Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top 5 all-time NCAA tournament performances

He would not let them lose ...

He carried the team on his back ...

This tournament has become his personal showcase ...

He has a date with destiny, and her parents are away for the weekend ...

Seems like we never run out of cliches to describe dominating basketball players.

With the first round of the NCAAs fast approaching, it's time to weigh in on who took over an entire tourney, not just a single game.

Mere game-winning shots need not apply (sorry, MJ).

Our list tilts toward the stars of title teams, but there are plenty of others who came up short but will be long remembered.



Lew Alcindor (UCLA, 1968 champions): We'll take 1968 over his just-as-impressive 1967 or 1969, and here's why -- Alcindor and the Bruins avenged their one loss of the season, to Houston and Elvin Hayes, by beating the Cougars 101-69 in a Final Four rematch. Oh, and dunking had been banned before the season because of Alcindor's singular dominance.

Bill Bradley (Princeton, 1965 Final Four): Ivy League legend made believers of everyone, scoring 58 points in the third-place consolation game. Later became a U.S. senator, but don't hold that against him.



Christian Laettner (Duke, 1992 champions): When he wasn't using the chest of Kentucky's Aminu Timberlake as a welcome mat, he was putting up 31 points in what some folks call The. Best. Game. Ever. And that was just the East Regional final. (Something about a big basket at the end, too. Can't remember the details.)



Bill Walton (UCLA, 1973 champions): 44 points in the finals against Memphis State. Still found time during his college days to protest the Vietnam War (getting arrested in the process) and call for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Whatta guy.



James Worthy (UNC, 1982 champions): Of all the horses in that final game -- Perkins, Jordan, Ewing, Sleepy Floyd -- it was Gastonia's own who stole the show (and the pass from Georgetown's Fred Brown) with a 28-point performance.

So there you have it. Who stands out? Who's missing?

Step right up. Post your comment. Fire away. Make your case. See the blog. Be the blog.

-- Trent Roberts

11 comments:

JAT said...

Ahem. Jack Givens ring a bell?

Anonymous said...

Just a few that I can recall.
David Thompson vs UCLA, with a bandage around his head in Greensboro. He blocked Bill Walton shot from behind Tommy Burlenson.
Ed Pinckney vs Georgetown. Did his team miss a shot..What a game!!!
And finally,Derek Whittenberg vs
Psi, Jamma Houston(Clyde), Was it a shot or was it a pass.. State wins! God bless you Jiimy V.

Anonymous said...

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird- seriously how does this get missed?

gomez said...

yep, jack givens and his 41 against duke! DT, i think they only lost 1 game that whole season! magic & bird, bird & magic. darrell griffith? rameal robinson at the free throw line with no time on the clock and down by 2! how do you miss any of those???

Anonymous said...

Wow, putting James Worthy's good-but-not-great 28-point game on here is an embarrassment to the rest of the men on this list.

The Tar Heel Observer just haaad to put a Tar Heel on here didn't they???

Trent Roberts said...

From the author: thanks for the comments, everybody. There's a dozen or more players who could easily have gone on the list, from Thompson to Danny Manning to the Johnsons (Larry & Magic) to Jerry West back when.

(FYI, Bradley-Bird was a toss-up in the slot I had reserved for the team least likely to ever return to the Final Four).

And for anyone who thinks I'm slobbering all over the Tar Heels, I got two words for ya: GO HIGHLANDERS.

Observer Sports said...

And if you really want a Tar Heels' tournament performance, you would go with Charlie Scott dumping 32 on Davidson in the 1968 East Regional Finals, including the game-winning jumper that gave UNC an 87-85 victory and a trip to the Final Four...
Stan Olson
PS--nice job, Trent.

Anonymous said...

Observer Sports,why did you remind us. We( Tarheels) lost in the finals to UCLA. The greatest margin of defeat in NCAA history.

Anonymous said...

Glen Rice during the 1989 Michigan run?!?!? Danny Manning in 1988?!?!?

Anonymous said...

The greatest margin of defeat in NCAA finals history was UNLV over Duke.

Anonymous said...

Not a tarheel but my mama loved them. Worthy was great that night but some freshmen made the last two buckets if I recall.