Monday, December 27
College basketball's greatest games

 1957 NCAA championship
North Carolina 54, Kansas 53 (3 OT)
Wilt Chamberlain, the biggest recruit to date in history, failed in the game's biggest stage as the Tar Heels -- with a roster full of New Yorkers -- turned basketball passion into religion in North Carolina. In the first OT, benches cleared after a hard foul on Chamberlain. Carolina coach Frank McGuire claimed a Kansas assistant punched him in the stomach during the fracas. The pro-Jayhawks crowd (the game was in Kansas City) surged menacingly toward the court. Police had to restore order. Kansas led 53-52 with 20 seconds left in the third OT when Chamberlain blocked a shot -- and then another. But Carolina's Joe Quigg got the ball and was fouled with six seconds left and sank both free throws.

1968: Hayes vs. Alcindor
Houston 71, UCLA 69
No. 1 UCLA featured Lew Alcindor, the best player in the nation, and owned a 47-game winning streak. No. 2 Houston featured Elvin Hayes, the other best player in the nation. The game was played in the Astrodome, before a record 52,693 fans, and was the first prime-time televised game in college basketball history. Alcindor played with double vision from an eye abrasion and Hayes scored 39 points to lead Houston to the upset. UCLA would get revenge in that year's Final Four, beating Houston 101-69.

1974 ACC championship
North Carolina State 103, Maryland 100 (OT)
No. 1 North Carolina State met No. 4 Maryland in the ACC title game -- and only the winner advanced to the NCAA tournament in those days. The Wolfpack featured David Thompson, the three-time ACC player of the year, but 7-4 Tommy Burleson scored 38 points. Maryland, with Len Elmore and John Lucas, hit 12 of its first 14 shots to lead 25-12 after six minutes. N.C. State cut it to 55-50 at halftime, Maryland tied it up late and N.C. State finally won in OT. The Wolfpack went on to beat UCLA in the national semifinals, snapping UCLA's title run at seven.

1979 NCAA championship
Michigan State 75, Indiana State 64
It was the first time Magic Johnson and Larry Bird faced each other -- but it was big even then. The contest remains the most-watched college hoops TV game of all time. Little Indiana State entered undefeated against Magic's Spartans, who had lost six games (five by two points or less). Bird played with a sore thumb and shot just 7-for-21 while Magic had 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists. The NBA welcomed the pair the following season where the rivalry would only grow in intensity.

1982 NCAA championship
North Carolina 63, Georgetown 62
Michael Jordan, introduce yourself to the world. The game at New Orleans' Superdome started the wave of Final Fours at large venues (attendance of 61,612 nearly doubled the previous title-game high). Early on, Georgetown freshman Patrick Ewing was blocking everything -- trouble is, he had five goaltending calls. Sleepy Floyd gave the Hoyas a one-point lead with 57 seconds left. Carolina featured the terrific twosome of James Worthy and Sam Perkins, but it was the freshman Jordan who got the call from Dean Smith. His shot from the corner gave the Heels the lead and when Fred Brown threw away the ball to Worthy, Smith had his first championship.

Jim Valvano
Jim Valvano and North Carolina State pulled off the upset in the 1983 championship game.

1983 NCAA championship
North Carolina State 54, Houston 52
The Wolfpack capped perhaps the most improbable title run ever with perhaps the biggest upset in tournament history. They had to defeat North Carolina (with Jordan and Perkins) and No. 4 Virginia in the ACC tournament just to reach the NCAAs. In their first game, they trailed Pepperdine by six with 24 seconds left in OT and won. They trailed by 12 in the second half to No. 6 UNLV and won. In the regional title game, they trailed Virginia by 10 and won. Finally, in the championship, N.C. State played No. 1 Houston, featuring Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Houston led 52-46 with three minutes left when N.C. State started fouling. The Cougars missed their free throws, setting up the memorable final shot. Dereck Whittenburg's 30-foot prayer fell short, but Lorenzo Charles grabbed the ball in midair and slammed it home at the buzzer.

1985 NCAA championship
Villanova 66, Georgetown 64
The Big East rivals met with the Ewing-led Hoyas overwhelming favorites to defend their national crown and cement their fame as one of the greatest teams ever. Except Villanova played the perfect game. Villanova controlled the pace in the last tournament played without a shot clock and shot an amazing 79 percent from the field (22-for-28), including nine of 10 in the second half. Reserve guard Harold Jensen, who was 5-for-5 from the field, hit the backbreaker in the closing minutes.

1992 East regional finals
Duke 104, Kentucky 103 (OT)
After an exciting, fast-paced regulation between two powerhouses, the action heated up in overtime. The two teams scored on the final five possessions of the game, trading the lead back and forth. Kentucky took a 103-102 lead with 2.9 seconds left on Sean Woods' crazy, 10-foot bankshot. That set up the final play. Grant Hill threw the ball all the way down court to Christian Laettner at the foul line. Laettner turned and hit the miracle turnaround jumper at the buzzer, completing a perfect day shooting: he scored 31 points on 10-for-10 from the field and 10-for-10 at the foul line.

Greatest Games