30 Days of Madness: Van Horn Buzzer BeatersPosted by rtmsf on March 8th, 2010
We’ve been anxiously awaiting the next thirty days for the last eleven months. You have too. In fact, if this isn’t your favorite time of year by a healthy margin then you should probably click away from this site for a while. Because we plan on waterboarding you with March Madness coverage. Seriously, you’re going to feel like Dick Cheney himself is holding a Spalding-logoed towel over your face. Your intake will be so voluminous that you’ll be drooling Gus Johnson and bracket residue in your sleep. Or Seth Davis, if that’s more your style. The point is that we’re all locked in and ready to go. Are you? To help us all get into the mood, we like to click around a fancy little website called YouTube for a daily dose of notable events, happenings, finishes, ups and downs relating to the next month. We’re going to try to make this video compilation a little smarter, a little edgier, a little historical-er. Or whatever. Sure, you’ll see some old favorites that never lose their luster, but you’ll also see some that maybe you’ve forgotten or never knew to begin with. That’s the hope, at least. We’ll be matching the videos by the appropriate week, so for the next seven days, we’ll be re-visiting some of the timeless moments from Championship Week. Enjoy.
Dateline: 1997 WAC Tournament – Utah vs. SMU & Utah vs. New Mexico
Context: Thirteen years ago, Keith Van Horn wasn’t yet a punchline as an NBA player, he was instead an all-america forward at Utah. At that time, the WAC had not yet separated into the current Mountain West/WAC split, and the league was a sixteen-team mess that included the Utes. Led by KVH and point guard Andre Miller, Rick Majerus’ team came into the WAC Tourney at 23-3 (15-1) and the top seed in the conference. Yet in the opening quarterfinal game against SMU, Utah found itself down 58-57 with 0.3 remaining on the clock. Miller lobbed a pass into Van Horn, who tipped the game-winner into the basket as time expired. The next night in the semis against New Mexico, the game was tied when a furious tipping drill in the lane led to Van Horn rebounding the ball and putting a ten-footer back in at the buzzer for the second consecutive evening. In the finals one night later, he dropped 37/15 in a blowout win over TCU to earn his team a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It was one of the greatest single performances the WAC Tournament has ever seen, and one of our favorites as well.