9 March Madness Moments That Made Us Laugh (And Cry)
March Madness has more than its fair share of memorable moments. Heck, memorable moments are what make March Madness so irresistible. And while buzzer beaters are certainly a major reason people love this three-week bonanza of basketball, there are some scenes that capture our attention more than others. In fact, some classic moments don’t always even involve players or take place during the game. Here are some of the more notable ones. You know, the ones that are etched in our mind and would’ve gone viral if “gone viral” was a thing when these took place:
Valvano Wants a Hug
It’s one of the more replayed scenes in tournament history. In 1983, Lorenzo Charles dunked home the game-winning bucket at the buzzer, giving North Carolina State an improbable national title over heavily-favored Houston and sending head coach Jim Valvano scurrying onto the court to find somebody – anybody – to hug.
Don’t Throw This Pirate Overboard
After 15th-seeded Hampton’s stunning upset of second-seeded Iowa State in the 2001 NCAA Tournament, Pirates head coach Steve Merfield ran onto the court, a la Jim Valvano. The difference? One of his players, David Johnson, picked him up for one of the more jubilant sites you’ll ever witness.
Fourteenth-seeded Georgia State used a 13-0 game-ending run to stun third-seeded Baylor. R.J. Hunter hit what turned out to be the game-winning shot, causing his father, Panthers coach Ron Hunter, to fall off his stool in a reaction that will go down in NCAA Tournament lore and be part of montages from here until eternity.
Foul Shot Tribute
Hank Gathers was the star of run-and-gun Loyola Marymount in 1990 when he collapsed during a West Coast Conference Tournament game and died a short time later. When the NCAA Tournament rolled around, teammate Bo Kimble shot his first free throw of each game left-handed in honor of Gathers in a tribute that still gives people chills.
Is This What They Mean by ‘Big Dance?’
Sometimes, the players and the coaches aren’t the ones who do something memorable. After Syracuse advanced to the 1996 Final Four, CBS’ Al McGuire decided to bust a move in the postgame interview. It was classic and hilarious and part of the fun that is March Madness.
Coaches are paid to win, but it’s important to remember they’re people, too. West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins showed some real humanity in the 2010 Final Four when he comforted Da’Sean Butler after banging his knee against Duke’s Brian Zoubek. In a display of true compassion, Huggins did his best to ease the pain for Butler.
A Cardinal Breaks His Leg
In the 2013 Midwest Regional Final against Duke, Louisville’s Kevin Ware broke his leg in one of the most brutal sports injuries ever seen. It was gruesome and tough to watch, but is still greatly remembered
A typically irritable Bob Knight talked about how dumb the phrase “game face” is during the 1992 NCAA tournament. This was long before memes and social media existed. Good thing — if they did, you can be sure this clip would’ve spread like wildfire.
The Coach’s Wife
In 2013, Florida Gulf Coast captured the country’s imagination by becoming the first 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16. Head coach Andy Enfield’s wife, Amanda, a model, became a star along the way.