Greatest NCAA Tourney Game of Every Season

Tonight should be national championship night in college basketball, but instead we are left with a sports void like we have never seen before.  Since there is no basketball to watch, it seems like a good time to do some reflection and look back at the great games of NCAA tournaments of years past.  There are many online lists that rank NCAA tournament games over the years, but I could not find one that selected the best game in every single tournament and then analyzed the results to determine which teams are involved in the best games and also which rounds produce the best matchups.  I am here to produce the first such article for you to enjoy.  I took into account several factors when determining which game was truly the best for a particular NCAA tourney, including the game’s significance in determining the eventual champion, the improbability of the final outcome, and the overall excitement of the game.  Without further ado, here is my selection for game of the year for every NCAA tournament that has been played.  The games in bold I have rated as best of the decade, and the ones with asteriks went into overtime.  Feel free to comment or debate.

1939 Oregon 46, Ohio State 33 (Title Game)

Ohio State and Oregon have made championship game history together ...

This was a bad debut tourney as every game was decided by double digits.  Glad they decided to keep playing this thing!

1940 Kansas 43, Southern Cal 42 (Final Four)

Photos: KU in the Final Four - The Topeka Capital-Journal - Topeka, KS

Phog Allen’s Jayhawks win first close game in the history of the Final Four.

1941 Wisconsin 51, Dartmouth 50 (1st Round)

Men's basketball: What it was like when Wisconsin won a national ...

Badgers survive homecourt scare to make run to school’s first and only national title.

1942 Kentucky 46, Illinois 44 (1st Round)

Roster for 1941-42

Cats overcome halftime deficit thanks to poor foul shooting from the Illini.

1943 Wyoming 58, Texas 54 (Final Four)

Cowboys” The Story Of The 1943 National Basketball Champions Hits ...

Cinderella Cowboys only got a tourney bid when Arkansas withdrew due to a car accident involving several members of the team.

1944 Utah 42, Dartmouth 40 (Title Game)

1943–44 Utah Redskins men's basketball team - Wikipedia

Eight point underdog Utes pull off upset thanks to Herb Wilkinson’s game winner.

1945 NYU 70, Ohio State 65* (Final Four)

The Violets, as they were called, erased a 10 point deficit with two minutes to go to win in overtime.  The star of that team was Ray Lumpp (pictured above).

1946 Oklahoma A & M 43, North Carolina 40 (Title Game)

1945–46 Oklahoma A&M Aggies men's basketball team - Wikipedia

Cowboy center Bob Kurland executes first the two dunks in NCAA tourney history en route to title.

1947 Oklahoma 55, Texas 54 (Final Four)

Ken Pryor, hero in OU's 1947 NCAA basketball victory, dies at 85

This was the biggest Red River Rivalry basketball game ever played.  The Sooners won on Ken Pryor’s jumper from the wing.

1948 Baylor 64, Washington 62 (First Round)

Not a Basketball School': Texas, Baylor pave the way to the Final ...

This was the only close game of entire tournament.

1949 Oklahoma A & M 40, Wyoming 39 (First Round)

Jack Shelton’s game winner propels Henry Iba’s Cowboys on run to national title game.

1950 CCNY 71, Bradley 68 (Title Game)

The triumph & tragedy of the 1950 City College Grand Slam

Lovable team of New York locals wins title thanks to Irwin Dambrot block in final seconds.

1951 Kentucky 76, Illinois 74 (Final Four)

The Twin Cities' first Final Four, in 1951, still stirs trash talk ...

Cats overcome 7 point halftime deficit to comeback and win on Shelby Linville’s game-winner.

1952 St. John’s 64, Kentucky 57 (2nd Round)

St. John's to Honor Basketball Great Solly Walker on Saturday - St ...

Incredible upset of the top ranked team especially considering the Cats won the regular season meeting by 41 points.

1953 Indiana 69, Kansas 68 (Title Game)

This Date in Hoosier History: Indiana Defeats Kansas for 1953 ...

Bobby Leonard hits game winning free throw with 27 seconds left to give Hoosiers title.

1954 La Salle 76, Fordham 74* (First Round)

Frank S. Blatcher, a player on La Salle's 1954 NCAA basketball ...

Fran O’Malley buzzer beater sends game in OT for Explorers, setting tone for national title run.

1955 San Francisco 57, Oregon State 56 (Elite 8)

1955 National Champions - University of San Francisco Athletics

Clutch rebound by Bill Russell seals final four trip for Dons en route to their first national title.

1956 Temple 60, Canisius 58 (Elite 8)

Temple basketball legend Hal Lear dies at 81 | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Hal Lear (pictured above) sinks two free throws with two seconds left to send the Owls to their first Final Four.

1957 North Carolina 54, Kansas 53*** (Title Game)

The 25 Greatest Games in UNC Basketball History: #1 - The 1957 ...

UNC unbelievably wins back-to-back triple overtime games, the latter of which was against Wilt Chamberlain’s (pictured above) Jayhawks squad, to clinch the school’s first national title.

1958 Kentucky 61, Temple 60 (Final Four)

1957–58 Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team - Wikipedia

Vernon Hatton’s layup with 16 seconds left gives Cats victory en route to their fourth title.

1959 California 71, West Virginia 70 (Title Game)

Cal Basketball: 60 Years Ago, Coach Pete Newell Gave Bears Their ...

Bears’ tip-in with 17 seconds left knocks off Jerry West’s Mountaineers.

1960 NYU 82, West Virginia 81* (Sweet 16)

VINTAGE 1959-1960 NYU BASKETBALL MEDIA GUIDE TOM SANDERS,RUSS ...

Seldom used Jim Reiss hits game winner in overtime.

1961 Cincinnati 70, Ohio State 65* (Title Game)

1960–61 Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball team - Wikipedia

Bearcats slowed down the tempo against the Buckeyes to pull off monumental upset.

1962 Cincinnati 72, UCLA 70 (Final Four)

Throwback Thursday – 1962 NCAA Championship

Bearcats beat Bruins with jumper in final seconds en route to second consecutive national title.

1963 Loyola-Chicago 60, Cincinnati 58* (Title Game)

Loyola's 1963 NCAA Championship Team Named to Basketball Hall of ...

Ramblers overcome a 15 point second half deficit to win with tip-in in final seconds.

1964 UCLA 90, Kansas State 84 (Final Four)

1963–64 UCLA Bruins men's basketball team - Wikipedia

Bruins make late game comeback after cheerleaders, who had their flight delayed, arrive with 7 minutes left to go in the second half.  UCLA goes on to win their first national title the following day.

1965 Michigan 87, Vanderbilt 85 (Elite 8)

U-M Big Ten Champions, 1964-1965 | Ann Arbor District Library

Controversial walking call down the stretch costs Vandy a trip to its first Final Four.

1966 Texas Western 72, Kentucky 65 (Title Game)

David Lattin - Photos: 1966 Texas Western vs. Kentucky National ...

The movie “Glory Road” is based on Texas Western’s (now UTEP) Cinderella win over the Cats.

1967 Dayton 71, Virginia Tech 66* (Elite 8)

50 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH: UD MAKES RUN TO NCAA FINALS - University ...

Fans stormed the court after Flyers make late ten point comeback to earn Final Four berth.

1968 Ohio State 82, Kentucky 81 (Elite 8)

March Madness: Ohio State's greatest NCAA Tournament victories

“Sunshine” Sorenson hits bank shot game winner to knock off the third ranked Cats.

1969 UCLA 85, Drake 82 (Final Four)

Fifty Years of Dolph - Drake University Newsroom

Drake had a shot in final seconds to pull off monstrous upset.

1970 Jacksonville 106, Kentucky 100 (Elite 8)

Kentucky vs. Jacksonville (March 14, 1970)

Artis Gilmore leads Cinderella Dolphins to upset win over top-ranked Wildcats.

1971 UCLA 57, Long Beach State 55 (Elite 8)

Doug Krikorian: Holding on to grand memories – Daily News

A young Jerry Tarkanian gives UCLA its biggest scare during its seven year reign of terror.

1972 Florida State 83, Eastern Kentucky 81 (1st Round)

Missing sports? Savor the sweet memories of FSU's amazing run to ...

Narrow escape launches Cinderella run to title game for the Noles.

1973 Kentucky 106, Austin Peay 100* (Sweet 16)

Kentucky Basketball on Twitter: "1973 - a new @marchmadness era in ...

A high scoring classic as James “Fly” Williams almost leads Governors to epic upset.

1974 NC State 80, UCLA 77** (Final Four)

Wolfpack Flashback: Slaying the Giant

Double overtime classic ends UCLA’s seven year reign of terror in NCAA tourney.

1975 Kentucky 92, Indiana 90 (Elite 8)

ON THIS DAY: In 1975, Kentucky Steals Indiana's Shot at History

Classic game that served as Indiana’s only loss in two and a half year span for 1974-76.

1976 Rutgers 54, Princeton 53 (1st Round)

The Unforgettable Season - Rutgers University Athletics

Princeton’s Pete Malloy misses front end of one-and-one to preserve Rutgers’ undefeated Final Four run.

1977 Marquette 51, Charlotte 49 (Final Four)

Throwback Thursday Series: Greatest FG in MU History[Part 1]

Marquette’s Jerome Whitehead catches length of court and then hits wild shot at the buzzer to knock off 49ers in most dramatic fashion.

1978 (3Q) Miami-OH 84, (1L) Marquette 81* (1st Round)

Defending Quintet Loses in Overtime Providence Out - The New York ...

Huge overtime upset of defending national champion.

1979 (2) Michigan State 75, (1) Indiana State 64 (Title Game)

Magic Johnson Rebound Michigan State 8x10 Press Photo College NCAA ...

One of the most legendary games of all-time even though it wasn’t very close.

1980 (4) Duke 55, (1) Kentucky 54 (Sweet 16)

Kentucky vs. Duke (March 13, 1980)

Kyle Macy misses buzzer beater for the Cats. This is the first of three Kentucky/Duke classics on list.

1981 (6) Brigham Young 51, (2) Notre Dame 50 (Sweet 16)

BYU vs. Notre Dame: 1981 Sweet 16 | FULL GAME - YouTube

Ainge’s coast-to-coast game winner is an all-time iconic March moment.

1982 (1) North Carolina 63, (1) G’Town 62 (Title Game)

NCAAM – 1982 – Championship Game – North Carolina Tar Heels Vs ...

The game started in bizarre fashion with Ewing goal tending the first four field goals for North Carolina, and then ended in even stranger fashion with Hoya point guard Fred Brown throwing a pass directly to North Carolina forward James Worthy.  In between those moments, some guy named Mike Jordan hit a fairly memorable shot (see picture above).

1983 (6) NC State 54, (1) Houston 52 (Title Game)

N.C. stunned Houston to win 1983 national tile | Sports | news ...

Greatest title game finish ever with NC State’s Lorenzo Charles converting Derek Wittenberg’s air ball into an alley-oop dunk at the buzzer.

1984 (4) Wake Forest 73, (1) DePaul 71* (Sweet 16)

Former Wake Forest coach Carl Tacy honed his coaching skills in ...

The Demon Deacons sent DePaul’s Ray Meyer into retirement with this huge upset.

1985 (8) Villanova 66, (1) Georgetown 64 (Title Game)

Tournament Throwback: #8 Villanova vs. #1 Georgetown (1985) - VU Hoops

The greatest Cinderella champion of all-time.  Nova shot 78.6% from the field and still barely won the title game.

1986 (11) LSU 59, (1) Kentucky 57 (Elite 8)

Remember when? Looking back at LSU's biggest wins in Sweet 16 ...

The first of three 11 seed over 1 seed upsets in the history of the tournament (others: VCU in 2011 and George Mason in 2006).

1987 (1) Indiana 74, (2) Syracuse 73 (Title Game)

Recalling 1987: Keith Smart, Indiana

Keith Smart’s game winner (see above) gives Bob Knight his final NCAA title.

1988 (6) Kansas 83, (1) Oklahoma 79 (Title Game)

It's Over' | By Danny Manning

Danny and the Miracles cap off an incredible Cinderella title run that often gets forgotten amidst all the other epic NCAA title games from the 1980’s.

1989 (3) Michigan 80, (3) Seton Hall 79* (Title Game)

25 years later, memories still fresh of foul call that robbed ...

Rummeal Robinson’s clutch free throws (pictured above) give Michigan its first and only national title.

1990 (3) Duke 79, (1) UConn (78)* (Elite 8)

You Tube Gold: Duke-UConn 1991 - Duke Basketball Report

The first of Christian Laettner’s two iconic elite eight buzzer beaters.  (see 1992 for the other)

1991 (15) Richmond 73, (2) Syracuse 69 (1st Round)

Richmond over Syracuse, the first 15-over-2 upset, turns 25

The first 15 seed to beat a 2.

1992 (1) Duke 104, (2) Kentucky 103* (Elite 8)

AP Was There: Laettner's shot stuns Kentucky in OT, 104-103

The greatest game ever played, and the worst sports moment of my life.  This game is seriously my most vivid childhood memory.

1993 (1) North Carolina 77, (1) Michigan 71 (Title Game)

The 25 Greatest Games in UNC Basketball History: #4 - The 1993 ...

Chris Webber’s boneheaded technical foul for calling too many timeouts robs the Fab Five of a national title.

1994 (9) BC 75, (1) North Carolina 72 (2nd Round)

The NCAA Tournament - Bill Curley and the Boston College Eagles ...

Thrilling second round upset sends tourney favorite and defending champ home.

1995 (2) Arkansas 96, (7) Syracuse 94* (2nd Round)

Syracuse infamous timeout vs Arkansas - 1995 NCAA Tournament - YouTube

This was a wild game that had a little bit of everything, including a Chris Webber style technical foul for too taking too many timeouts with less than five seconds in regulation.

1996 (13) Princeton 43, (4) UCLA 41 (1st Round)

March Madness Classics: Pete Carril and Princeton upset UCLA in ...

Princeton shocks the defending national champs with a back-door cut game winning layup.

1997 (4) Arizona 84, (1) Kentucky 79* (Title Game)

16(0) Words Of March Madness: 1997 NCAA Final - Arizona 84 ...

Miles Simon leads Arizona to lone national title in thrilling fashion.

1998 (2) Kentucky 86, (1) Duke 84 (Elite 8)

UK's Scott Padgett celebrates shot against Duke, 1998 | Kentucky ...

Incredible 18 point comeback for Kentucky gives Cats revenge from the 1992 Laettner game.  Surprisingly, this is the last time these two great programs have met in the NCAA tournament.

1999 (1) UConn 77, (1) Duke 74 (Title Game)

Top title games: UConn's '99 win vs. Duke a program-changer ...

Huskies pull off thrilling upset over a Duke team most thought was unbeatable.

2000 (5) Florida 69, (12) Butler 68* (1st Round)

Reliving That First Butler Game ... Nearly 19 Years Ago - Florida ...

Mike Miller’s runner in the lane at the buzzer sets table for Florida’s run to national title game.

2001 (15) Hampton 58, (2) Iowa State 57 (1st Round)

2001 Hampton Vs. Iowa State: The Greatest Upset In Tournament ...

This thrilling upset was the first 15 over 2 shocker that I watched live.

2002 (5) Indiana 74, (1) Duke 73 (Sweet 16)

This Date in Hoosier History: Indiana Stuns No. 1 Duke – The Daily ...

Kentucky crowd shows they hate Duke even more than rival Indiana, as they raucously cheer Indiana to this upset.  Duke’s Jay Williams chokes game away with key missed free throws down the stretch.

2003 (3) Syracuse 81, (2) Kansas 78 (Title Game)

Former Syracuse basketball star Hakim Warrick recalls 'The Block ...

Hakim Warrick’s block seals first and only national title for the Cuse.

2004 (2) UConn 79, (1) Duke 78 (Final Four)

Rashad Anderson | gatorc4 | Flickr

Classic Final Four game that Huskies stole with late 12-0 run.

2005 (5) Michigan State 94, (2) Kentucky 88** (Elite 8)

Kentucky Patrick Sparks Stock Pictures, Royalty-free Photos ...

Epic two overtime thriller featuring Patrick Sparks buzzer beater at end of regulation.

2006 (11) George Mason 86, (1) UConn 84* (Elite 8)

10-year anniversary of George Mason's Final Four run | NCAA.com

Biggest Elite Eight upset ever!

2007 (11) VCU 79, (6) Duke 77 (1st Round)

Last-second shot gives VCU upset victory over Duke | SummitDaily.com

The biggest upset in what is probably the worst NCAA tourney ever.

2008 (1) Kansas 75, (1) Memphis 68* (Title Game)

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self Live-Tweets 2008 National Championship ...

Mario Chalmers’ iconic buzzer beater (pictured above) is an all-time memorable shot.

2009 (3) Villanova 78, (1) Pittsburgh 76 (Elite 8)

3 Villanova vs. #1 Pitt (2009 NCAA Tournament): Live Score, Stats ...

Scottie Reynolds hits runner in the lane to deny Pitt its first Final Four trip since 1941.

2010 (1) Duke 61, (5) Butler 59 (Title Game)

Hayward, The Shot, Butler's run to 2010 Final Four

This game will forever be remember for Hayward’s heave that almost went in.

2011 (8) Butler 71, (1) Pittsburgh 70 (2nd Round)

Butler stuns Pittsburgh after crazy ending in NCAA tournament ...

Two inexplicable end of game fouls created the weirdest end to a tourney game ever.

2012 (15) Norfolk State 86, (2) Missouri 84 (1st Round)

NCAA Tournament 2012: Why Norfolk State Has Easy Road to Elite 8 ...

Biggest point spread upset in tourney history, and I guaranteed it would happen as soon as the brackets came out.

2013 (4) Michigan 87, (1) Kansas 85* (Sweet 16)

Michigan Stuns No. 1 Seed Kansas - The New York Times

Burke’s deep 3 at end of regulation (pictured above) is one of longest buzzer beaters you’ll ever see.  The Wolverines ended up clinching this game in overtime and making a run to the national title game in Atlanta.

2014 (8) Kentucky 74, (2) Wisconsin 73 (Final Four)

Kentucky sends Wisconsin home on Aaron Harrison's 3-pointer – The ...

Aaron Harrison’s third game winning three pointer of the tournament gave Calipari his most recent trip to the national championship game.

2015 (14) Georgia State 57, (3) Baylor 56 (1st Round)

Second Round: Georgia State's Hunter stuns Baylor - YouTube

R.J. Hunter’s final shot (pictured above) and his dad’s subsequent broken leg celebration is an all-time great moment in tournament history.

2016 (2) Villanova 77, (1) North Carolina 74 (Title Game)

Villanova Wins N.C.A.A. Championship on Last-Second Shot - The New ...

Kris Jenkins buzzer beater serves as one of two or three great all-time finishes to a national championship game, and this entire game, which I attended personally, was outstanding.  

2017 (1) North Carolina 75, (2) Kentucky 73 (Elite 8)

North Carolina Vindicates Roy Williams's Trust With Last-Second ...

Luke Maye’s buzzer beater ended Kentucky’s incredible comeback attempt.  

2018 (16) UMBC 74, (1) Virginia 54 (1st Round)

Eight days in March (Part 2): An oral history of UMBC's historic ...

The first and only 16 over 1 upset is possibly the greatest upset in the history of all of sports.

2019 (1) Virginia 80, (3) Purdue 75* (Elite 8)

Amazing Virginia buzzer beater and how it happened | March Madness ...

Unbelievable pass, catch, and shot by Kihei Clark and Mamadi Diakite sends game into overtime and preserves Virginia’s national championship run.


So those are your 81 moments from each of the past NCAA tournaments.  Now, let’s look at the round-by-round analysis of these moments to see which tournament rounds have produced the best games.

Breakdown by Round (81)
1st Round (3) 16
2nd Round (6) 4
Sweet 16 (5) 7
Elite 8 (2) 17
Final Four (4) 13
Title Game (1) 24

Not surprisingly, national title matchups have produced the most “games of the tournament” which is not surprising given that they are by their very nature the most significant.  With that being said, the round right before the title game, the national semifinals (aka Final Four), came in fourth place in this analysis.  We always love to talk about how great the Final Four is with the back-to-back Saturday night matchups, but if look back over the years, you will see this round has failed to produce classic NCAA tournament games.  I believe it is fair to say the number of best tourney games each round has produced is an accurate ranking of the six rounds of the NCAA tournament (1- Championship, 2- Elite Eight, 3- First Round, 4- Final Four, 5- Sweet 16, 6- Second Round).


I also have broken this analysis down by team so you can see which teams play the best tournament games and how each team does in those games.  Interestingly, Kentucky had almost twice as many “games of the tournament” as any other school, and before you scream that this analysis is biased because I am personally a big Kentucky fan, go back and look at each of these tournaments.  You will see that in almost every single instance the Cats were unarguably involved in the best game that tournament produced, win or lose.  Part of the reason for that is that Kentucky has been the most consistent program over the history of the NCAA tournament by reaching the final four at least once in every single decade.  Here is the full analysis:

Team Participants
# of games of year Record
Kentucky 17 7-10
Duke 9 4-5
UNC 7 4-3
Kansas 7 3-4
UCLA 6 3-3
Indiana 4 3-1
Michigan 4 3-1
UConn 4 2-2
Ohio State 4 1-3
Syracuse 4 1-3
Villanova 3 3-0
Cincinnati 3 2-1
Butler 3 1-2
Michigan St 2 2-0
NYU 2 2-0
OK A & M 2 2-0
NC State 2 2-0
Princeton 2 1-1
Temple 2 1-1
Baylor 2 1-1
Oklahoma 2 1-1
Wyoming 2 1-1
Wisconsin 2 1-1
Marquette 2 1-1
Virginia 2 1-1
West Virginia 2 0-2
Dartmouth 2 0-2
Illinois 2 0-2
Texas 2 0-2
Georgetown 2 0-2
Oregon 1 1-0
Utah 1 1-0
CCNY 1 1-0
La Salle 1 1-0
Californa 1 1-0
San Fracisco 1 1-0
Loyola-IL 1 1-0
Texas Western 1 1-0
Dayton 1 1-0
Miami-OH 1 1-0
BYU 1 1-0
Florida State 1 1-0
Florida 1 1-0
Wake Forest 1 1-0
LSU 1 1-0
Richmond 1 1-0
BC 1 1-0
Arkansas 1 1-0
Rutgers 1 1-0
Jacksonville 1 1-0
Arizona 1 1-0
Hampton 1 1-0
George Mason 1 1-0
VCU 1 1-0
Norfolk State 1 1-0
Georgia State 1 1-0
UMBC 1 1-0
Bradley 1 0-1
Southern Cal 1 0-1
Washington 1 0-1
St. John’s 1 0-1
Fordham 1 0-1
Oregon St. 1 0-1
Canisius 1 0-1
K-State 1 0-1
Vandy 1 0-1
VA Tech 1 0-1
Drake 1 0-1
Long Beach St. 1 0-1
Eastern KY 1 0-1
Austin Peay 1 0-1
Princeton 1 0-1
Charlotte 1 0-1
Indiana St 1 0-1
Notre Dame 1 0-1
Houston 1 0-1
DePaul 1 0-1
Seton Hall 1 0-1
Iowa State 1 0-1
Memphis 1 0-1
Missouri 1 0-1
Purdue 1 0-1

Finally, here is the full list of the best games by year without the illustrations or descriptions above.  I thought some of you may want to look at this to more easily be able to compare different seasons over time.  Thanks everyone for reading and please feel free to comment or debate.

Year Game
Bold is best for decade
* is overtime game
1939 Oregon 46, Ohio State 33 (Title Game)
1940 Kansas 43, Southern Cal 42 (Final Four)
1941 Wisconsin 51, Dartmouth 50 (1st Round)
1942 Kentucky 46, Illinois 44 (1st Round)
1943 Wyoming 58, Texas 54 (Final Four)
1944 Utah 42, Dartmouth 40 (Title Game)
1945 NYU 70, Ohio State 65* (Final Four)
1946 Oklahoma A & M 43, North Carolina 40 (Title Game)
1947 Oklahoma 55, Texas 54 (Final Four)
1948 Baylor 64, Washington 62 (First Round)
1949 Oklahoma A & M 40, Wyoming 39 (First Round)
1950 CCNY 71, Bradley 68 (Title Game)
1951 Kentucky 76, Illinois 74 (Final Four)
1952 St. John’s 64, Kentucky 57 (2nd Round)
1953 Indiana 69, Kansas 68 (Title Game)
1954 La Salle 76, Fordham 74* (First Round)
1955 San Francisco 57, Oregon State 56 (Elite 8)
1956 Temple 60, Canisius 58 (Elite 8)
1957 North Carolina 54, Kansas 53*** (Title Game)
1958 Kentucky 61, Temple 60 (Final Four)
1959 California 71, West Virginia 70 (Title Game)
1960 NYU 82, West Virginia 81* (Sweet 16)
1961 Cincinnati 70, Ohio State 65* (Title Game)
1962 Cincinnati 72, UCLA 70 (Final Four)
1963 Loyola-Chicago 60, Cincinnati 58* (Title Game)
1964 UCLA 90, Kansas State 84 (Final Four)
1965 Michigan 87, Vanderbilt 85 (Elite 8)
1966 Texas Western 72, Kentucky 65 (Title Game)
1967 Dayton 71, Virginia Tech 66* (Elite 8)
1968 Ohio State 82, Kentucky 81 (Elite 8)
1969 UCLA 85, Drake 82 (Final Four)
1970 Jacksonville 106, Kentucky 100 (Elite 8)
1971 UCLA 57, Long Beach State 55 (Elite 8)
1972 Florida State 83, Eastern Kentucky 81 (1st Round)
1973 Kentucky 106, Austin Peay 100* (Sweet 16)
1974 NC State 80, UCLA 77** (Final Four)
1975 Kentucky 92, Indiana 90 (Elite 8)
1976 Rutgers 54, Princeton 53 (1st Round)
1977 Marquette 51, Charlotte 49 (Final Four)
1978 (3Q) Miami-OH 84, (1L) Marquette 81* (1st Round)
1979 (2) Michigan State 75, (1) Indiana St. 64 (Title Game)
1980 (4) Duke 55, (1) Kentucky 54 (Sweet 16)
1981 (6) Brigham Young 51, (2) Notre Dame 50 (Sweet 16)
1982 (1) North Carolina 63, (1) G’Town 62 (Title Game)
1983 (6) NC State 54, (1) Houston 52 (Title Game)
1984 (4) Wake Forest 73, (1) DePaul 71* (Sweet 16)
1985 (8) Villanova 66, (1) Georgetown 64 (Title Game)
1986 (11) LSU 59, (1) Kentucky 57 (Elite 8)
1987 (1) Indiana 74, (2) Syracuse 73 (Title Game)
1988 (6) Kansas 83, (1) Oklahoma 79 (Title Game)
1989 (3) Michigan 80, (3) Seton Hall 79* (Title Game)
1990 (3) Duke 79, (1) UConn (78)* (Elite 8)
1991 (15) Richmond 73, (2) Syracuse 69 (1st Round)
1992 (1) Duke 104, (2) Kentucky 103* (Elite 8)
1993 (1) North Carolina 77, (1) Michigan 71 (Title Game)
1994 (9) BC 75, (1) North Carolina 72 (2nd Round)
1995 (2) Arkansas 96, (7) Syracuse 94* (2nd Round)
1996 (13) Princeton 43, (4) UCLA 41 (1st Round)
1997 (4) Arizona 84, (1) Kentucky 79* (Title Game)
1998 (2) Kentucky 86, (1) Duke 84 (Elite 8)
1999 (1) UConn 77, (1) Duke 74 (Title Game)
2000 (5) Florida 69, (12) Butler 68* (1st Round)
2001 (15) Hampton 58, (2) Iowa State 57 (1st Round)
2002 (5) Indiana 74, (1) Duke 73 (Sweet 16)
2003 (3) Syracuse 81, (2) Kansas 78 (Title Game)
2004 (2) UConn 79, (1) Duke 78 (Final Four)
2005 (5) Michigan State 94, (2) Kentucky 88** (Elite 8)
2006 (11) George Mason 86, (1) Uconn 84* (Elite 8)
2007 (11) VCU 79, (6) Duke 77 (1st Round)
2008 (1) Kansas 75, (1) Memphis 68* (Title Game)
2009 (3) Villanova 78, (1) Pittsburgh 76 (Elite 8)
2010 (1) Duke 61, (5) Butler 59 (Title Game)
2011 (8) Butler 71, (1) Pittsburgh 70 (2nd Round)
2012 (15) Norfolk State 86, (2) Missouri 84 (1st Round)
2013 (4) Michigan 87, (1) Kansas 85* (Sweet 16)
2014 (8) Kentucky 74, (2) Wisconsin 73 (Final Four)
2015 (14) Georgia State 57, (3) Baylor 56 (1st Round)
2016 (2) Villanova 77, (1) North Carolina 74 (Title Game)
2017 (1) North Carolina 75, (2) Kentucky 73 (Elite 8)
2018 (16) UMBC 74, (1) Virginia 54 (1st Round)
2019 (1) Virginia 80, (3) Purdue 75* (Elite 8)
2020 No Tournament

Ranking the Wrestlemanias

In honor of the only major “sporting” event going on this weekend, I have produced a list of the best wrestlemanias including my notes about the main events, best matches, and memorable milestones.  I am not a huge wrestling fan by any means but I have had enough phases through the years where I feel like I can produce a decent ranking.  Enjoy and feel free to comment or debate.

Greatest Wrestlemanias
Notes:
1 Wrestlemania III (1987) Hogan vs. Giant in main event; Savage vs. Steamboat was legendary match
2 Wrestlemania XIV (1998) Stone Cold beats Shawn Michaels
3 Wrestlemania VI (1990) Hogan vs. Warrion in one of the great title matches ever
4 Wrestlemania XVII (2001) Stone cold vs rock rematch and loaded card with tons of stars
5 Wrestlemania X (1994) first-ever ladder match in WWE history
6 Wrestlemania XVIII (2002) Weak main event but loaded undercard
7 Wrestlemania XXX (2014) Undertaker’s streak ends; Daniel Bryan’s Cinderella run to championship
8 Wrestlemania IX (1993) memorable outdoor event
9 Wrestlemania XIX (2003) Lesnar vs Angle Main Event; card also featuring Rock/Stone Cold, Hogan, Michaels
10 Wrestlemania V (1989) too many matches but really good main event
11 Wrestlemania I (1985) good main event with lots of celebs
12 Wrestlemania XXII (2006) Cena vs HHH main event; raucous arena atmosphere but last wrestlemania in arena
13 Wrestlemania XV (1999) Rock vs. Stone Cole main event
14 Wrestlemania XIII (1997) Stone Cold vs. Bret Hart submission match was epic despite lackluster main event
15 Wrestlemania VII (1991) Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter
16 Wrestlemania XXIV (2008) Undertaker vs Edge main of event; Floyd Mayweather makes guest of appearance
17 Wrestlemania XXIII (2007) Cena vs Michaels main event; Donald Trump makes guest appearance
18 Wrestlemania XXVIII (2012) Rock vs Cena main event
19 Wrestlemania XXXV (2019) Kofi Kingston wins title
20 Wrestlemania XXXIII (2017) Undertaker’s farewell match
21 Wrestlemania XII (1996) hour long main event between Hart and Michaels is boring
22 Wrestlemania XXXII (2016) too long and overdone
23 Wrestlemania XXV (2009) Undertaker vs Michaels was epic match but main event was weak and no celebs
24 Wrestlemania XX (2004) Triple threat main event featuring Michaels, HHH, Benoit
25 Wrestlemania XXXI (2015) most overrated Wrestlemania; triple threat title matches have been overdone
26 Wrestlemania XXVII (2011) The Miz vs John Cena main event
27 Wrestlemania XXXIV (2018) Rhonda Rousey debut
28 Wrestlemania XVI (2000) card lacks star power; Triple H wins main event
29 Wrestlemania XXVI (2010) Undertaker vs Michaels main event
30 Wrestlemania XXI (2005) Weak main event
31 Wrestlemania VIII (1992) Hogan vs. Sid Justice is underwhelming main event
32 Wrestlemania XXIX (2013) repeat main event of Rock vs. Cena lacked luster
33 Wrestlemania XIV (1988) tournament takes way too long and is poorly formatted
34 Wrestlemania II (1986) terrible idea with using three different venues
35 Wrestlemania XI (1995) no good matches and terrible main event

Brad-ketology: Final 2020 NCAA Bracket

Here it is– my annual projection for this year’s NCAA tournament bracket.  The only problem is there is no NCAA tournament this season.  Nevertheless, the show must go on and my love for “Christmas”, as I call the first round of the NCAA tournament, will not be diminished by this mass overreaction to this year’s flu.

If you would like to see this in bracket form, let me know and I’ll send you an excel copy of the bracket. My regional final four pairings are Midwest vs. East and South vs. West.

Midwest Regional- Indianapolis, IN (March 26, 28)

(1) Kansas vs. (16) Robert Morris/Prairie View- Thursday March 19 (St. Louis, MO)

(8) LSU vs. (9) Rutgers– Thursday March 19 (St. Louis, MO)

(5) Butler vs. (12) Liberty- Friday March 20 (Omaha, NE)

(4) Kentucky vs. (13) Akron– Friday March 20 (Omaha, NE)

(6) Houston vs. (11) Indiana/Richmond- Friday March 20 (Greensboro, NC)

(3) Louisville vs. (14) Belmont- Friday March 20 (Greensboro, NC)

(7) Virginia vs. (10) Southern California– Friday March 20 (Cleveland, OH)

(2) Michigan State vs. (15) Eastern Washington- Friday March 20 (Cleveland, OH)

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East Regional- New York, NY (March 27, 29)

(1) Dayton vs. (16) Winthrop- Friday March 20 (Cleveland, OH)

(8) Florida vs. (9) Saint Mary’s- Friday March 20 (Cleveland, OH)

(5) West Virginia vs. (12) East Tennessee State- Thursday March 19 (Tampa, FL)

(4) Maryland vs. (13) North Texas- Thursday March 19 (Tampa, FL)

(6) Iowa vs. (11) Arizona State- Thursday March 19 (Albany, NY)

(3) Villanova vs. (14) UC Irvine- Thursday March 19 (Albany, NY)

(7) Penn State vs. (10) Texas Tech- Friday March 20 (Greensboro, NC)

(2) Duke vs. (15) Arkansas Little Rock- Friday March 20 (Greensboro, NC)

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South Regional- Houston, TX (March 27, 29)

(1) Baylor vs. (16) Boston U/North Carolina Central– Friday March 20 (Omaha, NE)

(8) Colorado vs. (9) Marquette- Friday March 20 (Omaha, NE)

(5) Auburn vs. (12) Yale- Friday March 20 (Sacramento, CA)

(4) Wisconsin vs. (13) Vermont- Friday March 20 (Sacramento, CA)

(6) Michigan vs. (11) Stanford- Thursday March 19 (Albany, NY)

(3) Seton Hall vs. (14) Hofstra- Thursday March 19 (Albany, NY)

(7) Illinois vs. (10) Utah State– Thursday March 19 (Tampa, FL)

(2) Florida State vs. (15) Northern Kentucky- Thursday March 19 (Tampa, FL)

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West Regional- Los Angeles, CA (March 26, 28)

(1) Gonzaga vs. (16) Siena– Thursday March 19 (Spokane, WA)

(8) Providence vs. (9) Oklahoma- Thursday March 19 (Spokane, WA)

(5) Ohio State vs. (12) Stephen F. Austin– Thursday March 19 (Spokane, WA)

(4) Oregon  vs. (13) New Mexico State– Thursday March 19 (Spokane, WA)

(6) Brigham Young vs. (11) NC State/Wichita State- Thursday March 19 (St. Louis, MO)

(3) Creighton vs. (14) Bradley- Thursday March 19 (St. Louis, MO)

(7) Arizona vs. (10) Cincinnati- Friday March 20 (Sacramento, CA)

(2) San Diego State vs. (15) North Dakota State- Friday March 20 (Sacramento, CA)

Brad-ketology: Final 2020 NIT Bracket

If you would like to see this in bracket form, let me know and I’ll send you an excel copy of the bracket. The regional final four pairings are Region 1 vs. Region 2 and Region 3 vs. Region 4.

Region 1

(1) Texas vs. (8) SMU

(4) Tennessee vs. (5) Georgetown

(3) Saint Louis vs. (6) Clemson

(2) UCLA vs. (7) VCU

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Region 2

(1) Mississippi State vs. (8) Radford

(4) Minnesota vs. (5) St. John’s

(3) UConn vs. (6) Furman

(2) Northern Iowa vs. (7) Washington

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Region 3

(1) Xavier vs. (8) Colgate

(4) Syracuse vs. (5) Alabama

(3) Memphis vs. (6) Oregon State

(2) Rhode Island vs. (7) UNC Greensboro

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Region 4

(1) Purdue vs. (8) Wright State

(4) South Carolina vs. (5) Notre Dame

(3) Oklahoma State vs. (6) Tulsa

(2) Arkansas vs. (7) Utah

Brad-ketology: 2020 Final Seed List

I will send out final brackets in a few minutes, but here is the final seed list for both my NCAA and NIT Bracket Projections.  The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  Teams in bold would have earned automatic bids to this year’s NCAA or NIT tournament by virtue of either winning their respective conference tournaments (NCAA auto bids) or conference regular season (NIT auto bids).  Teams italicized are those who would have earned those bids as a result of being their regular season conference champ in situations where conference tournaments were not completed because of the Corona.  Feel free to comment or debate.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, Dayton

2-seeds: San Diego State, Florida State, Duke, Michigan State

3-seeds: Creighton, Villanova, Seton Hall, Louisville

4-seeds: Oregon, Maryland, Kentucky, Wisconsin

5-seeds: Butler, West Virginia, Ohio State, Auburn

6-seeds: Brigham Young, Houston, Iowa, Michigan

7-seeds: Arizona, Virginia, Penn State, Illinois

8-seeds: Colorado, Providence, LSU, Florida

9-seeds: Rutgers, Marquette, Saint Mary’s, Oklahoma

10-seeds: Texas Tech, Utah State, Southern California, Cincinnati

11-seeds: Stanford, Arizona State, Wichita State, NC State, Richmond, Indiana

12-seeds: East Tennessee State, Yale, Liberty, Stephen F. Austin

13-seeds: Vermont, Akron, North Texas, New Mexico State

14-seeds: Belmont, Bradley, Hofstra, UC Irvine

15-seeds: North Dakota State, Eastern Washington, Arkansas Little Rock, Northern Kentucky

16-seeds: Winthrop, Siena, Boston U, Robert Morris, Prairie View, North Carolina Central

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Texas, Xavier, Purdue, Mississippi State

2-seeds: Arkansas, Northern Iowa, UCLA, Rhode Island

3-seeds: Memphis, Saint Louis, Oklahoma State, UConn

4-seeds: South Carolina, Minnesota, Syracuse, Tennessee

5-seeds: Alabama, St. John’s, Georgetown, Notre Dame

6-seeds: Oregon State, Furman, Clemson, Tulsa

7-seeds: Washington, VCU, UNC Greensboro, Utah

8-seeds: SMU, Colgate, Wright State, Radford

Brad-ketology: March 9th Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.   The bold teams are ones who have already clinched an automatic bid to the respective postseason tournament (NCAA or NIT).  You will notice that some teams are listed both the NCAA and NIT brackets.  These are teams predicted to be automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournament that would also earn at-large bids to the NIT tournament but not the NCAA tourney.  The reason these teams are displayed like this is two-fold.  First and foremost, it shows how close those teams are to getting at-large bids in the NCAA tournament field.  Secondly, it shows where those squads would be seeded if in fact they lost in their conference tournament and garnered an automatic bid to the NIT.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.  There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to my projected best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings.   Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.

Brad-ketology columns will be published at least twice a week (typically on Mondays and Fridays).  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Sunday March 8th.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, Dayton

2-seeds: San Diego State, Florida State, Duke, Michigan State

3-seeds: Creighton, Villanova, Seton Hall, Louisville

4-seeds: Oregon, Maryland, Kentucky, Butler

5-seeds: West Virginia, Ohio State, Brigham Young, Wisconsin

6-seeds: Houston, Auburn, Arizona, Michigan

7-seeds: Penn State, Colorado, Marquette, Iowa

8-seeds: Illinois, Rutgers, LSU, Texas Tech

9-seeds: Virginia, Southern California, Florida, Stanford

10-seeds: Saint Mary’s, Providence, Oklahoma, Xavier

11-seeds: Utah State, Arizona State, Indiana, NC State, Texas, Purdue

12-seeds: East Tenn. State, Liberty, Yale, Liberty, Stephen F. Austin

13-seeds: Vermont, Akron, North Texas, Belmont

14-seeds: New Mexico State, Bradley, Colgate, UC Irvine

15-seeds: Hofstra, Wright State, North Dakota State, Eastern Washington

16-seeds: Winthrop, Arkansas Little Rock, Siena, Prairie View, Robert Morris, North Carolina Central 

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Cincinnati, Wichita State, Richmond, ETSU

2-seeds: Arkansas, Northern Iowa, Mississippi State, Tennessee

3-seeds: Tennessee, UCLA, Alabama, Rhode Island

4-seeds: South Carolina, Saint Louis, Minnesota, Oklahoma State

5-seeds: Georgetown, St. John’s, Syracuse, UConn

6-seeds: Notre Dame, Yale, Utah, Oregon State

7-seeds: Washington, VCU, Virginia Tech, Furman

8-seeds: Clemson, Tulsa, UNC Greensboro, Radford

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: TCU, Stephen F. Austin, SMU

Brad-ketology: March 6th Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  You will notice that some of these squads are also listed in the NIT bracket.  The reason for this is two-fold.  First and foremost, it shows how close those teams are to getting at-large bids in the NCAA tournament field.  Secondly, it shows where those squads would be seeded if in fact they lost in their conference tournament and garnered an automatic bid to the NIT.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.  There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to my projected best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings.   Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.

Brad-ketology columns will be published at least twice a week (typically on Mondays and Fridays).  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Thursday March 6th.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, Dayton

2-seeds: San Diego State, Florida State, Duke, Louisville

3-seeds: Michigan State, Seton Hall, Creighton, Villanova

4-seeds: Oregon, Maryland, Ohio State, Kentucky 

5-seeds: Butler, Brigham Young, Arizona, Colorado

6-seeds: Penn State, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Michigan

7-seeds: Houston, Auburn, Iowa, Marquette

8-seeds: Texas Tech, Rutgers, Florida, LSU

9-seeds: Saint Mary’s, Virginia, Southern California, Stanford

10-seeds: Providence, Illinois, Oklahoma, Xavier

11-seeds: Indiana, Arizona State, Texas, NC State, Purdue, Wichita State

12-seeds: East Tenn. State, Northern Iowa, Yale, Liberty

13-seeds: Stephen F. Austin, Vermont, Akron, North Texas

14-seeds: Belmont, New Mexico State, Colgate, UC Irvine

15-seeds: Hofstra, Wright State, North Dakota State, Eastern Washington

16-seeds: Arkansas Little Rock, Radford, Siena, Prairie View, Robert Morris, North Carolina Central 

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Utah State, Cincinnati, Northern Iowa, Arkansas

2-seeds: ETSU, Richmond, Mississippi State, Alabama

3-seeds: South Carolina, Tennessee, Memphis, UCLA

4-seeds: Rhode Island, Georgetown, Syracuse, Saint Louis

5-seeds: Yale, Liberty, Minnesota, UConn

6-seeds: Notre Dame, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Clemson

7-seeds: St. John’s, VCU, Furman, Tulsa

8-seeds: UNC Greensboro, Utah, Virginia Tech, TCU

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: SMU, Duquesne, Washington, Ole Miss