We should currently be in the middle of the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, the finale to this college basketball season has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. In case you are starved for March madness, I ranked the ten best games from last year’s NCAA tournament. These are the games you should be re-watching since there are currently no sports on.
10. Liberty vs Mississippi State
The 5th seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs were heavily favored against the 12th seeded Liberty Flames. Holding a double-digit lead with only seven minutes left in the second half, it appeared as Mississippi State was going to advance to the round of 32. However, thanks to a go-ahead three pointer by Lovell Cabbil Jr. with 1:16 remaining, Liberty secured an 80-76 win and the upset.
9. Kansas State vs UC Irvine
This was the biggest upset of the first round, the 13th seeded Anteaters were the highest-seeded team in the tournament to win a game. After an excellent regular season, the Wildcats blew a double-digit lead and went home in the first round.
8. Maryland vs LSU
The Terrapins and Tigers went back and forth all game. Tremont Waters hit the game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left which gave LSU a thrilling two-point win.
7. Auburn vs Kentucky
This elite eight showdown was the third meeting between Auburn and Kentucky last season, with Kentucky winning the first two showdowns. That and the fact that Kentucky was the higher seed was why the Wildcats were expected to prevail. After an exciting 40 minutes, the game went to overtime where Auburn was able to secure a six-point win to advance to the first final four in school history.
6. Duke vs Virginia Tech
Duke had many games during last year’s march madness that were decided in the final seconds. With a seven-point lead and less than 3 minutes remaining, this game didn’t appear to fall under that category. However, Virginia Tech held the ball while trailing by just two during the final possession of regulation but missed a close shot at the rim as time expired.
5. Duke vs UCF
Watching two physical freaks of nature in Zion Williamson and Takko Fall battle it out was extremely entertaining. The eventual number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Down by one point in the final seconds, UCF missed a put-back attempt off of a missed shot which gave the Blue Devils a narrow victory.
4. Duke vs Michigan State
Entering this elite 8 matchup, Tom Izzo had a 1-11 career record against Mike Krzyzewski. Kenny Goins hit the game-winning three for Michigan State and the Spartans secured a trip to the final four with a 68-67 win.
3. Virginia vs Auburn
Both of these schools had so much to prove. Virginia was a year removed from being the first 1 seed to ever lose to a 16 seed while Auburn wanted to make a big statement in the first-ever final four appearance. After being fouled on a game-winning three-point attempt with 0.6 seconds left, Kyle Guy made three extremely clutch free throws which gave Virginia a one-point win.
2. Virginia vs Purdue
Carsen Edwards did his best Stephen Curry impersonation by making 10 of 19 threes and scoring 42 points for the Boilermakers. After a missed free throw while down by two points with 5.9 seconds left, Virginia grabbed the offensive rebound and Mamadi Diakite sent the game into overtime. The Cavaliers went on to win by five points and went to the final four.
1. Texas Tech vs Virginia
The National Title game more than lived up to the hype. Deandre Hunter hit a three for Virginia with 12.9 seconds remaining which sent the game into overtime where the Cavaliers would prevail. A year after making history for all the wrong reasons by losing to a 16 seed, Tony Bennett led his team to the top of the college basketball world.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make a list of the top 10 games from the 2020 NCAA tournament, because it isn’t happening. However, reliving last years great games was fun!