The Memories of March Madness

Photo by John Biever/SI/sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Posted by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy) & Josh Overholser (@Sisco_Kid)

Since ‘Our Sports Report’ first started, the objective has been to be a sports blog for the fans, from the fans.  With the 2013 NCAA Tournament set to kick off tomorrow, the main thing that sports fans remember are the memories.  It's the moments and the excitement that March Madness brings to them every year.  As you read this article, I invite you to express the memories that this wonderful dance has brought to you as well. Please leave a comment just to show that I'm not the only one that gets giddy thinking about the games coming up, and those of the past. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed watching the NCAA Tournament. From the first game to the final buzzer.  My first memory of watching the tournament came back in 1999 when the Buckeyes played the Michigan State Spartans in the Final Four.  I remember sitting there with my Uncle, watching the Spartans & Mateen Cleaves defeat the Michael Redd, and Scoonie Penn lead Buckeyes.  Of course I was watching the game because I have always been an Ohio State fan, but from that moment on, I paid a little more attention to March Madness. The older I grew, the more and more memories I collected.  I remember staying up late on a school night in 2005 to watch Chris Paul of Wake Forest and Kevin Pittsnogle of West Virginia trade blows in 2 Overtimes, as West Virginia won 111-105.  If you don't remember him, Kevin Pittsnogle was a 6'10" enthusiastic white guy that could shoot literally from anywhere on the court. How can you not love a guy like that? The next year saw the unbelievable Cinderella Story of the George Mason Patriots knock off North Carolina and Connecticut on their way to the Final Four.  Just to show you how much I love a good underdog, the names of Jai Lewis and Tony Skinn will forever be ingrained in my brain. For the 2007 tourney, the Ohio State Buckeyes with Greg Oden and Mike Conley were the #1 Overall seed in the tournament.  It looked like they were going to get upset in the 2nd round by the Xavier Musketeers, but then Ron Lewis happened.  A missed free throw by Xavier and the most clutch shot I have ever witnessed in my entire life released from Lewis’ touch, sent the game into overtime.  The Bucks eventually won, making me one happier than a chubby kid with fudge.  Between Thomas Hinkle jumping on top of me in the Fredericktown FFA classroom, and the excitement coming from Gus Johnson’s voice, that moment has forever set the tone during March. With taking nothing away from either of those moments, my favorite moment in NCAA Tournament history by far almost happened twice. In 2010, Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs completely shocked the world as they fought their way through the tournament. With the help of the baby-faced assassin, Gordon Hayward, the Bulldogs were one oh-so-close half court shot away from defeating the Duke Blue Devils in the National Title game. The Bulldogs were back in the title game that next season, this time lead by Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack, but just couldn't take down the white hot UCONN Huskies and Kemba Walker. Whether it was Hayward's almost half court shot, or the game tying thriller by Ron Lewis, we all have special memories of the annual dance. Hell, I like these "dances" better than the high school dances I went to, (better chance of getting lucky with my bracket than a girl). So let me know your memories and moments, because if you're taking the time to read this, I know you're a fan too.  Last but not least, I hope this is a tournament for the ages, and bring on the MADNESS!