30 Days of Madness: Rip Saves the DayPosted by rtmsf on March 24th, 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 all of this week we re-visited some of the timeless moments from the regionals of the NCAA Tournament. Enjoy.
Dateline: 1998 NCAA Regional Semifinals – Connecticut vs. Washington
Context: It doesn’t seem possible at this point, but in 1998, Jim Calhoun’s Connecticut Huskies were widely considered as a nice program that couldn’t quite get it done in March. Despite six Big East regular season titles, three Big East Tournament titles, three 30-win seasons and a slew of NBA talent passing through Storrs, the Huskies entered the 1998 NCAAs as #2 seed intent on making yet another run at their first Final Four appearance in history. After beating FDU in the first round and outlasting Indiana in the second, #11 seed Washington was waiting as a Cinderella Sweet Sixteen opponent. Surely the Huskies would cruise past this team to face top-seeded North Carolina in the Elite Eight, right? Not so fast. Capping a sterling late comeback, UW’s Donald Watts nailed a corner three with 33 seconds remaining to put the west coast Huskies up one, 74-73. Suddenly visions of previous NCAA failures sprouted into worried minds of UConn fans everywhere. Khalid El-Amin dribbled into a play with around fifteen seconds left, and that’s where we pick it up below. While this crew didn’t last another round after the gigantic buzzer-beater by Rip Hamilton, they all came back in 1999 to win the national title and become one of the greatest teams of the modern era.