ESPN had a poll today asking where Mario Chalmers "Hail Mary" 3 pointer to tie the game and send it into OT ranks all time amongst the most clutch shots in NCAA Tournament history. The choices were "Most Clutch Ever", "Top 3", "Top 5", etc. etc.
Naturally, Jayhawk nation had it being the most clutch ever. So that got me to thinking: where would I rank this as the most clutch shot in NCAA Tournament history? After a few minutes of thought, here are my choices:
#1.) 1987 - Indiana vs. Syracuse (NCAA Championship Game)
Probably not the shot everyone thought would be number 1, but in my opinion, this was the most clutch shot in NCAA Tournament history. Sure, there were similar amazing shots (and more famous ones, like the one below this) that have been made in the tournamment, but Keith Smart's jumper was drained in the National Championship game, the biggest stage, to put Indiana ahead by a point to win the title.
#2.) 1992 - Duke vs. Kentucky (East Regional Final)
This is arguably the most famous and known shot in, not only NCAA, but basketball history. 2.1 seconds left. Grant Hill to inbound (GUARD THE INBOUNDER!!), toss to Laettner, fakes right, turns and nails it. While this shot is far more famous than the Keith Smart jumper, I would argue that it isn't nearly as clutch as that shot. That game sent Duke into the Final Four where they would go on to win their second straight NCAA title. It is remembered because it was an amazing shot, but all it did was send them to the Final Four. No one remembers what happened after that, except that Duke won the National Championship. Had he missed the shot that would have sent Duke to the Final Four, it would not have seemed like as big of a miss as if Keith Smart had missed the shot to win Indiana the title.
#3.) 2007 - Kansas vs. Memphis(NCAA Championship Game)
I would rank this as the 3rd most clutch shot in NCAA Tournament history when you look at all the elements that went into the shot. It was the championship game. KU had stormed back, down by 9 points with 2 minutes left. Memphis could have put the game away, but couldn't hit their free throws. 3 seconds left. And he drains an off balanced 3 with a man right in his face to preserve the game and win it in overtime.