March Madness tips off next week, and no matter who you are, you’re going to be filling out those brackets to try and win some cash, a gift card from work or to simply capture some all important bragging rights.
So, in honor of the NCAA Tournament, I put together some events in March Madness history that have become legendary.
Since this is Connecticut, I’ll start with one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history that involved our UConn Huskies. I know a lot of UConn fans want to forget about this, but we have to be honest with one another, it was an impressive game that deserves to be mentioned.
The game I’m talking about is when George Mason defeated UConn, 86-84, in 2006 which allowed the underdog to advance to the Final Four.
Simply put, no one ever thought that 11th-seeded George Mason would take home the victory, but the team was that year’s Cinderella.
If you watched the game, and I know you probably did, I would bet you thought the Huskies had this game in the bag when the Patriots trailed by 12 points in the first half and later by nine in the second half.
The turning point was when George Mason hit six 3-pointers in a row in the second half and went on to create some March Madness history.
Now that you’ve relived some not-so-pleasant memories, let’s move on to some more great March moments.
In 2005, Arizona and Illinois locked up and the Illini found themselves in an early 15-point hole. Illinois was No. 1 for most of the season and everyone was surprised to see it down by double-digits to the Wildcats.
Led by Luther Head, Illinois went on a 20-5 run and tied the game late on a 3-pointer. Illinois was then able to hold on and defeat Arizona 90-89 in overtime.
Now, since I made UConn fans relive a dark part of their history, I’ll lighten up your day with a great moment involving the Huskies.
In 2004, UConn went up against heated rival Duke, and the Huskies trailed by 11. But in the second half, UConn was able to push forward and scored 45 points to erase the deficit and take home a dramatic 79-78 victroy.
The key player that turned everything around for UConn was Emeka Okafor. He spent most of the first half on bench due to foul trouble, but when they brought him back in for the second half, he turned things around.
Okafor scored five points, grabbed three rebounds and completely shut down Duke’s offense during the final four minutes which turned a 75-67 deficit into a one-point victory.
The last trip down memory lane is arguably one of the best NCAA basketball games in history, and that was back in 1992 when Duke went to head-to-head with Kentucky.
If you were too young to catch it live, check out ESPN Classic.
Everyone remembers “the shot” by Duke’s Christian Latettner that makes every sports highlight reel known to man.
His buzzer-beating, turnaround jumper gave Duke a 104-103 victory over the Wildcats.
Latettner made every shot he took that night and ended with 31 points, seven boards and three assists.
That shot made Latettner one of, if not the, best clutch performer in March Madness history.Share your own memories at www.bristolpress.com/sports.