The New Greatest Game
By: Connor Lenahan
I am a man prone to hyperbole on a regular basis. It’s fairly common with most everything I do or write. But I really, genuinely don’t think calling last night’s championship game of the NCAA Tournament between Villanova and North Carolina the greatest 15 seconds of basketball in history.
Let’s start with the dagger from Marcus Paige. UNC was down three and in need of a miracle to try and keep in the national title game. In comes their senior leader who threw up the ugliest looking prayer of a shot possible. And he drilled it like a man.
It was unreal. It was impossible. There was a delay from everyone involved collectively calling bullshit on such a shot going in. The game itself was a crazy back and forth that was causing cardiac arrest with each run. This was insane. To overtime we go for the title.
And then 4.7 seconds happen. Kris Jenkins etched his name into the pantheon of college athletics heroes last night with a shot that may just collectively change the landscape of college basketball.
And in one shot the world changed. Jay Wright? No longer someone defined by early exits from the tournaments, now defined as a coaching genius with the top credential on his resume. Villanova? Say hello to a crazy amount of attention from recruits and prospects as long as Wright is coaching. Big East Basketball? Conference play starts with five tournament teams and the defending national champion. Hell, even players like Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniel Ochefu, and Kris Jenkins are probably getting taken in the draft/higher in the draft after this miracle.
It’s still surreal a day later and given how this game played out I’m not sure that feeling will ever escape replays. This was history. This was the moment of what might go down as one of the most entertaining tournaments in NCAA basketball history.
But on top of this all it made me happy, because my Dad was just starting law school at Villanova in 1985 when they upset Georgetown to win their first national title. If ever he was going to get a second title for his alma mater I’m not sure this could be topped.