The NCAA tournament is memorable for many reasons. From the upsets to the champions, it’s the time when just about anything can happen. Part of the excitement is what happens after the game–the pure and absolutely candid reactions of these players–college students, sharing their enjoyment on the court together. Below are the top ten celebrations in Madness history.
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10. Big-Man Stomps in Celebration (1992)
James Forrest‘s miraculous buzzer-beating three-pointer gave seventh-seeded Georgia Tech the victory over two-seed USC to advance to the Sweet 16. Following the win, the Yellow Jackets rejoiced by hopping down the court while simultaneously mobbing their hero.
9. Tyus’s Tumble (1995)
UCLA emerged as national champions in the tournament, but not before they endured a few close games. In the second round, the Bruins’ Tyus Edney hit a buzzer-beater layup to beat the Tigers, only to be picked up–and subsequently dropped–by his overjoyed teammates.
8. George Mason Shocks the World (2006)
“By George, the dream is alive!” exclaimed legendary broadcaster Verne Lundquist following George Mason’s remarkable win over Connecticut to become the first ever mid-major to reach the Final Four. Lamar Butler and Tony Skinn celebrated with one another before leaping on the scorer’s table to share the moment with their fans.
7. The Cameron Crazies Celebrate (2010)
Duke defeated Butler in the National Championship Game, 61-59, narrowly avoiding what would have been remembered as one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Following Gordon Hayward‘s ill-fated half-court heave to beat Goliath, chaos broke out at locations throughout the country, but no chaos was greater than the one on Duke’s campus itself.
At Cameron Indoor Stadium, 9,000 fans were able to watch the game on the arena’s Jumbotron before breaking into joy when the Blue Devils had won their fourth NCAA championship.
6. #Swagberg (2014)
Players commonly dance and partake in all kinds of silly antics, but how often is it the coach who joins in? Following Iowa State’s 85-83 victory over UNC to move on to the Sweet 16, head coach Fred Hoiberg busted some moves in the locker room to the delight of his players.
5. Drew’s Buzzer-Beater (1998)
Bryce Drew knocked down a three-point buzzer-beater to lift his 13-seed Valparaiso squad over four-seed Ole Miss in the first round of the tournament. The star dove on the court only to be mobbed by his teammates, including one Crusader who pointed his fist in the air in pure disbelief.
4. Player Lifts Coach? Player Lifts Coach (2001)
After head coach Steve Merfield lifted his 15-seed Hampton squad over two-seed Iowa State, 58-57, the team decided to give him a lift. David Johnson proudly picked his coach up in the air as they celebrated one of the largest upsets in NCAA basketball history. The Pirates had just become the fourth 15-seed since the tournament expanded in 1985 to win a game in the Madness.
3.> Do the Nae Nae (2014)
Kevin Canevari played just six minutes in Mercer’s memorable win over Duke last week, and missed the only shot he took. Yet, the senior guard became an Internet sensation with his Nae Nae dance to celebrate the victory.
2. “The Shot” (1992)
Christian Laettner‘s shot in the East Regional Final against Kentucky may be college hoops’ most well-known shot, but what about the reaction? From Antonio Lang dropping to the floor in disbelief and Thomas Hill near tears of joy by the bench to the team celebration, the reactions to Duke’s win truly capture the intensity of this victory.
1. Jimmy V in Disbelief (1983)
N.C. State turned the tournament upside down with its upset of one-seeded Houston to become national champions. Jim Valvano didn’t even know what to do after Lorenzo Charles‘ dunk at the buzzer to win the game–he began running around the court just looking for someone to hug. It serves as one of the most iconic videos in sports history.
What’s your favorite one ever?
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