Buzzer? Beater? I hardly KNOW her! HYAR!!!
Yes yes, list of tourney buzzer-beaters, yes. In reverse ascending order (that would be descending):
Well, first of all, let me co-sign (no, not that kind, nerds) Jeff's criteria for buzzer beaters and the judging of same. The one thing that really struck me was, considering Jeff's idea that he doesn't give more weight to buzzer-beaters that occur later in the tournament, I started trying to think of buzzer-beating shots that occurred in the later rounds ... and I was damn near coming up dry. I can't think of any in the Final Four other than Lorenzo Charles ... Leattner has two Elite Eight buckets ... and that's about it. So I say "so what?" I'm with Jeff: "round of the tournament" will not be a determining factor henceforth.
Also on board with Jeff RE: 1996, Princeton over UCLA. Probably a little too much time left on the clock (3.9 seconds). But it's close. I think I like Jeff's idea that there has to be no more than 2 seconds remaining after the shot goes in. "Gabe Lewullis" is definitely one of those names I'll never forget, for one reason or another. Like "Christian Laettner," or, for obviously different reasons, "Tim Spooneybarger."
Cameron Dollar can't make it because I saw the replay of that shot, and he clearly shoves the little white goober who was guarding him into the ground before putting up that rainbow bankshot over Kelvin Cato. No room for cheaters.
I'm leaving Charlotte Smith off, even though that game reminds me of high school Easter breaks in Alabama, and as such, I get the warm-and-fuzzies just thinking about it. So that's #10. Ninth will be Rip Hamilton, because I (heart) him retrospectively (except for one game in '99). As big an asshole as the guy is, no one in college basketball history was as clutch as Laettner, and his shot against UConn has be #8 because of the perfect execution of the give-and-go, as well as Leattner's superb use of the unnecessary double-clutch. I'll throw Drew Nicholas's moonshot in there at #7, for all the reasons Todd mentioned. I think that game and that shot are the main reason the Cave is willing to sit with us and watch basketball for four straight days every year: because dammit, something like THAT could happen at any time. Bonus points because someone on Maryland's team forgot their white uniform, so the teams had to wear the wrong colors for that game, Maryland (the better seed) having to wear their road reds. Rounding out the honorables at #6 would have to be James Forrest disposing of 2-seed USC, who was led by one of the many "the next Jordan"s, Harold Miner. I've seen the replay of that shot like fifty times, and I never get tired of it. They were inbounding the ball with .8 seconds left, so Forrest had to just chuck it as soon as he caught it. Because of the camera angle, as soon as he lets the ball go you can tell that it's straight at the rim, and honestly, from the moment it leaves his hands you can tell it's going in (and you could tell at the time, too). Extra points galore here: for Al McGuire's spastic call of the action, repeatedly shouting "Holy mackerel!" during the celebration. For the fact that GT was down by 2, so the buzzer-beating triple gave them a 1-pt win. And for the fact that this is the first game I remember when a team had to go the length of the court to tie or win a game, and they employed the "throw it out past halfcourt and immediately call time-out" gambit, a move that should be used much more often, in my opinion. I can guaruntee you that will be the only time I compliment Bobby Cremmins on this blog.
So, a fairly non-descript top-5, almost identical to Jeff's:
5. Lorenzo Charles - Can't say anything about it that hasn't already been said.
4. Tate George - I could be wrong about this, but this might have been the first time (and it's definitely the first time that I can remember) where a team actually pulled off the "throw it the length of the court, catch it, and shoot it, all in under 1.5 seconds," and actually made the shot. Adding to the madness: Tate George ended up getting drafted like 15th that year - it is no coincidence that 1990 is remembered as probably the worst NBA draft of the last 30 or so years. That Clemson team that UConn beat won the ACC regular season title that season and featured a couple of frontcourt players named Elden Campbell and Dale Davis. That is some frickin' height and talent on a college team. Yowsah. And finally, a mere two days later, Laettner ripped UConn's hearts out and stomped on them (#8). Now that's a roller-coaster of a weekend.
3. U.S. Reed - Buzzer-beating shot from beyond halfcourt to win an NCAA tournament game by 1! I'll venture to guess that it's the only one of its kind.
2. Bryce Drew - If for no other reason than the sheer execution of that "Pacer" play. It's a thing of beauty to watch, as Valpo sent home SEC Player of the Year Ansu Sesay (Yeah, it's true. No, seriously). Burnsy's house. Hungry Howie's. Good times.
1. Laettner v. Kentucky - No chance of #1 being anything but this. The greatest NCAA basketball game of all-time culminated in one of the greatest individual efforts of all-time. I second everything Todd said in his comment to Jeff's post. Yooge bucket. It's shown on TV ad nauseum, but it should be. Remarkable.