Although professional basketball gets most of the attention, there are times when record-breaking performances and underdog wins make college basketball the topic on everyone’s mind. These spectacular performances transcend a single performance and become the stuff that legends are made of. The following five performances are the top moments in college basketball history.
1. Richmond Defeats Syracuse During March Madness
In 1991, Richmond was rated as the 15th seed in March Madness. They managed to defeat top teams that included players like Charles Barkley in previous years. By 1991, they were ready to show what they were made of. The team defeated Syracuse to become the first March Madness winner in history to have been ranked at 15th place going into the event. The ultimate score of the game was 73-69 due to Richmond’s impressive defense.
2. Northern Iowa Beats Top Ranked Kansas
Since entering Division I, the Northern Iowa Panthers have only reached the NCAA tournament six times. In 2010, they were coached by Ben Jacobson to have an extremely competitive squad. Led by Ali Farkhmanesh, they managed to beat Kansas 69-67 in the second round. This made them the first team to defeat a first place seed since 2004.
3. George Mason Defeats the University of Connecticut in the Elite Eight
In the 2007 NCAA tournament, Jim Larranaga’s team appeared less athletic and smaller than the top-ranked teams they were expected to play. Despite their underdog status, they upset Michigan State University. In the previous year, Michigan State University had been one of the Final Four. Even as the game progressed, the Patriots were behind by nine points at half time. They managed to earn their way back on top and beat the University of Connecticut in overtime. The final score was 86-84 in favor of Michigan.
4. A Shot in the Eleventh Hour
Duke University was behind in the 1992 NCAA championship game against Kentucky. Fortunately, it had one of the best college players ever on its side. Christian Laettner and the Duke University team were behind and had just three seconds left in overtime. Bringing the ball to the Wildcats’ basket, George Hill passed from three-quarters court to Laettner. Christian Laettner caught the ball, aimed and made a 17-foot shot. The buzzer-beating shot remains one of the best moments in college basketball history. It ended up landing Duke University in the Final Four and enabled them to win a national championship.
5. Tiny Chaminade Defeats Virginia
On December 23, 1982, an 800-student school from Hawaii managed to defeat first-ranked Virginia. The game with Tiny Chaminade was supposed to be a brief visit to paradise for Virginia after two games in Japan. At the beginning of the game, Virginia was up 8-0 against Tiny Chaminade. Weary and unready to play, Virginia managed to hold its own for the first half. By the middle of the game, the two teams were tied. Richard Haenisch from Tiny Chaminade led the team for scoring with 38 points. As a result, this small Hawaiian school defeated one of the top ranked teams in the NCAA.
With shots sinking in the basket at the last second and underdog upsets, these games are some of the most exciting in college basketball history. Although they were riveting to watch when they were initially played, some of the same excitement can be relived by watching the games again online.
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