Kris Jenkins’ game-winning shot to lift the Villanova Wildcats to an 77-74 victory in the national championship game Monday night over the North Carolina Tar Heels could go down as the most clutch shot in the history of the NCAA Tournament.
Few shots in March Madness have ever drawn a reaction nationally quite like it in what many have coined as the best game in college basketball history.
It’s a shot that will always be remembered vividly, with Ryan Arcidiacono speeding down the sideline with just 4.7 seconds left, hitting the trailing Jenkins for a wide open three and confetti flying on the court in unison with the shot falling through the hoop.
Now that the dust has settled, was the shot truly the best ever in college basketball? Below are five of the biggest shots in NCAA Tournament history. You be the judge.
2008: Mario Chalmers forces overtime against Memphis
The 2008 Memphis Tigers were a team destined for a national championship. They had the best player in the country in Derrick Rose and they were up by nine points on the Kansas Jayhawks with just 2:12 remaining in regulation. A slew of missed free throws gave the Jayhawks a chance to tie it with just 10.8 seconds left on the clock. Mario Chalmers took a pass from Sherron Collins at the top of the key and drilled it with 2.1 seconds left to send the title game into overtime. The Jayhawks went on to win 75-68 in the extra session.
1992: Christian Laettner hits ‘The Shot’ in Philadelphia
It’s hard to decide what was better on this play, the pass or the shot? Duke was trailing Kentucky 103-102 with just 2.1 seconds to play. Duke’s Grant Hill played quarterback for one play, sending a perfect bullet pass the length of the court to Christian Laettner, who took one dribble at the foul line before hitting a beautiful turnaround game-winner to send fans into a frenzy at the Spectrum. The shot sent the Blue Devils to the national championship game.
1987: Keith Smart creates the real life Hoosiers
In a classic coaches battle, the Syracuse Orange and Jim Boeheim were matched up against Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers in the 1987 national championship game. The Syracuse team, led by Derrick Coleman and Rony Seikaly, were up 73-72 after a Coleman missed free throw with just 28 seconds to play. Indiana’s Keith Smart pulled a Jimmy Chitwood from the movie Hoosiers with just 5.2 seconds left when he drilled a hanging baseline swish to bring the Hoosiers the title.
1983: Lorenzo Charles shocks the world
Hakeem Olajuwon was a sheer monster. His averages of 13.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.1 blocks had NBA scouts drooling over the 7-footer at Houston. Teamed with Clyde Drexler’s 15.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals, Houston were the heavy favorites heading into the 1983 national championship game. Coach Jimmy Valvano’s NC State Wolfpack were heavy underdogs. As only a No. 6 seed, the Wolfpack put together an impressive run to the tournament final that was supposed to end. With just 4.3 seconds left in a tie game, Dereck Whittenburg chucked up a prayer that was way too short. As the airball fell, suddenly NC State’s Lorenzo Charles’ hands appeared to tip the ball in the net and give the Wolfpack a stunning 54-52 win over the Cougars.
1982: MJ begins his legendary status
An almost unrecognizable Michael Jordan was playing in the biggest game of his life. As just a freshman at North Carolina, a skinny and lanky Jordan was on the court for the Tar Heels with 32.1 seconds left in the national title game against the Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown Hoyas. Jordan slipped behind the Hoyas defense wide open on the baseline and nailed a 16-footer to give the Tar Heels an 63-62 lead with just 15.2 seconds remaining. A steal in the ensuing possession by James Worthy would seal the championship for North Carolina.