Will Tonight Be a Memorable Final


Tonight is the final game of the men’s college basketball season. The NCAA championship game has produced some incredible memories. Like any memorable championship event, NCAA title games have been life changing events for many athletes. Here are some names from past title games.  

JERRY WEST–There was great sadness in our state when West and his Mountaineer teammates lost in the 1959 NCAA title game by one point to California. Despite the loss, the rest of the nation learned of West’s greatness in that 1959 season. He became a national name after that Final Four.

BILL WALTON—The big redhead was a UCLA star as a college player in 1973. In that season, the NCAA title game was played on a Monday night in prime-time for the first time in history. Walton gave a prime-time peformandce. He was 21-22 shooting from the floor and scored 44 points as the Bruins routed Memphis State.

MICHAEL JORDAN–Jordan was a freshman at North Carolina in 1982. In the Final Four that year in New Orleans, we caught our first glimpse of his clutch greatness that would earn him the distinction of the Greatest Player of All Time. Even as a freshman, on a team full of veteran stars such as James Worthy and Sam Perkins, it was the freshman Jordan that took the game winning shot, a 15 footer that beat Patrick Ewing and Georgetown. 

KEITH SMART—Smart was a rare junior college player for Bob Knight at Indiana in 1987. He became a Hoosiers legend at the Final Four. His last second jumper from the corner gave Indiana a dramatic national title win over Syracuse. 

DANNY MANNING—They call the 1988 Kansas team "Danny and the Miracles".  The Jayhawks were heavy underdogs to Billy Tubbs and Oklahoma who had beaten Kansas twice in the regular season. The Sooners won 35 games going into the title game and they were heaving favored. Larry Brown did an excellent coaching job for Kansas and Manning came up big in the title game scoring 31 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and making 5 steals.   Not long after the title win, however, the Kansas program went on probation for numerous violations during the Larry Brown era. 


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