Sixty-four shining moments |

Sixty-four shining moments

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

By Jared Green

Tribune staff writer

It’s the most obvious column I could write, but I’m doing it anyway.

Sixty-four reasons I love the NCAA Tournament:

1. 32 games in two exhausting days.

2. Bryce Drew’s Valparaiso miracle buzzer-beater.

3. The annual 14-seed-beats-3-seed game.

4. Two Final Four games in one great afternoon.

5. Mateen Cleaves, dancing his fool heart out.

6. The first #1 seed to fall.

7. Cheerleaders with their school’s logo painted on their faces.

8. No Dick Vitale.

9. The NIT champs acting like they did something significant. “We’re number 66!”

10. Teams that don’t slow it down for the tournament: The Runnin’ Rebels of 1990, the Fab Five of ’93, 94 Feet of Hell in ’94.

11. Teams that turn the game to molasses: Princeton, Air Force, Utah. Not as lyrical, but no less effective.

12. Bennett Davison messing up Lute Olson’s hair after the ’97 overtime championship game.

13. Bobby Hurley slapping the floor.

14. Waking up at 9 a.m. on Thursday with eight hours of games ahead.

15. Gary Williams sweating through his shirt – by tipoff.

16. Putting every ounce of sports knowledge into the office pool, then seeing Doris from accounting win because she picked her favorite mascots.

17. Guy Ngarndi (Manhattan).

18. Marcetteau Mcgee (Illinois-Chicago).

19. Louvon Sneed (Liberty).

20. Zakee Wadood (ETSU): the lower the seed, the better the names.

21. Speaking of ETSU, they’re my sleeper pick to reach the Sweet Sixteen. That means they’re out in the first round, of course.

22. The Big Dance.

23. March Madness.

24. Sweet Sixteen.

25. Elite Eight.

26. Final Four. Does any sporting event have better nicknames?

27. Fans who travel across the country three weeks running.

28. One Shining Moment.

29. The raucous joy of a bubble team finding out they’re in.

30. Full-court press, box-and-one, 1-3-1 zone – you’ll see more defenses in one regional than an entire NBA season.

31. The battle of the bands at every single game.

32. Seeing the look on Roy Williams’ face when his team loses … again.

33. The dramatic shots of the players getting off the team bus. Does everyone have to wear headphones?

34. “Now we’re going to cut away to the South regional, where Podunk U. is seconds away from upsetting Goliath State.”

35. Lorenzo Charles.

36. Scotty Thurman’s 3-pointer that scraped the ceiling to beat Duke.

37. A 6-foot-4 post player from a tiny school taking a 7-footer to the rack.

38. Tyus Edney’s four-second coast-to-coast game-winner.

39. Seeing John Wooden at every big game.

40. The most genuine Cinderella stories in sports.

41. Up by three with 8 seconds left: Do you foul or let the other team get off a trey?

42. The telestration skills of Billy Packer.

43. West regional games in Orlando, Fla. Huh?

44. Floor burns.

45. Scoring machines like Andre Emmett (Texas Tech), Rashad McCants (North Carolina) and Delonte West (St. Joseph’s).

46. The annual we-get-no-respect rant from Gonzaga.

47. Players who go from nobodys to NBA lottery picks in one weekend.

48. Benchwarmers waving towels.

49. The fat, face-painted, shirtless guy in the upper deck, screaming his lungs out.

50. That guy’s friends, desperately trying to hide from the camera.

51. That guy’s girlfriend pretending she doesn’t know this maniac sitting next to her.

52. The play-in game, two teams battling for the right to get royally whipped by the best team in the country.

53. The old-fashioned three-point play, still the best weapon in basketball.

54. Taylor Coppenrath scored 43 points with a broken wrist to drag Vermont into the tournament. Want to bet against him?

55. Walk-ons getting a shot at glory.

56. The intensity of an opening-round day in the sports books.

57. Seeing Duke lose.

58. Michigan coach Steve Fisher taking over just before the tournament and winning it all in 1989. Talk about your Cinderella.

59. The triumphant feeling of picking the right upset.

60. From afros to gumbys to fades to shaved heads all the way back to afros.

61. Danny Manning carrying Kansas to a title pretty much by himself.

62. The most democratic, wide-open championship in sports.

63. Jimmy V., running around the court looking for someone to hug.

64. I got hit by a truck while celebrating my school’s national championship and it didn’t even slow me down. Now that’s good, clean fun.

– Tribune sportswriter Jared Green can be reached at (530) 542-8008 or

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