College basketball is as vibrant and awesome as it has ever been. While much of this is due to the game of basketball itself and the historic colleges which compete, the coaches involved also play a major role. This is not only in terms of developing the team to play high-quality games but also being personalities that people want to find out more about. People like John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski are both top names which fans of the college scene will know.
Many people also follow college basketball to bet on it. In the same way that pro basketball is perfect to bet on, college games are too – March Madness only comes in behind the Super Bowl in the US for betting volume. Those who bet on any given NBA game day also tend to look at which college games they can get involved with. Sports betting is not just popular for the financial rewards it can bring either. Many people bet on both pro and college games to make watching them more exciting. It can also help you get to know the sport a lot better as a result of all the research you need to do before placing a bet.
In addition, the popularity of college basketball is due to the players who serve up top-class action for fans to watch. This has resulted in some very tense and exciting games over time. But what have been the best single games in the history of the sport?
Duke 104 – Kentucky 103 in March 1992
This is arguably THE most talked about college basketball game to this day. The Wildcats faced off against the Blue Devils for a chance to go into the Final Four. To say it was an action-packed game is an understatement!
Both teams scored on the game’s last five possessions to trade the lead. Fans thought Sean Woods’ unbelievable 10-footer with under 3 seconds left to put Kentucky up was enough — but then Christian Laettner hit a winning shot as the buzzer went! Laettner had a particularly good game in truth and finished 10 from 10 the field and 10 for 10 at the foul line. In terms of theater and drama, this game is still hard to look past.
NC State 103 – Maryland 100 in March 1974
Heading into this game, the Wolfpack from NC State looked to be the favorite to win. They were top-ranked and looking for a victory here to win the ACC Tournament. Things did not start well for them though and Maryland rushed into a 13-point first-half lead.
NC State though was not deterred and called on the talent of players like Tom Burleson and David Thompson for help. By the end, they had roared back to complete a close 103–100 win over the Terps. Interestingly, all 11 players involved in this game went on to be drafted to the NBA. Five of them also received prestigious All-American honors as well.
Villanova 66 – Georgetown 64 in April 1985
Villanova is a well-known name in college ball and they have multiple National Championships to their name. They have also been involved with some superb games over time — and this example regularly rates as one of the best NCAA championship games ever.
At the time, Georgetown was the defending champion. This meant their loss was something of a shock result. The Wildcats really turned on the style here and shot a .786 percent average figure. They also hit 9 out of 10 baskets in the second half and claimed a tight but famous win. This victory led to them taking the NCAA Championship in 1985 and turned players like Ed Pinckney into stars.
Syracuse 127 – UConn 117 in March 2009
While you might think only games in college basketball’s past have what it takes to make our list, this memorable encounter in 2009 says otherwise. This was a semi-final game in the Big East Tournament and saw a massive six overtimes needed to decide a winner.
In the end, the Orange hung on to get past the Huskies. It is still the longest game played in college ball at Madison Square Garden and took four hours in total to finish. Even more amazingly, Syracuse turned up the next night to win the Big East championship!
College basketball has enjoyed some great games
The number of amazing games which college basketball has seen in its history shows why it is so well loved. The drama, action and unpredictability which it offers is hard to beat. While the NBA is a great league to watch, the unique atmosphere of college basketball brings something else to the table. As the games we have listed show, this is often in the form of point-scoring mayhem and top-level skill.