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Monday, April 7, 2003
NCAA Tourney: Top 10 moments


Gerry McNamara lit it up for 'Cuse.

Drew Nicholas. Carmelo Anthony. Dwyane Wade. Nick Collison.

Who provided the moment that you'll remember from this year's NCAA Tournament?

Throughout March Madness, we have been keeping track of the top moments. The last-second shots, unbelievable performances and strange occurances. Your votes and email suggestions helped narrow down the list and determine the order.

Below are our final Top 10 moments. Do you see something we missed? Upset that Drew Nicholas is No. 3? Use the mailform at the bottom of the page to sound off.

Top 10 Moments of the 2003 Men's NCAA Tournament

1. Warrick Swats Away KU's Title Hopes
Syracuse 81, Kansas 78 - National Championship, April 7

It had all the makings of a classic finish for KU. After trailing by as many as 18 and battling back into contention, two missed free throws by Syracuse gave the Jayhawks the ball with 14 seconds left and a chance to tie. Kirk Hinrich, who never seemed to find his shot all night, dished off to Michael Lee in the corner who got off the potential tying shot with 2 seconds remaining. But Hakim Warrick swooped in and sent Lee's shot into the seats, helping give Jim Boeheim his first national championship.

2. KU Steamrolls Marquette On Way To Championship Game
Kansas 94, Marquette 61 - National semifinal, April 5

Marquette tied KU 9-9 at the 15:30 mark of the first half. That was as close as they would come to mustering a challenge. KU never trailed and the only drama in the second half was whether or not KU would hit 100. They were up 29 at the half, the fourth-highest halftime lead in Final Four history. They were up 43 with 15:15 to play. It was the fourth-biggest rout in Final Four history. Roy Williams even smiled during the game.

3. Nicholas Beats Buzzer; Maryland Escapes UNC-Wilmington
Maryland 75, UNC-Wilmington 73 - First round, March 21

With NC-Wilmington bidding for a first-round upset for the second straight year, Aaron Combs -- a 40 percent free-throw shooter -- hit two with five seconds left to give the Seahawks a one-point lead over defending champion Maryland. Drew Nicholas took the inbounds pass, dribbled past two defenders, twisted back off one foot and let fly with a fallaway 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded ... nothing but net.

4. Carmelo Shines As Syracuse Drops Texas
Syracuse 95, Texas 84 - National semifinal, April 5

Syracuse freshman phenom Carmelo Anthony saved his best performance for when his team needed it most. Scoring 33 points and adding 14 rebounds, Anthony sliced his way through the Longhorn defense like a Texas-sized tornado despite collecting three fouls in the first half. Too bad we may only have one more chance to see him in all his college glory before he bolts for the NBA. Don't miss it.

5. Dwyane Wade: 29-11-11
Marquette 83, Kentucky 69 - Midwest final, March 29

Wade notched his first career triple-double (29 pts, 11 reb., 11 asst.) against No. 1 seed Kentucky on Saturday to send Marquette to the Final Four for the first time since 1977. The Wildcats had no answer for the junior guard who had enough highlight plays to fill an entire SportsCenter.

6. Collison Drops 33 on Duke
Kansas 69, Duke 65 - West semifinal, March 27

Our second write-in to crack the Top 10. Although not really a singular "moment" (he did play all 40 minutes), Nick Collison's 33 points and 19 rebounds to knock Duke out of the tournament can't be denied. It was the kind of performance that championship teams look back on as the inspiration for their eventual championship winning performance. Turned out that wasn't the case for the Jayhawks.

7. Skinner's Putback Forces OT vs. Arizona
Arizona 96, Gonzaga 95 - Second round, March 22

We know. Arizona won the game, hands down the best of the tournament so far. But it was Tony Skinner's putback at the buzzer following a missed 3-pointer that sent the game to the first of two OTs and had everyone on the ESPN campus glued to the nearest TV. The No. 1 seed Wildcats held on, but the Zags' late bucket kept the ultimate upset dream alive and gave us 10 extra minutes of prime tournament action.

8. Owens From the Corner Sends Badgers to Sweet 16
Wisconsin 61, Tulsa 60 - Second round, March 22

Thirteen-seed Tulsa schooled Wisconsin for the first 36 minutes. Down 13 with four minutes to play, something clicked for the Badgers, who went on a 16-2 run that culminated in Devin Harris finding Freddie Owens wide open in the left corner. Owens netted the 3 with one second left for the amazing comeback win.

9. Archey Wins Shootout With Gaines To Keep Butler Dancing
Butler 79, Louisville 71 - Second round, March 23

Butler's Darnell Archey and Louisville's Reece Gaines put on a 3-point shooting clinic in a second-round matchup. But it was Archey who got the last laugh, hitting his eighth 3-pointer with 1:35 remaining to give Butler a four-point lead. Archey was 8 for 9 on the day and 6 for 6 in the second half. "I was in the zone. I felt like Michael Jordan in '92 against the Blazers," he said.

10. Mascot Madness
Utah 60, Oregon 58 - First round, March 21

Our first write-in to make the Top 10 is the showdown between the Oregon Duck and Utah's red-tailed hawk that goes by the name of "Swoop." The feathers were flyin' when Swoop, who was on stilts, ripped off the Duck's oversized head, which led to a brief shoving match and some heated wise quacks. But the two aired out their frustrations and were last seen embracing at center court. We're still wondering why a hawk would need stilts ...

Do you have a suggestion for a Top 10 moment that we missed? Just wanna gripe about the rankings? If so, write to us:

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