What’s your biggest March Madness heartbreaker? Sporting News makes its picks | NCAA Basketball

When did March Insanity break your coronary heart?

It would sound like a foolish query. The NCAA Event is on the brief checklist of probably the most thrilling sporting occasions, and it is an annual custom everyone knows and love — besides when our group loses in heartbreaking style. Or a group we detest wins all of it. Or we lose a bracket pool. Or all these issues occur directly. March Insanity can break your coronary heart, proper? 

MORE: SN’s best March Madness memories

Take the 1993 event, finest identified for Chris Webber’s ill-fated timeout within the nationwide championship recreation in opposition to North Carolina in 1993. That is a heartbreaker neither Michigan followers — nor then-seventh-graders who crammed out (and would have gained their mom’s bracket in a way-too-lucrative pool) — will ever overlook.

Severely, Mother nonetheless blames me for that timeout.

With that in thoughts, Sporting Information workers members reply the query: When did March Insanity break our hearts? Listed here are our greatest tales.

Why aren’t they on TV? Notre Dame (1974) 

“I might sound manner an excessive amount of like a sportswriter and say the most important NCAA Event heartbreak for me was the time in 1997 when West Virginia’s Jarrod West banked in a 30-foot 3-pointer — with assist from Cincinnati ahead Ruben Patterson’s fingertip taking the spin off the ball — and value me every week in Southern California and doubtless 15,000 Marriott factors. However even then, I wound up in Greensboro masking the exceptional UConn-Washington recreation that ended with Rip Hamilton’s loopy fallaway. 

The reality is, I transfer on so long as the event does.

I haven’t been a fan of a specific faculty basketball group since I used to be an adolescent within the 1970s. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family and was subsequently virtually a Notre Dame fan by default. The Irish have been just about the one group whose video games have been often on tv, they usually had compelling gamers reminiscent of Austin Carr and Adrian Dantley, in order that they have been straightforward to like.

Their 1974 group was legitimately nice. Even coming into the NCAAs with two losses, the Irish most likely weren’t going to win the NCAA Championship in a area that included David Thompson’s N.C. State and Invoice Walton’s UCLA, however it most likely should have completed higher than a double-digit Candy 16 loss to Michigan. How a lot might my coronary heart be damaged, although, if I could not even see it occur? All of the video games weren’t obtainable on TV then, and Irish-Wolverines recreation was not proven in Pittsburgh. It was only a disappointing rating line. I nonetheless do not perceive how Dantley might go 1 of seven from the sector, however it occurred. 

I can let you know this: I wasn’t so devastated that I didn’t totally enjoyment of N.C. State’s time beyond regulation Closing 4 victory over UCLA. What an unimaginable recreation that was. It all the time has been concerning the recreation for me.” — Mike DeCourcy 

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Purple Ache: Northwestern (2017) 

“Heartbreak is all the time a part of the territory as a Northwestern sports activities fan, even when issues are going surprisingly superior. The excellent news is, as a result of the Wildcats by no means made the NCAA Event earlier than ’17, our March distress is milder than most. Nonetheless, after knocking off Vandy to win our first recreation in our first Massive Dance, it was straightforward to be grasping for extra as we pushing top-seeded Gonzaga to the brink in Salt Lake Metropolis. Our huge second-half comeback was sadly derailed, nonetheless, by a ridiculously blown goal-tending name from the Bulldogs’ Zach Collins. It felt worse when the NCAA admitted it was a evident officiating mistake in a detailed recreation, a 79-73 loss. 

Even worse was having a March Insanity hangover and never residing as much as the expectations of a top-25 group the next season, turning into a sub-.500 group as soon as once more. Who wants a drink?” — Vinnie Iyer 

MORE: Sporting News’ March Madness Center

Beltway Blues: Georgetown (1982, 1985) and Maryland (2001) 

“A 3-way tie if attainable. Fred Brown in opposition to North Carolina. Villanova mainly not lacking a shot in opposition to Georgetown. Maryland’s 22-point lead disappeared little by little in opposition to Duke within the 2001 Closing 4).

If I needed to put one at No. 1, the Duke recreation would edge them out. After every thing we had been by way of for 15 years after Len Bias died, attending to the Closing 4, having an opportunity to win a nationwide championship and going by way of Duke to do it was inconceivable. I am not completely certain that the happiness of seeing them win all of it the following yr is as highly effective because the agony of seeing them lose that lead within the second half in typical Duke style (together with seeing each single attainable name go their manner, and listening to Jim Nantz all however cheer them on the whole manner). It was like having 22 of your enamel pulled with out Novocaine.

Powerful name, although. The tiebreaker was my being a Maryland grad who was there when Bias was there. However I cherished Georgetown equally as a lot for various causes. Seeing them lose to Carolina the way in which they did in 1982 was excruciating. However shedding in ’85 — because the defending champ and overwhelming favourite to repeat, as America’s villain and most-hated group for all of the crappy causes they have been, after 4 years of John Thompson being referred to as ‘Idi Amin’ and Patrick Ewing having ‘You Cannot Learn’ indicators waved at him for 4 years — to a Villanova group that was portrayed as so lovable and huggable solely due to who they have been enjoying. … I could not even root for them a few years in the past in opposition to North Carolina. I wished them each to lose. I’ll by no means forgive them for what they did. Folks handled it as if it was the Miracle on Ice, and Georgetown was the Russians. OK, sufficient venting for me.” – David Steele 

‘4.8’: Missouri (1995)

“I’ll most likely all the time hate the quantity 4.8. I used to be on a spring break ski journey in Colorado when 4.Eight turned eternally ingrained in my mind. I grew up in suburban St. Louis, watching the nice Mizzou groups with Anthony Peeler and Doug Smith once they have been on TV, however largely listening on the radio. The NCAA Event had solely provided heartbreak for the Tigers, however on someday in 1995, every thing felt completely different. This wasn’t one among Norm Stewart’s finest groups; this group could not match the expertise on that top-seeded UCLA group — the O’Bannon brothers have been so good it wasn’t honest, the Bruins had an endless provide of massive males and a degree guard who shall stay anonymous — however Norm’s crew performed a virtually flawless recreation.

They dropped no matter hero-shot tendencies they harbored throughout an up-and-down season in favor of a well-orchestrated passing assault that created good, open appears to be like on the hoop, particularly past the 3-point arc, they usually knocked down these alternatives. They valued the basketball. They managed the tempo. They blocked out and stored UCLA from getting straightforward put-back buckets. They did each single factor they wanted to do to have an opportunity in opposition to a No. 1 seed most individuals anticipated to win the nationwide championship. They usually took a 74-73 lead on a brilliantly executed play, when Kendrick Moore dropped a go to Julian Winfield within the lane and Winfield transformed. UCLA referred to as a timeout.

With 4.Eight seconds left.

Ugh. I bear in mind pondering to myself, “That is not sufficient time to get all the way in which down the court docket, proper? They are going to have to try one thing deep, proper?” Seems, 4.Eight seconds was precisely the correct amount of time for Tyus Edney to race down the court docket, shake a defender at midcourt with a behind-the-back dribble and put up a game-winning layup off the glass, over the outstretched arms of massive man whose main purpose was fairly clearly to not foul.

Dammit, 4.8.” — Ryan Fagan 

2-15 catastrophe: Missouri (2012) 

“Mizzou followers are used to shedding. Not simply shedding, however shedding in dramatic and artistic methods. Yeah, everybody’s faculty suffers heartbreaking losses, however Mizzou’s have nicknames: ‘Fifth Down’, ‘Flea Kicker’, ‘4.8’. Nicely, 2012 was imagined to be completely different. Recent off a Massive 12 Convention Event title (in its final yr within the Massive 12), Mizzou was a robust No. 2 seed that many have been selecting to go to the Closing 4 for the primary time at school historical past. A primary-round matchup in opposition to Norfolk State was barely even a blip on the radar. Mizzou followers have been already looking forward to an Elite Eight matchup with Michigan State. 

However we must always have identified higher. Maybe most irritating was that Mizzou did not lose in a memorable manner — it simply bought beat by a stable Norfolk State group that seemingly could not miss. Future NBA participant Kyle O’Quinn dominated inside whereas Massive 12 Event MVP Kim English went 1 for 7. Mizzou had an opportunity to win it, down two with 2.9 seconds left, however Phil Pressey’s 25-foot heave clanked off the rim because the buzzer sounded and Norfolk State celebrated one of many greatest upsets in Event historical past.  

And similar to that, it was over. That huge March run we have been all gearing up for was simply one other footnote in Mizzou’s historical past of agony. In basic Mizzou style, No. 2 seed Duke misplaced later that night to Lehigh, so Missouri wasn’t even probably the most memorable upset of the day. Sadly, when you do not have many constructive issues to hold your hat on, you begin taking satisfaction within the negatives, ‘Hey, not less than we are the greatest losers.’ We could not even declare that. I can not consider a greater approach to sum up being a Mizzou fan.” –- Matt Lutovsky

Tar-Heeled: Ohio (2012) 

“While you go to a Mid-American Convention faculty, a Candy 16 looks like a Closing 4 and an Ohio win in opposition to North Carolina in 2012 would have felt like a nationwide championship. I lived in Charlotte on the time and put up with the smug dismissiveness of the Tar Heel followers all week regardless of a key harm to Kendall Marshall. That was fantastic. This wasn’t a happy-to-be-there-as-a-13-seed scenario. This was a ‘Let’s go to the Elite Eight and celebration on Court docket Road’-type deal. In spite of everything, the Bobcats beat the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, N.C., my senior yr on Feb. 20, 2002.

Severely, that occurred. Look it up. 

This one ought to have occurred, too, regardless of a 20/20 recreation by Tyler Zeller. Ohio ought to have gained, however MAC faculties know you may go away a ‘ought to have’ on the market. Harrison Barnes hit a go-ahead 3-pointer, and the Bobcats missed a go-ahead free throw within the ultimate minute. This was a recreation that could not go to time beyond regulation, and the Heels won 73-65 when it did. No, I wasn’t joyful to be there. I am nonetheless mad Ohio misplaced the rattling recreation.” –- Invoice Bender

What’s event ache like? Rutgers and Butler (2010)

“I went to Rutgers. Want I say extra? ‘Rutgers’ and ‘profitable’ go collectively in addition to a toaster and a tub. Actually: Scarlet Knight males’s hoops has solely made the NCAA Event six occasions in its ‘illustrious’ historical past, final making it to at least one in 1991, only a few months after I used to be introduced into this cursed sports activities world. They’ve a NCAA Event document of 5-7, so mainly, a greater document than your common season of RU soccer. 

RU, Rah Rah? Extra like RU, blah, blah. So whereas Rutgers hasn’t precisely afforded me the chance to really feel true ‘heartbreak’ — it instilled a crippling mindset of sports activities pessimism (and pupil mortgage debt) — that is to not say I am with out event heartbreak altogether.

My rip-my-heart-out second was watching my adopted tourney squad (sue me), the 2009-2010 Butler Bulldogs on their Cinderella run, and Gordon Hayward coming inside inches of giving Butler the win over that damned Kyle Singler and the Blue Devils. In fact, my hatred of Duke is born out of envy, so watching event MVP Singler get blown up by Butler’s Matt Howard on a decide on the final possession put a smile on my face after I emerged from my jealous rage. I will not admit that it nonetheless does (it does).” — Joe Rivera 

Sure, ‘The Shot’ is on right here: Kentucky (1992)  

“No. I am not a Kentucky fan, however rising up my favourite faculty basketball group was Michigan and anybody who was enjoying in opposition to Duke. Why? You already know why. I hate(d) Christian Laettner … and Bobby Hurley and Brian Davis. Grant Hill was cool, however he rolled with a bunch of dudes I could not stand. So, I needed to dislike him by affiliation. For my part, they, with their too brief shorts, completely coiffed hair and Seinfeld-white sneakers, represented the institution. I all the time say rooting for Duke is like rooting for the IRS in an audit. Michigan’s Fab 5 was the primary faculty basketball group I actually latched on to with their bald heads, saggy shorts, black sneakers and socks and playground bravado. They represented hip-hop, a tradition I used to be all however born into and was beginning to determine with. 

Each time I see Laettner wanting like a tall, long-lost member of New Children on the Block, catch that completely thrown go from Hill, put down one dribble and knock down that excellent turn-around jumper on the buzzer within the 1992 regional ultimate, it nonetheless grinds my gears.” — Nick Birdsong

MORE: Mike DeCourcy’s 30 best from 30 years

Hog hell: Duke (1994)

“As a Duke fan, Scotty Thurman’s go-ahead Three for Arkansas with lower than a minute left within the 1994 title recreation was a dagger by way of the center. I do know, I do know, ‘Poor Duke fan.’ However I nonetheless don’t understand how that rainbow shot cleared the outstretched fingertips of Antonio Lang, a lot much less the way it went in. Nonetheless, I used to be certain Duke would reply with its personal miracle shot — in any case, that was their factor within the ’90s — however, sadly, there was no Christian Laettner to avoid wasting the Blue Devils this time. I do know, I do know, ‘Poor Duke fan.'” — Brad Pinkerton 

Pittsnogled! Wake Forest (2005) 

“Few bear in mind West Virginia’s 111-105 double-overtime victory in opposition to Wake Forest within the second spherical of the 2005 NCAA Event. For me, it is a type of remember-where-you-were video games and, on this case, a remember-what-couch-you-punched recreation. I don’t and have by no means thought of myself a Wake Forest fan; it is the timing of this explicit matchup that was necessary. My household two years prior had moved from Parkersburg W.V., to Winston-Salem N.C., dwelling of the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest sophomore level guard Chris Paul had just lately graduated from West Forsyth Excessive College, which I might attend as a freshman later that yr. I could not wait to observe the Deacs bounce the Mountaineers out of the Massive Dance so I might brag to my childhood mates again in West Virginia.

Then Kevin Pittsnogle hit that rattling 3-pointer.

Whereas Pittsnogle’s Three was the dagger that gave WVU a seven-point lead late in double time beyond regulation of a back-and-fourth recreation, Mike Gansey stole the present with 19 of his 29 factors within the two time beyond regulation durations. To today, I inform my mates Wake Forest simply would have gained had Paul not fouled out with a bit of greater than three minutes to play within the second time beyond regulation. In hindsight, possibly I used to be simply bitter as a result of the group I used to be rooting for was buried by a person named Kevin Pittsnogle.” — Tadd Haislop 

(Not so) Candy 16: Pitt (2011)

“It was 2011, and Pitt was a No. 1 seed. As quickly as we noticed the schedule my mates booked a visit to New Orleans for WHEN Pitt reached the Candy 16. We watched their Spherical of 32 recreation in opposition to Butler at a bar in NYC, closely invested with a $400 flight locked in. 

Shelvin Mack went nuts and lit us up with seven 3s whereas Pitt’s star scorer Ashton Gibbs tried simply seven photographs the whole recreation, a classic showcase of Jamie Dixon’s in-game strategic shortcomings. Pitt nonetheless ended up with the ball and an opportunity to win, down one level with two seconds left. Gilbert Brown drew a controversial foul name close to midcourt, and tied it with the primary free throw. He missed the second and Butler’s Matt Howard pulled down the rebound, solely to be fouled by Pitt ahead Nasir Robinson’s reaching arms — 93 toes from the basket. Howard sank his first free throw and the sport was over. 

We nonetheless ended up making that journey to New Orleans, ingesting our ache away all through, and bought to see Jimmer Fredette pour in 32 on the Superdome. Butler ended up making a repeat look within the nationwide championship earlier than shedding to Kemba Walker and UConn, who coincidentally knocked Pitt out of the Massive East event that yr. Pitt hasn’t sniffed a excessive seed within the tourney since that season.” — Alex Novick


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