NCAA March Madness can get you out of your seat; I still shout out ” it is March” in the middle of April.
The popular and historic men’s college basketball tournament nicknamed “march madness” does not end until April; the NCAA needs to fix that. While I am on the topic, the women’s tournament cannot use the term “march madness,” fix that now.
Back to the men’s basketball tournament.
The Final Four matchup between UCLA and Gonzaga was not only one of the best college basketball games played, one of the best games played in all of sports. March Madness needed a game like this, notably when the tournament was canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
The game was competitive from start to finish; UCLA played the best they have all season pushing the game to overtime, while Gonzaga’s undefeated season remained in question moreover a trip to the national title game on the line. The hype was real.
Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs had the last table stand. Time winding down, second overtime appeared to be looming unless Suggs makes a shot from the Final Four logo.
The Gonzaga freshman banked in a shot at the buzzer for a 93-90 overtime win over UCLA on Saturday night that vaulted the Bulldogs to within one win of an undefeated season and the national title.
“I have always wanted to run on the table like Kobe and D-Wade. That’s the first thing I did,” Suggs added.
Suggs game-winning buzzer-beater is the first to send a team to the national championship since 1977.
“It is crazy again to actually live out that moment. I still don’t believe it right now. It is not going to kick in until I wake up in the morning,” Suggs added. “It was nuts. I have a million things going on in my head.”
After the shot went in, Suggs ran to the mostly empty press tables, jumped up on the table, pumped his fists, and let out a massive scream to the crowd of 8,000-or-so socially distanced fans. The referees checked to make sure he got the shot off before the buzzer sounded. He did, and the Bulldogs moved to 31-0 and into Monday night’s final, where they’ll play Baylor for the title.
“He has that magical aura; he makes them in practice all the time this year,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. “It felt pretty good. I was staring right at it.”
Suggs’ shot was impressive. Was it the best shot in the NCAA men’s tournament with the most significant implications? I ranked the best ones; I did not leave the women out.
1977 Jerome Whitehead’s layup at the buzzer sends Marquette to Final Four after a win over UNC Charlotte.
1992 Elite Eight Christian Laettner Duke vs. Kentucky turn-around jumper from a perfect pass from Grant Hill for the win.
No.4: Suggs shot is ranked here because he kept the Zags undefeated season alive but it was for the national title.
1983 NC State vs. Houston, Lorenzo Charles game-winning dunk in the national championship. Dereck Whittenburg’s airball that he calls a pass to this day.
2016 national championship game, Villanova vs. North Carolina: Kris Jenkins game-winning 3-pointer to win the Wildcats second title and first since 1985.
2018 Arike Ogunbowale hit not one but two game-winning shots on the journey to win the national title for the Notre Dame Woman’s basketball team. Ogunbowale hit a game-winning shot against UConn in the Final Four in overtime and a leaning 3-pointer against Mississippi State to win the title game.
The women play during NCAA March Madness also.