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Ranking all 67 games of the 2015 NCAA Tournament

Talking about a season that starts in seven months is cool and all, but the grand finale to 2014-15 that we all just experienced was so fulfilling that it deserves one final look.

Letting things go is for well-behaved Golden Retrievers. Your prom date's going to come around, Tupac's dropping "R U Still, STILL Down?" any day now and the network executives over at Fox will eventually reverse course when it comes to canceling "Bakersfield P.D."

You should also never focus your attention on a new college basketball season before you've ranked all 67 games from the most recent NCAA Tournament.

67. 1) Villanova 93, 16) Lafayette 52 (Second Round)

For the second straight year, the Patriot League champions wind up in this spot. None of the 1/16 games were interesting this season, but this was the one that seemed to have the most promise heading into the tournament. That promise was not realized. If nothing else, this game is notable for being Villanova's only win of the tournament.

66. 1) Duke 85, 16) Robert Morris 56 (Second Round)

Duke hit its first seven shots and 12 of its first 15 in what wound up being the opening win of the Blue Devils' national championship run.

65. 6) Xavier 76, 11) Ole Miss 57 (Second Round)

The Rebels overcame a huge deficit against BYU to play their way into the main draw, and that put themselves in the exact same position two days later. This time, Andy Kennedy's team never made a run.

64. 2) Arizona 93, 15) Texas Southern 72 (Second Round)

Arizona raced out to a 15-2 lead and then coasted to a win that wasn't nearly as close as the final score would indicate. The Wildcats shot 60 percent for the game, but Sean Miller was still upset afterward that his defensive-minded squad allowed Texas Southern to shoot just under 50 percent.

63. 7) Iowa 83, 10) Davidson 52 (Second Round)

Iowa set a record for margin of victory in a 7/10 game by destroying a Davidson team that looked lost with A-10 Player of the Year Tyler Kalinoski constantly saddled with foul trouble. Lesson here? Don't mess with the Iowa Twitter account.

62. 2) Kansas 75, 15) New Mexico State 56 (Second Round)

If you remember nothing about this game, don't worry. Kansas breaking out of a shooting slump to hit nine (virtually uncontested) three-pointers was just about the lone memorable takeaway from yet another game that was never in doubt.

61. 1) Duke 68, 8) San Diego State 49 (Third Round)

I feel like Duke has played the first standalone game on the tournament's opening Sunday in every year for the last two decades ... and it's always this exact game. The opponent is always a team with a reputation for winning ugly, but it's never within striking distance of the Blue Devils after the 10 minute mark of the first half or so. It doesn't make for ideal viewing when there are zero other options out there.

60. 1) Wisconsin 86, 16) Coastal Carolina 72 (Second Round)

Coastal Carolina outscored Wisconsin in the second half and earned the 2015 award for 16 seed that had the smallest margin of defeat in the Round of 64. It's like winning low amateur at a major golf tournament.

59. 1) Kentucky 79, 16) Hampton 56 (Second Round)

Hampton kind of kept this fun in the opening minutes, even though the announcing team made it seem like they were braver than the Doolittle bombers for actually playing the game against Kentucky instead of curling up in a ball at midcourt and sobbing.

58. 2) Gonzaga 87, 7) Iowa 68 (Third Round)

After doing awful things to Davidson, Iowa had the tables turned around by Gonzaga a couple of days later.

57. 16) Hampton 74, 16) Manhattan 60 (First Four)

It's difficult to believe that we are less than a month removed from the First Four. So many things happen over such a period of time in March that "tournament weeks" wind up being a phenomenon akin to "dog years." Anyway, this was the least exciting of the quartet of opening round games, but it still had its moments.

56. 11) UCLA 92, 14) UAB 75 (Third Round)

UCLA continued the tournament trend of the most criticized at-large inclusion making noise in the Big Dance by easily dispatching of Cinderella UAB after the Blazers had stunned Iowa State on opening Thursday. The win improved the Bruins to 5-0 all-time against No. 14 seeds.

55. 5) Northern Iowa 71, 12) Wyoming 54 (Second Round)

Wyoming made a couple of runs in the second half, but it was never enough to put Northern Iowa in a position where it felt significantly threatened. The victory was the 31st and final one of the season for the Panthers, good for a school record.

54. 11) Dayton 66, 6) Providence 53 (Second Round)

Providence's Kris Dunn had an overwhelmingly successful 2014-15 season, but Dayton's Kendall Pollard made certain that it wouldn't have an overwhelmingly successful finish.

53. 8) San Diego State 76, 9) St. John's 64

With Chris Obekpa suspended, the Johnnies never had a chance in what we would later find out was the final game of the Steve Lavin era.

52. 2) Gonzaga 86, 15) North Dakota State 76 (Second Round)

The final game of the Round of 64 seemed at times like it might never finish. Gonzaga led by double-figures for a majority of the game, but North Dakota State was always just close enough that it couldn't justify letting the clock run uninterrupted and allowing all of us to get some sleep before the madness restarted roughly 10 hours later.

51. 2) Arizona 73, 10) Ohio State 58 (Third Round)

D'Angelo Russell's final college game will not be remembered fondly by anyone outside of Tucson. The consensus first-team All-American made just 3-of-19 shots, a lackluster effort which helped allow Arizona to outscore Ohio State by 14 in the second half.

50. 4) Louisville 66, 5) Northern Iowa 53 (Third Round)

Despite being the better seed, Louisville was a trendy upset pick and actually an underdog in Las Vegas against the tournament champions from the Missouri Valley. Instead, the Cardinals never trailed after the 11:15 mark of the first half and punched their fourth straight ticket to the Sweet 16.

49. 2) Gonzaga 74, 11) UCLA 62 (Sweet 16)

The ghost of Adam Morrison can finally rest peacefully -- Gonzaga won a regional semifinal game for the first time since 1999, and did so in convincing fashion.

48. 5) Utah 75, 4) Georgetown 64 (Third Round)

Georgetown avoided building on its reputation of seeing its season end at the hands of double-digit seeds, but still wound up losing to a lower-seeded team in the NCAA Tournament or Big East Tournament for an eighth consecutive season. To be fair, Utah was favored in this game, and there was a consensus that the seeds of the two teams probably should have been flip-flopped.

47. 3) Oklahoma 69, 14) Albany 60 (Second Round)

Albany kept things interesting, but misfiring on 18-of-25 three-point attempts was the undoing of Peter Hooley and the gang.

46. 2) Virginia 79, 15) Belmont 67 (Second Round)

There were plenty of people who were surprised to see Belmont pop up as a 15 seed on Selection Sunday, and almost as many who believed the Bruins could at least put a scare into second-seeded Virginia. That prediction came to fruition, and Belmont trailed Tony Bennett's team by just two with 4:36 to play before the Cavaliers scored 17 of the game's final 24 points.

45. 1) Kentucky 64, 8) Cincinnati 51 (Third Round)

The Bearcats made it clear from the outset that they weren't going to be intimidated by Kentucky, and captured the nation's attention by going blow for blow with the Wildcats for the game's first 28 minutes or so. The reality that Cincy simply didn't have the offensive firepower to compete then set in, and UK was able to jog its way to a not-so-atheistically pleasing victory.

44. 6) Butler 56, 11) Texas 48 (Second Round)

The Rick Barnes farewell concert was pretty indicative of Texas' entire 2014-15 season, and the Longhorns didn't appear particularly interested in advancing to the Round of 32, a gift Butler was more than willing to accept.

43. 7) Michigan State 70, 10) Georgia 63 (Second Round)

The Bulldogs actually had a good chance to end Michigan State's Final Four run before it could ever get started, but they missed more layups than any team that receives an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament should ever miss.

42. 1) Duke 81, 7) Michigan State 61 (Final Four)

The one game of the Final Four that didn't feature a pair of top seeds went about the way you might have expected it to. The loss dropped Tom Izzo to 1-9 all-time against Coach K.

41. 16) Robert Morris 81, 16) North Florida 77 (First Four)

Hey, remember this? No? We had fun, I promise.

40. 7) Wichita State 78, 2) Kansas 65 (Third Round)

Wichita State finally got a chance to play the team its fan base claims has been "ducking them" for years, and the Shockers took full advantage, pounding Kansas in a game where the underdogs looked like they should have been the No. 2 seed. Tekele Cotton scored 19 points and Fred VanVleet added 17 as Wichita State earned its second trip to the Sweet 16 in the last three years.

39. 1) Kentucky 78, 5) West Virginia 39 (Sweet 16)

After West Virginia freshman Daxter Miles Jr. boldly proclaimed his team would be the one to hand Kentucky its first loss of the season, the Wildcats tied a Sweet 16 record for margin of victory by dealing Miles and the Mountaineers a 39-point beatdown. I put it at No. 39 on this list because I thought that would be adorable.

38. 1) Duke 66, 2) Gonzaga 52 (Elite Eight)

One of the most anticipated regional final games on a loaded Elite Eight weekend wound up being something of a disappointment when Duke punched its 14th Final Four ticket with a 14-point victory. The game wasn't as one-sided as the final score makes it out to be: Gonzaga actually led by four points early in the second half, and the Bulldogs could have tied the game at 53 with less than five minutes to go had leading scorer Kyle Wiltjer not missed a wide-open layup. Instead, the Zags scored just one more point and watched Duke run away with the South Region title.

37. 4) North Carolina 87, 5) Arkansas 78 (Third Round)

Marcus Paige looked like the player preseason prognosticators thought he would be for the entirety of the 2014-15 season, scoring a team-high 22 points as Carolina knocked off Arkansas to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in three years. Paige did the bulk of his damage after halftime, scoring 20 points and making Tar Heel fans forget all about his 1-of-8 shooting in the game's opening 20 minutes. Paige was also instrumental in dealing with Arkansas' trademark pressure, which forced just six UNC turnovers and consistently allowed the Tar Heels to score easy fast-break baskets.

The impressive Carolina victory was also significant for giving coach Roy Williams his 65th NCAA Tournament victory, tying him with UNC legend Dean Smith.

36. 5) West Virginia 69, 4) Maryland 59 (Third Round)

West Virginia played the physical, "ugly" type of game that Bob Huggins is known for and forced Maryland into 23 turnovers, including eight from senior standout Dez Wells. Wells and backcourt mate Melo Trimble combined to give the ball away 11 times, while dishing out only three assists.

"Everywhere we go people say, `Well, it's not pretty,'" Huggins said after the game. "I think it's beautiful."

There was nothing beautiful about what happened to WVU next.

35. 4) Louisville 75, 8) N.C. State 65 (Sweet 16)

Terry Rozier had 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds while freshman point guard Quentin Snider chipped in 14 points of his own as the Cards exacted some revenge for a 74-65 home loss to the Pack in February. The hero of the evening, however, was seldom-used reserve Anton Gill, a native of Raleigh. Gill hit a tough runner in the lane late in the second half to give Louisville a one-point lead, and ultimately scored seven of Louisville's next nine points to put the game away.

As it turns out, that spurt will remain the career highlight for Gill at U of L, since he announced four days later that he intends to transfer.

34. 3) Notre Dame 81, 7) Wichita State 70 (Sweet 16)

Despite being a No. 7 seed squaring off against third-seeded Notre Dame, Wichita State was actually a two-point favorite in this Sweet 16 tilt. Gregg Marshall's team never looked the part, falling behind the Irish, 18-5, early on and then playing from behind for the rest of the evening. Even after Wichita was able to claw its way back into the game, the Notre Dame offense never stopped firing. The Irish connected on 18 of their final 24 shots (75 percent), building a lead that eventually grew as large as 19.

It was an especially disappointing end for Wichita State senior Tekele Cotton, a starter on the 2013 Final Four team and the 2014 squad that went 35-1. Cotton had a night he'd just as soon forget on Thursday, scoring six points on just 2-of-10 from the field.

33. 4) Georgetown 84, 13) Eastern Washington 74 (Second Round)

It could have been the victory guarantee by Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford, all the talk about past losses to double-digit seeds or some combination of both, but Georgetown played its first game of the tournament with a level of anger and aggression that had to have made big John Thompson smile -- or at least nod his head knowingly.

After the game, John Thompson III addressed Hayford's pregame guarantee.

"Maybe it's just me, but when I think of that, I think of Joe Namath, I think of Muhammad Ali, I think of Larry Bird and the three-point shooting contest," Thompson said. "The kids brought it to me and said, `Their coach is guaranteeing victory.' I kind of looked down there at him. Thought he didn't foot the bill of guys that usually guarantee victory. Our guys were fired up about that."

The evening ended with Jabril Trawick throwing down an unnecessary dunk that elicited boos from the crowd (and allowed the Hoyas to cover a 9.5-point spread), and the Georgetown basketball Twitter account throwing some serious shade at Hayford and EWU.

32. 6) Xavier 75, 14) Georgia State 67 (Third Round)

The Cinderella run ended for Georgia State, but Ron Hunter had one final memorable moment in him when it came time for the postgame press conference.

31. 8) Oregon 79, 9) Oklahoma State 73 (Second Round)

This was one of those really good 8/9 games that everyone seems to miss out on every year (unless there's a buzzer-beater) because, well, it's an 8/9 game. Oregon's Joseph Young was the star, pouring in 27 points and registering perhaps the best dunk of Day 2.

30. 5) Utah 57, 12) Stephen F. Austin 54 (Second Round)

Larry Krystkowiak wouldn't let his team fall victim to the 12/5 narrative, and the Utes trailed for just 22 seconds against a Stephen F. Austin team that had seemed primed for a tournament "upset" since the start of the 2014-15 season. The impressive victory was the first for the Utes in the Big Dance since 2005.

29. 11) UCLA 60, 6) SMU 59 (Second Round)

I'd rather just pretend this entire game didn't even happen because the ending still makes me upset.

28. 3) Oklahoma 72, 11) Dayton 66 (Third Round)

The Sooners avoided the upset bug that had already bitten the top two seeds in the East by outscoring a small, thin and exhausted Dayton team, 23-10, in the game's final 10 minutes. The victory made Oklahoma's Lon Kruger just the second head coach ever to take four different teams to the Sweet 16. Kruger also achieved the feat with Kansas State, Florida and UNLV.

For much of the afternoon, it didn't look like that was going to happen, as Dayton, playing its third game in five days, dominated the opening 10 minutes of the second half to build a 56-49 lead. Then, the shots simply stopped falling. Whether UD's tired legs or Oklahoma's stellar defense deserved the credit/blame, the Flyers went scoreless for the next 9 minutes and 4 seconds, a stretch that crushed their dreams of crashing the tournament's second weekend for a second straight year.

Dayton made one final "run" with just over a minute to play. After a Scoochie Smith layup ended a stretch of 10:32 without a Flyer field goal, freshman guard Darrell Davis recorded a steal and had an opportunity to score on the break and cut the Sooner lead to two. Buddy Hield wasn't having it. The OU star rose for perhaps the most impressive block of the tournament to that point and silenced the rowdy Flyer fans in Columbus for good.

Hield finished with 15 points and five assists for Oklahoma, which moved on to the tournament's second weekend for the first time since Blake Griffin and company made the regional finals in 2009.

27. 2) Arizona 68, 6) Xavier 60 (Sweet 16)

Xavier led for the bulk of the second half in "The Sean Miller Classic" before Arizona made the plays it had to down the stretch in order to set up an Elite Eight showdown with Wisconsin. Arizona's typical balanced scoring attack was on full display: Three players scored in double-figures, but none scored more than T.J. McConnell's 17. The Wildcats shot a fairly pedestrian 40.7 percent from the field, but were stellar at the free throw line, where they connected on 17 of their 19 attempts.

The Wildcats also won in spite of the glorious Matt Stainbrook. One of the tournament's biggest fan favorites rounded out his college career by notching a team-high in points (17) and rebounds (10) for Xavier.

26. 1) Duke 63, 5) Utah 57 (Sweet 16)

This was the one game in the tournament where Jahlil Okafor wasn't a superhuman, scoring just six points on 3-of-5 shooting. Tyus Jones was there to pick up the slack with 15 points, but ultimately the Blue Devils won the way they did more times than not in March, with their defense. Duke limited Utah to just 32.7 percent shooting, including 2-of-10 from beyond the arc.

25. 11) Dayton 56, 11) Boise State 55 (First Four)

Perhaps the most controversial game of the tournament when you consider the multiple levels of controversy. First, there was the fact that everyone believed Dayton was safely in the field, and no one expected the Flyers to be one of the last at-large selections -- let alone the last at-large selection -- in the tournament, thus relegating them to the opening round. Then, there was the controversy over the fact that the Flyers would be playing a game on their home court, something that hadn't occurred in the NCAA Tournament in 28 years. And finally, there was a controversial no-call on the game's final play, one that allowed the Flyers to move on to the Round of 64.

24. 3) Notre Dame 69, 14) Northeastern 65 (Second Round)

Because of the Fighting Irish's run to the Elite Eight and near upset of Kentucky, it's easy to forget that we were extremely close to an "of course Notre Dame choked again" narrative in the opening hours of day one. Zach Auguste made sure the upset didn't happen by scoring 25 points in just 27 minutes, the first stellar performance in a tournament that would include a few for the junior.

23. 7) Michigan State 62, 3) Oklahoma 58 (Sweet 16)

The Spartans never led in this game until there were less than 10 minutes to play in the second half, but won this grinder thanks in large part to outscoring Oklahoma by 15 points from beyond the arc.

22. 5) West Virginia 68, 12) Buffalo 62 (Second Round)

West Virginia ensured that there wouldn't be a single 12/5 upset in 2015 when Tarik Phillips' three-pointer in the final minute put pesky Buffalo away for good. Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins admitted afterward that he had intended to sub Phillips out of the game moments before he hit the shot.

"My absentmindedness probably won the game," Huggins said.

21. 1) Wisconsin 72, 8) Oregon 65 (Third Round)

For a second straight year, Wisconsin held off a game Oregon team to advance to the Sweet 16. The Badgers also defeated the Ducks in the 2014 Round of 32, 85-77. Despite shooting their worst percentage in more than a month and finding themselves in a tie game with just under six minutes to play, the top-seeded Badgers never rattled. Sam Dekker finished with 17 points, and Frank Kaminksy added 16 for a UW team that missed 16 of its 23 three-point attempts, and allowed Oregon star Joseph Young to go off for 30.

20. 7) Michigan State 60, 2) Virginia 54 (Third Round)

Travis Trice scored a game-high 23 points as Michigan State put a premature end to Virginia's season for a second straight year. Tom Izzo's team limited UVA to just 29.8 percent shooting from the field, including 2-of-17 (11.8 percent) from beyond the arc. They trailed just once, when the score was 2-0 after the game's opening minute, and led by as many as 12 in the second half.

For Virginia, added frustration came in the form of them being the only ACC team not to make the tournament's second weekend, despite the fact that they finished first in the conference's final regular season standings, a full game ahead of eventual national champion Duke. The only thing left for Izzo to do at this point is to tank every regular season game before winning the Big Ten Tournament with the hope of earning a No. 16 seed and drawing the Cavaliers in the Round of 64.

19. 7) Wichita State 81, 10) Indiana 76 (Second Round)

This one -- featuring two of the more talented offenses in the tournament -- lived up to its promise of excitement. Wichita State trailed by three at halftime and by five early in the second half, but used runs of 8-0 and 15-3 to pull ahead and run away to victory. Indiana fell despite shooting 11-of-22 from beyond the arc (stat guy says that's 50 percent), shooting 85 percent from the free throw line and having four players score in double figures.

The Hoosiers' problem, as has tended to be the case this season, came on the other end of the floor. They allowed Fred VanVleet to match his career-high with 27 points, and Ron Baker to chip in 15 of his own. Both players had little trouble getting into the lane, and were able to draw contact once they got these. Each finished 9-of-10 from the free throw line.

The loss dropped Indiana to 0-6 all-time in the tournament when seeded eighth or worse. Also Tom Crean told an official "you suck" after the game was over.

18. 4) Maryland 65, 13) Valparaiso 62 (Second Round)

On the same day that fellow top four seeds Baylor and Iowa State were stunned, Maryland also received a massive scare. It was a survival that didn't come without some major controversy in the closing seconds.

With the Crusaders looking to send the game to overtime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, Keith Carter rose for the game's final shot, only to have the ball swatted away by Maryland's Varun Ram. Replays showed that Ram may have gotten a piece of Carter's arm in the process, but there was no definitive angle of the play.

The players' thoughts on whether or not there was a foul ...

"I thought so," Carter said.

"I think I got it clean," said Ram.


Melo Trimble led the way with 14 points and 10 rebounds for Maryland, which won a game by six points or fewer for the 13th and final time in 2014-15. Valpo ended the season with a school-record 28 victories, and one fantastic tournament celebration.

17. 5) Arkansas 56, 12) Wofford 63 (Second Round)

There were no 12/5 upsets in this tournament, but there was more than one close call. This was the only one of those close calls that involved a shoe-throwing incident.

16. 8) N.C. State 66, 9) LSU 65 (Second Round)

LSU held a 16-point lead early in the second half, and was still in complete command when Jarell Martin's jumper put the Tigers ahead, 60-48, with 10:25 to play. They would not make another field goal.

N.C. State took full advantage, mounting a furious comeback which ended with BeeJay Anya's baby hook/push shot for the win. The big man scored just four points all night, but they just happened to be the final four points of the game. That kind of finish would leave anyone embarrassingly sweaty.

This game was also significant for producing one of the better quotes of the tournament, which came when Anya was asked about his thought process before hitting the game-winner:

"I was like, 'you know what, it's time for me to shoot the ball.' Trevor (Lacey) called for it back. He had a chance. It was my turn to shoot it."

15. 4) Louisville 57, 13) UC Irvine 55 (Second Round)

It would have been ironic to refer to a team with a 7'6 center as a "giant killer," but UC Irvine nearly made that a conversation worth having. The Anteaters led, 55-53, lead with just over a minute to play, but Louisville scored the game's final four points and got a steal in the closing seconds to secure the win.

And then, just like that, our beloved Mamadou Ndiaye was gone.

14. 8) Cincinnati 66, 9) Purdue 65 (OT) (Second Round)

Purdue seemed to have this one well in hand before completely collapsing in the game's final minute. That set the stage for Cincinnati's Troy Caupain to hit one of the more tantalizing (for the Boilermakers at least) buzzer beaters you're ever going to see.

Coreontae DeBerry scored four of the Bearcats' seven points in overtime, and Cincy claimed its first tournament victory since 2012. For Purdue, the loss snapped a 14-game winning streak in NCAA Tournament openers that had dated back to 1994 and Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson. The streak had been the fifth-longest in the history of the Big Dance.

13. 4) North Carolina 67, 13) Harvard 65 (Second Round)

The Tar Heels avoided becoming another high-profile casualty on opening Thursday and Harvard's third straight Round of 64 victim by the narrowest of margins when Wesley Saunders' game-winning attempt at the buzzer came inches away from banking in.

"It's the luckiest I've ever felt after a basketball game in my entire life," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said afterward. "In saying that, I'm thrilled that we're still here and we're still playing."

UNC led by 11 at halftime and had never trailed in the game before Siyani Chambers' four-point play put the Crimson ahead, 65-63, with just 75 seconds to play. Freshman Justin Jackson then played hero for the Tar Heels, tying the game up on a jumper and wisely getting out in transition after a long miss by Chambers, putting away an uncontested dunk that would prove to be the game-winning score.

12. 8) N.C. State 71, 1) Villanova 68 (Third Round)

Villanova became the first No. 1 seed to lose (and ultimately the only one not to make the Final Four) on a night where they simply didn't appear to be as talented a team as the underdogs from N.C. State.

The loss was more than just a missed opportunity for a top seed with a good draw -- it marked Villanova's third opening weekend exit as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the last five years. The Wildcats -- who were bounced by eventual national champion Connecticut in the Round of 32 in 2014 -- still haven't been to the Sweet 16 since making it to the Final Four in 2009.

11. 1) Wisconsin 79, 4) North Carolina 72 (Sweet 16)

There were a lot of games in this tournament which were remarkably competitive for 39 and-a-half minutes, but whose final 30 seconds resulted in a final score where the victor prevailed by a misleading six or seven points. This was one of those games.

Wisconsin trailed at halftime and faced a four-point deficit with less than seven minutes to play, but then its usual suspects answered the bell. The biggest hero of all wearing red and white on Thursday was Sam Dekker, who poured in a career-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Fellow stars Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes also scored in double figures, combining for 31 points and 14 boards.

The loss snapped North Carolina's 11-game Sweet 16 winning streak, which had dated all the way back to 1993. The last time UNC tasted defeat in a Sweet 16 game was in another 1 vs. 4 matchup, an 80-73 loss to Ohio State in 1992. The Tar Heels won the national title a year later. It seems like there's a decent chance history could repeat itself.

10. 10) Ohio State 75, 7) VCU 72 (OT) (Second Round)

This might have been the highest quality game on the first Thursday of the tournament. Plus, it had D'Angelo Russell.

The Buckeyes trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half before Russell started going to work. The soon-to-be millionaire did just about everything for OSU, connecting on 4-of-7 shots from beyond the arc, pulling down six boards, recording two blocks and two steals, and setting an Ohio State record for a freshman in the tournament with 28 points. The total was also the third-highest for any Big Ten freshman playing in the tournament, checking in behind only Michigan's Chris Webber (30 in 1992) and Indiana's Isiah Thomas (30 in 1980).

VCU -- which suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the Round of 64 for the second straight year -- had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Treveon Graham's well-defended shot in the lane found nothing but iron. Graham scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in his final game as a Ram, but shot just 3-for-12 from the field.

9. 1) Wisconsin 85, 2) Arizona 78 (Elite Eight)

For the second straight year, Arizona's heart was broken by the Badgers in a regional final. This time it was Sam Dekker who provided the dagger, as well as a glimpse into the future of the Final Four.

This was the ninth time that two teams have met in a regional final in consecutive seasons, and all nine times the team which won the first meeting also prevailed a year later.

8. 14) UAB 60, 3) Iowa State 59 (Second Round)

This is still the most shocking result of the tournament in my eyes. Iowa State was the Big 12 Tournament champion that had struggled to realize its Final Four potential all season long, but had hit its stride at the absolute perfect time. UAB was the fluke automatic bid thief from Conference USA, the youngest team in the field of 68 and were entering the postseason just one game above .500 (16-15).

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the tournament's first shocker was that the underdog seemed to be the better team for the entirety of the game. There was no fluke finish, there was no random player going off and having the game of his life; the Blazers were more physical than Iowa State, they defended Georges Niang as well as any team has all season, and they hit the big shots -- most notably freshman forward William Lee's go-ahead jumper with 26 seconds left -- when the game was on the line. The Blazers deserved to win this game, a statement that's difficult to make more times than not when it comes to March stunners.

After the game, UAB head coach Jerod Haase spoke to the youth of his team by noting that as recently as a month ago, "four or five" of his players had no idea that the Conference USA Tournament champion earned an automatic bid, and that another player had no idea what Selection Sunday was. They know now, and they also know they earned a victory for their school and their athletic program, which meant more this year than it would have in any other.

7. 3) Notre Dame 67, 6) Butler 64 (OT) (Third Round)

The Fighting Irish's first trip to the Sweet 16 in 12 years did not come easily.

After turning a six-point second-half deficit into a three-point lead, Notre Dame failed to score a point in the final 3:17 of regulation. They never trailed in the extra five minutes however, as back-to-back three-pointers from Pat Connaughton and Steve Vasturia spurred them to a 67-62 victory.

Despite waiting until overtime to make his first and only field goal of the game, Connaughton felt like the hero for Notre Dame after swatting away Kellen Dunham's potential game-winning shot in the closing seconds of regulation. The senior guard also successfully calmed down his teammates after a costly double dribble by Zach Auguste had given the Bulldogs a final shot to win before overtime.

The evening was also memorable for head coach Mike Brey revealing to the media after the game that his mother, a former Olympic swimmer, had passed away that morning after suffering a heart attack. His players had no idea while they were on the court winning what already seemed like one of the tournament's most emotional games.

6. 11) Ole Miss 94, 11) BYU 90 (First Four)

I don't care where or what round this happened in, it was an absolute blast. I said it before the start of last season and I'll say it again right now: let's just start every year by giving BYU an automatic bye into the First Four.

5. 7) Michigan State 76, 4) Louisville 70 (OT) (Elite Eight)

It was Tom Izzo vs. Rick Pitino in the Elite Eight, so of course it went to overtime.

Louisville had a chance to settle things in regulation after Mangok Mathiang was fouled on a put-back attempt with 4.9 seconds to play. His first free throw rattled around the rim, went straight into the air and then fell through the net to tie the game at 65. His second attempt did a similar dance, but came down off the rim. Travis Trice's halfcourt runner as time expired found nothing but glass, and the two teams played five more minutes for a trip to Indy.

That trip was won by the Spartans, who raced out to an early six-point lead and then put the game away on the most Michigan State play of all time: a Branden Dawson put-back of a missed three-point attempt.

4. 1) Duke 68, 1) Wisconsin 63 (National Championship Game)

Sure, this could have been a little better than it was -- some questionable officiating and uncharacteristically poor decision making by Wisconsin came into play down the stretch -- but this was still a championship game that more or less delivered. The two best players in the country and two of the best teams in 2014-15 played in the final game of the season. No complaints.

3. 1) Wisconsin 71, 1) Kentucky 64 (Final Four)

Everyone's always going to remember that Duke won the national title in 2015, but just like in 1991, everyone's also going to remember this tournament largely for the stunner that took place two days earlier. This is yet another game that falls under the category of classic which you wish could have been decided on the game's final possession, but instead wound up with a 6/7 point margin of victory.

2. 14) Georgia State 57, 3) Baylor 56 (Second Round)

Once more. For old time's sake.

1. 1) Kentucky 68, 3) Notre Dame 66 (Elite Eight)

As memorable as the 2015 Final Four was and will always remain, Kentucky vs. Notre Dame was, in my mind, unquestionably the tournament's top overall game.

On a night where the Fighting Irish were playing a near perfect game, Kentucky countered with a legitimately perfect finish to keep the 40-0 dream alive. The Wildcats capped off a second half where they shot 75 percent from the field by making their final 9 field goals of the game. Notre Dame was so good that despite all that, Jerian Grant still had a shot to send his team to Indianapolis with a heavily contested corner three at the buzzer.

Perhaps the game won't be as memorable as it would have been had Kentucky finished the perfect season, but that doesn't alter the fact that it was still the best the 2015 Big Dance had to offer.