There is no shortage of material to choose from when looking back on 2013 and trying to whittle down to the most memorable developments in college basketball.
Most fans will have at least a slightly different list than what we’ve put together here, but we’re confident all five of these events belong in the conversation when looking at what was a remarkable year.
We’re hoping for an equally strong 2014 but without any injuries making the list at this time next year. Happy New Year college hoops fans. Thanks for reading.
Butler buzzer-beats Gonzaga
On Jan. 19, No. 13 Butler and No. 8 Gonzaga met in Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and battled to a classic finish.
Butler’s Roosevelt Jones stole an inbound pass with 3.5 seconds left and his team down by one. He drove into the lane and put up a floater that found the hole to give Butler a 64-63 victory as fans spilled on to the court to celebrate.
Notre Dame tops Louisville in epic 5 OT game
Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant made four consecutive three-point trips down the court in the final 47 seconds of regulation Feb. 9 to overcome an eight-point deficit and force overtime against Louisville.
The teams went on to play five overtimes before the Fighting Irish ultimately prevailed 104-101 more than an hour later. Six players played at least 50 minutes and Notre Dame Point guard Eric Adkins played 60. Notre Dame big man Garrick Sherman didn’t play at all in regulation and finished with 17 points and six rebounds.
Wichita State and Florida Gulf Coast made history in the NCAA tournament.
Wichita State upset top-seeded Gonzaga and Ohio State to advance to the Final Four in one of the most improbable runs in recent history. The aptly named Shockers epitomized playing together and seemed to shrug off anything that got in their way before falling short in a national semifinal to eventual national champion Louisville.
Florida Gulf Coast actually stole the spotlight from Wichita State for much of the first two weeks of the season by pulling off even more improbable upsets with unusual style points that earned the program the nickname Dunk City.
FGCU became the first No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 by beating Georgetown and San Diego State. It was stopped short of the Elite Eight by Florida and coach Andy Enfield parlayed the success into a new job at Southern Cal.
Kevin Ware’s broken leg
Perhaps the lasting image of the year for many will be the gruesome broken leg suffered by Louisville guard Kevin Ware during the first half of an Elite Eight win over Duke.
Ware was hurt when he landed awkwardly while leaping to defend a 3-pointer from Tyler Thornton with 6:33 left in the first half. His teammates and fans near the court were shocked to the point of being physically sickened by the sight of Ware’s injury. Yet, Ware was calm enough to gather his teammates and ask them to win the game.
Trey Burke’s big moment
Michigan guard Trey Burke already was a favorite to win national Player of the Year awards before providing one of the thrilling moments of March Madness in a Sweet 16 win over Kansas. He curled around a screen late in a close game and drained a 25-footer to force overtime. The Wolverines eventually won an 87-85 thriller allowing them to advance all the way to the national title game where they lost to the Cardinals.
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