College Sports

How does the Virginia-Auburn finish compare to other wild endings? Check out our list

Jubilant Virginia leaves court after dramatic Final Four win

The Virginia Cavaliers left the court at US Bank Stadium after beating Auburn 63-62 in the NCAA Tournament Final Four on April 6, 2019 in Minneapolis.
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The Virginia Cavaliers left the court at US Bank Stadium after beating Auburn 63-62 in the NCAA Tournament Final Four on April 6, 2019 in Minneapolis.

The first semifinal of the 2019 NCAA Tournament’s Final Four in Minneapolis, Minnesota, saw a controversial finish that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

A foul on Virginia’s Kyle Guy as he attempted a three-point shot with less than a second remaining sent him to the line, where he drained all three free throws to give the Cavaliers a one-point victory, 63-62.

Social media users had polarizing views on whether it was a foul or not. What was certain is the game was an instant classic.

With that in mind, here are some other wild finishes to Final Four games, in no particular order:

1982

Before he was Air Jordan, Michael Jordan showcased his clutch gene with the game-winning shot for North Carolina against Georgetown.

The game is also remembered for the unfathomable pass from Georgetown to UNC in the closing seconds.

1983

The championship game is still remembered to this day.

North Carolina State was that year’s Cinderella story that culminated with a victory against Houston on a last-second shot that turned into an alley-oop. Highlights of the play and Wolfpack coach Jim Valvano running onto the court are synonymous with crazy Final Four endings.

1987

Indiana’s Keith Smart hit a shot that haunted Syracuse fans in the national championship game until a future NBA star led the Orange to its only national title 16 years later.

The Hoosiers, meanwhile, celebrated their last national title.

1989

Perhaps no other Final Four game comes close to mirroring the Virginia-Auburn ending than what happened in the national title game between Michigan and Seton Hall.

An overtime thriller, the Wolverines sewed up the title from the free-throw line after a reach in foul was called on Seton Hall’s Gerald Greene.

1993

North Carolina bested the Fab Five.

A game that, to this day, produces social media users giving Chris Webber a hard time about how many timeouts are left.

Webber called timeout when Michigan didn’t have any, and the resulting technical foul sealed the Wolverines fate against the Tar Heels in the national title game.

2003

Another championship game for our list.

This one pitted Syracuse and the dynamic freshman combination of Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara against the Kansas Jayhawks’ tandem of Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich.

Syracuse’s big lead was dwindled down in the second half, and KU had a chance to send the game into overtime.

But Hakim Warrick swatted Michael Lee’s three-pointer away and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim had his long-awaited national title.

2008

The star-studded Memphis Tigers had a chance to put the game away at the free throw line, but Derrick Rose only converted one of two foul shots, leaving the door open for Mario Chalmers to force overtime with a three-pointer.

And Kansas put the game away in overtime.

2010

Butler nearly toppled mighty Duke for a national title with a buzzer-beating effort from Gordon Hayward.

The heave didn’t fall, but it produced the necessary requirement for this list: an exciting, nerve-inducing moment at the end of a Final Four game.

2016

It was a prizefight, with North Carolina coming on strong in the final minutes.

The Tar Heels even tied it with a three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left.

Then Kris Jenkins hit the buzzer-beater of buzzer-beaters that year: draining a three-pointer for a Villanova national title.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.
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