wildcats.

    The shot marked the teams re-emergence and put them back on the path that Bob Knight paved for them in his 30 years as head coach. The Hoosiers won three national championships under Knight and had a perfect 32-0 season in 1976.

    Once one of the nation's most celebrated and respected programs the Hoosiers struggled to find a coach to lead the team and found themselves caught up in NCAA sanctions. 

    After some hard work Tom Crean brought a spark to the program after recruiting top prospect Cody Zeller.

    Hoosiers fans had been waiting for a moment like this for a long time. The shocking upset resurrected the program and marks a new promise for its fans.