Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Most Clutch Ever?

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.


young illiniwek said...

I would have to put Jordan's shot up there as well. I agree it would not be above any of these 3 mentioned, mainly because it was made with a little more time on the clock, but it should be top 5.

Young Cicero said...

Yeah the Jordan shot is right up there. But you are spot on that "The Shot" by K-Smart takes the trophy. Down by two, seconds on the clock, money 3-pointer to win the title by 1. Wow.

young illiniwek said...

not real important, but I think it was a 2 Cicero

Young Por 'que said...

Ya, I believe it was a two also. And if the 'Cuse would have hit their free throws, that shot would have only sent the game into OT, instead of giving IU the win.

I definately agree with Jordan's shot though. I think top 5 for sure, but I only ranked the top 3 because I was more trying to address where I felt that Chalmers shot should be ranked among the greats.

Young Cicero said...

Chalmers shot was the shit for sure. Rose's hand was RIGHT in his face.

Young Swole said...

1. Bryce Drew
2. NC State over Houston
3. Rip Hamilton over Washington
4. Tyus Edney - UCLA
5. Scotty Thurman - Arkansas

Young Por 'que said...

What in the hell are you talking about Swole? Is that your top 5?

Young Cicero said...

OK Swole way to form a top five without any of the four shots we have been attempting to analyze.

Bryce Drew's shot was nice, sure, but it came in the FIRST ROUND of the tournament. Not the final. Not even to send his team to the Final Four.

Young Por 'que said...

I definately will not argue, Swole, that those are all great shots in the NCAA Tournament (although the Lorenzo Charles and NC State over Houston is debatable since it wasn't so much a clutch shot, but an errant pass? jumper? that was saved and dunked in). But are they "clutch shots"?

The definition of clutch time is "a tense critical situation". I don't think that shots that were made to send a team to the Round of 32, Sweet 16, or Elite 8 classify as truly "clutch" shots; amazing shots - yes, but not clutch.

What I was attempting to do is define what I thought were the most clutch shots - the best shots that were made with everything on the line. Your heart and your mind are beating a different tune when you are about to drop a trey with 3.7 seconds left to tie it up and win a national championship as opposed to a Cinderella team attempting to "do the impossible".

Young Cicero said...

yeah if you want to start counting shots that just so happened to be buzzer-beaters, well then Blake Hoffabarger's last-second shot against IU in the Big Ten Tourney might as well be on this list. Or maybe that INSANE Derrick Fisher turnaround jumper with less than a second left during a Lakers playoff game a few years ago...

Young Swole said...

jesus guys calm down, i was just throwing some more in there that were amazing shots from other the years.

And if we go by Porque's logic that the most clutch shots have to come in the final game, then Thurman and MJ must be ahead of Laettner

Young Por 'que said...

No no no, you have me all wrong. You have to at least admit that having the final shot in a game to go to the Final Four or to take the title has significantly more weight than a first round buzzer beater.

I wasn't saying that you were wrong, in fact, I acknowledged those were amazing shots. I was just trying to nail down the most clutch shots.