2011-12 Season Recap: The 12 Most Iconic Moments of the Season

Posted by EJacoby on April 5th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

A season in sports often gets remembered by a handful of different memories that fans can recall when thinking back on that year. Sometimes it’s a scene from the regular season, such as the 2004-05 NBA year that included the ‘Malice at the Palace’ brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. Other times it’s the final play in the championship, such as the 2001 baseball World Series walk-off base hit by the Arizona Diamondbacks. So what will it be for the 2011-12 year of college basketball? Here’s a reminder of the top moments from the season, which certainly did not lack drama. Which ones will you remember when thinking back on this season? We give you the 12 most iconic moments from 2011-12, in no particular order:

Anthony Davis Blocks Henson at the Buzzer (December 3) – Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis was perhaps the biggest story of this entire season. Taking home nearly every Player of the Year award, Davis’ domination at this level as a freshman was must-see television every time he stepped on the floor. But his rise to true stardom perhaps began when the Wildcats defeated then-#5 North Carolina early in the season at Rupp Arena on a last-second block by the lengthy forward. Davis rejected UNC star John Henson’s final shot attempt to seal the one-point win for Kentucky.

Austin Rivers Silences Carolina Crowd (February 8) – One of the two best buzzer-beaters of the season was Duke freshman Austin Rivers’ silencing of the Dean Smith Center in early February. Down by two at Chapel Hill on the final possession, the freshman knocked down a long three over Tyler Zeller to beat North Carolina and send the Tar Heel crowd into a state of utter shock.

Robinson Rejects Mizzou in Border War (February 25) – In what was the final matchup between Kansas and Missouri as rivals in the Big 12 Conference (Mizzou is off to the SEC next year), the two teams put on a classic showdown in Allen Fieldhouse. Missouri dominated the game until a late KU charge, and it was the All-America forward Thomas Robinson’s rejection of Phil Pressey with seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime. Kansas won the game in the extra session to cap off a tremendous game between two top-5 teams.

Watford For the Win! (December 10) – One of the great stories of the season was Indiana’s resurgence as a top team. The Hoosiers had a tremendous year that was highlighted by their victory over #1 Kentucky at home to improve to 9-0 in December. Trailing by two on the final possession, it was this shot by Christian Watford that beat the buzzer and provided us with one of the most memorable shots, and calls, of the season.

Coach K Passes, Embraces Bob Knight (November 15) – Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski became the all-time winningest Division I head coach early this season when his Blue Devils defeated Michigan State in Madison Square Garden in November. Coach K passed Bob Knight, his former coach and mentor, with his 903rd victory and the two men shared an embrace in one moment that captured the emotions of two coaching legends.

Carrier Classic (November 11) – One of the very first games of this season was also one of the most memorable of the entire year, as North Carolina defeated Michigan State in the first-ever basketball game played on an aircraft carrier. Atop the USS Carl Vinson, the Tar Heels defeated the Spartans on Veteran’s Day in the Carrier Classic, part of an incredible atmosphere that set the stage for this season. President Obama was part of the select few that got a chance to attend the game live.

NC State Reacts to NCAA Tournament Selection (March 12) – One of the biggest stories during every season is the anticipation of Selection Sunday when the fates of teams on the bubble are decided. The NC State Wolfpack had to sweat out the selection show, and the team’s reaction to getting its name called was a memorable moment of celebration. That is what the release of days and days of Big Dance anxiety feels like!

Kyle O’Quinn Reacts to #15 Norfolk State’s Win (March 16) – This right here was the official high point of March Madness, when Kyle O’Quinn of #15-seed Norfolk State explained his feelings after his team defeated #2-seed Missouri in the NCAA Tournament. Hours later, #15 Lehigh followed suit and beat #2 Duke to complete one of the wackiest days in Big Dance history, the first time that two #15 seeds were victorious in one Tournament. March Mayhem was summed up in the center’s postgame interview.

Crosstown Shootout Ends in Brawl (December 10) – Sometimes events are memorable because of how ugly and negative they are, such as the brawl that ensued between Cincinnati and Xavier at the end of the annual Crosstown Shootout rivalry game. Xavier won by 23 but that wasn’t the story; it was the nasty scuffle to close out the game that made headlines. Most notable was Yancy Gates’ clean punch to the face of Kenny Frease, and the fracas resulted in several suspensions for both teams. Crazily enough, both teams learned their lessons and would wind up advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in March.

Kendall Marshall Breaks His Wrist (March 18) – The #1-seed North Carolina Tar Heels rolled through its first two NCAA Tournament games and looked like one of the only teams that could challenge Kentucky for a potential National Championship. But those aspirations were killed in one devastating moment, as star point guard Kendall Marshall fractured his wrist in the team’s win over Creighton in the round of 32 and was lost for the remainder of the tournament. UNC would not be the same, losing two rounds later to Kansas in the Elite Eight.

Pat Knight’s Press Conference (February 22) – The head coach of Lamar University is famous for being legendary coach Bob Knight’s son, but Pat Knight made his own headlines with this now-infamous press conference after a loss in late February. Knight lashed out at his seniors and threw his players under the bus in a shocking, pointed rant. His team would go on to win six straight games after this presser and advance to the NCAA Tournament in a wild turn of events.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s Block Seals National Championship (April 2) – The lasting storyline of this season is certainly Kentucky’s National Title, as John Calipari captured his first championship and the eighth in program history. Perhaps the lasting memory of the season, then, is this block by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist that denied Kansas from cutting into a six-point lead with one minute to play and essentially sealed the title victory for the Wildcats.

Honorable Mention.

EJacoby (198 Posts)

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2 responses to “2011-12 Season Recap: The 12 Most Iconic Moments of the Season”

  1. KDoyle says:

    No love for CJ and Lehigh? Not even in the Honorable Mention section?

  2. EJacoby says:

    Showed some love for Lehigh in the Norfolk State description…

    With only 12 moments to choose, I thought we could toss in the Lehigh shoutout as part of the Kyle O’Quinn moment, since they came just hours apart and had the same narrative. Plus Norfolk State had a more signature moment (last-second shot, O’Quinn rebound, interview) while Lehigh won by 5 in just a thorough victory. Norfolk State was a 22-point underdog against a Mizzou team that many had in the Final Four while Duke was just a 12-point favorite and considered by many to be a vulnerable 2-seed. The fact that DUKE lost to LEHIGH is still amazing, but the Norfolk State moment just seemed a smidge more memorable overall IMO

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