New Orleans’ Top 5 Most Memorable Final Four Moments
New Orleans, which also hosted the BCS National Championship Game this season, is a great place to host any event. That's why the Final Four will return to the Crescent City for the fifth time. North Carolina (1982 & 1993), Indiana (1987) and Syracuse (2003) have won the previous times the Big Easy became college basketball's biggest stage.
Those national championship games also have produced some of the most memorable moments in the history of the sport. What will happen this year? We can't wait to find out. Until then, we examine New Orleans' Top 5 Most Memorable Final Four Moments.
When CBS college basketball announcer Ian Eagle screams "The long arm of the law!" after a game-changing block, it's got to be a nod to Warrick, right?
The long arms of the lanky 6-foot-9 Warrick literally handed Syracuse its only national championship, one that is credited to Carmelo Anthony's lone year in college. Warrick's swat of a 3-point attempt by Kansas' Michael Lee in the left corner with 1.5 seconds left propelled the 'Cuse to an 81-78 victory and helped deliver Jim Boeheim's long-overdue national title.
Oh yeah, Warrick had just missed two free throws to keep the margin at 81-78 and give the Jayhawks a chance at tying. That's a good way to make up for your mistake.
The legend of Jordan's late-game heroics came way before Craig Ehlo or Bryon Russell during MJ's all-time great career with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan hit the game-winning shot, an all-net jumper from the left wing, in the final seconds of the 1982 national championship game for a 63-62 lead. It took Fred Brown's brain lock (we'll get to that later) on the ensuing possession for it to stand up. That's why MJ's winner can't go any higher than No. 4; it was the second-most famous play in the last 20 seconds of that game.
But any time you have the initial lasting image of Jordan - a portent into the future of the greatest basketball player of all time, it's something that can never be forgotten. And it happened in the Big Easy.
We told we'd get to Brown.Everyone has done it in a pick-up game; the final seconds of a national championship game is a different story. And that's when a case of mistaken identity happened for Brown, who literally threw away a chance to win the national title.
After Jordan hit his famous go-ahead jumper for North Carolina in the waning seconds, Brown accidentally threw the ball right to James Worthy on the ensuing possession in which the Hoyas could have won the game. Worthy, who Brown apparently mistook for a teammate, dribbled out the majority of the clock to salt away the victory.
While Syracuse's ultimate ecstasy took place in New Orleans in 2003, one of the school's all-time crushing moments came in the same city - courtesy of Smart.
The current coach of Sacramento Kings propelled coach Bob Knight to his third and final national championship with Indiana in 1987, when the Hoosiers posted a 74-73 victory over the Orange in dramatic fashion. After Derrick Coleman missed a free throw, IU was given the opportunity to go ahead with a two-point bucket.
Indiana, which maneuvered Syracuse's zone for a few seconds, did just that thanks to Smart, who drained a baseline jumper with three seconds remaining - one of the most-memorable moments in NCAA basketball history that was almost identical to Jordan's shot five years earlier.
Steve Alford might have been the team's best player, but Smart sparked a crimson and cream celebration in the Bayou.
For those who watched "The Fab Five," a documentary about Michigan's handful of fabulous freshman who brought the Wolverines to two national title games, it's clear that Webber was devastated by perhaps the biggest brain fart in sports history.
An All-American forward, Webber called timeout trapped in the right corner in front of the Wolverines' bench with 11 seconds left in the 1993 national championship game against North Carolina. Michigan, which trailed by two at the time, had no timeouts remaining and was assessed a technical foul, clinching the game for the Tar Heels.
Webber, as the film showed, sulked in the aftermath as the "Fab Five" failed to win a national title in the second straight trip to the final game. Webber actually committed two colossal errors on the possession, traveling in Michigan's backcourt seconds earlier.
While he got away with the walk, "The Timeout" will always live with him, even all these years later.
Posted: March 26, 2012