2020 NCAA Tournament

Alright, everyone. Let’s cut to the chase.

Just because the NCAA Tournament has been cancelled doesn’t mean we can’t watch a bracket full of the best college hoops on the planet. In fact, it’s an even better reason to! So, after about a week’s worth of research, here are the 68 best March Madness games of all time that are fully or largely available on YouTube, placed on a bracket, for you to vote on one game at a time.

I know there will be plenty of people furious with the decisions made by this Selection Committee of one. I promise you ZERO games were forgotten. Difficult choices had to be made. I could release the first four and next four left out. But ultimately, while it’s always painful to be snubbed and left out, I do feel strongly that all of the games on this bracket deserve to be in.

The criteria:

  • The game had to be part of the NCAA Tournament in the last 40 years
  • The game had to be at least partially available on YouTube. When making tough, tie-breaking decisions, deference went to the higher quality content. Full games over highlights, better video quality over poor quality, etc.

Much like the real NCAA Tournament, there are 68 spots on the bracket, with four regions and a “First Four” that acts somewhat as a fifth region. They are:

  • The First Four (Upset City): the NCAA Tournament is known for its great upsets and Cinderella stories. Many of them come out of left field, with little lasting consequence on the Final Four, but these are some of our all-time favorites.
  • The Eventual Champions Region: if you’re going to win it all, sometimes it’s best to be both lucky and good. These games were not only NCAA classics, but also games that decided who won it all that season. Many of these were title games.
  • The Road to the Final Four Region: every team dreams of making the Final Four, but 349 of them don’t. The ones that do either avoid landmines along the way, or they act as a landmine themselves. These are some of the best examples.
  • The Buzzer Beater Region: who doesn’t love a good buzzer beater? With the brutal, one-and-done nature of the Big Dance, a buzzer beater doesn’t have to win a title to be etched in eternity. It’s just the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
  • The Gus Johnson Region: the most exciting, passionate play-by-play voice of the NCAA Tournament the last 40 years simply takes great games and makes them even better. Click play and enjoy.

Some of these games would fit well in multiple regions. For instance, Tyus Edney’s game-winning shot for UCLA against Missouri in 1995 would work in the Eventual Champions Region, the Road to the Final Four Region, or the Buzzer Beater Region. Where those games ended up getting placed was ultimately just determined by what would make the bracket work best with the highest quality of games.

Without further ado, let’s look at the bracket!

2020-NCAA-Tournament_large

All games are listed below, but if you’d like to view in bracket form, you can download a couple of versions: download the PDF | download the excel file

Every game comes with a link directly to the YouTube video. Stay safe out there and #MarchOn.

These games will be voted on Friday, March 20, 2020 on a Twitter poll on my handle @Castricone.

The First Four (Upset City)

Game #1
(16) 2012 1st Rd: (15) Lehigh 75, (2) Duke 70 (Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg)
(16) 2012 1st Rd: (15) Norfolk State 86, (2) Missouri 84 (Marv Albert, Steve Kerr)

Game #2
(16) 2013 1st Rd: (15) FGCU 78, (2) Georgetown 68 (Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller)
(16) 1993 1st Rd: (15) Santa Clara 64, (2) Arizona 61 (Mike Gorman, Larry Farmer)

Game #3
(11) 2018 1st Rd: (16) UMBC 74, (1) Virginia 54 (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill)
(11) 2010 2nd Rd: (9) Northern Iowa 69, (1) Kansas 67 (Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner)

Game #4
(11) 2015 1st Rd: (14) Georgia State 57, (3) Baylor 56 (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas)
(11) 2001 1st Rd: (15) Hampton 58, (2) Iowa State 57 (Craig Bolerjack, James Worthy)

The Eventual Champions Region

(1) 2016 Championship: (2) Villanova 77, (1) UNC 74 (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill)
(16) winner of Upset City Game #2

(8) 1995 2nd Rd: (1) UCLA 75, (8) Missouri 74 (Tim Ryan, Al McGuire)
(9) 1997 Championship: (4) Arizona 84, (1) Kentucky 79 (Jim Nantz, Billy Packer)

(5) 1985 Championship: (8) Villanova 66, (1) Georgetown 64 (Brent Musburger, Billy Packer)
(12) 1989 Championship: (3) Michigan 80, (3) Seton Hall 79 (Brent Musburger, Billy Packer)

(4) 1982 Championship: (1) UNC 63, (1) Georgetown 62 (Gary Bender, Billy Packer)
(13) 2003 Championship: (3) Syracuse 81, (2) Kansas 78 (Jim Nantz, Billy Packer)

(6) 2010 Championship: (1) Duke 61, (5) Butler 59 (Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg)
(11) 1987 Championship: (1) Indiana 74, (2) Syracuse 73 (Brent Musburger, Billy Packer)

(3) 1983 Championship: (6) NC State 54, (1) Houston 52 (Gary Bender, Billy Packer)
(14) 1991 Final Four: (2) Duke 79, (1) UNLV 77 (Jim Nantz, Billy Packer)

(7) 2019 Championship: (1) Virginia 85, (3) Texas Tech 77 (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill)
(10) 2008 Championship: (1) Kansas 75, (1) Memphis 68 (Jim Nantz, Billy Packer)

(2) 1992 Elite 8: (1) Duke 104, (2) Kentucky 103 (Verne Lundquist, Len Elmore)
(15) 1993 Championship: (1) UNC 77, (1) Michigan 71 (Jim Nantz, Billy Packer)

The Road To The Final Four Region

(1) 1990 Elite 8: (3) Duke 79, (1) Connecticut 78 (Dick Stockton, Hubie Brown)
(16) 2010 2nd Rd: (5) Michigan State 85, (4) Maryland 83 (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski)

(8) 2005 Elite 8: (5) Michigan State 94, (2) Kentucky 88 (Jim Nantz, Billy Packer)
(9) 1996 Sweet 16: (4) Syracuse 83, (8) Georgia 81 (Tim Ryan, Al McGuire)

(5) 2017 Elite 8: (1) UNC 75, (2) Kentucky 73 (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill)
(12) 2000 1st Rd: (5) Florida 69, (12) Butler 68 (Jim Nantz, Billy Packer)

(4) 2013 Sweet 16: (4) Michigan 87, (1) Kansas 85 (Marv Albert, Steve Kerr)
(13) 2011 Sweet 16: (4) Kentucky 62, (1) Ohio State 60 (Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg)

(6) 2018 2nd Rd: (3) Michigan 64, (6) Houston 63 (Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin)
(11) winner of Upset City Game #3

(3) 2006 Elite 8: (11) George Mason 86, (1) UConn 84 (Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery)
(14) 1986 2nd Rd: (11) LSU 83, (3) Memphis 81 (Dick Stockton, Billy Packer)

(7) 2019 Elite 8: (1) Virginia 80, (3) Purdue 75 (Brian Anderson, Chris Webber)
(10) 1997 Elite 8: (4) Arizona 96, (10) Providence 92 (Jim Nantz, Billy Packer)

(2) 2002 Sweet 16: (5) Indiana 74, (1) Duke 73 (Dick Enberg, Matt Guokas)
(15) 2018 2nd Rd: (11) Loyola Chicago 63, (3) Tennessee 62 (Brian Anderson, Chris Webber)

The Buzzer Beater Region

(1) 2016 1st Rd: (11) Northern Iowa 75, (6) Texas 72 (Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski)
(16) 2017 Sweet 16: (4) Florida 84, (8) Wisconsin 83 (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel)

(8) 1995 2nd Rd: (6) Georgetown 53, (14) Weber State 51 (Verne Lundquist, Quinn Buckner)
(9) 1998 2nd Rd: (10) West Virginia 75, (2) Cincinnati 74 (Jim Durham, Greg Kelser)

(5) 1998 1st Rd: (13) Valparaiso 70, (4) Ole Miss 69 (Ted Robinson, Rolando Blackman)
(12) 2008 1st Rd: (12) WKU 101, (5) Drake 99 (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski)

(4) 1992 2nd Rd: (7) Georgia Tech 79, (2) USC 78 (Dick Stockton, Al McGuire)
(13) 2010 1st Rd: (13) Murray State 66, (4) Vanderbilt 65 (Spero Dedes, Bob Wenzel)

(6) 2003 1st Rd: (6) Maryland 75, (11) UNC Wilmington 73 (Jim Nantz, Billy Packer)
(11) 2006 Sweet 16: (6) Texas 74, (2) West Virginia 71 (Dick Enberg, Jay Bilas)

(3) 1990 Sweet 16: (1) Connecticut 71, (5) Clemson 70 (Dick Stockton, Hubie Brown)
(14) 2018 1st Rd: (11) Loyola Chicago 64, (6) Miami 62 (Brian Anderson, Chris Webber)

(7) 2006 1st Rd: (14) Northwestern State 64, (3) Iowa 63 (Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery)
(10) 2002 1st Rd: (12) Creighton 83, (5) Florida 82 (Tim Brando, Eddie Fogler)

(2) 1981 2nd Rd: (5) Arkansas 74, (4) Louisville 73 (Marv Albert, Bucky Waters)
(15) 2016 2nd Rd: (3) Texas A&M 92, (11) Northern Iowa 88 (Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski)

The Gus Johnson Region

(1) 1999 Sweet 16: (10) Gonzaga 73, (6) Florida 72 (Gus Johnson, Dan Bonner)
(16) winner of Upset City Game #1

(8) 1996 1st Rd: (13) Princeton 43, (4) UCLA 41 (Gus Johnson, Quinn Buckner)
(9) 1999 Elite 8: (1) Connecticut 67, (10) Gonzaga 62 (Gus Johnson, Dan Bonner)

(5) 2008 Elite 8: (1) Kansas 59, (10) Davidson 57 (Gus Johnson, Len Elmore)
(12) 2011 Sweet 16: (2) Florida 83, (3) BYU 74 (Gus Johnson, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller)

(4) 2005 1st Rd: (13) Vermont 60, (4) Syracuse 57 (Gus Johnson, Len Elmore)
(13) 2005 Elite 8: (4) Louisville 93, (7) West Virginia 85 (Gus Johnson, Len Elmore)

(6) 2011 Elite 8: (8) Butler 74, (2) Florida 71 (Gus Johnson, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller)
(11) winner of Upset City Game #4

(3) 2007 2nd Rd: (1) Ohio State 78, (9) Xavier 71 (Gus Johnson, Dan Bonner)
(14) 2006 2nd Rd: (11) George Mason 65, (3) UNC 60 (Gus Johnson, Len Elmore)

(7) 1997 2nd Rd: (6) Iowa State 67, (3) Cincinnati 66 (Gus Johnson, Quinn Buckner)
(10) 2001 2nd Rd: (6) USC 74, (3) Boston College 71 (Gus Johnson, Dan Bonner)

(2) 2006 Sweet 16: (2) UCLA 73, (3) Gonzaga 71 (Gus Johnson, Len Elmore)
(15) 2011 1st Rd: (8) George Mason 61, (9) Villanova 57 (Gus Johnson, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller)