Top 10 finishes in college basketball history

Top 10 finishes in college basketball history

Justin Thompson


With the college basketball season fast approaching, we count down the ten most memorable finishes in college basketball history.

10. Watford whips the Wildcats

In 2011 the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats traveled to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. The Wildcats were heavily favored but the Hoosiers refused to let Kentucky pull away. Down by 2 with seconds to play, Christian Watford drilled a three ball from way downtown to hand the Wildcats their only regular season loss of the year. Kentucky would go on to win the National Championship.


9. Norfolk State stuns Missouri

Fifteen seeds aren’t supposed to beat two seeds in the NCAA Tournament, so when they do it usually makes for a classic game. In 2012 Norfolk State made the NCAA Tournament for the first time, unfortunately they were matched up against powerhouse Missouri who were led by star point guard Phil Pressey. The game went down to the wire, but Norfolk sate emerged with a huge upset, winning 86-84.


8. Chaminade stuns Virginia

Many publications claim this game as the single greatest upset in college basketball history. Tiny Chaminade University, the second largest college in Hawaii, came into the game with an undefeated record of 8-0, however no one gave them much of a chance against the mighty Virginia Cavaliers. Virginia was ranked number one in the nation and was led by Ralph Sampson, one of the greatest college basketball players of all time. Only one reporter from the mainland even bothered to come to the game, current ESPN host Michael Wilbon. Chaminade pulled out the improbable victory by a score of 77-72.


7. Bryce Drew takes down Ole Miss

In 1998, Bryce Drew, leading Valparaiso University, hit a miraculous 3 pointer as time expired to beat Ole Miss during the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Valparaiso was a 13 seed and Ole Miss was a 4 seed. “The Shot”, as it has come to be called, is consistently ranked as one of the greatest finishes in Tournament history.


6. Ali Farokhmanesh sinks Kansas

In 2010, Northern Iowa grabbed a 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament, however in the second round they were matched up against the mighty Kansas Jayhawks, a 1 seed. Northern Iowa was able to keep the game close throughout, but little did anyone know how this classic would end. Up 1 with 30 seconds to play, Iranian born junior college transfer Ali Farokhmanesh heaved up a three pointer off a fast break. The ball swished trhough the net and sealed the upset for Northern Iowa.


5. Kentucky completes a miraculous comeback

Down 31 with 15 minutes to play, this game was all but over before Kentucky point guard Travis Ford rallied his team together. “We’re down 31 and we’re not leaving this building without a win. We’re going to win this game no matter what. I’ll stay here all night,” said Ford to his team. Kentucky slowly chipped away at the lead and a 3 pointer by Walter McCarty with 19 seconds to go sealed the deal. The greatest comeback in college basketball history left LSU stunned and Kentucky victorious.


4. Mario Chalmers forces overtime in the title game

The national title game came down to the wire in 2008. Memphis held a 3 point lead over Kansas with 2 seconds to play, but that lead was in serious jeopardy. Kansas Junior Mario Chalmers rose up and hit a 3 ball to force overtime, where Kansas would win to take home the title. The image of Chalmers knocking down the shot from the top of the key is forever engrained into college basketball history.


3. Christian Laettner

To Duke fans he was a symbol of everything that they stand for, for every other fan he was an absolute menace. Christian Laettner was a player everyone loved to hate, but there is no denying that he changed the college basketball landscape forever. In the 1992 regional final against Kentucky, Laettner was in rare form, he was a perfect ten for ten from the field and ten for ten from the line, but he saved his most important shot for the end. With Duke down by 1 with seconds to play, Grant Hill inbounded the ball the length of the court to Laettner who calmly collected the ball and knocked down a turnaround jumper as time expired. This shot forever cemented Laettner as one of the greatest Duke players ever.


2. Lorenzo Charles wins one for Jimmy V

Sixth seeded North Carolina State was matched up against Houston University and their basketball dunking fraternity Phi Slamma Jamma in the National Championship game. NC State took down the top ranked Houston Cougars on a last second dunk from Lorenzo Charles. NC State coach Jim Valvano ran onto the coach in disbelief looking for someone to hug. Valvano would soon be diagnosed with cancer and would die 10 years later.


1. Barton takes down Winona State

In 2007, Barton College was matched up against Winona State for the Division II Championship Game. Winona was riding a record 57 game winning streak at the time and held a 7 point lead with 45 seconds to go. Barton star and current Harlem Globetrotter Anthony Atkinson rattled off bucket after bucket and sealed the game with a game winning layup off of a steal as time expired. Don’t be fooled by these small schools, the ending to this game is possibly the greatest college sports ending of all time.