Making a top 10 list for a heartbreaking loss is not quite an honor.
However, when creating such a list for the most memorable games of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, it was hard for CBSSports.com to ignore the brilliant West Regional final played between the Arizona Wildcats and Wisconsin Badgers back on March 29.
In fact, the Badgers’ 64-63 Elite Eight overtime win came in at number two — more than likely to the chagrin of Wildcat fans.
In most years, this would’ve been No. 1. No team led by more than three points in the final 18 minutes. Frank Kaminsky went for 28 and 11 against Arizona’s front line. Aaron Gordon did this (in a previous game, but it was so good I forgot it came against SDSU and what the heck I’m leaving it here anyway).
The Nick Johnson charge call was highly questionable, but ended up not mattering because Wisconsin turned the ball over (which took way too long to decide on a monitor review) on the inbounds play. Wisconsin essentially won the game on a tip shot from Kaminsky with 73 seconds remaining that gave UW a three-point lead. Then came a bunny from Jordin Mayes with a minute to go for Zona. Johnson couldn’t get a shot off in time for Arizona on the final possession in OT.
Amazing thing about Arizona: it’s lost its last four Elite Eight games in the past decade-plus, and those losses have come by an average of less than two points and required multiple overtimes.
Bo Ryan got to the Final Four by winning on what would have been his father’s 90th birthday.
It’s certainly not a Final Four berth, not even close actually. With that said, being a participant in an instant classic should serve as some sort of consolation as time goes on.