“He’s the best pitcher I’ve ever seen.” “He’s the best quarterback I’ve ever seen.” I’ll fully admit that I’ve been guilty of this at times, sometimes I’ve been proven right, other times, egg all over my face.
I decided to let a week pass before I discussed last Monday’s epic National Championship game between Villanova and North Carolina.
I tried to exercise some patience, I didn’t want to jump the gun, but I can’t help it!
Last Monday’s game was hands down the best National Championship game I’ve ever seen, and I truly do believe it was the greatest National Championship game in the history of modern-day college basketball.
Just think about what happened a little over a week ago.
Villanova held a commanding ten-point lead with a little over five minutes to play. That lead continued to dwindle and dwindle and dwindle, when after a ferocious North Carolina comeback, the Tar Heels were in a position to the tie the game with under 10 seconds to play.
Down three, North Carolina senior guard Marcus Paige makes one of the craziest, most awkward three-point shots you’ll ever see to tie the game with under five seconds to go.
After the incredible circus shot to tie the ball game, I’m sure many of you were thinking that this is a ball game that has overtime written all over it.
I most certainly did, and with an extra five minutes the advantage would’ve shifted considerably towards the North Carolina Tar Heels.
In an overtime situation, North Carolina, the more talented team is going to find a way, but that’s where this very good National Championship turned into an instant, all-time classic.
Villanova coach Jay Wright draws up the perfect inbounds play out of the timeout setting up Kris Jenkins to hit the shot of a lifetime.
It’s a shot that will live forever. A walk-off, buzzer beater to win a National Championship.
There will never, and I mean never, be a crazier sequence to end a National Championship game ever again.
I know some will say NC State’s massive upset over Phi Slama Jama takes the cake; some will argue Jordan’s game winner over Georgetown reigns supreme; and maybe even a few folks would say Kansas’ epic comeback over Memphis in 2008 should all be considered the greatest championship game.
Classic games, no question. However, none of them compare to what we saw last Monday night.
To see one team in North Carolina go from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat in the matter of seconds is what makes college basketball and sports so enjoyable, and at times so painful depending on your perspective.
I’m sure there will be plenty of great National Championship games in the years to come. I certainly hope that there are.
However, you find me the game that features the sort of dramatics, the ridiculous shot making and the finish we had Monday Night and maybe, just maybe, I’ll say that specific game is up to par.
So when you’re walking around town discussing what happened this year in the NCAA Tournament, know full well, you witnessed the greatest National Championship game ever.
No hyperbole. No exaggeration. The greatest National Championship ever.
Is it March yet??
JJ’s Top 5 National Championship games
1. Villanova over UNC (2016)
2. NC State over Houston (1983)
3. Kansas over Memphis (2008)
4. UNC over Georgetown (1982)
5. UCONN over Duke (1999)