March Madness: A Look Back at the Most Iconic Plays in Men’s NCAA Tournament History

March Madness, the NCAA’s annual single-elimination basketball tournament, is contested each spring by 68 college basketball teams in the NCAA Division I level to determine the national champion.

Former Ohio State head coach Harold Olsen came up with the idea for the event in 1939. The event, played mainly during March, is one of the biggest sporting events in the U.S.

There are memorable plays every college basketball season, but some outlive their time to become defining moments. Each March, highlight compilations of college basketball accomplishments show these kinds of plays.

In the stands and on the court, NCAA March Madness is usually a wonderful time of year for sports fans. In addition to memorable plays and victories, bettors also get a slice of the cake. College basketball betting continues to gain popularity, offering sports lovers and bettors, in general, many wins to win.

The following moments are iconic in the history of the NCAA Tournament:

Whitehead 1977

This field goal is considered the greatest by many Marquette fans. When Marquette played UNC-Charlotte in the 1977 National Semifinals, the moment occurred. In the dying seconds of the game, Jerome Whitehead scored from three-quarter court on a tipped pass. A rebound bounced off the glass, then off the iron, and into the net, taking Marquette to the final game, which they won.

Illinois 2005

March Madness has seen its share of comebacks as well as some great moments. But, perhaps, the most impressive one in the tournament’s history occurred during 2005. With under four minutes to play and Illinois behind Arizona, a 20-5 game by Deron Williams and Luther Head forced extra time. Illinois went ahead to win the game.

Double Upset 2012

It’s quite remarkable when a No. 15 seed knocks off a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament once every decade or so. However, it’s incredible when it happens twice in the same season. Kyle O’Quinn’s 26 points and 14 rebounds helped Norfolk State beat Missouri. As the day wore on, Lehigh also upset second-seeded Duke.

George Mason 2006

In the history of the NCAA Tournament, George Mason‘s Final Four appearance in 2006 ranks among the most remarkable. Behind head coach Jim Larrañaga, the Patriots defeated Michigan State, North Carolina, and Wichita State before facing Connecticut in the regional final. George Mason hit half of its 60 field-goal attempts against the Huskies and won in overtime.

Miracle 2008

One of the most impressive comebacks in basketball history occurred when Kansas, against Derrick Rose and Memphis, overcame a nine-point deficit with over two minutes to play in the 2008 national final. Mario Chalmers made a three-point shot off the dribble with just a few seconds left to send the game into overtime. In any season, that kind of shot would make a difference.

Indiana 1987

A dramatic finish capped off Indiana‘s title race in 1987. Despite his brief time with the Hoosiers, Keith Smart will forever be remembered as a basketball legend. In 1987, an iconic Smart’s last-second jumper gave the Hoosiers their fifth national championship with Syracuse.

Jenkins 2016

As North Carolina‘s guard Marcus Paige completed a leg-splitting three with a few seconds remaining, making the 2016 NCAA tournament title game one of the most thrilling and memorable in recent memory. Then, at the buzzer, Kris Jenkins hit arguably the greatest three-point shot ever to give Villanova the win.