25 Greatest Moments in NCAA Tournament History

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2013

25 Greatest Moments in NCAA Tournament History

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    Game-winning shots, buzzer-beaters and dramatic finishes are all awesome parts of March Madness.

    There is nothing like watching a No. 14 seed going down to the wire against a No. 3 seed in an opening round game. 

    Over the years, we have seen many great plays, but here are the 25 greatest plays in NCAA tournament history.

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25. UConn's Tate George Hits Turn-Around Buzzer-Beater (1990)

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    UConn was down one in the 1990 Midwest Region semifinal.

    One second on the clock, the ball was thrown the length of the court to Tate George.

    He caught the ball, squared up and let it fly.

    And the rest is Huskies hoops history!

24. K-State's Rolando Blackman's Buzzer-Beater Beats the Beavers (1981)

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    Rolando Blackman was a senior at Kansas State. This was the last hurrah for this collegiate hoop star.

    The Wildcats were playing the No. 2-ranked Oregon State Beavers in the second round of the 1981 NCAA tournament.

    With two seconds left, Blackman stepped up and nailed a baseline jumper.

    "The Shot," K-State style.

    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/17/4127641/10-memorable-k-state-moments-in.html#storylink=cpy

23. Villanova's Scotty Reynolds Takes It the Length of the Court (2009)

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    Villanova was facing Big East rival and No. 1 seed Pitt in the 2009 NCAA tournament.

    The Panthers just tied the game up with a free throw with 5.5 seconds on the clock.

    Wildcats PG Scotty Reynolds took the ball the length of the court and knocked down a runner with less than one second remaining.

    It doesn't get much better than that.

22. Kenton Paulino Buries the Three to Send Texas to the 2006 Elite Eight

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    With five seconds remaining, West Virginia tied its 2006 Sweet 16 game against Texas.

    The Longhorns PG A.J. Abrams pushed the ball up the court and found long-distance shooting specialist Kenton Paulino on the wing.

    Without batting an eye, Paulino launched his shot and won the game as time expired.

    For UT, it was a really "Sweet" 16.

21. Korie Lucious Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater vs. Maryland (2010)

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    Maryland scored a go-ahead bucket with less than seven seconds to go against Michigan State.

    Korie Lucious received the ball near the top of the key. He took one dribble to his left, squared up and put up the most important shot of his career.

    Lucious buried the three as time expired, helping the Spartans move into the 2010 Sweet 16.

20. UConn's Rip Hamilton Stays with It to Wipe Out Washington (1998)

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    Do you know how your coach always told you to play until the whistle blows?

    Richard Hamilton evidently listened.

    Because he did, UConn didn't get upset by the No. 11-seeded Washington Huskies in its 1998 Sweet 16 game.

    After the Huskies put up a series of final-second shots, Hamilton grabbed a rebound in the lane and buried a fadeaway jumper as the final horn sounded.

19. George Mason Shocks the World (2006)

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    There's no way that UConn could fall to George Mason in the Elite Eight.

    But the Huskies did.

    The Patriots needed OT to put away the Huskies, but I don't think any of their fans held that against them.

18. Gonzaga's Demetri Goodson Hits Last-Second Shot (2009)

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    Gonzaga hasn't been used to being the favorite in too many NCAA tournament games over the years.

    But when the Bulldogs lined up against Western Kentucky, they were the team to beat.

    Demetri Goodson wanted to make sure that the Zags weren't going to become the upset victims.

    So he dropped in a game-winning shot in the waning moments to put the Bulldogs on top.

17. Maryland's Drew Nicholas Makes Buzzer-Beater, Runs to Locker Room (2003)

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    Sometimes you just have to go to Plan B.

    Maryland was down by one point with five seconds left in its game against UNC Wilmington.

    The Terps looked to get the ball to Steve Blake, but the Seahawks denied him the ball.

    Instead, Maryland senior Drew Nicholas drove the length of the court, took the ball to the right wing and fired.

    "Nicholas has done it!" Nicholas then promptly headed to the locker room. I guess he didn't want to hang around and see if his shot was in the air before the final horn sounded.

16. Bucknell Center Chris McNaughton Banged One Home to Send KU Home (2005)

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    Bucknell tried to give its opening round 2005 game away to Kansas. The Jayhawks thought about taking it.

    But, in the end, the Bisons' center Chris McNaughton hit an awkward, straight-on hook shot with 10.5 seconds to go that would prove to be the game-winner.

    It doesn't have to be pretty to count!

15. Arkansas' U.S. Reed Half-Court Buzzer-Beater over Louisville (1981)

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    Arkansas' U.S. Reed did the only thing he knew to do after Louisville went ahead with seconds to go in the game.

    Get the ball as far down the court and put up a prayer.

    His prayers were answered. Reed launched a half-court shot that found the bottom of the net.


14. Northern Iowa's Ali Farokhmanesh Sends KU Home (2010)

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    There's no way that No. 9 seed Northern Iowa could hang with No. 1 seed Kansas, right?

    Ali Farokhmanesh acted as if he was playing a pick-up game back in Cedar Falls.

    Instead, he buried the biggest shot in UNI school history and sent the Jayhawks home. Wow!

13. Morehead State's Demonte Harper Flattens Louisville (2011)

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    Raise your hand if you would have given No. 13 seed Morehead State a thought in this game.

    Me neither.

    Demonte Harper didn't care how many brackets he busted when he hit a three-pointer with less than five seconds to play to give the Eagles a monster upset victory over the cross-state Goliath Louisville Cardinals.

12. Northwestern State's Jermaine Wallace's Buzzer-Beater Bounces Iowa (2010)

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    No. 14 seed Northwestern State found itself down by as much as 17 in the second half to No. 3 seed Iowa.

    But instead of just taking their beating like men, the Demons fought back.

    NSU's Jermaine Wallace drilled a fadeaway three with half of a second left to lift his team to a 64-63 upset of the Hawkeyes.

11. Valpo's Bryce Drew Buzzer-Beater (1998)

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    When No. 13 seed Valparaiso laced 'em up against No. 4 Ole Miss, most everyone thought this game was a mere formality for the Rebels during the 1998 NCAA tournament. 

    But Bryce Drew had an appointment with destiny.

    The coach's son received a quick pass on the right wing that he turned into a huge buzzer-beater upset win that we'll call, "The Shot," Valpo style.

10. Vermont's T.J. Sorrentine Stuns Syracuse (2005)

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    Most people weren't even sure if anyone in the state of Vermont played basketball when the No. 13 seed Catamounts took on No. 4 seed Syracuse.

    What the Orange found out is that they not only play it in Burlington, but they were ready to knock off their highly ranked neighbors.

    T.J. Sorrentine hit one from what seemed like the three-point line on the other side of the court to bury Syracuse.

9. Deron Williams Brings the Fighting Illini Back from the Brink (2005)

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    Take your pick on which part of Illinois' monster comeback that you want to use as the best play here.

    Deron Williams had several. Luther Head had his moments, too.

    Too much dynamic action to let this Elite Eight thriller go.

8. VCU's Eric Maynor Hits the Dagger Versus Duke (2007)

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    VCU didn't just get good when Shaka Smart got to town.

    The Rams were knocking off Goliaths back in 2007, too.

    After Duke had tied the game up, Eric Maynor didn't think twice about pulling the trigger on a jumper from just beyond the free-throw line to knock off the Blue Devils.

7. Norfolk State's Kyle O'Quinn Grabs Rebound and Puts Back Shot (2012)

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    No. 15-seeded teams are not supposed to beat No. 2s.

    We hear that every year.

    Norfolk State wasn't listening.

    Their star, Kyle O'Quinn, did what he was supposed to do when someone takes a shot from the wing...get to the weak-side boards to get position for an offensive rebound.

    He not only pulled down the rebound, but he got the putback and the foul.

    Down goes No. 2!

6. Danny Ainge Goes Coast-to-Coast to Beat the Fighting Irish (1981)

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    Danny Ainge was known for a lot of things while he was at BYU.

    Two-sport star. A demonstrative playing style.

    But, after he took the ball and went the length of the court and hit a lay up to beat Notre Dame in the 1981 Sweet 16, Ainge will always be connected to "The Drive."

5. UCLA's Tyus Edney Goes Coast-to-Coast in 4.8 Seconds (1995)

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    UCLA was the top-seeded team in the West in the 1995 NCAA tournament.

    They weren't supposed to lose in Boise.

    Bruins guard Tyus Edney made sure that didn't happen.

    He went coast-to-coast in less than five seconds and hit a shot that kept the Bruins on what would be their championship path.

4. Mario Chalmers' 2008 Championship Game Shot to Put It into OT

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    It's not just the buzzer-beater at the end of the game that's so important.

    Sometimes, it's the shot that sends a championship game into OT that is just as significant.

    Just ask Jayhawk fans who saw Mario Chalmers save KU's life in regulation time of the 2008 NCAA championship game.

3. Keith Smart's Game-Winning Shot in the 1987 Championship Game

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    Keith Smart took matters into his own hands when he buried the game-winning shot in the 1987 NCAA championship game.

    He took a quick dribble to his left and nailed a pull-up jumper.

    And that's what we'll call "The Shot," Hoosier style.

2. The Shot...by Duke's Christian Laettner

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    A perfect pass and a perfect shot were needed.

    And that's exactly what Grant Hill and Christian Laettner did to create the unbelievable finish to one of the best college games in NCAA history.

    Everybody looks like geniuses when it comes together like this.

1. NC State's Lorenzo Charles' Putback to Win 1983 National Title

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    Sometimes it's the simple plays that are the most special.

    NC State had the ball in the closing seconds of the 1983 NCAA championship game against Houston.

    Dereck Whittenburg dribbled the clock down before firing a long shot from beyond the top of the key.

    The problem was that DW's attempt fell a few feet short.

    Luckily for the Wolfpack, Lorenzo Charles turned the air ball into an alley-oop dunk...and a championship.