Three reasons why the NCAA men’s championship was the best ever

David Ridderhoff, Sports Editor

Watching Villanova and North Carolina go at it at the NRG Stadium in Houston on April 4 was truly a remarkable experience. Yes, even watching it at home was that fun. There were three things that really stood out, that made the game not only an instant classic, but the greatest college basketball game ever played.

1. The Comeback
A 10-point deficit is by no means insurmountable. But against a very good defensive team, who had also been shooting about as well as you could ever expect a team to shoot, no amount of time seemed like enough to make the comeback. But the Tar Heels slowly chipped away at the lead, and instead of allowing the Wildcat’s 7-0 run with 5:30 to go to be their undoing, they worked their way back by making good passes and hitting open shots. They got it close enough to be just a shot away from possibly forcing overtime.
Luckily for the Tar Heels, an “Air Jordan”-esque shot by Marcus Paige went down with four seconds remaining, and it seemed like one of the best games of all-time was going to overtime on a clutch three-pointer, much like Mario Chalmers and Kansas in 2008.

2. The “Crying Jordan” memes
Alright, this didn’t take place on the court, but with Michael Jordan sitting in the crowd cheering on his alma mater, the internet comedians came out in full force and made some of the funniest “Crying Jordan” memes we’ve ever seen.
From everyone around Jordan photoshopped to have his face on top of their own, to a close up of Jordan’s Nike shirt showing the fabric to be his very own tears, the entire game was a giant party on social media, with the winners being whoever could come up with the next great idea, and of course us as the beneficiaries of the hilarious meme war.

3. The Shots
To have two of the most clutch, most legendary shots in the history of basketball take place in about four seconds of game time is really unbelievable. Yet, that’s exactly what happened. As mentioned earlier, Paige’s shot saw him jump, legs split like the infamous Jordan logo, and the guy described as an average shooter put home a remarkable shot.
It would have been the shot of the game, had Villanova not drawn up the perfect play. I still get goose bumps watching Ryan Arciadiacono get by a screen, take on two defenders only to pass back to Kris Jenkins.
If you know basketball, you have to appreciate Arcidiacono setting a small screen, passing between Jenkins and the two defenders, allowing Jenkins the space to rise up, and hit the incredible, buzzer-beating shot that gave Nova their second title. The streamers, confetti and fireworks all went off before the referees even had a chance to make sure the shot was on time, which it was.

There have been plenty of classic games in the history of the NCAA tournament. They don’t call it madness for nothing. But between the atmosphere on Twitter and the incredible moments created on the court, this game will always stand out as the greatest game in college basketball history.


David Ridderhoff is a junior Radio/TV broadcast major. He is the sports editor for The Flyer. He is also the general manager of Lewis’ radio station, WLRA. As an avid sports fan, he also collects hats and jerseys from a variety of sports teams.

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