4. Magic vs. Bird
The Magic-Bird game of 1979 in Salt Lake City will go down for many of us in our 40s as the game that sparked interest in the NCAA tournament. Larry Bird's Indiana State team was the surprise of college basketball, coming into the game 33-0, and Bird was all business, leading an underwhelming cast of characters. Magic Johnson had more talent around him, although not many NBA-caliber players, and more finesse and showtime. Magic and Michigan State outran Indiana State in the second half, winning the national title 75-64. The game took on a life of its own and essentially created the interest in the Final Four. Of course, the Bird-Magic rivalry also helped save the NBA. When Bird went to the Celtics and Magic to the Lakers, they continued a rivalry that lasted throughout the 1980s.
-- Andy Katz