5 Best Past Final Fours
It is hard to choose the 5 best past Final Fours with so many great games to choose from. However, the five greatest Final Fours in chronological order are:
- 1966 Texas Western (Texas El Paso) v. Kentucky. This was a great basketball game and a game with great meaning. It was the first time a team had fielded a starting lineup entirely made up of black players. Kentucky was well known as one of the final bastions of segregation, fielding an all white team. Texas Western sent the entire nation a message, advancing to the Final Four and winning the championship 72-65.
- 1982 North Carolina v. Georgetown. Michael Jordan began his ascent into basketball stardom in the 1982 Final Four. This 63-62 North Carolina win went down to the final seconds. Jordan, in what was to become a habit, hit a jumper with seventeen seconds to go to secure then win. Coincidentally, the game saw seventeen lead changes. This game featured future NBA stars Patrick Ewing, Sleepy Floyd and James Worthy.
- 1983 North Carolina State v. Houston. No Final Four championship game matches the ending of this one. Houston (nicknamed Phi Slamma Jama) was a prohibitive favorite with the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon manning the paint. North Carolina State entered the game with eleven losses, having to survive a 69-67 first round overtime win over Pepperdine. A buzzer beating dunk coming off a high arching 30 foot pass concluded the amazing finish. State's coach, Jimmy Valvano, ran across the floor with a wide smile reflecting the shocking victory.
- 1987 Indiana v. Syracuse. Indiana prevailed 74-73 with another last second Final Four spectacular finish. Keith Smart's jumper with four seconds remaining sealed what would be Bobby Knight's last NCAA title. Inexplicably, Syracuse let 3 seconds run off the clock after Smart's heroics. This game featured Steve Alford, Derrick Coleman, and Rony Seikaly.
- 2008 Kansas v. Memphis. This overtime masterpiece was won by Kansas 75-68 though the game was much closer than the final score. The teams were led by coaches seeking their first NCAA titles: Billy Self for Kansas and Jim Calipari for Memphis. Memphis has a nine point lead with a little over two minutes remaining. Kansas employed a fouling strategy that worked as Memphis missed four of its last five free throws. Kansas nailed a three point shot with two seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. This game would mark the end of star freshman Derrick Rose' only college season as he would be suiting up for the Chicago Bulls the next fall.
Posted on: Mar. 23, 2010