The NCAA tournament is one of the most popular sporting events in the country thanks to one thing: buzzer-beaters.
Anyone from a star to a bench-warmer can become a household name with a single shot. If you can make a big basket to win or tie a game shortly before time expires, you can find yourself on this list.
There are a few things that make a buzzer-beater memorable. Causing an upset or preventing an upset is worth a lot, as well as starting a deep run in the tournament.
However, the situation surrounding the shot usually pushes the play toward the top of the rankings.
March Madness is full of unpredictability, and the shocking moments that took place on this list are what make the tournament so great.
Here are the most iconic buzzer-beaters in NCAA tournament history.
2011: Butler vs. Old Dominion; First Round
Butler surprised everyone by reaching the NCAA tournament finals in 2010. Reaching that point in consecutive years was near impossible.
However, the Bulldogs did one more incredible run behind coach Brad Stevens in 2011. It all started with this putback by Matt Howard with no time remaining on the clock to beat Old Dominion.
A game later, Butler upset No. 1 seed Pittsburgh and started yet another shocking run to the finals.
Without this play by Howard, that might never have happened.
2005: Kentucky vs. Michigan State; Elite Eight
This is the only shot on the list made by a non-winning team. In the 2005 Elite Eight, Michigan State led Kentucky, 75-72, with under 10 seconds remaining.
After two unsuccessful shots, Patrick Sparks put up a prayer that hit pretty much every part of the rim at least once before falling in.
The drama of watching this ball bounce around has almost been unmatched in tournament history.
In the end, however, the Wildcats ended up falling to Michigan State, 94-88, in double overtime. Still, this was one of the best college basketball games ever to be played.
2010: Murray State vs. Vanderbilt; First Round
Vanderbilt lost in the first round in three straight tournament appearances in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
While the loss to Siena was probably the most embarrassing with an 83-62 final score, this was probably the most devastating.
Danero Thomas hit the go-ahead jumper to pull off the 13-over-4 upset and send Vanderbilt home early for the second year in a row.
1990: Duke vs. Connecticut; Elite Eight
Christian Laettner with a game-winning shot in the Elite Eight? This sounds familiar but looks different.
Before the Duke star hit his famous shot against Kentucky in 1992, he beat Connecticut with a buzzer-beater two years earlier.
The degree of difficulty was not as high with this one, but (spoiler!) his other shot is much higher on this list.
1990: Oklahoma vs. North Carolina; Second Round
Rick Fox was a little-known player on eighth-seeded North Carolina. Coming into the game against No. 1 Oklahoma, few gave the Tar Heels a chance.
Then again, Dean Smith always knew how to get the best out of his players.
Fox got the ball in a 77-77 tie game and drove the baseline. With a little kiss off the backboard, he put the ball in the basket to give his team a second-round victory.
This continued North Carolina's streak of Sweet 16 appearances that eventually ran to 13.
2000: Butler vs. Florida; First Round
Mike Miller is known for his three-point shooting, but he took it to the hole in the first round of the 2000 NCAA tournament.
Butler almost pulled off the upset as the No. 12 seed in the first round. The Bulldogs took Florida to overtime and led with only seconds remaining.
However, Miller's last-second runner sent Florida to the second round. The amazing run then continued to the national title game, where the Gators eventually lost to Michigan State.
It is crazy how much of a difference a single shot can have on an entire tournament.
1992: Georgia Tech vs. USC; Second Round
James Forrest did not seem like the first option on the in-bounds play. He did not even seem like the second or third.
Still, the Georgia Tech player was able to get the ball, straighten himself out toward the basket and make the buzzer-beating jump shot.
No. 2 seed USC had a lot of promise that season, but No. 7 Georgia Tech ended up getting the upper hand, 79-78.
2008: Western Kentucky vs. Drake; First Round
Drake is not exactly a national power, but it was the team to watch in 2008. The Bulldogs started the season 22-1 and won a very tough Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
When they were given a No. 5 seed, many picked them as a sleeper to go deep.
Western Kentucky had other plans, however, and Ty Rogers took the very deep three to put his team on top and leave with the win.
The magical season for Drake was over in an instant.
2006: Texas vs. West Virginia; Sweet 16
Kevin Pittsnogle hit an incredibly tough shot to tie the game at 71 with only five seconds left. At the time, most thought that would end up being the story of the game.
That was until the talented Texas team took the ball out of bounds right away and headed the other direction down the court.
Kenton Paulino asked for the ball and hit a deep three to regain the lead and leave this dramatic Sweet 16 game with a win.
1981: BYU vs. Notre Dame; Sweet 16
This 1981 game was low scoring all game as Notre Dame led 50-49 with a short amount of time remaining. Still, it appears that these were the days before defense.
Digger Phelps' Fighting Irish allowed Danny Ainge to go all the way down the court and get a layup to give BYU the win.
Although Notre Dame was able to get a last-second heave, this goes down as one of the better buzzer-beaters in history.
2006: Iowa vs. Northwestern State; First Round
Once again, there was still a small amount of time remaining in the game. Still, when a No. 14 seed beats a No. 3 seed, it will count on this list.
From the absolute corner of the court, Jermaine Wallace made an improbable shot with only 0.5 seconds left on the clock.
Northwestern State was not the first No. 14 seed to win a game in the tournament, but this was one of the more exciting results in a long time.
1995: Georgetown vs. Weber State; Second Round
Weber State was ready to continue its Cinderella run. The No. 14 seed had already beaten Michigan State in the first round and was looking to do the same to Georgetown.
That might have happened too if Don Reid was not able to pull off a very acrobatic move to catch an air ball and put up a second shot before the clock struck zero.
The missed shot was not part of the plan, but the end result counts the same as John Thompson and the Hoyas were able to reach the Sweet 16.
1995: UCLA vs. Missouri; Second Round
Most people know that UCLA won the national championship in 1995, but it would not have been possible without a superb effort from Tyus Edney.
The guard got the ball with only 4.8 seconds remaining on the clock and was able to calmly take it up the court past the Missouri defenders.
With no time left, Edney hit the layup and allowed the No. 1 seed to advance to the Sweet 16.
Interestingly, no other team was able to stay within double digits of the Bruins for the remainder of the tournament.
2010: Maryland vs. Michigan State; Second Round
One of the more recent buzzer-beaters in the NCAA tournament almost did not happen.
A Greivis Vasquez layup gave Maryland the lead with 6.6 seconds remaining. As Michigan State took the ball down the court, Draymond Green almost hit Delvin Roe in the head with the ball.
Fortunately, Roe ducked at the last second and the ball found Korie Lucious, who then drained the shot to win the game.
This season ended with yet another Final Four appearance for Tom Izzo and Michigan State.
2008: Kansas vs. Memphis; National Championship
Missed free throws were a problem for Memphis all season, and Derrick Rose missed a big one with just over 10 seconds remaining in the national championship game.
The lead ended up being only three, and Mario Chalmers was able to get off a contested shot to tie the game and send it to overtime.
In overtime, the Jayhawks were able to get the lead and hold on for a championship.
It once again begs the question, why not foul when you are up three points?
2009: Villanova vs. Pittsburgh; Elite Eight
There might not have been a calmer person in the country—either in the arena or watching at home—than Scottie Reynolds in the final seconds of this game.
The Villanova star took the ball with the score tied at 76 and drove down the court. He put up a contested shot in the lane, but he was able to get enough on it to give his team the lead and the eventual win.
Pittsburgh has had a lot of good teams over the past decade, but this shot prevent it from reaching the school's first Final Four since 1941.
1990: Connecticut vs. Clemson; Sweet 16
This play is simply known as "The Shot" among Connecticut and Clemson fans. However, the pass and catch were anything but simple.
Down 70-69 with only one second remaining on the clock, Scott Burrell made the pass to Tate George, who was then able to hit a turnaround jumper before time expired.
UConn was the No. 1 seed in the tournament, but it took everything the Huskies had to simply survive the No. 5-seeded Tigers. The Huskies ended up falling one game later in similar fashion.
1996: Princeton vs. UCLA; First Round
Technically, this play was not a buzzer-beater because there were four seconds remaining on the clock. Also, there have been bigger upsets in NCAA history than a No. 13 beating a No. 4.
Still, these facts should be overlooked as Princeton pulled off one of the most amazing feats in college basketball history.
The team used its iconic offense to beat the defending national champions with a backdoor cut on the second try for an easy layup.
Any time an Ivy League team beats one of the most storied programs in history, the rules of a buzzer-beater can be stretched.
2003: Maryland vs. UNC Wilmington; First Round
A year after Maryland won its only national championship, Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter were nowhere to be found.
However, the team still had Drew Nicholas to save it from a potentially embarrassing defeat in the first round to UNC Wilmington.
The guard only needed a two-point shot to win, but he took the ball wide and ended up shooting a fadeaway from behind the arc.
After the ball went in, Nicholas just continued into the locker room to celebrate with his teammates (or maybe to get away from them).
1998: Connecticut vs. Washington; Sweet 16
The battle of the Huskies was a great one in 1998 as No. 11 seed Washington was set to continue its Cinderella run with a victory over No. 2 Connecticut.
In the closing seconds, UConn had a few attempts at the basket, but none of them was able to fall.
Finally, Richard "Rip" Hamilton got the loose ball and shot a high-arching shot over the defender that went into the basket as time expired.
Connecticut just continues to be one of those teams that is always involved in great moments in March Madness.
1981: Arkansas vs. Louisville; Second Round
There are few less graceful displays of basketball than U.S. Reed's iconic half-court shot.
Reed took the ball in the backcourt and dribbled like a middle school kid staring down at his feet.
As the clock ticked down, he heaved a half-court shot that miraculously went into the basket, sending the entire arena into pandemonium.
Arkansas lost badly to LSU in the next round, but Reed's shot was certainly a memorable one.
1987: Indiana vs. Syracuse; National Championship
Jim Boeheim has had a lot of successful seasons, but for a long time he was known as a coach that could not win the big game.
This was probably the worst of it all, as Bobby Knight's Indiana was able to take the 1987 national championship thanks to a clutch shot by Keith Smart.
The Hoosiers took their time setting up the play and Smart made it look easy with the baseline jumper.
Indiana has not won a title since this game.
1998: Valparaiso vs. Mississippi; First Round
There might not be a moment that exemplifies March Madness as well as Valparaiso's win over Mississippi in 1998.
With Homer Drew as the coach and his son Bryce Drew as the team's best player, No. 13 seed Valpo picked up one of the most surprising moments in tournament history.
The team had to go the length of the floor with just 2.5 seconds remaining. A streaking Drew ended up getting a great look at the basket and drained the three.
Few can forget the pile in the middle of the court as the underdog got the well-earned victory.
1992: Duke vs. Kentucky; Elite Eight
Christian Laettner was arguably the best college basketball player in the country and had already hit a buzzer-beater to send his team to the Final Four.
Who did you think was getting the ball with 2.1 seconds remaining in the game?
With no one guarding the in-bounds pass, the ball went right to Laettner at the foul line and he drained the shot to give Duke the win.
The Blue Devils ended up winning their second straight title that season as the legend of Mike Krzyzewski started to grow.
1983: North Carolina State vs. Houston; National Championship
The top spot on this list had to be something incredible.
Upset? Yes, North Carolina State was a No. 5 seed facing one of the top college teams in history in Houston.
Buzzer-beater? Yes, it was the final play of the game, the tournament and the season.
Big moment? It really does not get any bigger than the closing seconds of the national championship game.
Surprising? Who could have seen Lorenzo Charles coming out of nowhere to catch the miss and put it into the basket?
This was one of the best moments in college basketball history, and it was without question the best buzzer-beater in the NCAA tournament.