Top 5 Maddest Moments in March (so far): Part II
Given the choice of writing exclusively about March Madness or covering all sports, I’d choose all sports. But in this week’s Top 5, there’s no question that all five of the top games belong to March Madness.
#5. Virginia Cavaliers vs. Michigan State Spartans
Think people lacked respect for Virginia? Tell that to those who paid the $504.07 for tickets to this game. Too bad the number one seed couldn’t quite reward those fans, falling to the Spartans 61-59. Virginia made just one fewer basket than the Spartans, but took an extra 10 shots, a revealing statistic in their loss. Both defenses were suffocating, but in the end it was the Spartans who managed to force the Cavaliers into making more mistakes, and that was the difference.
#4. Michigan Wolverines vs. Tennessee Volunteers
All tournament long, commentators and talking heads have said that the Wolverines live and die by the three pointer. To an extent, they’re right – Michigan needed all 11 of their three pointers against Tennessee, barely edging the Volunteers 73-71 – but to finish off the Volunteers, they needed a stop. The Wolverines knew that if they could just stop Jarnell Stokes, they’d win. And they did just that.
#3. Michigan State Spartans vs. Connecticut Huskies
Instead of getting up close and personal, the Huskies struck from a distance with the tried and true Napier. You could say Shabazz Napier owed the Huskies for standing by him during a tough sophomore season, but it’s safe to say he relayed his debt by owning the Spartans on Sunday. Scoring 17 of his 25 points in the second half, Napier went on a tear the Spartans couldn’t stop. So sound defensively throughout the tournament, the Spartans had no answer for Napier, whose three foul shots with 37 seconds left proved to be the decisive blow. At $268.78, this game was almost half the price of the Michigan State-Virginia game, but just as good.
#2. Michigan Wolverines vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Live by the three, die by the three – that’s what people said about Michigan throughout the tournament. How right they were. Except the Wolverines weren’t just done in by their 7-18 from outside the arc. No, it was the Wildcats’ final three that did them in, ball hitting net with just 2.3 seconds left. Aaron Harrison may soon be a big time NBA hot shot, but for now, it was refreshing to see how happy it made him to see his teammates’ reactions after he sank the game winner. Kentucky may be known as the revolving door in college basketball, but after Sunday, there’s no question that this Wildcats team has a special connection. Reduce it to team chemistry if you want, but it sure looks an awful lot like friendship.
#1. Wisconsin Badgers vs. Arizona Wildcats
The Badgers may have been the better team on Saturday, but only by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin. The Badgers and Wildcats got together for a dogfight, trading blows throughout regulation and continuing in OT, until Frank Kaminsky – the 7-foot Wisconsin hero – hit yet another shot to bring his total for the game to 28 points and his team’s total points to 64, edging the hungry Wildcats by one. It’s rare, but this week’s bang-for-your-buck winner also happens to be the best game of the week, with tickets costing just $185.97 on average.