Looking back at the 2015 edition of the NCAA Tournament, there were so many memories and images that will live on forever in March Madness lore. Here are the five games that stuck out to me — games whose highlights will be replayed for years to come.
5. Georgia St. vs. Baylor (Round of 64)
Head coach Ron Hunter and the Georgia State Panthers were already a good story making the tournament, but it got even better once they took the court against the Baylor Bears. Down 12 points late in the ballgame, the Panthers stormed all the way back, capped off by an R.J Hunter 3-pointer that sent his father, Ron, to the floor in celebration as the Panthers upset Baylor 57-56.
4. Wichita State vs. Kansas (Round of 32)
These two “rivals” hadn’t played each other since 1993, but recent history has showed that the “mid-major” Shockers have had just as much success as the Jayhawks. The relentless rules of the bracket finally paired these two together in Omaha, Nebraska’s CenturyLink Center, and when the clock hit 0:00, it was the Shockers who “shocked” the Jayhawks, 78-65.
3. Notre Dame vs. Kentucky (Midwest Regional Final)
Kentucky had been cruising for most of the tournament leading up to the Midwest Regional Final. However, before Kentucky waltzed into the Final Four, the Wildcats had to face an upset-hungry Notre Dame squad. Kentucky and Notre Dame traded punches for 40 minutes until Kentucky’s late rally finally pushed the Wildcats past Notre Dame for a 68-66 victory.
2. Wisconsin vs. Duke (National Championship)
Indianapolis, Indiana’s Lucas Oil Stadium and most of America were on Wisconsin’s side in the big final. The Badgers took advantage of Duke’s early foul trouble and inched out to a nine-point lead only for the Blue Devils to storm back with the unlikely freshman duo of Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen to defeat the Badgers 68-63. The win marked Duke and Coach K’s fifth title in school history.
1. Wisconsin vs. Kentucky (National Semifinal)
A year ago at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, the Wildcats ended the Badgers’ season with an Andrew Harrison 3-pointer as time expired. That moment had stuck with the Badgers for the better part of a year as the Wildcats become national runners up.
This year, Kentucky had won 38-straight games and was attempting to become the first-ever team to finish a season 40-0. The Badgers had other ideas, though, as Wisconsin exacted revenge for the year before by beating the Wildcats 71-64 and advancing to the championship game.