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March Madness is one of the most unpredictable times in sports every year. The tournament where every possession, loose ball, and foul call is crucial. The better team in the matchup (on paper) can fall victim to a season-ending buzzer beater, and a sixteenth seed can knock off a number one seed.

With all those possibilities taken into consideration, it is imperative that every team treat each game like it is their last, sticking to the coach’s game plan and never underestimating their opponent. Failure to comply to these three golden rules could leave a team destined to make a deep run in the tournament, crippling in the agony of an early exit.

Why do they call it March Madness?

The term “March Madness” was first used in 1939 when Illinois high school official Henry V. Porter referred to the original eight-team tournament by that moniker.

“A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel,” Porter wrote in “Illinois High School Athlete” magazine.

But it was Brent Musburger who is credited with associating the term with the NCAA Tournament when he used it in 1982. According to, Musburger claims that he got the term from car dealership commercials he saw while broadcasting the Illinois state high school basketball tournament.

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Midwest Regional

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There has been hundreds of ‘March Madness’ moments since the inception of the tournament 85 years ago in 1939. The tournament consists of 68 teams competing in a single-elimination bracket. Thirty-two teams automatically qualify for the tournament by winning their conference tournament. The other 36 teams get in on a ‘voting scale’ based on their performance of throughout the season.

Those teams that get in the tournament by the skin of their teeth are the most dangerous programs. Teams with a low ranked seed like the Saint Peter’s Peacocks of 2022 — who knocked of No. 2 seeded Kentucky, No. 7 seeded Murray State, and No. 3 seeded Purdue — play with nothing to lose, and adhere to the golden rules of the tournament to take them as far as they can go.

Our team at RNBPhilly got together and sat down for hours to come up with a list of the 50 most exciting March Madness moments in NCAA history. This is in no particular order as it is subjective to many, but we did our best!

Check out the 50 Most Exciting March Madness Moments in NCAA History below!


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Top 50 March Madness Moments in NCAA History  was originally published on

1. Texas A&M’s massive comeback in final minute of 2016 NCAA tournament

2. Michigan’s miraculous buzzer-beater vs. Houston in 2018 NCAA tournament

3. Georgia State vs. Baylor: R.J. Hunter 3-pointer for the win (2015)

4. 1977 NCAA Final Four semifinal controversial end of game in Marquette vs UNC-Charlotte

5. Arizona Vs. Illinois (2005) – arguable the GREATEST comeback in the history of NCAA basketball

6. Norfolk State upsets Missouri (2012)

7. CJ Mccollum Dropped 30 POINTS to Upset Duke (2012)

8. George Mason Shocks The Hoops World Upsetting UCONN (2006)

9. Wooden wins #10- UCLA Bruins vs Kentucky Wildcats (1975)

10. Austin Carr Scores 61 Points vs. Ohio – 1970 NCAA Championship

11. Bill Walton drops 44 Points vs Memphis State (1973 NCAA FInal)

12. Keith Smart “The Shot” (1987)

13. Tyus Edney Miracle vs. Missouri (1995)

14. Duke vs U.N.L.V. (1991)

15. UCLA Vs NC State Nat’l SemiFinals go to DOUBLE OT (1974)

16. Michael Jordan’s game-winner vs. Georgetown (1982)

17. Virginia’s ‘Redemption’ Run (2019)

18. ‘The Perfect Upset’ Villanova vs. Georgetown NCAA Championship Game 1985

19. The ‘Game of Change’ Loyola vs Mississippi State, March 15, 1963


21. 1966 Texas Western vs Kentucky (3)

22. Morehead State Game Winning Three vs Louisville – 2011 NCAA Tournament

23. Stephen Curry drops 40 points vs Gonzaga (2008)

24. John Chaney’s Incredible Elite Eight run with Temple in 2001

25. Hampton upsets Iowa State in the 2001 NCAA West Regionals

26. Butler upsets #1 Pittsburgh (2011)

27. VCU upsets #1 Kansas (2011)

28. Missouri Revenge against UCLA! (2002)

29. Santa Clara Upsets #2 Arizona (1993)

30. Dayton tops Virginia Tech in overtime to advance to 1967 NCAA Final Four

31. Danny Manning’s dominant 1988 NCAA title game vs Oklahoma

32. Roy Williams Wins First NCAA Championship (2005)

33. “Roger Harden Wins It At The Buzzer!” Kentucky Wildcats vs LSU Tigers (1986)

34. Indiana upsets #1 Duke (2002)

35. Cal stuns Duke in 2nd round of NCAA tournament (1993)

36. Jimmer Fredette Destroys Gonzaga (2011)

37. Louisville Defeats WVU to advance to Final Four (2005)

38. Princeton upsets UCLA in the NCAA tournament (1996)

39. Davidson Upsets #2 Georgetown (2008)

40. Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird (1979)

41. Patrick Ewing vs. Akeem Olajuwon: 1984 NCAA Championship game

42. NC State stuns Houston in NCAA Championship (1983)

43. Mario chalmers 3-point shot to win the 2008 NCAA Championship

44. Richard Hamilton’s Sweet 16 buzzer beater for UConn (1998)

45. Korie Lucious Game Winning Buzzer Beater vs Maryland (2010)

46. Bryce Drew buzzer beater: Valpo vs. Ole Miss (1998)

47. Villanova vs. North Carolina: Kris Jenkins Buzzer Beater wins national title (2016)

48. U.S. Reed Game-winning shot vs Louisville (1981)

49. Christian Laettner hits THE SHOT vs. Kentucky (1992)

50. David Slays Goliath: #16 UMBC upsets #1 Virginia