What are you favorite personal NCAA tournament stories?

Submitted by profitgoblue on March 14th, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I have to give credit for the idea of this post to User "ijohnb" and his thread http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/open-work-not-working-tourney-thread but I wanted to create a spin-off and start a different discussion:

What is your favorite personal story relating to the NCAA tournament?  It can be anything, no matter how tangentially related to the tournament.  Here are my top 2: 

(1) Trip to Vegas for the first two rounds of the tournament.  That place is insane at tournament time - the games start at 9am and continue into the night.  We camped out at Mandalay Bay where they had a huge screen set up and arranged for waitresses to take orders.  Oh, and I won a few bucks by betting on Michigan in an NIT game.

(2) Attending a first round game back in 1991 that featured the Richmond Spiders (15 seed) beating Syracuse (2 seed), the first time a #2 had ever beaten a #15.  The crowd was going ape-sh-t!

What say you?



Johnny Blood

March 14th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

It was played in San Antonio, so I got to go.  Three really good games.  UConn knocked off Duke (which is always great) and Georgia Tech beat OSU -- both games went down the wire.  The final game was less competitive, but since UConn is my second favorite team behind Michigan (note, I grew up in CT), it was a great few days for me.


March 14th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

Unfortunately I've never been to any tournament games but I did once make something like 107 bucks from a $7 start.  My parents were in Vegas and instead of a T-shirt, I asked to make a bet instead (I was big into sports betting at 15-16 years old).  Won my first two-game parlay and then hit another parlay after that to quindecuple my money (x15, yes I looked it up).  

Meanwhile, my dad and his buddy lost a couple hundred each after they tried to do some parlays like me but took the Wisconson spread against Davidson.  I tried to warn them that Wiscy wouldn't score enough to cover, but they didn't listen (Wisconsin ended up losing the game anyway).


March 14th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

...National Championship on S. University and leaving the party just before it got out of hand.

I remember vividly crossing Washtenaw at S. University and watching the cars streaming into central campus. We students got a lot of help with the after party.


March 14th, 2012 at 2:26 PM ^

I was a freshman that year and lived in West Quad. My roommate and I walked down to South U to celebrate. There were actually two celebrations that year, one after the semi-final win and one after the championship. The celebration after the semi-final took the local authorities by surprise. The cops were rather late in getting down to campus to break things up. After the finals, I remember seeing lots of mounted cops and thinking there was no way I was going to do anything but watch that night. I also remember a couple fire engines screaming down South U in an attempt to get the students to disperse.


March 14th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

firing water balloons with one of those winger 3-person slingshots into the mass of humanity that descended upon the intersection of S. Univ. & Church. Later seeing on the national news two of my buddies hanging from the light at the intersection. 

Crazy 5 days...Grateful Dead at Crisler, Hash Bash, National Championship.

Not unlike Spinal Tap amps, that long weekend went to 11!


March 14th, 2012 at 10:14 PM ^

Those guys hanging from the stoplights is an image I will always remember and associate with the '89 championship win.

I stayed up late to watch the game on TV, and as much of the celebration as I could find on cable circa 1989, which was not a lot.

I went to bed because I had to work the next day.  When I woke up for work, the lead story on CBS news in the morning was the Michigan OT victory and an endless loop of those guys hanging from the stoplights.

I was veeeery impressed.  I did not know wine-and-cheese A2 could get that wild and generate that much enthusiasm. 



March 14th, 2012 at 5:35 PM ^

I remember looking out of our house on Washtenaw Ct and seeing all these people streaming toward S. Univ. We headed out on a cold, drizzly night. What a zoo.

One guy was straddling the wire holding up the stop light. I was talking to a med school classmate the next day and he was the guy. Crazy bastard. He had beat lymphoma (or the like) so hey, what the hell.


March 14th, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

I was there for the 1993 Final Four in New Orleans. We all know what happened.

But it was one helluva weekend. Drove all day from A2 to get there and NO was hopping with fans from Kentucky, North Carolina, and Kansas (basically all the NCAA basketball royalties). It was unreal.

I remember eating oysters all day and drinking hurricanes all night and how cute Kentucky girls were.

I also remember every Kentucky fan congratulating us after the semi and how we will have no trouble beating UNC.

One of the best weekends of my life.


March 14th, 2012 at 3:18 PM ^

I was there too.  Four of us drove from AA to New Orleans in a Dodge Daytona (including yours truly at over 6' tall...).  This is why we aspire to be rich enough to get a NetJets subscription -- someday.  That was a LONG drive.

Indeed, an awesome weekend.  Beating Kentucky was great.  Making signs to take into the Superdome with us.  Sharing a room with friends in the basketball band (3 of us were in the marching band so knew most of the BB band) was fun, too.  My folks had moved by then, but lived in NO most of the time I was in college, so I knew my way around pretty well.

The drive home sucked...

I didn't go to Minneapolis the year before because I had to CRISP* on Monday for my senior year engineering classes, and this was WAAAY before online registration.  My future wife and a friend did make the drive for that one, too.

I do remember (only vaguely, though because I'd been at Scorekeepers since it opened and was drinking the whole time) after beating Cincinnatti running through the Diag and all over campus yelling, "WHO GONNA SHOCK THE WORLD?"


* CRISP - Computer Registration Involving Student Participation.  If you had to ask, you don't want to know.


March 14th, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

So many great stories but I think my favorite might be Bryce Drew diving on the floor and getting mobbed by his teammates after hitting the game winning shot for Valpo.  That was just an awesome moment.


March 14th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

and Trevor Huffman and Antonio Gates  making the Elite Eight and taking the Hoosiers to the brink for a chance at a Final Four. The Kent State Campus is only 10 minutes from where I live. This was my favorite moment non U of M for sure.


March 14th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

When UConn knocked off Duke in the 1999 national title game.  The media always slobbers over Duke but they were doing double duty that season with Duke being 35-1 heading into the title game.  The endless interviews with Duke players over being considered possibly the best team of all time got old in a hurry.  It felt like they were handing the devils a national title without even playing the game. 

Then UConn won 74-71.  And the cameras zoomed in on Coack K's daughter balling her eyes out.  I hate to sound cruel but that made it even better.


March 14th, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

Going to all six games of the NCAA tournament in Boston, Albany, and the Final Four in New Orleans to see Syracuse win the National Championship my senior year.


March 14th, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

I was in the basketball band for the Charlotte, NC trip last year.  Watching Stu dunk against Tenneesee when I was about 20-30 feet from him was amazing (likewise, I was about that far away from Morris' last shot against Duke).  However, my favorite memory was when we had about an hour to kill after we checked out of our rooms.  I started playing Minecraft for no particular reason.  About 10 minutes in, I didn't even realize McClimans was standing right behind me with a very confused look on his face.   I tried to explain it to him but I'm fairly convinced he just thought I was an extremely strange individual.

TL:DR, I accidentally introduced McClimans to Minecraft last year.

Heinous Wagner

March 14th, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

I was working at a newspaper in Illinois during Michigan's championship season. Not only was I in the middle of Illini country, but the sports editor had Seton Hall in a citywide pool and was in line to win $1,600 bucks. The day after the game had the potential to be a wee bit tense. Early on, he walked up to me and said, "Let's get something straight. I don't hate you. BUT I HATE THAT GODDAM STATE YOU'RE FROM." Using all my theater training, I kept a poker face. But I laughed like hell all the way home. And I'm laughing now remembering his florid face. 


March 14th, 2012 at 2:07 PM ^

... at the free throw line in 99.  Not the best free throw shooter, but stone cold ice in his veins as he drains two in the last couple seconds.  I was 12.  Still remember jumping up and down in my room way past bedtime.


March 14th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

Last year, when most analysts thought the Michigan-Tennessee game was going to be very close.  Then seeing Michigan dominate and forcing people like that douchebag Gottlieb eat his words made it all the better.  (I was only 5 when the Fab Five were at U-M so my experiences consist of the Ellerbe, Amaker, and Belein eras.  Hence the Belein era reigns supreme).


March 14th, 2012 at 2:26 PM ^

1993 - Final Four, New Orleans.  Friday's open practice at the Superdome the day before the National Semi-final. 

Kentucky was already on the floor and shooting at one end when Michigan arrived.  C-Web led the team onto the floor and everybody had their warm-ups on with hoods up.  They walked onto the floor VERY slowly and just watched Kentucky shoot for a bit.  Then (and i think it was Jimmy King) threw down a pretty vicious dunk with the Kentucky team watching.  Then Kentucky stepped back and started shooting even longer 3's while Michigan watched.  Then C-Webb, Jalen and Howard started dunking...alley-oops, tomahawks, one handed jams....while Kentucky watched.   Then Kentucky moved back even further and started raining 3's from waaaaay past the college 3 point line.  And we dunked some more.

It was chilling.  Watching the two heavyweights try and intimidate each other during a shoot-around was about as cool of a thing in sports as i've ever seen.  And the game the next day was the best one I've ever seen or hope to see.



March 14th, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

1988 Midwest Regional at the Silverdome.  I was 14 years old and went with my dad.  Got to see "Danny and the Miracles" take KU on a crazy run that year.  Manning absolutely carried and willed that team to victory. 

Side note, I became a big Danny Manning fan after that run - he ended up with the Clippers and dad and I went to a game in L.A. to see him play whilst on a Rose Bowl trip only a couple of years later.  Although I think Manning was out with a knee injury, Dad bought me one of those charicature t-shirts of  his (the kind that were popular in that day).  Thanks for the memories Dad - miss you tremendously.

tn wolverine

March 14th, 2012 at 2:25 PM ^

I was at the Fab 5 's first Tournament game against Temple in Atlanta. I then watched the following game in which the College I attended, East Tennessee State, knocked Arizona out of the Tournament helping clear Michigan's way to the final 4. The game between the Wolverines and the Bucaneers is the only game in my life where I've ever been conflicted as to who I was going to root for. 


March 14th, 2012 at 2:33 PM ^

In 1993 I was in basic training in South Carolina. My drill was a UNC fan and he knew I was a Michigan fan. The morning after the game he comes in to the barracks and says, “Private lexgoblue, your boys lost, AND they can’t count. DROP!” I had no idea what he was talking about. I did so many pushups that I lost count (and still had to go do muscle failure PT). I did not see what really happened and why I got smoked until a few months later.

When I was accepted into Michigan a few years after that, this was one of the first things that popped into my head. Chris Webber…you got me smoked…sigh. 

Section 1

March 14th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

The wierdest, most heartstring-pulling, gut-wrenching, surreal NCAA game I can ever imagine, was the 1990 Tournament game featuring Michigan against Loyola-Marymout immediately after the sudden and tragic death of Hank Gathers on the floor in his team's final conference championship ...

I cannot recall a single team sports performance, in my lifetime, when a single player performed in a manner that I thought was somehow possessed by a higher power, than Bo Kimble in that game.  The whole story is almost beyond words.

If anybody can come up with an NCAA story that comes even close to the '90 Loyola Marymout story, I'd like to hear it.  Just imagine; a famed "four freshmen" recruiting class at USC; all of them dismissed by incoming coach George Raveling; they hook up at Loyala-Marymount (imagine the Fab Five at Michigan all quitting to trasfer to Oakland University); Hank Gathers leading the nation in scoring; his death on the court in a conference tournament game; Bo Kimble leading the team into the NCAA tournament; shooting free throws left handed to honor his deceased friend; scoring 37 points against Michigan to lead his team to a 149-115 win; pushing little LMU to an Elite Eight finish...

It is like the Wes Leonard story, taken to the national level of the NCAA.  I still can hardly believe it.


March 14th, 2012 at 3:27 PM ^

That game made me so mad.  I was a Freshman at M at the time -- we ran into a buzzsaw.  They just weren't going to lose that game.  Then they (Loyola-Marymount) *sucked* in their next game.

Also, didn't Kimble only shoot the first FT of the game left handed?  Regardless, in retrospect, it was an amazing story, I just wish they had taken it out on some other team.  

Separately, great quote from Sean Higgins earlier that year when asked what had gone wrong in a losing effort, "We didn't get the ball to Glen enough."  Priceless.

Section 1

March 14th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

Yeah, it was only the first free throw of each game that Bo Kimble shot left-handed.  He did it in three games and made all three.

No, LMU didn't lose right after upsetting 3-seed Michigan.  They then went on to upset Alabama after that, before losing to one of the great historic (35-5) UNLV teams.


March 14th, 2012 at 4:33 PM ^

Sorry  -- off on the details.  The game against Alabama was nothing like ours, though.

As I recall, we were so irritated about getting bounced from the tournament (Q: How do you lose when you score 115 points? A: Play a team that scores 149!!! -- yes, I looked it up) that we decided to make a drinking game out of watching LMU. 

Rules were things like drink every time they score, down your beer when Bo shoots one left-handed, drink 5 seconds whenever they said, "Hank," etc.

They didn't return to the epic 149 ppg pace, so I think we switched from beer to something stronger.  The rest is foggy...

Feat of Clay

March 14th, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

What's really weird is that I was going to say something similar--watching little brother get hammered on by UNC, picking up a super drunk Michigan fan in the casino, and then wondering how quickly I could get him out of my hotel room the next morning.

I can't believe you left out the part where we went to the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, however.  Also, my lawyer needs your address. 


March 14th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

was Butler/Florida from 1st round in 2000.  I was the only one in my dorm tourney pool that picked Butler to win (I know, cool story bro), but the memorable part is that LaVall Jordan graduated from Albion HS a year in front of me and while we weren't more than acquaintances, we knew who each other were.  It was heartbreaking to see a guy I knew and an 85% free throw shooter miss 2 and Miller go the length of the floor to beat them.


March 14th, 2012 at 3:04 PM ^

i went to the final four in 2007 when i was a senior at georgetown and we were matched up against ohio state.  taking the bus down from DC with other (drunken) students and the excitement leading up to the game and the agonizing nervousness are unlike anything i have experienced before in sports - i went to all six games of the world series as my yankees clinched in '09 and stormed the field my freshman year at michigan (i transferred to gtown after that year) when we beat OSU in 03 but nothing compared to those heartpounding 40 minutes in atlanta, despite the loss.  it hurt quite a bit to lose that one, not just because it was the final four but we just had to lose to fucking ohio state.  i was miserable the rest of my time in atlanta and while i went to the final and saw Florida beat up on OSU, I kept imagining what it would be like to have my team in the final for one of these games now that i'm old enough to appreciate it.  

really hope i can see gtown win one these things and michigan to do the same in football though i'd have to have a difibrulator ready should it ever happen.


March 14th, 2012 at 3:04 PM ^

I was misspending a winter of my youth in Steamboat Springs between terms in Ann Arbor in '88-'89.  While I missed being in town for the Championship run, I was working/playing with a bunch of college aged kids and I was the only one around with an M background (lots of Syracuse kids around though). 

Also...I was working for a couple of my old man's cronies (also M grads who were going apeshit for the full 3 weeks=lots of free beer and guacomole which meant a lot then). 

Also...I won the bracket pool at my watering hole in old-town which was better than a week's pay. 

Also and maybe best of all, After a morning's skiing with a girl who's attention I'd been trying to grab all winter, we watched the second half of the blowout Virginia game in a bar halfway up the mountain ...It was a perfect 45 degrees and sunny and life was about as good as it has ever been.

Go Blue!


March 14th, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

Three most outstanding memories:

(1) Michigan's National Championship run--interim Coach Fisher (after Bo said "a Michigan Man will coach Michigan" in the tourney, dismissing Bill Frieder to take the Arizona St. job) being 6-0 after an incredible semi-final and final win in OT. Unbelievable.

(2) Princeton (my alma mater) in 1996 upsetting defending national champ UCLA in the first round: they replay the highlights every year. That final backdoor cut to pull off an improbable upset over a much more athletic team. I was on campus and part of the wild, impromptu celebration out in the street that ensued. It was 'our national championship.' The Tigers unfortunately lost to a much more physical Mississippi State team in the 2nd round that year.

(3) Princeton in 1998 (my senior year) had an unbelievable year, going 26-1 (only loss at UNC) beating Texas, NC State, Wake Forest, & all the hapless Ivies along the way. Getting up to #8 ranking in both polls, drawing a #5 seed. We camped out for tickets, drove to Hartford, CT for the first game against UNLV ( who got hot late & won their conf. tourney to draw a #12 seed). Beat them soundly. Then the dream season ended by 7 points in the 2nd round against #4 seed....Michigan State, led by Mateen Cleaves. (/shakes fist at East Lansing).


March 14th, 2012 at 3:16 PM ^

Oakland (my hometown team) vs Oral Roberts for a spot in the big dance.

Watched this game with all my high school buddies and it will forever be a great memory I associate with my friends from that time.  Pierre Dukes hit the 3 pointer with 1 second left and the rest is history.


March 14th, 2012 at 3:23 PM ^

- watching ali farokhmanesh take the bravest shot i've ever seen to sink Kansas a couple years ago. hell of a game for northern iowa (i think kurt warner also went there)

- kansas vs memphis final the year before that, still the best ncaa final i've ever seen in any sport.

- 2009, we walked down to crisler arena and found it packed (my two friends and I). beilein gave a speech to the crowd before the selection show. tensions were high, michigan hadn't been to the dance for over a decade.

i think the selection show decided to stick us in the final possible region to make it as dramatic as possible. people were getting nervous, losing hope, shaking their heads.

but when that block M showed up on the screen in the final bracket...ill never forget how loud everyone screamed.



March 14th, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

on spring break in 1998 when Kentucky knocked off Duke in the regional final. Scott Padget knocked down the three to seal it. Best part, there was a hillbilly KY fan seated in front of us (hard to believe, I know) who cheered for Duke for 15 minutes of the first half before he realized his team was in the other uniforms. Classic.

Also loved seeing Wake and Coach Beilein's mountaineers duel to a classic.