March Madness has come to a close, which breaks this babely blogger’s heart. But whenever I want to look back at the awesome three weeks of basketball that encompassed this year’s NCAA Tournament, I can look back at these 10 moments that defined this year’s March Madness and smile … or cringe! The NCAA gives you One Shining Moment (love you, Luther Vandross! – and a high five to SBNation for posting that video) but here at Babes Dig Balls, we give you 10 awesome moments!
Let’s get this list started!
10. Harvard Stuns New Mexico, Wins First NCAA Tournament Game
Harvard won its first ever NCAA game in pretty spectacular fashion. They beat New Mexico, a team that had been highly-touted and talked up a lot prior to the tournament, and was perhaps in my Final Four (ouch!) but Harvard stunned the Lobos and even one writer at LoboLand.com quit in a rage following the loss. His farewell post has since been removed from the site.
9. Southwest Philly Floater
If you’re unfamiliar with the La Salle men’s basketball team (as most people were prior to March), the roster features a lot of Philly boys. So when Tyrone Garland hits a game-winning shot to send the Explorers to the Sweet 16, what better than to pay homage to his roots and dub his shot the “Southwest Philly Floater.” It was trending on twitter and I feel like any time you name your shot, it’s pretty baller.
8. The Syracuse 2-3 Zone
Basketball is a game where we love the scorers and the playmakers. Sure, blocks are occasionally fun but few and far between. However, it was defense that got all the press this year with Syracuse’s 2-3 zone that held two of the Orange’s opponents to fewer than 40 points (Montana – 34 points in the second round, Marquette – 39 points in the Elite Eight). Though the zone got much attention, every opposing coach gave credit to the talented players executing the defense. Sure, it wasn’t necessarily fun to watch low-scoring games, but no one can argue that it’s darn effective!
7. Wichita State – The Shockers Shock the World
The entire west region was kind of a disaster (and a nightmare for brackets everywhere) but Wichita State coming out of the West to play in the Final Four was nothing less than shocking (see what I did there?) The Shockers ousted No. 1 Gonzaga, a team I felt had been unchallenged leading into the NCAA Tournament, but instead of fizzling out, survived the second weekend and took out No. 2 Ohio State to win the West and head to the Final Four! And they did it all with a chip on their shoulder as this photo from the athletic department’s official Instagram account suggests:
We cannot talk about March Madness and not talk about the phenomenon that was #DunkCity! You’ve read about it on Babes Dig Balls and you’ve probably seen some of the babely staff tweet about it, but it cannot be said enough, it was a phenomenon! It’s lost a little bit of the awesomeness with Andy Enfield heading to USC, but #DunkCity without a doubt helped define 2013 March Madness. We’ve linked to this video before but it just does not get old. Also, there is a part two but for me, nothing beats the original:
T4. Michigan’s Desperation 3-Pointer Sends Game to Overtime, Wolverines Top Kansas
Okay, if you haven’t seen the three heard round the world by Trey Burke, you’ll see why he’s the Player of the Year right here. Just watch the video below. This shot tied the game and Michigan dominated overtime and ended up playing in the championship game. Darn, should I have said spoiler alert? Check the fan video below (note: the first minute is all you need to watch)
T4. Rick Pitino is Having a Good Week
This is tied with the Trey Burke shot. As awesome as that shot is, Rick Pitino can trump anyone with the simple declaration that he is having a pretty good week. On Wednesday, according to an article on ESPN.com, Pitino got a phone call from the president of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame that he was one of seven to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. While trying to put his phone on speaker to share the news with his wife, he simultaneously received a text from his son, Richard Pitino, saying he got the head coaching job at Minnesota. And oh yeah, on Monday, he became the only coach in NCAA history to win national championships with two different teams (Kentucky and now Louisville). Check out the article, if VH1 still had that show “Best Week Ever” I’m pretty sure it’s hands downs Rick Pitino over the last seven days.
3. Louisville, Comeback Kids
Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard enough about the Cards! But honestly, how do the national champions NOT define March Madness? So, what has been defining about Louisville is that they’ve been down plenty, but never out. There were signs of their ability to play from behind in the BIG EAST Conference Championship game where they eventually defeated Syracuse. But, they came back in both the national semifinals and the championship game. In both games, Louisville came back from being down by as much as 12 points.
2. You Still Somehow Won Your Office Pool Because You Picked Louisville
Let’s be honest, you won your pool but somehow your brackets have more strike outs than CC Sabathia. It’s not necessarily a pristine bracket, but somehow you won. Congratulations! I don’t know how you did it. Two of my Final Four picks went out in the second round. My national champion lost in the Sweet 16. But, as much as my bracket made it look like I had zero knowledge, I informed all of you babely readers to be on the lookout for Louisville on February 28, before all the hype.
1. Kevin Ware
Is there a better storyline than his? I think not. He goes out in the Elite Eight in one of the most horrific injuries I’ve ever seen on a basketball court, breaking his tibia. However, he still manages to keep his spirits up, is a positive role model in facing adversity, and finally, his team wins the national championship. I’m such a fan of this kid, it’s not even funny. And I’m so glad he got to cut down the nets with his teammates. Kevin Ware defined my 2013 NCAA Tournament.