It has been about four years since Villanova’s Kris Jenkins made his game-winning buzzer-beater against North Carolina in the 2016 National Championship game. This coming Saturday, April 4, is the four-year anniversary of the shot.
Jenkins’ shot and three other memorable March Madness moments — Illinois’ 2005 comeback against Arizona in the Elite 8, UMBC’s historic upset over 1-seed Virginia in 2018 and Trey Burke’s memorable game-winner for Michigan over Kansas in 2013 — all made the Final Four in the all-time #MarchMadnessMoments bracket.
“I was just happy to be a part of it all,” Jenkins told Andy Katz on the latest episode of March Madness 365. “I was honored, I was humbled and it was just exciting … it’s just a great thing to be a part of, and a great thing to see that people think so highly of a moment we shared in 2016.”
Former UMBC player Jairus Lyles, former Michigan coach Jon Beilein and former Illinois coach Bruce Weber also joined this week’s episode.
Jenkins’ shot had to traverse a tough Final Four/National Championship region of the bracket to make it to the all-time Final Four. It moved past the 1979 Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson championship game and Jimmy Valvano’s 1983 North Carolina State team.
The 2016 buzzer-beater is up against Illinois’ 2005 comeback over Arizona. A 4-seed in the Elite 8 region, that 2005 game had to beat the likes of Luke Maye’s 2017 game-winner over Kentucky, Christian Laettner’s buzzer-beater in 1992 and last year’s game-tying buzzer-beater from Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite.
“I know it’s the best moment for me in my coaching career, as far as winning that game, a crazy game like that,” former Illinois coach and current Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “When you think about going to the Final Four because of it, it’s gotta put it as an elite game of all time.”
Illinois, led by Dee Brown and Deron Williams, erased Arizona’s 14-point lead with less than 4 minutes in the game.
On the other side of the bracket, Michigan’s Trey Burke and his 30-foot bomb to push the Wolverines past Kansas in a 2013 Sweet 16 game, is the moment out of the Round of 32/Sweet 16 region. That moment, a 9-seed in our bracket, had to escape past Danny Ainge’s 1981 game-winner, FGCU’s 2013 Dunk City team and another Michigan moment in Jordan Poole’s 2018 buzzer-beater.
“We really were good,” former Michigan head coach Jon Beilein said of his final stretch at the helm of the Wolverines from 2013 to 2019. “Great assistant coaches, guard play was outstanding through all that run for us. A lot of really good players. A lot of them are playing in the NBA today.”
Michigan made the Elite 8 three times, the Final Four twice and the National Championship twice between 2013 and 2019.
The Wolverines are up against UMBC’s upset over 1-seed Virginia in 2018. UMBC’s upset traversed a Round of 64 region that included CJ McCollum’s performance for Lehigh against Duke in 2012, a 2010 40-point performance from Steph Curry and Georgia State’s RJ Hunter and his memorable shot to beat 3-seed Baylor in 2015.
“I think what we did speaks for itself. We made history that night,” former UMBC player Jairus Lyles told Katz on this week’s episode. “Until it’s done again we will continue to be talked about. That’s the most exciting part about it.”
Final Four voting begins on Twitter at noon ET on Saturday. Voting for the National Championship/greatest March Madness moment of all-time is on Monday, April 6.