Ten Best Games of the 2010 Men's NCAA Tournament
We knew coming in to the 2010 NCAA Tournament that we were probably in for a compelling tournament.
With no elite team and with no clear favorite, it was difficult to discern which top team in the tournament was best suited to advance the furthest.
However, with a wealth of legitimate mid-majors and upset-minded second-tier teams, the tournament had the potential to be one of the most memorable.
We had our share of upsets and we had our share of buzzer-beaters. So which ones ranked among the best games of the 2010 Men's NCAA Tournament?
10. Purdue 63, Texas A&M 61 -- Second Round, South Region
Overcoming a seven-point halftime deficit, Purdue showed the type of resiliency most of the nation expected without its best player Robbie Hummel.
Stepping up in his place was senior defensive standout Chris Kramer, who scored the go-ahead layup in overtime to secure the win.
9. BYU 99, Florida 92 (2 OT) -- First Round, West Region
BYU-Florida was easily one of the best, if not the best, games on the first day of this year's tournament.
Stud scorer Jimmer Fredette of BYU delivered throughout the game, including some key three pointers in key moments. Florida, meanwhile, showed some toughness by refusing to quit.
This was actually one of my favorite games of the tournament but not necessarily the best of the best.
8. Butler 52, Michigan State 50 -- National Semifinal
While this was not a pretty game by any means, it kept you intrigued until the final buzzer.
We saw the newness of a Cinderella in Butler and the steadiness of the tradition-laden Spartans. It was just Butler's time on this night.
Given the magnitude of the game, combined with the battle from start to finish, this was one of the better games of this tournament.
7. Tennessee 76, Ohio State 73 -- Sweet 16, Midwest Region
Evan Turner was not fouled. But this was a great game.
Ohio State and Tennessee brought rather contrasting styles to a game that wasn't supposed to happen, thanks to Ohio.
Tennessee battled to stay with the mighty Buckeyes the entire game and eventually knocked off the Big Ten champions when Turner's game-tying three-pointer was blocked.
6. Northern Iowa 69, Kansas 67 -- Second Round, Midwest Region
You probably couldn't spell or say Ali Farokhmanesh correctly before the NCAA Tournament, but at least you could probably say it correctly now.
And you could safely assume Bill Raftery was going to cry "Onions!" after Farokhmanesh nailed a three-pointer with Northern Iowa leading by one.
What guts by Farokhmanesh to take the shot with plenty of time remaining on the shot clock. It paid off but credit the man for assuming the risk by taking the shot and be willing to accept the consequences if Kansas had won.
5. Washington 80, Marquette 78 -- First Round, East Region
Each team put forth strong showings in their respective conference tournaments. For Marquette, a tough, scrappy Big East team, it was outlasted by Washington, an experienced, but rather upstart Pac-10 team.
For us, we were rewarded with a great finish to a pretty good game that ended with Washington senior Quincy Pondexter making a two-pointer to break the tie at 78, and the first of our three game-winning shots on this countdown.
4. Murray State 66, Vanderbilt 65 -- First Round, West Region
The runner-up for best buzzer-beater of the tournament, Murray State’s Danero Thomas shot to upset Vanderbilt punctuated one of the best early-round games.
3. Michigan State 85, Maryland 83 -- Sweet 16, Midwest Region
Now onto the most terrific buzzer-beater of the entire tournament, Michigan State’s Korie Lucious nailed a three-pointer to oust Maryland from the tournament.
Michigan State was without starting point guard Kalin Lucas, who tore his Achilles tendon late in the Spartans’ win over Maryland.
Lucious was forced into a larger role on the team and delivered beautifully. He made the shot that made the Spartans’ sixth Final Four in the last twelve seasons possible.
2. Kansas State 101, Xavier 96 (2 OT) -- Sweet 16, West Region
This game falls just short of the the No. 1 game of the tournament, but I will say this: Kansas State-Xavier had the most great moments of any game in the tournament.
Big shot after big shot, each team took a punch and responded with an even better counterpunch. Let’s not forget that Gus Johnson called this one, making the game that much better.
How about the resiliency of Xavier.
Down three both before the end of regulation and the first overtime, somehow the team managed to force a tie, first, with Terrell Holloway making all three free throws after getting fouled while shooting beyond the arc, and, second, with Jordan Crawford taking and making the most ridiculous shot of the tournament from 35 feet away.
Not to mention the Musketeers trailed by 15 early in the first half and was forced to come from behind the entire game.
Ultimately, however, Kansas State prevailed at the end of a immensely intriguing tournament game.
1. Duke 61, Butler 59 -- National Championship
The game that is the freshest in our minds, the game that almost witnessed the most amazing shot in basketball history, and the game featuring the ultimate storyline, David vs. Goliath, Monday's national championship was the most heart-wrenching of the tournament.
This was a game where casual fans with no rooting interest did not exist. Either you are a Duke fan and rooted for the Blue Devils, or you were a Butler fan because you’re actually a Butler fan, love the underdog, or were rooting for the Bulldogs because you hate Duke.
Last night we saw an evenly matched, back-and-forth, and intense basketball game. I’m calling it one of the best national title games of the last ten years, with 2003 Syracuse-Kansas and 2008 Kansas-Memphis coming to mind as contenders.