The Best Moments of the 2013 NCAA Tournament

RM HeroldFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2013

The Best Moments of the 2013 NCAA Tournament

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    They say that there is nothing quite like March Madness. Since most of the world has to work and might miss some of the more unbelievable and ridiculous plays, we figured we'd recap them for you in one slideshow. 

    From big-time players to newcomers and Cinderellas, nothing gets the blood pumping more than watching buzzer-beaters and heart-stopping blocks.

    Many unknowns have made their names during these few weeks in March.

    From the First Four to the Final Four to "One Shining Moment."

    Here we go...

North Carolina A&T Is the First One In

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    The first March Madness steps were taken on opening night, when the first of the First Four play-in games gave us a nail-biter. North Carolina A&T faced off against Liberty. 

    NC A&T came out on top, barely, 73-72. 

Who Is Ready to Be Cinderella?

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    In the second matchup on March Madness opening night, the No. 11 seed Saint Mary's Gaels cruised by the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 67-54. 

The First Team on Upset Alert Is...

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    First of all, if you are wondering what the Gaels mascot is, it's "Gael Force":

    ...a Gaelic warrior with a huge head, bulging muscles, wide grin and a not-so-big kilt.

    Not many think one of the First Four can make it through their play in games and compete with the other 64 teams, but odds are that at least one of these four will push a higher seed to the brink.

A Nation Will Lead Them

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    In the third of the First Four play-in games, it was the James Madison Dukes beating the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, 68-55.

    On the backs of its freshmen, JMU took over in the second half. Andre Nation, in particular, had himself a stat-stuffing night to remember (14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 5 blocks). 

Bad Omen for the Blackbirds?

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    Maybe this bird that flew into the arena during the game came to warn LIU that it was not going to be its night. 

    JMU overcame a first-half suspension of its leading scorer (Rayshawn Goins) and a double-double by LIU's Jamal Olasewere (20 points, 10 rebounds) to defeat the Blackbirds.

Explorers the Last of the First Four In

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    In the last of the First Four games, the La Salle Explorers beat the Boise State Broncos, 80-71, in an old-fashioned shootout filled with dunks and deep three-point shots.

    Anthony Drmic poured in 28 points, including five three-pointers for the Broncos, but it wasn't enough to upend Tyrone Garland (pictured) and the high-flying Explorers from making their first tournament appearance in 21 years. 

Spartans Make It Look Easy

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    Derrick Nix led the Spartans with 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds as Michigan State moved on to the next round, beating Valparaiso, 65-54. 

    Tom Izzo's boys went on a first-half 26-5 run and never looked back. 

Wichita State with the First Upset, Sort of

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    The ninth-seeded Wichita State Shockers pulled off the first (kind of) upset of the tournament by blowing out the eighth-seeded Pitt Panthers, 73-55, stretching a five-point halftime lead to double digits, then cruising to victory.

No. 14 Seed Davidson Almost Busts Brackets

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    In one of the most exciting games of the day, Marquette's Vander Blue scored the winning layup with one second left in the game. 

    The Golden Eagles sharpshooters hit back-to-back clutch three-pointers to cut the Davidson lead to one, outscoring the Wildcats, 8-0, to end the game.

    Final score: Marquette 59, Davidson 58.

It Almost Happened!

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    Everyone says it is bound to happen one day. Someday a No. 16 seed is going to step up and upset a top seed and totally obliterate everyone's March Madness bracket.

    Well, it almost happened this year. Gonzaga barely escaped in its matchup against Southern. The Zags didn't celebrate when the buzzer finally sounded. Just a lot of head-shaking and sighs.

    Final score: Gonzaga 64, Southern 58.

The Legend of the No. 12 Seed Upset, Part 1

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    Everyone knows what it means to be a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. It means don't bother packing for a long trip. Well, the legend continued big-time this year...

    After tying for second place in the Pac-12 in the regular season and winning the conference tournament, most will say Oregon was one of the best No. 12 seeds ever. The fifth-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys would probably agree.

    Final score: Oregon 68, Oklahoma State 55.

The Legend of the No. 12 Seed Upset, Part 2

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    According to the LasVegasSun.com, a No. 12 seed has defeated a No. 5 seed 34 percent of the time since 1985, when the tourney expanded to 64 teams.

    The 12th-seeded California Bears decided to up that percentage a few points by dispatching of the fifth-seeded UNLV Running Rebels 64-61, behind 19 points from junior Allen Crabbe.

Nerds Rule!

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    The young men from Harvard University did what Davidson couldn't do earlier in the day. They pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament so far, by upending the No. 3-seeded New Mexico Lobos.

    Unless you go to Harvard or are as smart as those 14th-seeded guys from Cambridge, your bracket is probably busted right now. And there's a good chance the Crimson couldn't care less.

    Final score: Harvard 68, New Mexico 62.

The No. 12 Seed Upset Trilogy

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    There might not be a surer bet in all of sports these days than the 12th seed over the fifth seed in the NCAA tournament.

    This year, Ole Miss became the third of four 12th seeds to pull off the upset. And yes, Marshall Henderson gets to entertain us for at least one more game.

    Final score: Ole Miss 57, Wisconsin 46.

Hoya Paranoia? Second Seed Georgetown Goes Down

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    Florida Gulf Coast Eagles head coach Andy Enfield gets a lot of media attention because he is married to a former model.

    Now he'll be the talk of the college basketball world for his coaching skills. Enfield's 15th-seeded Eagles led the second-seeded Georgetown Hoyas by double digits for most of the second half of their round of 64 matchup.

    Georgetown made a late run, but FGC held on to move on in its NCAA tourney debut.

    Final score: Florida GC 78, Georgetown 68.

Another High Seed Bites the Dust

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    La Salle decides to stay around for at least one more game.

    The Explorers were the last of the First Four to get into the tournament, but unlike the other three potential Cinderellas that had to play their way in, La Salle lives to play a third game by defeating the fourth-seeded Kansas State Wildcats.

    Final score: La Salle 63, Kansas State 61.

Michigan Wolverines First in the Sweet 16

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    It's been almost two decades since the Michigan Wolverines have made it into the round of 16, but they are back this year.

    After blowing out Shaka Smart's VCU team and its havoc press defense, Michigan made it into the Sweet 16 for the first time since the days of the "Fab Five."

    Final score: Michigan 78, VCU 53.

Michigan State Gets Angry, Advances

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    You might say Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans play with a chip on their shoulder. Or maybe that they won't settle for anything but perfection, even from each other.

    Whatever it was that caused teammates Keith Appling and Derrick Nix to angrily toss towels at each other during their blowout win, the longtime friends say things are fine now. Nix said (Associated Press via ESPN.com):

    It was just miscommunication with the ball screen and stuff, so we went at it. That's my best friend. I love him to death. I treat him like a little brother. We're over it...

    The final score says that these Spartans are united and ready for the round of 16.

    Final score: Michigan State 70, Memphis 48.

No. 12 Seed Oregon Cruises into the Sweet 16

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    The Oregon Ducks probably don't consider themselves a 12th seed anymore. Heck, they probably never thought of themselves as Cinderellas, considering how good they've been lately.

    Now, the sky is the limit, and the Ducks are headed into the round of 16 after their second consecutive double-digit tournament win.

    Final score: Oregon 74, Saint Louis 57.

The Shockers Shock: A No. 1 Seed Falls

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    The Gonzaga Bulldogs started off the 2013 NCAA tournament by almost becoming the first top seed to lose to a 16th seed in their opening-round game. Then, they found themselves trailing the ninth-seeded Wichita State Shockers at the half of their round of 32 game.

    Unfortunately for Gonzaga fans, the Bulldogs couldn't pull off a miraculous comeback this time.

    Final score: Wichita State 76, Gonzaga 70.

Ohio State (Barely) Survives and Advances

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    No. 2 seed Ohio State survived a late comeback by 10th-seed Iowa State to move into the Sweet 16. 

    After struggling for most of the game, Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft stepped back with ice in his veins and hit the game-winning three with less than a second to go in the game. 

    Though there were some controversial calls, it was definitely one of the best games of the tourney so far. 

    Final score: Ohio State 78, Iowa State 75.

Two More No. 1 Seeds Advance to the Sweet 16

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    Top seeds Kansas and Indiana both moved on to the round of 16, but they won in very different ways.

    Indiana needed a late three-pointer from Victor Oladipo to secure its victory over Khalif Wyatt (31 points) and the Temple Owls. Kansas, on the other hand, turned a nine-point halftime deficit into a double-digit win over the Tar Heels.

    Final scores: Indiana 58, Temple 52 and Kansas 70, North Carolina 58.

FGCU Becomes the First 15 Seed to Reach Sweet 16

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    Florida Gulf Coast had one heck of a weekend, capping it by becoming the first 15th-seeded team to ever make it out of the first weekend and into the round of 16.

    The Eagles were led by Bernard Thompson, who scored 23 points, and Sherwood Brown, who added 17. Jamaal Franklin had 20 points for the seventh-seeded San Diego State Aztecs. 

    Yes, these Eagles are dancing on

    Final score: FGCU 81, SDSU 71. 

Another Double-Digit Seed Heads to the Sweet 16

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    In what was another great game between two evenly matched teams, the 13th-seeded La Salle Explorers prevailed over the 12th-seeded Ole Miss Rebels.

    Not sure who the Cinderella was in this matchup, but after having to play three games to get to the round of 16, these Explorers are probably exhausted. 

    Final score: La Salle 76, Ole Miss 74.

Ohio State Advances with Icy Veins

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    LaQuinton Ross carried Ohio State to the round of eight by proving that having ice in your veins isn't something that you can teach. Aaron Craft hit his teammate with a perfect pass and Ross pulled up and hit a three-pointer that would've been good at the NBA level with just seconds to go.

    Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes with 20 points. Mark Lyons came through with 23 points for the Arizona Wildcats.

    Final score: Ohio State 73, Arizona 70.

Marquette Dominates and Moves on

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    Marquette is one win away from going back to the Final Four for the first time since the days of Steve Novak and Dwyane Wade.

    After fighting through two nail-biters to advance in both of their previous games, the Golden Eagles easily moved on by beating No. 2 seed Miami. 

    Final score: Marquette 71, Miami 61.

Top Seed Hoosiers Fall and the 'Cuse Rolls on

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    Some nights the shots just don't fall.

    Unfortunately for Indiana All-America Cody Zeller, that night happened to come when the top-seeded Hoosiers needed him most. Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams outshone both Zeller and fellow Indiana superstar Victor Oladipo to lead the Orange on to the round of eight. 

    Final score: Syracuse 61, Indiana 50.

Cards Beat the Ducks, Advance to Elite Eight

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    The 12th-seeded Oregon Ducks put together several impressive runs during the second half, but coach Rick Pitino's top-seeded Louisville Cardinals fought their way to a tough eight-point win over Oregon. 

    Junior guard Russ Smith led the way for the Cardinals with 31 points.

    Final score: Louisville 77, Oregon 69.

Wolverines! Michigan Upsets Top Seeded Kansas

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    The Michigan Wolverines did not want to leave March Madness, so Kansas tried to kick them out of the tournament and lock the door behind them. But just like a good horror movie, they just kept coming.

    The main villain? Michigan's Trey Burke, whom I've affectionately nicknamed "30-foot Trey." Watch the highlights and you'll know why.

    Michigan advances 87-85.

Old-School Backroom Brawl, Duke Advances

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    A battle of titans. That pretty much describes both of these programs and their all-world coaches. But unfortunately, someone had to lose. 

    Michigan State and Duke stood in the middle of the court and tossed haymakers at each for most of the game, neither giving an inch.

    In the end, Duke pulled away for the win, 71-61.

Cinderella Goes Down, Florida Advances

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    Yes, Cinderella makes for a great March Madness story, but unfortunately for FGCU, the Florida Gators didn't believe in fairy-tale happy endings.

    Which means that the 15th-seeded Eagles are going home, with or without their glass slipper.

    Final score: Florida 62, FGCU 50.

Syracuse Punches First Ticket to the Final Four

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    It wasn't the prettiest game ever, but the Orange don't mind winning ugly. Marquette shot around 23 percent from the field and 12 percent from the three-point line for a total of 39 points. Yikes. 

    Syracuse didn't shoot much better (38 percent), but they did enough to win. Orange main man Michael Carter-Williams played what he called his best game ever, putting up a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds). 

    Final score: Syracuse 55, Marquette 39.

Wichita State Shocks the World, Final Four Bound

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    Not sure you can use "Cinderella" to describe Wichita State. These young men made their way through their region by beating both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.

    As hard as the Buckeyes played, they could not overcome the Shockers' constant drives into the paint or the fact that most of the Ohio State playmakers were in foul trouble for most of the second half.  

    And though Wichita State played tight and almost gave the game away, they made it to the finish line and, of course, the Final Four. 

    Final score: Wichita State 70, Ohio State 66.

Michigan Punches Their Ticket to the Final Four

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    It's the 1990's all over again.

    Tim Hardaway is everywhere (because of his Wolverine son), Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson is hot again (because his son plays in maize and blue), and the Wolverines are in the Final Four.

    Chris Webber's crew has been replaced by Robinson, Hardaway, Trey Burke and a group of talented freshmen (Mitch McGary, Nik Stauskas and Spike Albrecht).

    Final Score: Michigan 79, Florida 59.

    It might be back to the future, but they are partying in Ann Arbor all the same.

Cardinals Guard Kevin Ware's Gruesome Injury

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    No, you won't find a picture of that injury here.

    When Louisville's Kevin Ware injured his leg in the first half of the Louisville-Duke game, it reminded us that these are all just a bunch of college kids who love playing ball together.

Louisville Rallies for Teammate, Advances to Final Four

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    Though Kevin Ware was carried off with a broken leg, he gave his Louisville Cardinals teammates all the momentum they would need to beat the Duke Blue Devils.

    What was a three-point advantage at the half ended up being a Cardinals blowout. Louisville head coach Rick Pitino admitted that his team won the game for Ware. Here's hoping the young man has a speedy recovery.

    Final score: Louisville 85, Duke 63.

Final Four: Louisville Trails at the Half...

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    The Louisville Cardinals fell behind early but closed the gap to one by the half. Injured teammate Kevin Ware made sure to let the guys know that he was there cheering them on.

    Halftime score: Wichita State 26, Louisville 25.

Final Four: Cardinals Advance to Championship Game

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    Russ Smith initially got his nickname for being the funny guy on the team. Now it's for his play on the court. After struggling early in the game, Smith, aka "Russdiculous," came through for his team with 21 points.

    But the real heroes of the game were Luke Hancock (20 points) and the rest of the Louisville bench that came through with 34 points.

    Final score: Louisville 72, Wichita State 68.

Final Four: Wolverines Running Away at the Half

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    Trey Burke might be the best player in the country, but he was not the best player on his own team in the first half against Syracuse.

    That honor went to his big man, freshman Mitch McGary (6 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST).

    Score at the half: Michigan 36, Syracuse 25.

Final Four: Michigan Hangs On, Advances to the Title Game

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    It was no cake walk to the finish line, but the youngest team in the tournament held on to advance to the Championship game.

    The second half was filled with turnovers, fouls and missed shots as neither team could take control of the game.

    But in the end, the Wolverines prevailed.

    Final Score: Michigan 61, Syracuse 56.

NCAA Title Game Is Set

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    After two great Final Four games, the NCAA national championship game is set: it will be the Louisville Cardinals playing the Michigan Wolverines.

    So what will it be?

    Will Coach Pitino get his second title, or will Michigan win its first title in close to 25 years?

    And who will get the Most Outstanding Player trophy?

NCAA Championship: Michigan vs Louisville

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    Early on, both Louisville and Michigan coming out firing on all cylinders with sharp shooters like Spike Albrecht, Wayne Blackshear and Wooden Award winner Trey Burke all hitting deep three pointers. 

Return of the Fab Five? Almost

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    Four members of Michigan's "Fab Five" sat together to watch the Wolverines play for the title. Chris Webber, the missing member, was reportedly also in the building.

Rick Pitino Makes the Hall of Fame

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    Before coaching his Louisville Cardinals in the title game Rick Pitino received word that he had been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. 

    Not a bad week. 

National Championship Game: Halftime

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    In what looks like an instant classic, first Michigan's Spike Albrecht got hot (17 points, 4-4 from 3-pt line)....

NCAA Championship Game: Michigan vs Louisville

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    ...Then Louisville's Luke Hancock took over (16 points, 4-4 from 3-pt line). What does it all mean?

    It means if the second half matches the first, this will be one of the greatest title games in history.

    Halftime Score: Michigan 38, Louisville 37.

Louisville Cardinals, National Champions

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    The Cardinals have their one shining moment, with Kevin Ware on net-cutting duties.

    Final Score: Louisville 82, Michigan 76.