NCAA Tournament: 10 Winners No One Ever Saw Coming
NCAA Tournament: Winners No One Ever Saw Coming
With February over, the nation will be turning its attention to college basketball. Fans, players, coaches and universities are all gearing up for March Madness.
Since starting in 1939, the NCAA tournament has provided the world of sports with tons of amazing, shocking and very special moments. The single-elimination brackets, the nail bitters and the buzzer beaters is what makes men's Division I basketball one of the most entertaining sports today. The NCAA tournament always brings about special moments each year. March Madness is so exciting because not one team is safe from elimination and everyone has an even chance at making the Big Dance. With so many games in such a short amount of time, anything is possible.
Historically, the tournament has been a place where players and coaches can establish their legacy. The tournament is one's chance to go down in the history books. Currently, UCLA has the most tournament titles with 11 and second place goes to the University of Kentucky with seven. Even though there are dominating programs that have won multiple championships, college basketball is filled with underdogs that everyone wants to see win.
Some championship moments can haunt players forever, like when Chris Webber called a timeout he did not have, blowing his teams' chance to win. Some moments will be celebrated forever in history, like Mario Chalmers' game-tying buzzer beater.
This March, just sit back and hold on to your seat because this is going to be a very exciting month. In anticipation of the 2014 tournament, this article will look at the top 10 NCAA tournament winners that no one ever saw coming.
Kansas - 2008
The 2008 tournament was the first time all No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four.
Going into the Final Four, Derrick Rose and Memphis was strongly favored to win it all. Up until the final seconds of the championship game, it appeared as if Rose was going to win. Then, with 2.4 seconds left, Mario Chalmers nailed a three-pointer which took the game into overtime. In overtime, Kansas was able to outscore Memphis 12-5 and became the winner no one ever saw coming. Kansas shocked the world by winning the national championship. This is one of the most thrilling endings to a championship game in tournament history.
UConn - 2011
The University of Connecticut was the highest ranked seed in the Final Four during the 2011 tournament. The Huskies were led by Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb to the 2011 national championship. At the beginning of the season, UCONN was unranked and picked to finish 10th in the Big East. Walker and Lamb refused to let the Huskies lose, which led the team to a national championship victory that no one saw coming.
The Huskies were truly amazing in 2011. This was also one of the team's best seasons in school history. Not only did UConn shock the world by winning the national championship, they surprised everyone by winning the Big East tournament too.
Syracuse - 2003
The 2003 Final Four was stacked with talent. Some big names were T.J. Ford, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Kirk Hinrich.
In this tournament, Syracuse was ranked third and beat the first seed Oklahoma to make it to the Final Four. Then, the team beat the first seed Texas to make it to the championship. In the championship game, Carmelo shocked the world and put on one of the best championship performances ever witnessed.
No one saw Carmelo taking home the championship when the tournament started. This win gave Syracuse its first and only national championship. Even though no one saw Syracuse winning, its championship was earned the hard way, as it had to defeat three teams ranked higher than it in a row to be crowned as champs.
North Carolina - 1993
Since Michigan lost the championship in 1992, the expectation was that the Wolverines would come back and win in 1993. Instead,Chris Webber called the infamous timeout that would cost his team the game and allowed UNC to pull away with the win. The championship game was a hard fought battle and until Webber's timeout, it looked like Michigan was going to be able to pull off the victory. It is safe to say that no one thought Michigan would blow its chances in the championship game two years in a row.
Michigan - 1989
Steve Fisher won the national championship in 1989 with the third seeded University of Michigan team. In a last moment surprise decision, head coach Bill Frieder was relieved of his position just before the tournament. Fisher shocked everyone by being able to take control of the team and win the tournament with star Glen Rice. The shocking coaching change could of ruined Michigan's chances at winning the title. Fisher put on a strong coaching performance that no one saw coming.
Villanova - 1985
Rollie Massimino led Villanova to perfect performances in 1985, one against Georgetown University, who was that year's favorite pick to win.
Hands down, this is among one of the most memorable underdog moments in tournament history. Throughout the whole tournament Villanova was the true meaning of a Cinderella story. The team even opened the tournament by knocking off the No. 1 seed and finished it by getting crowned champs.
Kansas - 1988
In 1989, Kansas had the sixth seed and was led by freshman to the championship. Larry Brown and Danny Manning put on amazing performance as they took down the No. 1 seed and tournament favorite Oklahoma. This is one of the greatest championship runs in history. Kansas previously had been on an 11-year long losing streak. This is the longest losing streak prior to winning a championship ever. This was an amazing championship run that shocked the sports world.
Marquette - 1977
This was a great year where no one saw Marquette taking home the championship. Head coach Al McGuire earned his only championship by taking down Dean Smith and the University of North Carolina. The Tar Heels were favored that year to win it all. Marquette's 67-59 victory was a game that no one saw coming. Marquette had lost seven games that season, the most losses by a championship team. Their ability to overcome their losses and win the national championship is a great example of a true underdog story.
UNLV - 1990
Head coach Jerry Tarkanian, led the University of Nevada Las Vegas to a championship victory over Duke University. UNLV shocked everyone by beating the Blue Devils 103-73. This is the biggest blow out in a championship game in tournament history. Duke was heavily favored and no one predicted that UNLV would blow the Blue Devils out of the water.
Beating Duke is one of the sweetest things a team can do in college basketball. Duke was looked at as a lock for the win and not many saw UNLV as such a dominant team before this game took place. This is by far one of the most shocking and memorable games in championship history.
North Carolina State - 1983
North Carolina State was able to upset the University of Houston and Hakeem Olajuwan in the 1983 national championship. Hands down this is the most memorable ending in tournament history. Jim Valvano helped his team fulfill its destiny. Valvano's belief in his team made their win even more special. NC State were true underdogs. For the team to make the tournament, the Wolfpack had to win the ACC tournament. During the first half of the championship game, the Wolfpack struggled greatly. Their comeback was capped off with a last second put back for the win that left everyone in disbelief.