Wednesday, March 29, 2006

SUPER ADVENTURE CLUBBIN'

Okay, so the original title of this post was going to be ‘Anatomy of a Buzzer-Beater’, but I just couldn’t resist.
Also, I wrote 90% percent of this while watching the WV-Texas game last week, but seeing how it ended, I just couldn’t post it that night.
Anyway, a few days ago I came across ESPN Classic's "Who's #1?" episode of the top buzzer-beaters in NCAA tournament history. Needless to say it was some pretty grippy television and the perfect thing to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the Ohio State game while rekindling my love for the dance. (You are now carrying my child. It is the mystery of the dance!)
I'd like to have our blogtributors and/or loyal readers rank their top 5 (or more) NCAA tournament buzzer-beaters as I am about to do. But first here's ESPN's top 12 (I forget the exact order of 13-20, but you‘ll see what else they had in a sec):

1. 1992 Christian Laettner -- Duke def. Kentucky, 104-103 in overtime
2. 1983 Lorenzo Charles -- NC State def. Houston, 54-52
3. 1990 Tate George -- Connecticut def. Clemson, 71-70
4. 1995 Tyus Edney -- UCLA def. Missouri, 75-74
5. 1998 Bryce Drew -- Valparaiso def. Ole Miss, 70-69
6. 1981 Danny Ainge -- BYU def. Notre Dame, 51-50
7. 1987 Keith Smart -- Indiana def. Syracuse, 74-73 in championship game
8. 1990 Christian Laettner -- Duke def. Connecticut, 79-78 in overtime
9. 1981 U.S. Reed -- Arkansas def. Louisville, 74-73
10. 1963 Vic Rouse -- Loyola (IL) def. Cincinnati, 60-58 in overtime in championship game
11. 1994 Charlotte Smith -- North Carolina def. Louisiana Tech, 60-59 in women's championship game
12. 1998 Richard Hamilton -- Connecticut def. Washington, 75-74


And here's what how online voters ranked all 20:
68.4% 1992 Christian Laettner -- Duke def. Kentucky, 104-103 in overtime

43.1% 1983 Lorenzo Charles -- NC State def. Houston, 54-52

38.2% 1998 Bryce Drew -- Valparaiso def. Ole Miss, 70-69

36.1% 1990 Christian Laettner -- Duke def. Connecticut, 79-78 in overtime

27.0% 1987 Keith Smart -- Indiana def. Syracuse, 74-73 in championship game

26.5% 1998 Richard Hamilton -- Connecticut def. Washington, 75-74

23.2% 1995 Tyus Edney -- UCLA def. Missouri, 75-74

17.9% 2003 Drew Nicholas -- Maryland def. UNC Wilmington, 75-73

17.9% 2000 Mike Miller -- Florida def. Butler, 69-68 in overtime

14.6% 1981 Danny Ainge -- BYU def. Notre Dame, 51-50

13.5% 1963 Vic Rouse -- Loyola (IL) def. Cincinnati, 60-58 in overtime in championship game

10.1% 1990 Tate George -- Connecticut def. Clemson, 71-70

9.0% 1996 John Wallace -- Syracuse def. Georgia, 83-81 in overtime

8.7% 1994 Charlotte Smith -- North Carolina def. Louisiana Tech, 60-59 in women's championship game

6.9% 1997 Cameron Dollar -- UCLA def. Iowa State, 74-73 in overtime

6.7% 1996 Gabe Lewullis -- Princeton def. UCLA, 43-41

5.6% 1981 U.S. Reed -- Arkansas def. Louisville, 74-73

5.4% 1992 James Forrest -- Georgia Tech def. USC, 79-78

4.0% 1981 Rolando Blackman -- Kansas State def. Oregon State, 50-48

3.5% 1981 John Smith -- Saint Joseph's def. DePaul, 49-48


As I was watching the show and making my own abbreviated list, I started thinking about how to quantify just how good a buzzer-beater is. So I give you some thoughts that ran across my head. Some are relevant. Some aren't. Most are entirely logical and self-evident.
- As with any NCAA tournament game, the bigger the upset the better (Valpo, Princeton, NC State, I'm looking in your direction.)
- I’m personally not too concerned with the round a buzzer-beater occurs in, but the later in the tournament a buzzer-beater occurs, the greater the game's significance.
- Tying a game at the buzzer isn't as good as winning it (obviously). No game-tying shots made it on ESPN's list. Probably a good thing just to simplify the debate. (Patrick Sparks against MSU last year comes to mind as an exciting game-tying shot.)
- Call me a stickler, but a buzzer-beater should involve a buzzer. (Or at least come awfully close to the buzzer.) I'm sorry, but I just never thought of Keith Smart's shot as a buzzer beater. And that goes for the Princeton layup against UCLA too, even though that might be my favorite tourney game of all time. I'm not ENTIRELY strict in how I view this though. I definitely consider Northwestern State over Iowa a buzzer beater even though there was 0.5 seconds left after the make. And that was 100 times better than that Cameron Dollar shot that inexplicably made ESPN'S list. I just think there should be under something like 2 seconds left after a shot goes in for it to be considered a buzzer-beater. Again, call me picky. Irregardless, I think we can all agree that the closer the shot comes to zero, the better.
- Just as tying the game at the buzzer isn't as good as winning it, scoring a buzzer-beater when you are losing at the time you shoot is better than scoring a buzzer-beater when the game is tied when you shoot. And major bonus points if you're down by 2 and have the wombleys to shoot (and make) a 3 at the buzzer.
- These rules are all common sense, but I think they're worth talking about before you make your list. All that being said, there's of course that undefinable quality that you can't quantify that can trump all of the things I wrote about above. Now onto my picks.

Honorable mentions:
- Richard Hamilton - I swear UCONN missed those first couple shots on purpose just so they could get Rip to hit the perfect shot at the buzzer. (On a side note, while watching all these clips, I still can’t believe that UCONN and UCLA actually needed buzzer beaters to beat Washington and Mizzou respectively. How did those elite teams let those games get to that point?!)
- Vic Rouse - You prevented Cincy from 3-peating. I salute you a million times over.
- James Forrest - His 3 pointer to beat Southern Cal was the first one he made all year.

And my personal top 5:


5. Lo Charles. Yeah, it won the national title, and it was an immense upset, and everyone loves Jimmy V because he’s dead. But I’m sorry, it’s a little overrated. I mean, even for a broken play this thing was ugly. And the game was tied when it all went down, so even if the Wolfpack don’t make this happen, there’s still OT.


4. Charlotte Smith - Sure she was left WIDE (and I mean like Erin wide) open, but this thing is still underappreciated. I mean a 3 pointer buzzer beater to win the national title game by a single point?!! Sure these were ladies, but these were the wombleys I spoke of above. As much hype as pseudo-dunks in womens college basketball get, you’d think this, which is infinitely cooler, would be shown at the beginning of every televised womens game ever. And the key was this: there were only 0.7 seconds on the clock… not when she shot it, but when it was INBOUNDED. This chick caught AND shot a 3-pointer to win the national title in 0.7 seconds. Honestly, if someone with a penis does this, ESPN would put it #1 no matter how open the dude was.


3. U.S. Reed. Has anyone actually seen this thing?! It was 17th out of 20 according to online voters ?!?!!!? Sure this was as meaningless as an NCAA game can be, but Arkansas was down by 2 and Reed made a shot from BEHIND half-court! What more does this buzzer beater have to do to get more play?


2. Valpo. Outside of lack of historical significance, this is absolute perfection. Have you ever really watched this play in slow motion. In the span of a couple seconds, there were 2 passes, 2 receptions, and one shot from distance. And ALL of these were ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. If you described this play to someone who had never seen this play, they would assume that either Drew or the guy that threw it to him were some combination of out of control and/or completely lucky. They weren’t. Apart from the execution, this was also a one point victory for a #13 over a #4, and helped catapult Valpo into the Sweet 16 that year.


1. Laettner beats Kentucky. If you were watching this live, as I was, I really don't think I need to explain this one.


Oh, and one final thing about that show…Bobby Hurley looks 100 times goofier as a guy in his 30s than he did as a guy in his late teens/early 20s.

My thoughts on the upcoming Foursome over in Indy and the start of the MLS season coming soon.

10 Comments:

At 9:55 AM, March 29, 2006, Blogger The Diddy said...

To me there's more to a buzzer beater than just that single moment. There's all kinds of factors, such as round, magnitude of game, personal interests, AND MORE!! That's why no list of mine WILL EVER INCLUDE a UCLA point guard. Top 5....

#5 The Scotty Thurman moonball (1994) - Maybe it wasn't a "buzzer beater" exactly, but C'MON!! End of game, natty championship, and he was almost 30 years old. Plus, that shot won me $150.

#4 Chris Duhon halfcourt runner against UCONN (2004) - Ok, so technically UConn won the game anyway. BUT, actually the house won.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsbusiness/news/story?id=1775505

#3 Gay ass Drew DonnieNickleTerp vs UNC-Wilmington (2003) - Jack, Phil, Cave, and I were all watching this game at Phil's house the night we left for vegas. Which means, we actually got Phil to watch bball and somewhat enjoy it. Plus, after he hit the shot he ran straight into the tunnel like Flipper Anderson. Gold

#2 Bryce Drew (Timeless) - End of game full court scenario ran to absolute perfection.

#1 Sister Christian vs. UK (1992) - I will contend that without this shot happening the tournament wouldn't be as big as it is today. Once this happened people realized that ANYTHING can happen in the NCAAs and you better friggin watch every game. It elevated Duke and Laettner to legendary status all in one fade-away 15 footer. It transended the sport. I'm not joking.

 
At 12:56 PM, March 29, 2006, Blogger Jack Fu said...

Dude, that Scotty Thurman shot happened with like a minute left. No way in hell that makes a list of "buzzer-beaters."

Nips, I was gonna comment on how the U.S. Reed shot is totally underrated, since I had inexplicably seen the shot before, and yes, it was a halfcourt bomb to win a tourney game by 1. That's ginormous. And then you pointed all those things out. Dawesome.

I agree with everything Todd said about the Laettner shot.

My list is forthcoming, after some cogitation on the subject.

 
At 1:09 PM, March 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Fu can help me with the details. There was a Michigan Class C State Final one year, where the eventual winning team (down by 1 perhaps?) took the ball out of bounds under the opposing teams basket. With the press on and mere seconds left, the victors made about 4 passes without taking a single dribble and ultimately ended up with a lay up as time expired. Perfection! Though I must admit, my fading memory may have sweetened the exect details. I think I caught this game in Fu's basement. Help a brother out here, man.

Break of Dawn

 
At 1:14 PM, March 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Completely off topic, but... While working away in my cublice at present, I have the Red Sox spring game on the tube. Color commentator Oral Hershiser just wondered aloud "can Curt Schilling maintain his load?"

 
At 1:27 PM, March 29, 2006, Blogger The Diddy said...

Best buzzer beater that didn't work.

I few years after I graduated my old high school was playing our big rival...blah, blah, blah. Anyway, my old HS was up down by one. (shocking) Anyway, they call a timeout to basically run the Drew play with 2 secs left inbounding the ball from under their own basket. So...they set the screen at half court and the guy inbounding runs to the middle to improve his angle...but somehow he forgets there's a glaring backboard in the middle as well. He throws the ball directly into the back of the backboard and the goes cruising backwards into the band and takes out a clarinet player.

I always enjoyed that moment.

 
At 2:16 PM, March 29, 2006, Blogger Jack Fu said...

BOD-

I am more than moderately ashamed that I know exactly what you are talking about. I'm not ashamed about that as much as I am the fact that I am 99% sure it was Grandville Calvin Christian beating Orchard Lake St. Mary's, some time in the early/mid-90s. I'll check on that, though.

 
At 4:15 PM, March 29, 2006, Blogger Jack Fu said...

Yeah, so I was totally right.

1994 MHSAA Class C State Championship
Grandville Calvin Christian 85, Orchard Lake St. Mary's 83 (OT)


I suppose it loses some points because the game was tied and they weren't losing, but yes, against full court pressure, they inbounded the ball and threw like four diagonal passes without the ball hitting the floor, resulting in a layup as time expired. It was awesome.

 
At 5:17 PM, March 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you tell if a buzzer beater is classic? One way: If 5-10 years later you can not only remember the play, but you can remember the details of where you where physically (not unlike our parents' recollections of the Kennedy assassination), said play just might be worthy of the word "classic."

"Classic" events in my lifetime:
The Explosion of the Challenger.
The Collapse of the Twin Towers.
The Last-Second Shot of Bryce Drew.

Thank God for sports. Otherwise, I'd only remember shitty things.

Break of Dawn

 
At 5:32 PM, March 29, 2006, Blogger Jack Fu said...

Bryce Drew: in Burnsy's living room, having recently devoured several Hungry Howie's pizzas.

 
At 9:08 PM, March 29, 2006, Blogger Jack Fu said...

Also, it warrants mentioning that, if memory serves correctly, the point guard for that 1994 North Carolina women's team was a pre-'roided-up Marion Jones...

 

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