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Vitale: Carolina tradition looms large

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Memories of '05 tourney will last


April 4, 2005 | NCAA Tournament coverage on ESPN.com

More from Vitale — Tar Heels topple Illini for national title

The NCAA Tournament, I've said before, is the best three weeks in all of sports. My memories of the 2005 tourney will last long after I leave St. Louis.

March Madness is so special. I can break down my reflections on this year's tourney into three phases.

Phase I: Watching the Davids take down the Goliaths in the first round. No. 13-seed Vermont upset No. 4-seed Syracuse, and on the same day No. 14-seed Bucknell shocked No. 3-seed Kansas.

Phase II: I'll remember drama unfolding in the Elite Eight – those amazing regional finals – with three of the four games going into overtime. There were dramatic moments, like Kentucky guard Patrick Sparks tying the game with his 3-pointer at the buzzer. But then Michigan State responded and earned a trip to the Final Four.

Phase III: And then, Monday night, we witnessed a classic championship game. The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in America hooked up in St. Louis, with North Carolina defeating top-ranked Illinois to win the national championship.

The performance of center Sean May was absolutely incredible and proved to be the difference for the Tar Heels. Coach Roy Williams won his first national title after two previous trips to the title game as a head coach (with Kansas).

March Madness is awesome, baby, and it was evident again this year with three of the most captivating weeks you could ever imagine!

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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