30 Days of Madness: Walton Dominates Memphis State

Posted by rtmsf on April 2nd, 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 heading down memory lane at the Final Four.  Enjoy.

NCAA Final Four

Dateline: 1973 NCAA Championship – UCLA vs. Memphis State

Context: In the 72-year history of the NCAA Tournament, there has never been a more dominant performance than the one Bill Walton laid on Memphis State in 1973.  Walton and his UCLA Bruins came into this game having won 73 consecutive games and the last six national titles.  The big, lanky redhead from San Diego ensured that upstart Memphis State would not be ending that streak.  His 44 points on 21-22 FGs is a record that still stands in the national title game, and the late ankle sprain that he suffered when the game was already put away portended the myriad leg and foot injuries that Walton suffered throughout his professional career.  Take a trip back to a bygone era and enjoy — you’ll probably never see anything quite like this again.

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30 Days of Madness: Big Country Wrecks Backboard

Posted by rtmsf on April 1st, 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 heading down memory lane at the Final Four.  Enjoy.

NCAA Final Four

Dateline: 1995 NCAA Final Four – Oklahoma State Open Practice Session

Context: In the buzz leading up to the 1995 Final Four, there was a lot of star power with UCLA’s NPOY Ed O’Bannon, North Carolina’s Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace and Arkansas’ Corliss Williamson and Scottie Thurman.  But there was another all-american on the fourth team that the collected media in Seattle were fascinated with: Oklahoma State’s Bryant “Big Country” Reeves.  Nicknamed Big Country by teammate Byron Houston when Reeves was amazed at transcontinental air travel, the folksy player was a hit with good quotes and stories leading up to the game.  His legend was about to get bigger.  During the Friday open practice session at the Kingdome, Reeves caught a pass off the backboard and went in for the reverse dunk.  Here’s the result.

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30 Days of Madness: Phi Slama Jama Detonates on Louisville

Posted by rtmsf on March 31st, 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 heading down memory lane at the Final Four.  Enjoy.

NCAA Final Four

Dateline: 1983 NCAA Final Four – Houston vs. Louisville

Context: This game was the most highly anticipated game of the year in 1983: Houston’s Phi Slama Jamma versus Louisville’s Doctors of Dunk.  Both teams were filled with high-flying, athletic players who liked to get up and down the court.  Houston was led by future Hall of Famers Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, while Louisville had Scooter and Rodney McCray up front as well as Lancaster Gordon and Milt Wagner in the backcourt.  This game more than any other of the post-UCLA era showcased the “attack the rim” mentality that has come to define the modern game, and it showed in the viewership (earning a then-record 14.8 television rating).  We pick up the game with Houston trailing and about to go on a spectacular 17-1 run that included six straight dunks by the Cougars (and ten in the final 12 minutes of the game).  SI’s Curry Kirkpatrick wrote at the time that the display was “breathtaking… [a] bomb of a Houston team detonated.”  Enjoy.

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30 Days of Madness: Dwight Stewart’s Heave From Sixty Feet

Posted by rtmsf on March 29th, 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 heading down memory lane at the Final Four.  Enjoy.

NCAA Final Four

Dateline: 1995 NCAA Final Four – Arkansas vs. North Carolina

Context: At the 1995 Final Four, Arkansas came in as the defending national champions but conventional wisdom had the North Carolina team consisting of all-americans Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace as the favorite.  For a half, it appeared that UNC was the better team, frustrating the Arkansas shooters and holding a seven-point lead just prior to the half.  After forcing a Hawg turnover with just 3.6 seconds remaining in the half, UNC threw the ball length of the court over the heads of everyone, resulting in a bounce off the opposite backboard and ending up in Arkansas’ hands.  One quick pass to 6’9 center Dwight Stewart upcourt, and a push shot from sixty feet, and suddenly Arkansas fans didn’t feel so bad about their position heading into the halftime break.  This momentum helped Arkansas take control behind Corliss Williamson’s strong second half, and the Hawgs ultimately returned to their second consecutive national championship game two nights later.

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30 Days of Madness: Illinois Comes Back From the Dead

Posted by rtmsf on March 28th, 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.

NCAA Regionals

Dateline: 2005 NCAA Regional Finals – Illinois vs. Arizona

Context: There are so many tremendous regional final games to choose from, it’s incredibly difficult to pick just a few.  But in trying to remind ourselves of some of the less well-known but still great moments of this round, we finally settled on this game from 2005 that was without question a comeback for the ages.  There was no one particular shot or moment that everyone remembers like Christian Laettner or Scottie Reynolds, but as a collection of steals, big shots and sustained excitement, it ranks right at the top of the list in our view.  Illinois had gone pretty much wire to wire as the #1 team in America that season, but with four minutes to go, Bruce Weber’s Illini were down 75-60 to Arizona and seemingly on their way home a little short of their Final Four dream.  And that’s when the threes started falling… (start at about 1:45 in the below vid)

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30 Days of Madness: The Dream Game

Posted by rtmsf on March 27th, 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.

NCAA Regionals

Dateline: 1983 NCAA Regional Finals – Kentucky vs. Louisville

Context: With Kentucky playing West Virginia in the East Region Final today between regional rivals that don’t seem to care much for each other, we thought it would make for a nice segue to one of our favorite historical games in the same round involving UK.  In 1983, the NCAA brackets fell in such a way that intrastate rivals Kentucky and Louisville met in the regional finals with a trip to the Final Four on the line.  Many of our younger readers are probably thinking… ok, so what?  Great question.  The “what” is that the two teams had not played in 24 seasons due to Kentucky’s refusal to play the Cards despite Denny Crum’s best attempts to broker a game between the schools separated by 70 miles of I-64.  Imagine if Duke and North Carolina hadn’t played for a quarter century because UNC didn’t think Duke was worth its time.  Needless to say, the hype for this game, both nationally and locally was through the roof, as you can see in this preview piece hosted by Brent Musburger.

As for the game itself, it was a spirited affair, and worth every bit of the pre-game hype.  The two teams battled through 39+ minutes of back and forth basketball until the following sequence ended regulation.

The overtime period wasn’t quite so thrilling, but some Louisville fans still say it was the most meaningful five minutes in the history of the Cardinal program, even more so than their two national titles in 1980 and 1986.

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30 Days of Madness: Jordan Crawford From Somewhere in Nevada

Posted by rtmsf on March 26th, 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.

NCAA Regionals

Dateline: 2010 NCAA Regional Semifinals – Kansas State vs. Xavier

Context: How’s this for real-time reporting?  Since we were there live tonight, and since it was one of the nastiest long-range shots we’ve ever seen in the NCAA Tournament, we’re putting it up.  In case you somehow don’t know how it got to this point, Xavier sent the game into overtime when Terrell Holloway hit all three free throws after he was fouled on a 30-footer at the end of regulation.  As they’d done all night long, K-State again took control and held a three-point lead when Xavier brought the ball up with nineteen seconds left.  This is where we pick it up on both of the below videos (two different fan angles).

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30 Days of Madness: The Laettner Shot Before the Laettner Shot

Posted by rtmsf on March 25th, 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.

NCAA Regionals

Dateline: 1990 NCAA Regional Finals – Duke vs. Connecticut

Context: As we move into the regional finals, there have been SO MANY memorable shots, games and storylines over the years.  How to choose just a handful of them?  Ultimately we decided to just go with our gut, hopeful that you’ll forgive us if we don’t show the Laettner shot for the zillionth time.  Ok, we lied.  You’ve seen the 1992 Duke vs. Kentucky shot more times than you can possibly handle, but how many of you remember the first time that Christian Laettner solidified his Mr. March bona fides?  The situation was this: In 1990, Duke was in the middle of their Buffalo Bills run, having made the Final Four in 1986, 1988, and 1989, yet having still never won the national title.  Jim Calhoun’s rising Connecticut program had its best team in history, coming into the East Regional final at 31-5, the #1 seed in the region and fresh from a Sweet Sixteen game against Clemson they won on a miraculous length-of-the-court play where Tate George hit a turnaround shot at the buzzer.  After 39+ minutes of battle between Nadav Henefeld, Chris Smith, Alaa Abdelnaby and Danny Ferry, it appeared that UConn’s dream season would result in their first-ever Final Four appearance, but with 2.6 seconds remaining, the sophomore Laettner had other ideas.  This shot made Laettner a March legend a full two years prior to the perfect game he threw against Kentucky that elevated his career to one of the greatest of all-time in college basketball.

(ed. note: we have no idea why this video is in fast-mo, but this was the only version we could find)

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30 Days of Madness: Rip Saves the Day

Posted 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.

NCAA Regionals

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.

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30 Days of Madness: The Night Adam Morrison Cried

Posted by rtmsf on March 23rd, 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.

NCAA Regionals

Dateline: 2006 NCAA Regional Semifinals – Gonzaga vs. UCLA

Context: You knew it was going to show up on here sooner or later.  How can it not?  In a game that pitted the two biggest western powers of the era in an Oakland Sweet Sixteen showdown, Gonzaga and NPOY candidate Adam Morrison had run out to a 37-20 first half lead to put Ben Howland’s UCLA Bruins on the brink of a disaster.  But in typical UCLA fashion, the Bruin defense kept them within reach, having closed the gap to nine points with just over three minutes to go in the game at 71-62.  Things weren’t looking good, but the Bruins started chipping away.  Luc Richard Mbah a Moute made two free throws, then followed that up with a layup a little while later.  After a JP Batista and Adam Morrison miss on the other end, Jordan Farmar’s layup brought the game to three points with just under a minute remaining.  We pick it up below as Gonzaga takes the ball out up three with 40.8 seconds remaining.  The amazing finish and the accompanying call from Gus Johnson makes The Night Adam Morrison Cried one of our favorite March Moments of all-time (note: no disrespect intended toward Morrison or the Zags, but the emotion of the moment shows just how incredibly lifting and devastating the Tournament can be).

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30 Days of Madness: J-Will’s Nineteen Straight Points

Posted by rtmsf on March 22nd, 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.

NCAA Regionals

Dateline: 2001 NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals – Duke vs. UCLA

Context: It was 2001, and Duke was well on its way to Mike Krzyzewski’s third national championship of his career.  In the regional semifinals, the Devils were matched up against a talented UCLA Bruin team led by Earl Watson, Jason Kapono, Matt Barnes and Dan Gadzuric.  With the #1 seed hanging onto a narrow three-point lead in the second half with about fourteen minutes to go, Jason Williams decided to put his team on his back and take care of things himself.  Nineteen straight points later, Duke had a comfortable eight-point lead and UCLA would get no closer the rest of the way.  J-Will, as he was known at the time, ended up with 26 points in the second half on his way to 34 points (including six treys) and four assists in a 76-63 victory for Duke.  It was one of the more magnificent stretches of individual basketball we’ve seen in the NCAA Tournament, and helped propel the Devils to their date with destiny the following weekend.

(note: the video says it was 17 straight points, but this is incorrect.  see here.)

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30 Days of Madness: Jason Kidd Ends Duke Dynasty

Posted by rtmsf on March 21st, 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 first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.  Enjoy.

NCAA First and Second Rounds

Dateline: 1993 NCAA Tournament Second Round – Duke vs. California

Context: Seventeen years ago this weekend, one of the greatest dynasties of the modern era of college basketball came to an end.  In March 1993, the Duke Blue Devils had been to five consecutive Final Fours, winning the previous two with the core group of Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Thomas Hill, Grant Hill, Brian Davis and Antonio Lang.  When #3 seed Duke met #6 seed California in the second round in Chicago, the Devils were riding a 13-game NCAA winning streak and although they had not had the season that their forebears had enjoyed, the sentiment at the time was that Duke would find a way to scratch back into the Final Four behind the senior Hurley’s talents for winning big games.  Hurley had 32/9 assts in the game, but Cal’s Jason Kidd had 11/14 in a display that presciently displayed the talents that he would later bring to the NBA and the Olympics.  It was a startling win, the kind of which made fans think that they were seeing a changing of the guard of sorts.  And while California was never the same after Kidd’s run to the Sweet Sixteen that year (Todd Bozeman soon after melted down the program), Duke rode a healthy Grant Hill back to the NCAA Championship game the following season.  Still, Duke didn’t win another title until 2001, and they’ve only attended one Final Four since.  Will today’s game derail another shot at glory for Duke and Coach K just like it did nearly two decades ago, or will this be a mere blip on their road to Indy?

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