The Best Moments of the 2014 NCAA Tournament
The history of March Madness is told in highlight reels, from grainy shots of Bird and Magic all the way up to a high-definition Russ Smith layup from the 2013 title game. Now a new cast of athletes has added its best moves to the treasure trove with the conclusion of the 2014 NCAA tournament.
From the opening games in Dayton to the championship in Arlington, we provided an ongoing look at the eye-catching images of this year’s Big Dance. Stick around to see which stars flew highest and which underdogs barked loudest at venues from Spokane to Orlando.
Read on for all the games, teams and moments that will live on from the 76th edition of the NCAA tournament.
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Thanks to another peerless performance from MOP Shabazz Napier—22 points, six rebounds, three assists, three steals—UConn never trailed Kentucky in the national championship game. The Huskies became the first-ever No. 7 seed to win it all, capturing their fourth title since 1999 and first under head coach Kevin Ollie.
Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?
Unwilling to settle for one game-winning three-pointer in the NCAA tournament, Aaron Harrison fired from even farther beyond the arc to bury Wisconsin with seven seconds left. Harrison's defense on Traevon Jackson helped prevent a miracle finish for the Badgers as eighth-seeded Kentucky secured a 74-73 win and a spot in the title game.
Springboard to Success
DeAndre Daniels wasn't actually alone on the court in UConn's Final Four showdown with Florida, but the high-jumping forward frequently made it look that way. Daniels' 20 points and 10 rebounds led the seventh-seeded Huskies to a surprisingly easy 63-53 win that also saw the backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright outscore Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II by an amazing 25-7 margin.
Timing Is Everything
It took Aaron Harrison nearly 32 minutes before he hit his first field goal against Michigan, but the Kentucky shooting guard had the last laugh. With 2.7 seconds to play, he beat Caris LeVert's valiant defensive effort to sink the game-winning three-pointer and make the eighth-seeded Wildcats the last team in the 2014 Final Four.
Shabazz Napier continued to do his best Kemba Walker impression, nailing clutch shot after clutch shot i UConn's 60-54 upset of Michigan State. Napier's 25 points, plus 16 turnovers by the Spartans, carried the seventh-seeded Huskies to the Final Four for the first time since Walker led the 2010-11 squad to the national title.
Oh So Close
Nick Johnson's would-be buzzer-beater came after the clock reached zero, and Wisconsin escaped with a 64-63 win in overtime. The second-seeded Badgers—who benefited from another world-beating offensive effort from Frank Kaminsky—got some help from a controversial offensive foul called on Johnson on Arizona's previous possession.
With the win, Bo Ryan earned his first career berth in the Final Four.
Florida did what No. 1 overall seeds are supposed to do, shutting down underdog Dayton for a 62-52 win and a trip to the Final Four. Scottie Wilbekin paced the Gators again, slicing up the Flyers defense for 23 points to go with three assists and three steals.
Faced with an immovable Virginia defense, Branden Dawson went through it, powering to the rim for most of his game-high 24 points. The Spartans' own D turned in an impressive performance, holding the Cavaliers to 35.1 percent shooting as fourth-seeded Michigan State eked out a 61-59 win.
In the Catbird Seat
Defending champion Louisville made Aaron Harrison work for his points, but he finished with 15 of them, including the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute of a 74-69 thriller. Russ Smith, in his final college game, scored 23 in the losing cause, but No. 8 seed Kentucky got 14 points or more from four different starters.
Playing in front of a partisan Madison Square Garden crowd, seventh-seeded UConn (which had enjoyed so much success on that floor in the Big East Tournament before moving to the AAC) put on an offensive show against Iowa State. DeAndre Daniels' monster night (27 points and 10 rebounds) helped waste a career game from the Cyclones' Dustin Hogue (34 points on 15-of-19 shooting) in an 81-76 Huskies win.
Hitting 11 three-pointers on 20 attempts, second-seeded Michigan built a double-digit lead over Tennessee by halftime. A second-half collapse nearly handed the game back to the Vols, but Zak Irvin and his mates escaped with a 73-71 victory.
Led by high-flying Aaron Gordon, top-seeded Arizona clawed back from a second-half deficit against San Diego State to retake the lead with just six minutes to play. Nick Johnson scored all 15 of his points in the final four minutes to secure the 70-64 win for the Wildcats.
Finding the Range
Michael Frazier II made up for a pair of subpar games by leading Florida's offense with 19 points (including five three-pointers) against UCLA. The No. 1 overall seeds earned a 79-68 win thanks to outstanding ball movement (22 assists on 29 field goals).
Everything that went right for Baylor in its rout of Creighton on Saturday went wrong against second-seeded Wisconsin on Thursday. The Badgers tore apart a porous-looking Bears zone, and Frank Kaminsky added six blocked shots to his 19 points in a 69-52 romp.
In the lowest-seeded battle in the Sweet 16, 11th-seeded Dayton's quickness won out over No. 10 Stanford's size. Jordan Sibert had 18 points to lead an 82-72 win for the Flyers, who earned their first Elite Eight trip since 1984.
Meet Me at the Rim
With Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos hobbled by a sore ankle, No. 1 seed Arizona quickly turned the game into a track meet. Aaron Gordon handled the high-jump portion, throwing down an assortment of dunks on his way to 18 points (tied for the game high) in an 84-61 romp.
With Joe Harris leading an uncharacteristic offensive outburst, Virginia jumped out to a 15-point halftime lead on Memphis. The Tigers put up a fight in the second half, but the top-seeded Cavaliers (with five double-figure scorers) held on with ease, 78-60.
Father and Son
Creighton coach Greg McDermott consoled superstar senior (and son) Doug after a horrific finale to his brilliant career. The younger McDermott finished as the fifth-leading scorer in Division I history, but he had just 15 points in a wretched performance against Baylor's aggressive zone defense.
All five starters scored in double figures for the sixth-seeded Bears, who headed to their third Sweet 16 since 2010.
Led as usual by Kyle Anderson, UCLA's offense recorded 22 assists on 29 field goals in picking apart underdog Stephen F. Austin. The fourth-seeded Bruins also held the Lumberjacks to 35.7 percent shooting from the field in a 77-60 win.
Man Among Boys
Tennessee's 6'8", 260-pound Jarnell Stokes continued his rampage through the postseason, overpowering Mercer for 17 points, 18 rebounds and five assists. Keyed by his efforts, the 11th-seeded Vols won the rebounding battle by a 41-19 margin and cruised to an 83-63 victory.
Tennessee becomes the third team in four seasons to go from the First Four to the Sweet 16.
After sweating out an extended post-buzzer review occasioned by some clock malfunctions, Iowa State's DeAndre Kane learned that his game-winning drive was going to stand up after all. North Carolina didn't call the timeout Roy Williams wanted to set up a final play, allowing the third-seeded Cyclones to hold on in an 85-83 thriller.
Kane had 24 points and 10 rebounds, a major factor in offsetting the absence of Georges Niang (out with a broken foot).
Aaron Harrison found enough room to score 19 points while twin brother Andrew added 20 for eighth-seeded Kentucky. The Wildcats would need every bit of it to stop Wichita State, which got 31 from Cleanthony Early in one of the hardest-fought games of the tournament.
Fred VanVleet had a chance to win it at the buzzer for WSU, but his three-pointer over the long arm of Willie Cauley-Stein found only rim, and the Shockers' undefeated run ended at 35 games.
Kansas scoring leader Andrew Wiggins disappeared against Stanford, held to just four points on 1-of-6 shooting by a focused Cardinal D. Chasson Randle added six steals to the defensive showcase as Stanford (with four double-digit scorers) gutted out a 60-57 win.
Down but Not Out
Temporarily laid low by a bruised shin, Shabazz Napier returned to spearhead an upset win for No. 7 seed UConn. Despite an 18-point, six-assist night for Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono, it was his opposite number who took center stage with a sensational 9-of-13 shooting effort and a game-high 25 points in the Huskies' 77-65 victory.
An absurdly fast start helped Branden Dawson shred Harvard for a career-best 26 points on 12-of-15 (!) shooting. The Crimson battled all the way back after trailing by a dozen at halftime, but even 22 points from Wesley Saunders weren't quite enough to stave off the 80-73 win for fourth-seeded Michigan State.
(Insufficiently) Mighty Joe Young
Oregon guard Joseph Young wreaked almost as much distraction as his simian cinematic namesake, but even 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting weren't enough against Wisconsin. Playing in front of a partisan Milwaukee crowd, the second-seeded Badgers erased a 12-point halftime deficit with a team effort: all five starters had at least a dozen points in the 85-77 win.
Out of Miracles
Tyler Ennis saved Syracuse from certain defeat more than once in 2013-14, but he couldn't quite pull off another rescue against Dayton. Two missed jumpers from Ennis in the closing seconds helped the 11th-seeded Flyers—led by seven points and 10 boards from Devin Oliver—hold off the Orange to become the first double-digit seed in this year's Sweet 16.
Xavier Thames made a legitimate push at outscoring underdog North Dakota State by himself. The senior point guard poured in 30 points (while still handing out five assists) in a 63-44 blowout for fourth-seeded San Diego State.
The Texas Longhorns had no defense for No. 2 seed Michigan's long-range attack on Saturday. Led by 17 points from Nik Stauskas, the Wolverines nailed 14 of their 28 three-point tries in a 79-65 victory.
Not quite a year after his shooting exhibition helped seal a national title for Louisville, Luke Hancock was back in top form against Saint Louis. Now a senior, he poured in a game-high 21 points, along with three assists and three steals as the fourth-seeded Cardinals rocked SLU, 66-51.
Have We Tried a Quadruple-Team?
It didn't matter how many defenders Pitt sent at Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin, because he was going to score anyway. Wilbekin's 21 points were more than twice what any other player produced in the top-seeded Gators' 61-45 rout of the Panthers.
Program Stature Depicted to Scale (Almost)
UCLA's towering reputation had less to do with its big second half against Tulsa than towering Kyle Anderson did. The 6'8" point forward had four of the fourth-seeded Bruins' 11 steals and two of their five blocks as they locked down the Golden Hurricane for a 76-59 win.
No. 3 seed Iowa State slaughtered North Carolina Central, 93-75, but the Cyclones weren't all smiles. After the game, the team reported that Georges Niang had fractured his foot and would be lost for the remainder of the season.
One and Not Done Yet
Marcus Foster did his best for Kansas State, but five great freshmen will beat one almost every time. Julius Randle led Kentucky's kiddie corps with a 19-point, 15-rebound outburst to remind fans why he was the SEC Freshman of the Year.
Even Coastal Carolina's rooster mascot couldn't rouse slumbering Virginia until midway through the second half, but the top-seeded Cavaliers finally showed up to play. A 35-30 halftime lead for the Chanticleers vanished, and UVA won 70-59, avoiding the ignominy of becoming the first-ever No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16.
He's a Lumberjack and He's Much Better Than Okay
Thomas Walkup (12 points, 10 boards, four assists, three steals) was the center of attention after the biggest win in Stephen F. Austin's basketball history. The 12th-seeded Lumberjacks got a four-point play from Desmond Haymon to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation, then ground out a 77-75 OT win over an equally tenacious Virginia Commonwealth team.
Always-demonstrative Cleanthony Early enjoyed another blowout win on Friday. His top-seeded Wichita State team annihilated Cal Poly, 64-37, for its 35th win in as many tries and its 10th in a row by double digits.
North Carolina's James Michael McAdoo plays the Thrill of Victory to Bryce Cotton's Agony of Defeat in this allegory, but it could've been the other way around. Cotton, who scored a career-best 36 in his Providence finale, had a chance at the rebound when McAdoo missed a key free throw in the final seconds, but when he couldn't control the ball, sixth-seeded UNC hung on for the 79-77 squeaker.
Only one starter scored in double figures for Memphis, but Joe Jackson got help from a balanced offense that saw Chris Crawford, Austin Nichols and Shaq Goodwin score a combined 26 points anyhow. Add in 19 off the bench from Michael Dixon Jr., and the eighth-seeded Tigers got just enough to edge George Washington, 71-66.
Stop Me If You've Heard This Before
In his final collegiate game, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State was unstoppable (23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, six steals), but he still couldn't do enough to win. Opposite number Kevin Pangos got 12 of his 26 from the free-throw line in a game that featured 61 fouls before No. 8 seed Gonzaga slogged to an 85-77 win.
Slow and Steady
Frenetic Eastern Kentucky put a VCU-style scare into Kansas, but the Colonels' lack of size proved too severe to overcome. Led by a monster 17-point, 14-rebound effort off the bench from Jamari Traylor, the second-seeded Jayhawks won the battle on the boards 43-19 and the battle in the scoring column 80-69.
Celebrating a Master
Win or lose, Doug McDermott is down to his last handful of games in a history-making college career. Louisiana-Lafayette has seen quite enough of the Blue Jays superstar after he led third-seeded Creighton to a 76-66 win with a brilliant (but typical) 30-point, 12-rebound effort.
Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon add up to 520 pounds of muscle on the Tennessee front line, and they used every ounce of it against UMass. The duo combined for 37 points and 25 rebounds to bash the skinnier Minutemen and make the 11th-seeded Vols the fourth team in as many years to go from a First Four win to a spot in the Round of 32.
Weber State put up an impressive fight, but those Wildcats don't have anybody who can jump like Aaron Gordon. Arizona's top-seeded Wildcats do, and Gordon (16 points, eight boards, five blocks) led his squad to a 68-59 triumph.
Stanford's Chasson Randle convincingly outplayed the bigger names in the New Mexico backcourt, racking up 23 points, five boards and two steals. Cameron Bairstow led a second-half push for the MWC tournament champs, but the 10th-seeded Cardinal held on for a 58-53 win.
Miles to Go Before He Sleeps
A livid Tim Miles got tossed before it was over, but his Nebraska team wasn't so lucky. The Huskers had to stick around for all 40 minutes of a dismal 74-60 loss in which sixth-seeded Baylor held them to 4-of-19 three-point shooting and got as many made free throws from Brady Heslip (10) as the entire Nebraska team hit all day.
Led by 20 points from Jakob Gollon, Mercer shot a searing 55.6 percent from the field against heavily-favored Duke. With Blue Devils stars Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood limping to a combined 20 points and nine fouls, the 14th-seeded Bears held on to a late lead in a 78-71 shocker.
Thursday's second-round action didn't end until well into Friday (on the East Coast) thanks to New Mexico State's Kevin Aronis.
The senior guard capped a second-half comeback with a game-saving three-pointer to force overtime, but his Aggies couldn't quite hold off fourth-seeded San Diego State in the extra frame.
Xavier Thames had 23 points for the Aztecs in a tense 73-69 win.
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Rick Pitino's qualms about facing former pupil Steve Masiello of Manhattan seemed validated when the latter was calling out No. 4 seed Louisville's offensive plays during the game.
The Jaspers, though, had no answer for recurring postseason hero Luke Hancock (whose 16 points came with four rebounds, four assists and four steals), the difference-maker in a late rally in a 71-64 Cardinals win.
With its starting backcourt shooting a combined 2-of-23 from the floor, Milwaukee was short on options against No. 2 seed Villanova. Jayvaughn Pinkston was the worst of many problems for the Panthers, and his 13-points, eight-rebound, three-block effort led the Wildcats to a 73-53 rout.
Where Does a 6'9", 285-Pound Center Hide?
Right in the middle of the lane, apparently. Texas' Cameron Ridley corralled a rebound for a buzzer-beating putback that squandered an Arizona State rally and sent the seventh-seeded Longhorns on to the third round.
A clutch trey to send the game to overtime was just part of the damage Lawrence Alexander did against Oklahoma. The North Dakota State junior finished with a career-high 28 points, eight rebounds and four assists to lead his 12th-seeded Bison to an 80-75 win.
From the Jaws of Victory
The looks on the faces of T.J. Warren and his N.C. State teammates tell the tale of a 14-point lead that evaporated in the last five minutes of regulation. An uncharacteristic monster game from Saint Louis center Rob Loe (22 points, 15 boards) helped the fifth-seeded Billikens pull out the win in overtime, 83-80.
Big Dog, Little Dog
Glenn Robinson III, playing in front of his canine-nicknamed father, showed Wofford's Terriers who was in charge. With Wofford shooting just 1-of-19 from long range, Robinson (14 points, seven rebounds) helped lead a 57-40 win for second-seeded Michigan.
45 (Minutes) Is the New 40
Seventh-seeded UConn and No. 10 St. Joseph's triggered a flood of overtime games when Shabazz Napier's attempted buzzer-beater couldn't win it for the Huskies in regulation.
In the OT, though, Napier—who finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals—led the Huskies to a comfortable 89-81 win.
Foul-plagued Carl Baptiste and Delaware had no answer for senior Adreian Payne of fourth-seeded Michigan State. The Spartans star piled up a career-best 41 points, including 10-of-15 from the floor and a dazzling 17-of-17 from the charity stripe, in a 93-78 thumping.
Gators star Casey Prather had it easy on this dunk, but the No. 1 overall seeds got a surprisingly good fight from First Four victor Albany. In the end, though, Florida's superior depth and speed outpaced the Great Danes, 67-55.
Oregon backup Elgin Cook, a 6.8 point-per-game scorer in the regular season, caught fire against BYU and finished with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting. The Ducks followed his lead to an 87-68 blowout.
Syracuse's fabled 2-3 defense claimed another victim as Western Michigan blundered its way to 13 turnovers—mostly before halftime—and 35.7 percent shooting. The third-seeded Orange got 16 points from Jerami Grant (blocking Shayne Whittington here) and featured three other double-digit scorers in a 77-53 romp.
Magna Cum Layup
Wesley Saunders and the Crimson hit the few good looks they got against Cincinnati, but the Bearcats couldn't do the same on the other end. A 36.8-percent shooting performance from Mick Cronin's No. 5 seeds left 12th-seeded Harvard with its second upset win in as many Big Dance appearances, 61-57.
Where the Point Guards Don't Roam
Fast breaks like this one from Pitt's James Robinson were plentiful against turnover-prone Colorado. The Buffaloes fumbled their way to 17 giveaways and 35.7 percent shooting while Robinson handed out eight assists in a wire-to-wire win for the ninth-seeded Panthers.
False Sense of Insecurity
A deceptively slow start from Wisconsin allowed 15th-seeded American University to take a first-half lead. Then Traevon Jackson and the Badgers turned on the afterburners for a 22-5 run that quickly turned a contested game into a 75-35 rout for the crowd favorites at Milwaukee's Bradley Center.
Ohio State's Aaron Craft hit what could have been another NCAA tournament game-winner for his remarkable portfolio, but he left a bit too much time on the clock. When Dayton's Vee Sanford elevated over Craft for a last-second runner, the 11th-seeded Flyers earned a 60-59 win.
Josh Richardson's emphatic baseline dunk didn't complete Tennessee's comeback from an early 12-point deficit, but it left no doubt which team was in charge of this game after halftime.
Richardson had 17 points and eight rebounds while locking down Iowa star Roy Devyn Marble (3-of-15 from the field) in a 78-65 overtime win for the Vols.
Jarnell Stokes muscled his way to 18 points and 13 boards, putting Tennessee ahead for good in the extra session. The Volunteers earned a shot at sixth-seeded UMass in the second round.
Iowa center Adam Woodbury had exceeded his season average by the first minute of the second half against Tennessee. The 7'1" sophomore totaled a season-high 16 points (on 8-of-11 shooting, yet) along with eight rebounds, leading the Hawkeyes in both categories.
The driving lanes were plentiful for Dave Nwaba and his Cal Poly teammates as the Mustangs shot 56.9 percent from the field against Texas Southern. Nwaba racked up 17 points and three blocks, while senior Chris Eversley added 19 points and nine rebounds in the 81-69 win.
Cal Poly's prize for winning was a date with undefeated Wichita State in the second round.
No Man Is an Island
Often alone in a sea of Cal Poly defenders, Texas Southern's Aaric Murray still dominated. The 6'10" senior finished with 38 points on 14-of-23 shooting in a losing cause for the Tigers.
Leader of the Pack
Despite the best efforts of big Matt Stainbrook, Xavier had no answer for ACC scoring champ T.J. Warren. The North Carolina State forward dominated the second half to lead the Wolfpack to a 74-59 win over the Musketeers.
Thanks in large measure to Warren's 25 points and three steals, N.C. State secured a second-round date with the Atlantic 10's regular-season champs from Saint Louis University.
Physics Lesson, N.C. State-Style
Xavier's Dee Davis learned the hard way what happens when a 161-pound guard tries to challenge a 325-pound shot-blocker at the rim. BeeJay Anya would finish with three of his team's nine blocked shots in the victory.
Men at Work
Albany's Peter Hooley does indeed come from a Land Down Under, and he worked Mount St. Mary's in the final minutes of a tight game. Hooley and backcourt mate D.J. Evans combined for 42 points in the Great Danes' 71-64 win.
The victory set Albany up to play Florida in the second round.
Don't Look Back—Something Might Be Gaining on You
Albany wished it had heeded Satchel Paige's classic advice after its 21-2 lead over Mount St. Mary's evaporated into a 23-23 first-half tie. Mountaineers sniper Will Miller keyed the comeback effort.