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Best College Basketball Game Ending Ever?

Villanova's Jalen Brunson (1), Mikal Bridges (25) and their teammates celebrate after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against North Carolina, Monday, April 4, 2016.
Villanova's Jalen Brunson (1), Mikal Bridges (25) and their teammates celebrate after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against North Carolina, Monday, April 4, 2016.
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This is What’s Trending Today.

It may be the month of April, but Americans are still talking about March Madness.

March Madness is the nickname for college basketball tournaments each year. They start in March and end in early April.

The men’s game on Monday night for the championship was between the University of North Carolina and Villanova University, a school near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fans are calling it one of the best finishes ever.

But was it as good as the game in 1983 between North Carolina State and the University of Houston?

Both games had surprise endings. Tense fans watched the final seconds, sitting on the edge of their seats. Both games featured last-second, game-winning shots. And both games even featured teams from the state of North Carolina!

In fact, the games were played on April 4th, but 33 years apart.

The magazine Sports Illustrated has called the 1983 game one of the “100 Greatest Sports Moments.”

In that game, North Carolina State was winning against Houston, which was the favored team to win. Houston had many players on that team who became professional basketball players. They were known for their exciting slam-dunk shots. Those shots are when players push the basketball through the net with their hands very powerfully.

But in the end of that 1983 game, North Carolina State won, with a score of 54-52. The team made a basket with less than one second left on the game clock. The lasting image from that game was of North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano running around, celebrating. He was looking for someone to hug.

Now on to this year’s game.

The University of North Carolina is one of the most famous college basketball teams in the United States. Michael Jordan went there before starring in the NBA (National Basketball Association).

North Carolina moved through the college tournament by winning five games by more than 10 points. Villanova was also a very good team this year.

But going into the championship game, North Carolina was the favorite.

Right after halftime, North Carolina was ahead by seven points. Then with five minutes left, Villanova was ahead by 10 points. It went back and forth in a duel for the win.

With only four seconds left, a player from North Carolina made a difficult shot to tie the game at 74 points each team.

There was one second left. Villanova player Kris Jenkins stood at the edge of the zone where a ball through the net is worth three points. He reached up with the ball and launched his throw to the net.

His ball flew in the air as the time ran out and a loud buzzer filled the court. But a ball in play before the buzzer meant it could count if the ball successfully went in the net. Jenkins three-pointer sailed right into the net. He scored!

Villanova became the college basketball champion for the first time since 1985!

Even former North Carolina player Michael Jordan was impressed.

But was it the best finish to a national championship game ever?

People are still debating.

And the debate is What’s Trending Today.

I’m Ashley Thompson.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

Which college basketball championship game was better, 1983 or 2016? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

madness – n. behavior or thinking that is very foolish or dangerous

feature – v. to have or include (someone or something) as an important part

slam-dunk – v. to jump high in the air and push (the ball) down through the basket

back-and-forth – adj. between two places or people

hug – v. to put your arms around someone in order to show love or friendship

impress – v. to cause (someone) to feel admiration or interest