March Madness: Best Sweet 16 and Elite 8 Moments in NCAA Tournament

The way the 2013 NCAA Tournament has unfolded so far, no one knows exactly what to expect this Thursday through Sunday as we charge back up for another great weekend of college basketball. Thursday night kicks things off with four Sweet 16 games, Friday keeps it going with four more before two Elite 8 games apiece on Saturday and Sunday will decide this year's Final Four. 

Will Florida Gulf Coast continue its improbable run? Will the 1-seeds reign supreme? Will the West Bracket continue to see the underdogs dominate? Luckily, we don't have to wait long to find out. 

Be sure to tune into to PolicyMic for March Madness coverage this weekend for Sweet 16 and Elite 8 coverage.

Below, check out some of the greatest Sweet 16 and Elite 8 moments in March Madness history (listed in chronological order: 

1. Duke over Kentucky - Elite 8, 1992


Why couldn't they put someone on Grant Hill inbounding the ball?!?! Like many, I hate Duke. But this is, for better or worse, one of the greatest moments in not only Elite 8 history, but tournament history.

2. UConn over Washington – Sweet 16, 1998


Third time's the charm on this one. Thanks to two offensive rebounds and a third attempt at a game winner, Richard Hamilton hit one of the tourney's most memorable fall-away buzzer beaters to advance to the Elite 8. 

3. Michigan State over Kentucky – Elite 8, 2005


The shot that Patrick Sparks hits to win this game broke my heart. Thankfully, Michigan State went on to win the game, but if people say they remember the winner more than the shot in this one they’re lying. 

4. Illinois over Arizona – Elite 8, 2005


Down by 8 with a minute to go, Illinois decided they were not going to lose this game. With a raucous Chicago crowd behind them everything clicked for the Illini. This was one of those I watched in disbelief as it happened. I'm still amazed at how quickly Illinois tied the game so quickly. Even more amazing, they still almost lost in both regulation and overtime.

5. UCLA over Gonzaga – Sweet 16, 2006


No commentary needed. Please enjoy Gus Johnson screaming.

6. George Mason over UConn – Elite 8, 2006


"By George, the dream is alive!" – Verne Lundquist, King of Punnery. 

The 11-seed George Mason Patriots ousted 1-seed UConn in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. The fact that it was for a trip to the Final Four makes it even more impressive. 

7. Villanova over Pitt – Elite 8, 2009

 

Any time an Elite 8 game ends with a buzzer beater you cannot complain. The Scottie Reynolds shot with less than a second left was a perfect basketball moment. This game doesn't get much publicity, but it should.

8. Arizona over Duke – Sweet 16, 2011


Had to bookend this list with Duke games. Thankfully this one is a loss for the Blue Devils. The dunk show Derrick Williams put on against Duke was phenomenal. Fifty-four seconds in and 3:21 in are the moments to watch. As one YouTube commenter put it: “3:21. The nail in the coffin.”

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Liam Boylan-Pett

Liam is a culture writing intern at PolicyMic. His work has appeared in "Running Times" and other running publications. He is also a professional middle-distance runner for the New Jersey-New York Track Club. After graduating from Columbia University with his bachelor's degree, he earned a Master's of Professional Studies in Journalism from Georgetown University. Originally from Bath, Mich, he spends his time watching TV, reading longform journalism, and thinking about who is going to be in the NCAA basketball tournament's Final Four.

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