College Basketball: Buzzer Beaters Galore This Weekend! (w/ VIDEO)
Sometimes it takes the trailer to a movie to get casual fans really interested. Take some of these superhero movies, for instance. I don't dork out heavily over Batman or Iron Man movies at all. I don't count down the days until those movies are coming to theaters, and I can't tell you the unfilmed backstory of all the characters.
But inevitably, when I'm at the movies and I see a trailer for, say, The Dark Knight Rises or Iron Man 2, it gets my viewing juices flowing. All of a sudden, I'm ready to see that flick, I want to circle the date.
For many sports fans, college basketball is a lot like that. They care not to dork out over such insignificant things as the regular season, but instead prefer to be woken up come mid-March.
Ah, but what if college basketball had a trailer, like a blockbuster movie, to get those folks geeked up? Well, funny you should ask, because the last four days of college hoops served just that purpose.
It started Thursday night with back-to-back buzzer beaters on ESPN. First, number one Indiana coughed up a late eight-point lead (up 70-62 with less than three minutes to go) and completely fell asleep at the wheel against Illinois with 0.9 seconds to go, allowing an Illini in-bounds play to work perfectly for a buzzer-beating lay up.
Five different teams have held the distinction of being the top-ranked team in the last five weeks. It likely becomes six in six weeks after that game-ending debacle. (Seriously, Tom Crean, man-to-man defense with 0.9 seconds left on an in-bound play from right there? Huh? And what was Cody Zeller doing?)
The drama extended into the late portion of the Thursday night schedule with UCLA knocking off upstart Washington in Pauley Pavilion on a buzzer beater by transfer point guard Larry Drew III:
Two interesting things coming out of this game: first, watch the reaction of UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammed throughout and after the final play. He was stomping his feet demanding the ball and then walked right past his celebrating teammates. Interesting. The other storyline emanating from this game? Bill Walton, on color duties for ESPN, basically said UCLA should fire head coach Ben Howland. Take a listen:
Honestly, until a UCLA game with Arizona a week or so ago, I had no idea Bill Walton was employed by ESPN. He is being WAY underutilized, in my opinion.
Moving to Saturday, the day started with this amazing exchange of three-pointers in the closing seconds between Michigan and Wisconsin:
And it ended with this five- (FIVE!) overtime classic between Louisville and Notre Dame:
This means seven of the last eleven meetings between Louisville and Notre Dame have now gone to overtime. In fact, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said that before the game he and Rick Pitino joked about how many overtimes the two teams should play that night. I'm guessing neither dreamed it would be five.
My favorite stat from this game (and there were many to choose from) -- Notre Dame forward Garrick Sherman (a Michigan State transfer in his first season with the Fighting Irish) didn't play a single minute in regulation. Not ONE. And he wound up with SEVENTEEN points for the game. That's incredible!
The whole weekend was incredible, and if you're a casual fan of college basketball and saw any of it, it had to make you just a little bit excited that tournament time is a month away. This weekend was indeed the movie trailer for the sports calendar's next big blockbuster.
March Madness, coming to a sports bar near you on March 17.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports radio from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. CST weekdays, and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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