Memories aren't always pleasant, and sometimes the worst images are the ones that stay with us forever. Kevin Ware's horrific leg injury during the Elite Eight of the 2013 NCAA tournament fits that description to a tee, and as a result, it is the most memorable college basketball moment of the last decade.
Louisville and Duke were in a close game with 6:33 left in the first half when Duke's Tyler Thornton attempted a three-pointer from the right wing. Ware ran out to contest the shot, leaping in the air but coming up short on the block, and when he landed, his right leg broke halfway between his knee and ankle.
Ware crumpled to the ground, his bone sticking out of the leg, and with the court at Lucas Oil Stadium raised off of the ground, it meant Ware's Cardinals teammates were at eye level to the gruesome scene. Medical officials raced to Ware's side, and after a lengthy delay, he was carried off the court and into the locker room.
Louisville struggled in the moments immediately after the injury but led Duke 35-32 at the half. Fortified by Ware's encouragement—"I don't think we could have gathered ourselves ... if Kevin didn't say over and over again, 'Just go win the game'" Louisville coach Rick Pitino said afterward—the Cardinals blew Duke out in the second half and won 85-63.
Louisville went on to win the NCAA title, and Ware was part of the post-championship celebration, even cutting down a piece of the net after it had been lowered to him.
Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.