Harold Olsen’s idea of a postseason college basketball tournament back in 1939, stands today as one of America’s most popular sporting events, going by the name of NCAA March Madness. With a history that now spans over 80 remarkable years, it is not wrong to call the NCAA March Madness as one of America’s oldest sporting events as well. Comprising of a total of 68 teams, NCAA March Madness 2019 will be played March 19, 2019, to April 8, 2019. The glory of NCAA March Madness will be met with the enthusiasm of Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota, where the Final Four and the Championship Game will be staged this year.
March Madness Champions
Over the years, there have been some remarkable title wins, be it John Wooden’s UCLA that dominated the 1970’s or be it Villanova’s first title in 2016, every single season has brought in some unforgettable memories. To rank the best of them, it was always going to be tough. But just for how much fans loved it, here are five of the best Championship titles.
They say fortune favours the brave. Not many would have bet their money on Villanova when the tournament had started. Somehow, they managed to stand against all the odds and defeat Oklahoma with a 44-point blowout. That raised the hopes higher for them entering the Championship game. With less than five seconds left, North Carolina equalized with a Marcus Paige three-pointer that looked like a party spoiler for Villanova. But history was in the beckoning as Villanova managed to hold their nerves and upstage a remarkable three-pointer with almost no time left to register one of the most memorable Championship games in the history.
Dominance is always a memorable feat and the way Kentucky Wildcats achieved it was just astonishing. Six players in their roster averaged 9.9 ppg or higher, and their defence was one of the most fearsome defences ever seen since the turn of the century. Going into the final, they were the favourites of course, and they lived up to their billing with an emphatic title triumph. It all didn’t stop there as six of their players got selected in the NBA Draft to set yet another national record.
North Carolina (2005)
Two thousand five had two significant contenders with both of them making it through to the Championship Game. North Carolina was riding high on their sensational trio of Sean May, Rashad McCants, and Raymond Felton all along. The three got their names etched into the history books as one of the best trios ever. Despite that, it was one final miss from Illinois’ man. With 17 seconds left on the clock, Illinois’ Luther Head missed a crucial 3-pointer that could have drawn parity in the dying seconds. But that wasn’t to be as North Carolina registered one of the most famous victories of all time.
Kentucky Wildcats (1996)
Kentucky was on a roll as they registered one of the most dominant streaks ever that had them winning all their first four games by at least 20 points or more. Their strongest challenge came in the semifinals against Massachusetts, first-timers in the Final Four, and the only contenders who were considered capable of stopping Kentucky’s whirlwind win streak. It wasn’t to be though, as Kentucky walked into the championship game with ease and defeated Syracuse for the title. Tony Delk was adjudged the MOP.
What makes this title win the best is the fact that Duke lost four matches before lifting the title. Sum up the three defeats, and you’ll get just a difference of five points which shows luck was only not on their side. However, the likes of Shane Battier and Mike Dunleavy were in no mood to bow down to their ill fortunes; they stunned the odds to defeat Arizona in the finals and clinch their third title.
Of course, there are many more that deserve a special mention, but for us, these five make up for the most memorable Championship titles we’ve ever witnessed. Thinking there should be some other title game that should be listed here? Drop in your favourite NCAA March Madness memory and remember the best before the NCAA March Madness 2019 starts.