As March Madness is almost here, we take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the best viral moments in NCAA tournament history. Here is VUHoops take on ‘The Shot’:
April 4, 2016 — the NCAA national championship game between the Villanova Wildcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels was coming down to the wire.
UNC’s Marcus Paige drilled an improbable, double-clutch circus shot from beyond the arc to tie the game up with just seconds left in the game. It looked like the greatest shot of the tournament and a sure candidate for one of the best in college basketball history, and it was — for 4.7 seconds — until Kris Jenkins happened.
Jenkins upstaged Paige and the rest of the Tar Heels by hitting the dream shot, the kind that every kid counting down “5...4...3...” as they hurl the ball in their driveway or at the park imagines growing up. However, this wasn’t pretend and the stakes were massive.
Jenkins received the pass from teammate Ryan Arcidiacono and sank the game-winning buzzer-beater to lift Villanova to a national title and insert it into the history books. The Wildcats defeated the Tar Heels, 77-74.
“All I heard was Arch! Arch! Arch!” said Arcidiacono, who passed the ball to Jenkins for the game-winner.
“I was able to get in his vision and I was open,” Jenkins said of the shot. “So, I was screaming at him. For him to be unselfish and give up the ball, it shows what type of teammate he is and the type of person he is. We put a lot of work in. On this team, everybody has the confidence to catch and shoot. When Arch threw me the ball, I just one-two step and then, shoot ‘em up, sleep in the streets.”
After the game, it was revealed that the play was originally drawn up for Arcidiacono to take the shot, and Jenkins, as the inbounder on the play, was one of the last options. However, Jenkins felt that he would be open and available to take the shot.
“From previous games, I realized when I take the ball out and the ball gets up the court, the defenders usually follow the ball,” Jenkins said. “ I knew when I gave Arch the ball, he was going to be aggressive and they were going to try to take Arch away, because he’s hit big shots before in his career. When they all followed the ball, I just knew if I could get in his line of vision, he would find me.”
Surely enough, Arcidiacono did. Jenkins trailed the Villanova point guard, and by the time Tar Heel defenders realized they had left Jenkins open, it was too late.
Jenkins’ shot was the finishing touch on a thrilling 2016 NCAA Tournament that had plenty of memorable moments.
The championship game was also a fitting end, with plenty of momentum swings and big plays on both sides of the court.
North Carolina held a 39-34 lead at the break, but the Wildcats came with a renewed effort in the second half, even building a double-digit lead with 5:29 to go. It didn’t last long though, as the Tar Heels surged late and got the Paige three-pointer to tie things up for a moment.
After suffering early NCAA Tournament exits in each of the last few trips before 2016, the ‘Cats were finally able to go all the way and finish on top. They ended with a 35-5 record. It was their first national championship since 1985 — another game that had its own share of memorable moments and performances. The Wildcats would go on to win another national title in 2018.
Here were some of the best tweets from the moment:
Here is a view of Jenkins' shot from the student section pic.twitter.com/qgdU6oURTp— UConn Student (@sacketology) April 5, 2016
my. goodness. feel like i could cry tears of excitement and sadness for both of these teams. what a game. what a sport. MAN.— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) April 5, 2016
Best ending to a championship game I have ever seen. 1 st buzzer beater since Lorenzo Charles in 1983. Incredible game.— JayWilliams.ETH (@RealJayWilliams) April 5, 2016