Sometimes greatness takes a while to truly appreciate it. As for this year’s 2018 NCAA Tournament, greatness is the only way to explain it. In a tournament filled with upsets, buzzer beaters and down to the wire games, no matter how much preparation you did it’s very likely that your bracket was busted. This year’s tournament could be used as a textbook definition of why we call this March Madness. So let’s take a look at the top five moments from one of the craziest NCAA Tournaments ever.
5) Syracuse Orange’s Run
Appearing to be out of the tournament by most bacteriologists, Syracuse drew the play-in game in Dayton, Ohio. Squeezing by Arizona State, 60-56, the momentum coming from Upstate New York was starting to build. Moving onto TCU, Jim Boeheim and the Orange would face a familiar foe; Jamie Dixon. Dixon knowing the Orange’s 2-3 zone from his Pittsburgh days really gave the Orange a tough task. In a game with 11 lead changes, the Orange led by two freshman, Oshae Brissett and Marek Dolezaj helped the Orange move on with a 57-52 victory. Their next game was what truly made this run special. Facing a Michigan State team, that some said may have been Tom Izzo’s best team ever just didn’t have enough to stop this Orange miracle. Despite a poor shooting performance, Tyus Battle led all scorers with 17 points including a key step-back jumper with 49 seconds left to give the Orange a 52-49 lead which would advance them to the Sweet 16 where they lost to Duke.
4) Nevada’s comeback win overshadowed by celebration
After trailing by 14 at one moment in the game, the Wolfpack of Nevada fought back to force an overtime game, which they would go onto win 87-83 over Texas to move onto the round of 32. Though, while their comeback was phenomenal, the postgame celebration was one of a kind as coach Eric Musselman ripped off his shirt before joining the postgame celebration.
3) UMBC’s historic upset
Before this year’s tournament, the one vs. sixteen matchup had always been a sharpie for the one seed as a 16 seed had never beaten a one seed in tournament history. Though, that changed quickly as a tie game at halftime turned into a UMBC game as the Retrievers controlled the entire second half and would go onto win 74-54. A win in general would’ve been impressive enough. But a 20 point win over a team that dominated ACC play and had the best defense in the country made this upset that much crazier. UMBC proved that the only thing that matters in March is how you play on that day and during that game. They proved that a team that was blown out by 44 by Albany could still knock off a number one seed.
Hi everyone, in case you didn't see, Seth Davis tweeted this one minute into the game pic.twitter.com/vDlrcOtJOn
— UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) March 17, 2018
2) Michigan does the improbable
Trailing by two points with 3.6 seconds left, Michigan drew up a football play as they threw the ball to halfcourt, passed it back to freshman Jordan Poole, who then pulled up from right around the scorers table and hit the game winning three as time expired. It was a walk-off finish that Michigan needed. The Wolverines would go onto advance all the way to the National Championship game where they would lose to Villanova.
MICHIGAN STUNS HOUSTON AT THE BUZZER WITH TITANIC pic.twitter.com/Ov93Q70BuI
— paco (@AllaireMatt) March 18, 2018
1) Sister Jean and Loyola Chicago
If you had Loyola Chicago going to the Final-Four then you filled out your bracket round-by-round as this was one of the craziest sports stories of the year. From the 98-year-old Catholic nun named Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, who prays for the team before every game, gives coach Porter Moser a scouting report and emails players motivational takeaways to their improbable final four run. This Loyola Chicago run was truly just something special. Knocking off Miami, Tennessee, Nevada and Kansas State, this Loyola Chicago final four run will be talked about for years and years to come.