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Ranking all 67 games of the 2016 NCAA Tournament

Talking about a season that starts in seven months is cool and all, but the grand finale to 2015-16 that we were all treated to 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. (16) Florida Gulf Coast 96, (16) Fairleigh Dickinson 65 (First Four)

The First Four was not the solid appetizer for the first weekend that it has been in recent years, so we'll start with what was both the least-watched game and the biggest blowout in the illustrious history of the First Four.

66. (1) Virginia 81, (16) Hampton 45 (first round)

You couldn't give us more than nine minutes, Hampton? No more than nine minutes to enjoy the No. 16 over 1 dream? Virginia doesn't score a whole lot of points, you should have at least been able to give the world some awful 16 over 1 joke time.

I'm so sorry.

65. (1) Oregon 91, (16) Holy Cross 52 (first round)

You couldn't give us more than zero minutes, Holy Cross? No more than zero minutes to enjoy the 16 over 1 dream? You were America's team, dammit.

64. (10) Syracuse 75, (15) Middle Tennessee 50 (second round)

Middle Tennessee couldn't find any of its first Friday magic to keep things even a little bit interesting in the second round against Syracuse.

63. (3) Texas A&M 92, (14) Green Bay 65 (first round)

Green Bay actually led by eight points early on before A&M responded with a 27-11 run and never looked back. The Aggies finished the first-round game 32-of-57 from the field, good for 56.1 percent.

62. (4) Kentucky 85, (13) Stony Brook 57 (first round)

We had such high hopes for Mark Morrison-loving Jameel Warney and his lovable band of Seawolves, but the only memorable thing this game could produce was Kentucky setting an NCAA Tournament record for blocks, with 15.

61. (2) Villanova 86, (15) UNC Asheville 56 (first round)

The Wildcats' tournament run of destruction started with a 30-point decimation of UNC Asheville, who never posed any sort of threat after the game's opening four minutes.

60. (5) Indiana 99, (12) Chattanooga 74 (first round)

The Mocs were a trendy upset pick, especially after fellow No. 12 seeds Arkansas-Little Rock and Yale had prevailed in their first-round games earlier in the day. Instead, a few sloppy first half turnovers from Indiana were the only things that kept this game borderline interesting up until halftime.

59. (1) Kansas 105, (16) Austin Peay 79 (first round)

No, the game was never close, but it gets bonus points for Kansas becoming the first team to hit triple digits in the tournament since 2012.

58. (2) Villanova 87, (7) Iowa 68 (second round)

Villanova didn't just exorcise its opening round demons in this game, it humiliated them with some intense, deep-rooted psychological warfare to make sure they never try and do their thing again. This might be the most misleading final score of the tournament, as the Hawkeyes were completely out of it midway through the first half.

57. (11) Wichita State 70, (11) Vanderbilt 50 (First Four)

This game was actually tied at halftime, and then March Gregg Marshall did what he tends to do, while March Kevin Stallings did the same.

56. (2) Villanova 95, (2) Oklahoma 51 (Final Four)

It feels wrong to have any Final Four game ranked this low, but when it's the biggest blowout of the tournament and the biggest blowout in Final Four history ... what can you do? Sorry, Buddy.

55. (10) Syracuse 70, (7) Dayton 51 (first round)

A completely forgettable first-round game outside of crying Dayton kid, who I'm not going to re-post here but you can easily find via any quick internet search. The Flyers' bizarre late-season collapse ended with one final abysmal performance, which jump-started Syracuse's remarkable run to the Final Four.

54. (4) Iowa State 78, (12) Arkansas-Little Rock 61 (second round)

Iowa State knew it had a massive advantage inside with Georges Niang and they took full advantage, letting the All-American dominate to the tune of 28 points and ending the Cinderella dreams (and the Chris Beard era) for Arkansas-Little Rock.

53. (11) Gonzaga 82, (3) Utah 59 (second round)

Gonzaga never trailed, and the 23-point win tied the third-largest by a team seeded 11th or worse since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. This was the exact moment we all completely lost faith in the Pac-12.

52. (2) Oklahoma 77, (3) Texas A&M 63 (Sweet 16)

Texas A&M took full advantage of the gift it was given by Northern Iowa (more on that later) by putting up next to no fight against Oklahoma in the Sweet 16. Buddy Hield scored an unspectacular 17 points and the Sooners didn't light it up from behind the 3-point line, they just scored easy basket after easy basket against an Aggie team that, for whatever reason, looked defeated before the opening tip.

51. (2) Villanova 92, (3) Miami 69 (Sweet 16)

The third feather in Villanova's ultimate tournament crown (don't think crowns have feathers, but we've gone too far at this point) came via the most impressive offensive performance that any team gave at any point during the 2015-16 season.

50. (2) Xavier 71, (15) Weber State 53 (first round)

With the country bloodthirsty for more upsets, Weber State made things interesting in the second half before Xavier closed the game on a 17-6 run.

49. (3) Utah 80, (14) Fresno State 69 (first round)

Fresno State led by one with under 11 minutes to play before Utah unleashed a ruthless 19-2 run that squashed the Bulldogs' upset bid for good.

48. (11) Gonzaga 68, (6) Seton Hall 52 (first round)

This was the game I was most looking forward to seeing in the first round. It did not live up to Selection Sunday expectations.

47. (1) Kansas 79, (5) Maryland 63 (Sweet 16)

This was a trendy upset pick heading into the tournament, but whenever we're all still talking about a team in terms like "if they ever realize their potential" or "we all know how talented they are" in March, that light-bulb moment almost never happens in the tournament. Hence, a 16-point loss in the Terrapins' final game of the season.

46. (1) North Carolina 83, (10) Syracuse 66 (Final Four)

It gave us at least a few moments of competitiveness on Final Four Saturday, which is more than we could say for its predecessor.

45. (1) North Carolina 85, (9) Providence 66 (second round)

This was one of the most entertaining games of the second round before Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil found themselves in foul trouble in the second half. North Carolina shot 61 percent after halftime and 53 percent for the game, and made 19 of 21 free throws -- 15 of 16 after the break. Dunn finished his decorated college career with a 29-point performance.

44. (1) North Carolina 88, (6) Notre Dame 74 (Elite Eight)

Notre Dame did what they could, but UNC locked up its record 19th trip to the Final Four by dominating the undersized Fighting Irish on the glass. The Tar Heels won the rebounding battle 32-15, and actually finished with more offensive rebounds than Mike Brey's team had on the defensive end.

43. (2) Oklahoma 82, (15) Cal State Bakersfield 68 (first round)

If there was going to be a 2 vs. 15 upset, this was the one that most people had circled coming into the tournament. Buddy Hield exploded for 16 of his 27 points in the final 13:23 to turn a close game into a 14-point victory for the Sooners.

42. (1) Virginia 84, (4) Iowa State 71 (Sweet 16)

Virginia had no trouble dealing with Iowa State's up-and-down pace and full-court pressure, which made the Cavaliers' late-game collapse against Syracuse just two days later all the more difficult to understand.

41. (1) North Carolina 83, (16) Florida Gulf Coast 67 (first round)

The 1 vs. 16 games were especially one-sided this year, save for this tilt between Dunk City and North Carolina. The Tar Heels led by just one point at halftime before taking care of business in the second 20 minutes. Thanks for the hour of entertainment, Eagles.

40. (1) Kansas 73, (9) Connecticut 61 (second round)

Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis combined for 43 points to deal Kevin Ollie his first NCAA Tournament loss. Ollie, who led the Huskies to the 2014 national title, had been 7-0 in the Big Dance heading into this showdown between powerhouse programs.

39. (1) North Carolina 101, (5) Indiana 86 (Sweet 16)

Marcus Paige tied a North Carolina record by burying six three-pointers in a tournament game, leading an entertaining, but not overly competitive Sweet 16 victory over Indiana. The Hoosiers once again fell short of reaching a regional final, a feat they haven't achieved since 2002.

38. (1) Oregon 82, (4) Duke 68 (Sweet 16)

This will forever be remembered as the Coach K/Dillon Brooks game, which is a shame since the result is probably the only real positive that the Pac-12 achieved this postseason.

37. (4) Iowa State 94, (13) Iona 81 (first round)

Monte Morris (who I'm pretty sure is the only college basketball player in the country who has announced that he won't be testing the NBA Draft waters) scored 20 points and dished out eight assists to lead the Cyclones to a highly entertaining victory over a similarly offensive-minded squad from Iona.

36. (5) Maryland 73, (13) Hawaii 60 (second round)

Hawaii led 41-39 midway through the second half of a close, but incredibly ugly second-round game in Spokane. That's when Maryland finally flexed its muscles and went on a 14-0 run spearheaded by the play of Rasheed Sulaimon. The Terps' 1-for-18 shooting performance from beyond the arc was the worst ever for a team in an NCAA Tournament win.

35. (9) Butler 71, (8) Texas Tech 61 (first round)

This was your standard competitive 8/9 game that people either didn't pay attention to or quickly forgot because the victor was already assumed to be a sacrificial lamb in the second round. The victory did give Butler the claim of having won at least one tournament game in eight of its last nine appearances in the Big Dance.

34. (2) Oklahoma 80, (1) Oregon 68 (Elite Eight)

Buddy Hield was brilliant from start to finish, scoring 37 points and carrying the Sooners to their first Final Four appearance since 2002. Things, uh, would not get better after this.

33. (1) Virginia 77, (9) Butler 69 (second round)

Virginia avoided a loss to a team trying to beat them at their own game by being damn-near perfect in the second half. The Cavaliers hit 14 of the 16 shots they attempted in the second half to avoid becoming the third No. 1 seed that Butler has beaten since 2010.

32. (16) Holy Cross 59, (16) Southern 55 (First Four)

Let us never forget the Crusaders, who went 0-9 on the road during league play in the regular season before miraculously winning four straight road games against the best teams in their conference to claim the Patriot League Tournament title. They then consolidated that March miracle with a win over Southern in Dayton to play their way into the main draw.

31. (10) VCU 75, (7) Oregon State 67 (first round)

We tuned in to see Gary Payton II do something incredible, we stay tuned in to see if Mo-Alie Cox was going to shatter a backboard.

30. (3) Miami 79, (14) Buffalo 72 (first round)

Miami trailed by nine points in the first half, and after seeming to have the game in hand after a strong performance coming out of halftime, led by just four with under two minutes to play. The Hurricanes then utilized the post advantage they had enjoyed all afternoon and hit five of their final seven field goals to salt the game away.

29. (9) Connecticut 74, (8) Colorado 67 (first round)

Connecticut hit 22-of-23 free throws (the second-best performance in school history) to turn an 11-point first-half deficit into a 74-67 win. Josh Scott, who finished his college career 0-3 in the NCAA Tournament, posted 23 points and 11 rebounds in his final game for Colorado.

28. (4) Duke 93, (13) UNC Wilmington 85 (first round)

The first game of the best four days on the sports calendar (sorry, First Four) did its part to keep us entertained on Thursday afternoon. Nothing says "March Madness has arrived" like all of America checking out of work early because they've heard that Duke might be about to lose.

27. (11) Wichita State 65, (6) Arizona 55 (first round)

One of the at-large teams sent to Dayton has now won a game in the main draw in each of the six seasons of the First Four's existence, thanks to Wichita State's triumph over Arizona. This was also the ninth, and final, NCAA Tournament victory for the dynamic Shocker duo of Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet.

26. (7) Wisconsin 47, (10) Pittsburgh 43 (first round)

I'll be perfectly honest, a large part of me wanted to have this game dead last. The four-point margin of victory and the fact that it was won in the game's final minute, I guess, demands inclusion in the top half of this list. Still, this was third-lowest scoring game in the modern era of the tournament, and it was even more painful to watch because of all the excitement that was happening at the same time in every other corner of the tournament world.

25. (13) Hawaii 77, (4) California 66 (first round)

This was the first real notable upset of the tournament, but it probably would have resonated a bit more had Cal not been playing without two starters and the off-the-court distraction of an assistant being dismissed amid allegations of sexual harassment. Still, Hawaii's first NCAA Tournament win ever was especially sweet considering the Rainbow Warriors had already self-imposed a postseason ban on themselves for 2017.

24. (14) Stephen F. Austin 70, (3) West Virginia 56 (first round)

We could talk about Thomas Walkup or this being the most dominant performance ever by a 14-seed here, but I just want to relive this postgame quote from Bob Huggins again.

"I don't know why anybody would waste energy pressing us. We'll throw it to you regardless. That would be a waste of energy really. We're very charitable. We're one of the most charitable groups in college basketball. The second straight game we've turned it over 20 times."

Never fails to bring a smile.

23. (11) Michigan 67, (11) Tulsa 62 (First Four)

This was the only entertaining (or at least borderline entertaining) game of the First Four, and it featured a team that had absolutely no business being there. Clearly, Dayton needs more Frank Haith.

22. (5) Maryland 79, (12) South Dakota State 74 (first round)

South Dakota State had a chance to tie this game in the closing seconds, but Deondre Parks fumbled a pass from Keaton Moffitt and the Jackrabbits' upset bid fell short. Jake Layman scored a career-high 27 points to keep the Terps from going one and out in the big dance.

21. (3) Miami 65, (11) Wichita State 57 (second round)

Baker and VanVleet forever.

20. (4) Duke 71, (12) Yale 64 (second round)

Duke led by 23 at halftime and by as many as 27 in the opening half, but a furious Yale rally, which whittled that lead all the way down to three in the final minute, provided some of the most fun that the first Saturday of the dance had to offer.

It also provided this:

19. (6) Notre Dame 70, (11) Michigan 63 (first round)

The final score didn't reflect it, but this was one of the more intense and entertaining (and underrated) games of the entire opening weekend.

The win set the table for Notre Dame to achieve back-to-back trips to the second weekend of the tournament for the first time since 1980.

18. (10) Syracuse 68, (1) Virginia 62 (Elite 8)

I still have no idea how this happened. Virginia had been 68-0 under Tony Bennett when leading by double-digits at halftime, and a 15-point lead with just a handful of minutes remaining is supposed to be a death sentence for any opponent. And yet, here we are, living in this offseason world where somehow Syracuse is coming off of a trip to the Final Four.

17. (5) Indiana 73, (4) Kentucky 67 (second round)

Playing for the first time since the 2012 Sweet 16, border rivals Indiana and Kentucky played easily the most intense game from the first day of second-round action. The Hoosiers utilized a timely 12-2 run after the under-8 timeout to secure their third trip to the Sweet 16 in the last five years, and send UK packing before the tournament's second weekend for the first time in the John Calipari era.

16. (12) Yale 79, (5) Baylor 75 (first round)

Whatever, we're always going to have this.

15. (6) Notre Dame 61, (7) Wisconsin 56 (Sweet 16)

If not for what Northern Iowa did in the final minute against Texas A&M, Wisconsin's late-game collapse against Notre Dame would have likely been more widely discussed.

14. (10) Syracuse 63, (11) Gonzaga 60 (Sweet 16)

The 'Zags had seemed to be in complete control of this one before Syracuse did what the 2015-16 Orange will always be known for: find a way to succeed without anyone having any real idea of exactly how it happened.

13. (1) Oregon 69, (8) Saint Joseph's 64 (second round)

Saint Joseph's led 58-51 with under five minutes to play before the wheels came off. As Phil Martelli put it: "Look, the last couple of minutes it was a little bit of a moment. It was just a little bit of a moment."

It was also a little bit of a moment for Puddles the Duck, who refused to stop trolling the Saint Joseph's Hawk mascot. That's what March is all about.

12. (15) Middle Tennessee 90, (2) Michigan State 81 (first round)

It's crazy to think that the biggest upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament couldn't crack the top 10, but that's how good Middle Tennessee was against the No. 2 choice to win it all heading into the dance.

11. (2) Oklahoma 85, (10) VCU 81 (second round)

This will forever be overshadowed by the two other incredible games that were going on at the same time, which is a shame, because it was a thriller which fully encompassed the star power of the best player in the tournament.

10. (2) Villanova 64, (1) Kansas 59 (Elite 8)

We all wanted this game to be just a little bit better than it actually was, but it still has significance. While Villanova rolled to a national title thanks mostly to unheard of offensive production, this was the one time where they had to win a rock fight. They did so, and in the process beat the tournament's No. 1 overall seed at their own game.

9. (7) Iowa 72, (10) Temple 70 (OT) (first round)

Great game. Adam Woodbury totally pushed off.

8. (8) Saint Joseph's 78, (9) Cincinnati 76 (first round)

Poor Octavius Ellis. There all sorts clichés out there about the razor thin line between success and failure, between victory and defeat, between basically anything good that happens in sports and anything bad that happens in sports.Those clichés don't carry quite as much weight as their visual embodiment, which occurred in the final 10th of a second in this game.

This is also, as you might remember, a Cincinnati team which saw its run in the AAC Tournament end via a quadruple overtime loss to Connecticut in which the Huskies extended the game into a fourth OT with a 70-foot heave.

I suppose there are cases out there that can be argued, but it's hard for me to imagine any team in any sport that has ever ended a season with back-to-back losses that were more excruciating.

7. (9) Providence 70, (8) USC 69 (first round)

Some ugly possessions, a botched defensive set and a host of missed free throws in the game's closing stages have pretty much overshadowed the fact that for 38 minutes or so, this might have been the most entertaining game of the opening Thursday.

The fast pace of play was predictable, but it was the quality of the shot making from both sides that was a bit surprising, even with Providence superstar Kris Dunn sidelined with foul trouble for much of the night.

In the end, however, it's going to be USC's inability to put the game away, and this was final basket by Rodney Bullock with under three seconds to play that people are going to remember.

The basket gave Providence its first NCAA Tournament victory since God Shammgod carried the Friars all the way to the Elite Eight back in 1997.

6. (7) Wisconsin 66, (2) Xavier 63 (second round)

The crazy finishes and miracle comebacks on the tournament's opening Sunday made it easy to gloss over the fact that just one of the eight games was, according to seeding, an actual upset.

That upset took place in St. Louis, where Bronson Koenig's buzzer-beater sent Wisconsin to the Sweet 16, making the Badgers the only team in the country to make it out of the NCAA Tournament's opening weekend in each of the past three seasons.

The shot also made Xavier the first top-two seed to lose at the buzzer in the Big Dance since Christian Laettner broke hearts across the state of Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional Final.

Koenig's heroics would have been the defining moment of so many other past tournaments, but this was no ordinary tournament.

5. (12) Arkansas-Little Rock 85, (5) Purdue 83 (2 OT) (first round)

For almost 36 minutes, nothing happened in Purdue-Little Rock to warrant mention on this list, let alone inclusion in the top five. The Boilermakers had been, and remained, in complete control, holding a 14-point lead with 4:06 to play that was making certain writers who had all-but-guaranteed a UALR victory feel more than a little foolish.

Then, everything went wrong for Purdue. Like, everything. Some of it was self-inflicted, some of it was bad luck and some of it was simply the Little Rock players making plays you had to tip your cap towards, but none of it was in accordance with the previous 35 minutes or the Boilermakers' overall plans.

A furious Trojan really ended up with Purdue electing not to foul with a three-point lead, and allowing Josh Hagins to hit one of the tournament's most memorable shots. That shot came after a previous three-pointer from Lis Shoshi that took as odd a bounce on a corner three as you're ever going to see before falling straight down and through the hoop. Shoshi also did some sort of Jedi mind trick to get his right foot safely behind the three-point line.

Purdue then bafflingly failed to advance the ball up the court to take a final shot in regulation, neglected its future NBA big man (A.J. Hammons) for two overtimes and had an atrocious final possession when they still had a shot at snatching a victory in the final seconds.

4. (6) Notre Dame 76, (14) Stephen F. Austin 75 (second round)

Stephen F. Austin, which entered the second round of the tournament with the nation's longest winning streak at 21 games, shot 51.5 percent from the field, assisted on 19-of-29 made field goals, committed a season-low six turnovers and still lost for the first time since Dec. 29. That's because their opponents shot 55.6 percent, scored the game's final six points and made this tip-in with 1.4 seconds to go.

That was the only bucket of the game for Notre Dame freshman Rex Pflueger, who was averaging 2.5 ppg and hadn't made a field goal in a game since the Fighting Irish's regular season finale against NC State on March 5.

The brutal defeat ended the Cinderella run of Stephen F. Austin, which has gone 59-1 in Southland Conference play over the past three seasons. It also left Lumberjack coach Brad Underwood one victory shy of breaking Brad Stevens' Division-I record for the most victories by a head coach in the first three seasons of his career.

3. (11) Northern Iowa 75, (6) Texas 72 (first round)

It's always special when you see an event live and know instantly that what just happened is something you're going to be seeing replays of for, pretty much, the rest of your existence.

Just before midnight on the first Friday of the tournament, Paul Jesperson became a March Madness immortal.

The radio call from the Northern Iowa announcers was almost as glorious as the shot itself.

Often times, especially during this particular part of the year, a buzzer-beater puts a pretty mask on an otherwise poorly played, ugly game. This wasn't one of those instances.

Northern Iowa built a 16-point lead in the first half, but Shaka Smart's trademark up-tempo style allowed the Longhorns to get back into the game before halftime and then seize a two-point lead with 14:05 to play. The teams then exchanged body blows for the rest of the evening, with neither side ever leading by more than four.

Texas star Isaiah Taylor scored 22 points and did everything he could to get the Longhorns into the second round, including tying the score at 72 on a beautiful floater with three seconds to play. That merely set the stage for Jesperson who, despite playing in the same city where Bryce Drew beat Ole Miss at the buzzer and in the same building where Steph Curry stunned the Thunder in February, may have hit the most incredible shot that Oklahoma City has ever seen.

The win also moved Northern Iowa, which only made the tournament because of a buzzer-beater in the Missouri Valley championship game, to 3-0 in NCAA Tournament games played in Oklahoma City. It's a mark that fell to 3-1 in the most brutal fashion imaginable just two days later.

Speaking of which ...

2. (3) Texas A&M 92, (11) Northern Iowa 88 (2 OT) (second round)

It was almost impossible to believe then, it's still almost impossible to believe now and it will remain almost impossible to believe forever.

Texas A&M certainly deserves its fair share of credit for the comeback -- the Aggies made six field goals in the final 34 seconds of regulation, the same number they made in the entire first half -- but fairly or unfairly, this is always going to be associated most directly with Northern Iowa. The failed inbounds attempts, the unwise and poorly executed attempts at throwing the ball off opponents, the strange decision to just completely stop playing defense; that reel is going to be brought up and played every time some team is even threatening to pull off a similar miracle in March.

What is destined to be forgotten in all of this is that UNI pulled itself together and had a great chance at winning in the first overtime. When that didn't happen, and when two senior starters fouled out, the writing was on the wall in the second extra frame. Not that anyone will remember. How could they?

1. (2) Villanova 77, (1) North Carolina 74 (National Championship Game)