The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Big Dance

Reliving March Madness’ Best Moments of the 21st Century
Tim Gerland/CC BY 2.0 DEED

As the season of upsets and heartbreak has started again, so let’s take a look back upon the 10 greatest March Madness moments of the 21st century.

Honorable Mention 1. In 2008, Stephen Curry took the Davidson Wildcats all the way to just their third-ever Elite Eight before losing to the eventual national champions, the Kansas Jayhawks. Curry emerged as a star this year, with 40-, 30-, 33-, and 25-point nights against Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Wisconsin, respectively. Davidson’s run helped pave the way for future mid-major schools in March.

Honorable Mention 2. Michigan’s freshman star Jordan Poole hit a last-second three-point buzzer beater to take down 6th-seeded Houston in the 2018 tournament. This shot led the Wolverines to the Sweet Sixteen, and ultimately to the national championship, where they lost to Villanova. Poole’s shot has gone down as one of the best last second buzzer beaters in tournament history.

10. In 2015, one of the most unexpected upsets occurred. Wisconsin was a one-seed, but Kentucky had an impressive 38-0 record going into the Final Four matchup and was expected to roll the Badgers. Kentucky was led by future NBA superstar Karl-Anthony Towns, and off the bench was Devin Booker. The game went back and forth, but no one expected Kentucky to lose. With the heroics of future NBA player Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin defeated the Wildcats 71-64 in one of the best games ever to reach the national championship, where the Badgers fell to the Duke Blue Devils.

9. George Mason emerged onto the scene in 2006, when they were matched up with number six Michigan State as an 11 seed. This game started a historic and ground-breaking run, as the Patriots would be the first mid-major, smaller school to go on a Cinderella run. The Patriots defeated Michigan State and then another college basketball great, North Carolina, in the round of 32. Wichita State was next in line, and they failed to overcome the Patriots as well. Then in one of the greatest upsets ever, in the Elite Eight, George Mason defeated number one UConn in overtime. The Patriots were still dancing after winning 86-84, before losing in the Final Four to the eventual national champs, the Florida Gators.

8. The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles were the talk of March in 2013. As a 15 seed, they put on a show for the whole country and made it to the Sweet Sixteen. One of the most electric teams to watch, they became known as “Dunk City.” The Eagles upset 2-seeded Georgetown in the first round and 7th-seeded San Diego State in the second round, before their run ended to Florida in the Sweet Sixteen. Th Eagles had the whole country tuned in to see its high flying players and fancy dunks.

7. In 2021, Jalen Suggs hit one of the most memorable buzzer beaters ever. In a Final Four matchup between Gonzaga and UCLA, Gonzaga came out on top thanks to Suggs’ half-court bank shot to win the game. In overtime, Johnny Juzang of UCLA hit a clutch shot with two seconds left, but Suggs got the inbound and cashed his half-court shot off the backboard in one of the most legendary endings ever, leading Gonzaga to the national championship, where they ultimately fell to Baylor.

6. 2022 was legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last year. His last game did not disappoint. In a matchup of the ages, longtime in-state rivals UNC and Duke met up in the Final Four. The game lurched back and forth, but North Carolina came out with the win and advanced to the national championship, ending Coach K’s career with a loss. This game was one of the most electric, entertaining matches ever played.

5. 2023 was a Final Four that remains hard to forget. In a game between 5th-seed San Diego State and 9th-seed Florida Atlantic, San Diego hit an unforgettable buzzer beater to send the team to the national championship. With time expiring, San Diego went the full length of the court and hit a contested mid-range jumper to win the game. FAU’s Cinderella story came to an unfortunate end, and San Diego kept dancing.

4. 2010 was the year of the Huskies. After marking his spot in the history books already with a legendary Big East tournament run, Kemba Walker did not stop there. The Big East conference win propelled the Huskies to the national tournament, but first we saw some truly historic moments, like Kemba’s step-back game winner against Pittsburgh. Kemba Walker was seemingly unconscious during this run. The Huskies grabbed a three seed in the big dance. They went on to win every game throughout the tournament, defeating Kentucky, Arizona, San Diego, and finally Butler in the championship game. This run was improbable and unexpected but completely fueled by future NBA superstar Kemba Walker.

3. Every year there are crazy upsets and Cinderella stories, but in 2018 the country witnessed the first ever 16 seed upsetting a one seed. UMBC handily took down Virginia with a 74-54 victory. Historically, 16 seeds are 150-2 against top seeds. The second 16 seed to win occurred last year, when Farleigh Dickinson took down Purdue in the first round. These games were electric, and bracket busters. Virginia did redeem themselves the next year, winning the 2019 national championship. It is now time to see if Purdue can do the same as a one seed again this year.

2. Upsets and game winners are great, but how about both? The legendary Loyola Chicago run of 2018 offered the best of both worlds. One of the greatest Cinderella stories of all time, Loyola Chicago made a historic run to the Final Four before losing to Michigan. As an 11 seed, they faced fifth-seeded Miami in the first round. They hit a buzzer beater to win the game as time expired, and it would not be the last time. In the round of 32, they faced three-seed Tennessee and once again they were in a tight game. With six seconds left, Loyola’s Clayton Cusker hit a circus-style three-point jump shot to win the game. Fueled by their legendary Sister Jean, the Ramblers moved on to the Sweet Sixteen where they played Nevada. Once again faced with a hard matchup, it came down to the final eight seconds. What a surprise, Loyola hits another shot to propel them to the Elite Eight. With time winding down, Marques Townes hit another three-pointer to take the lead. In the Elite Eight, Loyola beat Kansas State, with no buzzer beater needed, and advanced to the Final Four. Unfortunately, their Cinderella story would end in a tight game against Michigan.

1. The greatest march madness moment of the last 23 years was undoubtedly Villanova’s last-second game winner in the national championship to take down North Carolina. With less than six seconds remaining, and down by three points, UNC’s Marcus Paige hit one of the wildest shots in tournament history. A circus, double-clutch 3 pointer ended in a perfect swish. With just 4.7 seconds left on the clock and no timeouts for Villanova, they had to make it down the length of the court to have the final shot. Kris Jenkins inbounded to Ryan Arcidiacono, who ran up the court and tossed the ball back to big man Kris Jenkins, who pulled up from deep range. The shot went through the air in slow motion, and with time already expired, it fell, a deep three-point game winner to win the title. Jenkins was mobbed by his teammates, as he was the hero of March.

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About the Contributor
Jacob Clarkson
Jacob Clarkson, Staff Writer
Jacob is a junior at NASH. He is part of the Lacrosse Team and enjoys golf, basketball, and hanging out with friends.

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