The NCAA tournament tends to alter our attention spans. The tourney packs 48 elimination games in a four-day span that some would consider an unofficial holiday weekend, challenging us to keep up with the action while clutching our freshly filled brackets.
No matter how quick your trigger finger is on the TV remote, it's practically impossible to view each game's most vital moments live. Unless you opted to invest about 50 hours at a sports bar or ultimate man cave during tournament action, you may have missed a number of game-changing plays that stole the spotlight.
Instant stars are born in the NCAA tournament every year. From three rounds of captivating moments created by special athletes, here's a look at ten plays that rose above the rest.
Game-altering shots don't necessarily need to occur in the closing minutes of the second half. In Duke's matchup with Creighton in the Round of 32, guard Tyler Thornton swung momentum in the Blue Devils' favor with a last-second heave before halftime.
Thornton netted an off-balance three-pointer as time expired after advancing past the timeline. His shot banked in and sent Duke into the locker room with a 29-23 advantage over Creighton.
Creighton couldn't answer in the second half, as the Blue Devils coasted to a 66-50 victory.
Thornton averages fewer than four points per game but has a knack for draining big shots, including this game-clincher against Kansas.
The senior center slammed the door shut on North Carolina's comeback attempt in the Round of 32. Kansas led 65-52 with under 1:40 remaining in the game when Withey stepped to the arc and vehemently swatted away Reggie Bullock's three-point attempt.
The Jayhawks gained possession and iced the game. The rejection provided a punctuation mark on a monstrous performance by Withey, who tallied 16 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
Kansas moves onto another Sweet 16 appearance, while Bullock is destined to relive the decisive swat during his offseason.
Harvard hunted down its first NCAA tournament win with precision from the perimeter. The Crimson connected on 8-of-18 three-pointers (44 percent) during a 68-62 victory over New Mexico in the Round of 64.
Guard Laurent Rivard led the charge, sinking 5-of-9 attempts from long-distance territory.
The Lobos and Harvard spent the majority of the second half on the seesaw, trading baskets and leads. As the game approached the six-minute mark, Rivard caught a well-timed pass in rhythm and tickled the twine with another three-pointer.
His shot vaulted Harvard ahead of New Mexico, 55-53. The Crimson never surrendered the lead.
Oldadipo put the thrilling Round of 32 game on ice by burying a three-point shot from the top of the arc with 14 seconds remaining. The Hoosiers star hit a wide-open look and provided Indiana with a 56-52 lead.
Temple led the Hoosiers with under three minutes left in the game but couldn't overcome the late two-possession deficit. Indiana avoided a monumental upset at the hands of Fran Dunphy's upstart Owls.
Wichita State buried the Bulldogs with three-point buckets throughout a 76-70 victory in the Round of 32. The Shockers hit 14-of-28 attempts from outside the arc against top-seeded Gonzaga.
Fittingly, it was three-point sniper Fred Van Vleet who cemented Witchita State's win. The freshman connected from long distance during the game's final stages, giving the Shockers a five-point advantage with under a minute and a half remaining in the second half.
Van Vleet's shot was made more impressive by the way he recovered moments after nearly turning the ball over. The term "dagger" in basketball was made for late-game buckets like this.
Temple led throughout much of its showdown with the top-seeded Hoosiers. Fueled by high-scoring guard Khalif Wyatt, the Owls gave Indiana all it could handle and led by two points with 2:20 remaining in the Round of 32 matchup.
The Owls appeared in business to extend the advantage when Anthony Lee hauled in a pass from Wyatt and stood alone in the paint. A two-possession Temple lead seemed imminent.
Enter Christian "Swatford".
Indiana's big man blocked Lee's attempt from the side, suprisingly denying the Owls an opportunity to seize control of the contest. The Hoosiers went on to win 58-52.
If Indiana ultimately claims the national title, they'll be talking about Watford's rejection in Bloomington for generations.
Marquette snatched victory from the jaws of defeat during the final moments of its Round of 64 battle with Davidson. The Golden Eagles completed a comeback from nine points down when guard Vander Blue blew by Davidson defenders on his way to a strong left-handed layup.
The junior dropped in the bucket with only one second left on the game clock. Davidson was unable to get a shot off on its final possession and Marquette survived and advanced with a 59-58 win.
Just as reality was sinking in that the Eagles were actually going to upset second-seeded Georgetown, Fieler provided another jolt for an overwhelmed national audience. The junior forward's emphatic one-handed jam locked up a victory for No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast and announced the arrival of a brand-new style of hoops in the NCAA tournament.
Eagles point guard Brett Comer darted down the floor, his team holding a seven-point lead with two minutes remaining in the contest. The Hoyas managed to chip away at an 18-point deficit and things were becoming dicey, so you'd expect Cromer to pull up at the perimeter and drain some precious time of the clock.
Instead, he charged forward toward the rim before tossing a perfectly-placed lob to Fieler, who threw down a ferocious dunk that forced people out of their seats at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Florida Gulf Coast moved on to the Round of 32, where it put on another high-flying show throughout a win over San Diego State. There's already a rap song out about the team's aerial assault, labeling FGCU as "Dunk City".
Let the hysteria ensue.
The Explorers' success is a bit overshadowed by the story of Florida Gulf Coast, but this team is on quite a memorable journey of its own. La Salle capped of its Round of 32 win with a thrilling final possession.
Guard Tyrone Garland took a short pass near the top of the key with seconds remaining in a tied game against Ole Miss. Without hesitation, he surged toward the right side of the rim and took on Rebels defenders before banking in a right handed floater over the outstretched left hand of 6'9" forward Reginald Buckner.
Garland's sensational drive gave La Salle a 76-74 lead with 2.5 seconds remaining.
Three Philadelphia teams began the tournament. Villanova and Temple lost tightly contested Round of 32 matchups, but La Salle is bound for the Sweet 16.
The junior point guard has played a large role in Ohio State's rotation since he arrived on campus. Craft's three-year highlight reel is filled with floor boards and hustle plays but Sunday's big shot takes precedence over all.
Iowa State bombarded the Buckeyes with 12 three-pointers in the Round of 32 contest. Hot shooting enabled the Cyclones to keep things close throughout the final stages of the second half,
Craft stepped up to prevent a devastating loss for second-seeded Ohio State. He scored the team's final seven points and ultimately decided the outcome, sinking a game-winning three-pointer with 0.5 seconds to play.
The Buckeyes prevailed 78-75 and the legend of Aaron Craft continues to grow in Columbus.