The 20 most memorable college basketball games of 2015

The 20 most memorable college basketball games of 2015

Yahoo Sports will be recapping the best and worst of 2015 in college basketball this week. Here's a look at 2015's 20 most memorable games:

1. Wisconsin 71, Kentucky 64 (April 4): The question that dominated college basketball last season was whether there was a team that could beat Kentucky. Turns out it was the team that almost beat the Wildcats the previous year. Three-hundred-sixty-four days after Aaron Harrison ripped Wisconsin's hearts out with a late game-winning 3-pointer in the Final Four, the Badgers secured sweet revenge. National player of the year Frank Kaminsky scored a game-high 20 points and co-star Sam Dekker sank the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:44 to go, propelling Wisconsin to the national title game and ending Kentucky's bid for a 40-0 season two wins short. The Wildcats were undone by an over-reliance on the Harrison twins during the final 6:37 of the game, a stretch in which they blew a four-point lead and made only one basket.

2. Kentucky 68, Notre Dame 66 (March 29): To thwart Notre Dame's spirited upset bid and keep its perfect season intact, Kentucky had to shoot 75 percent from the field in the second half, sink its final nine shots of the game and make two huge defensive plays in the final minute. Willie Cauley-Stein made the first one, recovering in time to block a step-back Jerian Grant 3-point attempt that would have given Notre Dame the lead. Andrew Harrison made the other, contesting Grant's buzzer-beating 3-point attempt just enough to force him to double clutch. Those plays sent Kentucky to its fourth Final Four in five years and forced Notre Dame to cope with the heartbreak of a near miss. It probably would have been remembered as the game of the 2015 NCAA tournament had Wisconsin not done what the Irish could not one week later.

3. Duke 68, Wisconsin 63 (April 6): As Duke's second-half deficit ballooned to nine, the Blue Devils' heralded freshmen class easily could have folded. Instead it proved to be their finest moment. Duke’s four freshmen combined to score team's final 37 second-half points as the Blue Devils rallied to defeat Wisconsin and claim Mike Krzyzewski’s fifth national title. And while stars Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor played a part in the comeback, it was two other freshmen who did the heavy lifting. Grayson Allen, the phenomenally talented guard who had spent most of the season on the edge of the rotation, delivered a spark by scoring the first eight points of his team's rally. Tyus Jones, the steady point guard who had come through in big moments all season, sank a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:08 to go and a game-clinching three a few minutes later.

4. Georgia State 57, Baylor 56 (March 19): Georgia State coach Ron Hunter became the undisputed king of the NCAA tournament's opening weekend after this memorable round of 64 upset. First his son R.J. sank a game-winning jump shot at the buzzer to topple third-seeded Baylor. Then the elder Hunter fell off his sideline rolling chair celebrating the shot. And finally Hunter pledged that he was taking the chair that made him famous home as a keepsake the next day. The Georgia State coach needed the chair after tearing an Achilles tendon celebrating the Panthers' win in the Sun Belt title game. Hunter tried seven or eight different chairs, including one specially made for people with Achilles injuries, but a ratty old blue office chair proved to be the best option.

5. Albany 51, Stony Brook 50 (March 14): Six weeks after he lost his mom to colon cancer, Albany's Peter Hooley sank a shot that would have made his mother very proud. The Australia native felled Stony Brook with a top-of-the-key three just before the buzzer, earning Albany a one-point victory, the America East title and an NCAA tournament bid. Hooley, Albany’s leading scorer, left the team for a month during this season so he could return home to Australia to spend time with his mom before she passed. He returned to the team in part because she made him promise he would. While Hooley's shot felt like destiny for Albany, it was heartache for star-crossed Stony Brook. The Seawolves have reached the America East title game four times in five years only to fall a win shy of their first-ever NCAA tournament bid.

6. UAB 60, Iowa State 59 (March 19): The most shocking upset of the 2015 NCAA tournament occurred on the first day. Third-seeded Iowa State had emerged as a Final Four threat after winning the Big 12 tournament in dramatic fashion the previous week. Fourteenth-seeded UAB entered the Conference USA tournament with a 16-15 record and only made the NCAA tournament at all by winning three games in three days. The Blazers notched their first NCAA tournament win since 2005 by holding Georges Niang to 11 points, limiting Iowa State to 37 percent shooting and outscoring the Cyclones 9-4 down the stretch. William Lee had 14 points, 12 rebounds and the game-winning jump shot that put UAB ahead to stay with less than a minute to go in the game.

7. Duke 92, North Carolina 90 (Feb. 18): The birth of the nickname Tyus Stones came long before the national title game. The freshman point guard earned that moniker against rival North Carolina six weeks earlier when he fueled another furious comeback. On a night when Jahlil Okafor was hounded by double teams, hobbled by a left ankle injury and off target from the free throw line, Jones came to Duke's rescue. He scored his team's final nine points in regulation as the Blue Devils overcame a 10-point deficit in the final three-plus minutes, forced overtime and emerged with a two-point overtime victory. His poise under pressure was the lasting image of one of the classic Duke-North Carolina games in recent years.

8. Iowa State 69, Texas 67 (March 12): The most memorable victory in Iowa State's run to the Big 12 tournament title was the Cyclones' first one. Monte Morris capped a 12-0 game-ending run with a 18-foot fall-away jumper at the buzzer, delivering Iowa State a victory over Texas in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Iowa State had trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half before unleashing a full-court press that helped it claw back into the game. At the time, it seemed like there was a chance Texas' collapse might cost it an NCAA bid, but the Longhorns slipped into the field of 68. The loss did help hasten the firing of Rick Barnes, who was let go after the season.

9. Michigan State 76, Louisville 70 (March 29): The battle between two of March's most successful coaches was in the hands of one of the most unlikely players on the floor. Fouled on a put-back attempt by Michigan State's Marvin Clark with 4.9 seconds remaining and his team trailing by one, Louisville center Mangok Mathiang had the chance to send the Cardinals to the Final Four by making two free throws. The 48 percent foul shooter's first attempt bounced in but his second caromed hard off the back rim and out. Seventh-seeded Michigan State took full advantage of its good fortune in overtime, escaping with a 76-70 victory over fourth-seeded Louisville to send Tom Izzo to the Final Four for the seventh time.

10. Wichita State 78, Kansas 65 (March 22): Gregg Marshall has tried to publicly goad Kansas into agreeing to a home-and-home series for the past couple years. Bill Self feels his program has nothing to gain by deviating from his longstanding policy of not scheduling Wichita State. That backstory made the first matchup between in-state powers in 22 years the most compelling game of the 2015 NCAA tournament's round of 32. The Shockers did not let their crack at the Jayhawks slip through their grasp, pulling away in the second half for a win that ensured bragging rights for years to come. Wichita State overcame Kansas' size and strength advantage with superior shooting and superior effort. Tekele Cotton had 19 points, Fred VanVleet had 17 and Evan Wessel sank four of the Shockers' 10 threes.

HONORABLE MENTION:  

Duke 69, Virginia 63: (Jan. 31): Huge threes from Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook helped Duke come from behind to hand No. 2 Virginia its first loss.

Wisconsin 80, Michigan State 69 (OT) (March 15): The Badgers ended the Big Ten title game on a 31-10 run to lock up the final No. 1 seed.

Ole Miss 94, BYU 90 (March 17): In a wildly entertaining First Four game, the Rebels rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to end BYU's season.

Notre Dame 67, Butler 64 (OT) (March 22): Hours after losing his mom to a heart attack, Mike Brey piloted his team to its first Sweet 16 since 2003.

NC State 71, Villanova 68 (March 22): Top-seeded Villanova became an upset victim in the round of 32 for a second straight season.

Wisconsin 85, Arizona 78 (March 29): Another Elite Eight matchup, another heartache for Arizona. Wisconsin edged the Wildcats for a second straight time.

Maryland 75, Georgetown 71 (Nov. 17): A rivalry that had been dead for far too long was revived in front of a raucous sellout crowd in College Park.

North Carolina 89, Maryland 81 (Dec. 2): A scintillating duel between Marcus Paige and Melo Trimble ended with the Tar Heels edging the Terps.

UCLA 87, Kentucky 77 (Dec. 3): One year after a loss to Kentucky in which they trailed 24-0 before their first basket, the Bruins secured some sweet revenge.

Canisius 108, Louisiana Monroe 96 (3OT) (Dec. 22): The Golden Griffins trailed by 13 with 62 seconds left in regulation before unleashing a record-setting rally.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!