Top March Madness Moments of the 21st Century: How to Commemorate Them

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Are you wondering what the top March Madness moments of the 21st century are? Let's get in to it!

March Madness– the pinnacle of basketball’s beauty. Every year, we bear witness to a glorious three-week tournament that slates the blue bloods, mid-majors, favorites, underdogs, Davids and Goliaths against each other. Nothing in the sporting world compares, and this year’s tourney has already produced some magical moments.

Related: Biggest March Madness Upsets in NCAA History

In just the first round, #15-seed Princeton upset the Arizona Wildcats in thrilling fashion. Not to be undone, the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights stunned #1-seed Purdue, becoming just the second #16-seed in history to accomplish such a feat.

Today, we will give a recap of the best March Madness moments from this century. We will also highlight the rookie cards, T-shirts and tickets that help you encapsulate these once-in-a-lifetime games.

10. Jordan Poole’s Heroic Buzzer-Beater (2018)

jordan poole
Jordan Squire - Staff (Getty Images)

To kick-off this list of top March Madness moments, we have a special moment from Jordan Poole, the Michigan standout and sharpshooter for the Golden State Warriors. As a true freshman, Poole came up clutch in a Round of 32 matchup against Houston. The smooth guard hoisted a deep three from well beyond the arc right before the buzzer sounded. After a smooth transaction between ball and net, the Wolverines began their Sweet 16 celebration.

This Panini Prizm Jordan Poole Silver rookie is a premier trading card of the young star. You can find ones like it up for grabs here.

9. America Learns C.J. McCollum’s Name (2012)

cj mccullom duke
Lance King / Contributor (Getty Images)

Perhaps no blue blood program is hated more than the Duke Blue Devils. For many fans, seeing CJ McCollum and the Lehigh Mountain Hawks dismantle the Blue Devils was a real treat. For the Cameron crazies, it was not. This would be the country’s first glimpse at the budding star, who has since found a successful career with the Trail Blazers and Pelicans. Basketball aficionados can pick up McCollum autographs, like this one from Panini Select, for under $20.

8. Dunk City: A Booming Metropolis (2013)

Rob Carr / Staff (Getty Images)

In 2013, no one had a bigger week than Sherwood Brown and the high-flying guards and forwards of Florida Gulf Coast University. The tropical #15-seed brought acrobatic alley-oops and finishes to the big dance, which catapulted them past Georgetown and San Diego State. Though they would ultimately fall to Florida, their Gainesville neighbors, the flair of this squad has remained pertinent for many college basketball fans. You can grab this “Dunk City” tee off of eBay for under $20.

7. Kyle Guy Wins It at the Charity Stripe (2019)

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Streeter Lecka / Staff (Getty Images)

After an unprecedented loss to #16-seed UMBC the previous year, the Virginia Cavaliers bounced back in a big way to provide on of the top March Madness moments of all-time. This included some impressive rallies and performances en route to a Final Four matchup against Auburn. With the Tigers up 62-60, It was standout guard Kyle Guy who received the ball off an inbound with 1.5 ticks remaining. Guy caught and fired the ball from the corner … and missed. But a foul call on Auburn’s Charles Brown sent Guy to the free throw line, where he sank all three and lifted the Cavs to victory. 

This National Treasures rookie patch autograph is one of Kyle Guy’s best trading cards in existence, and it sells for $200-300. If you’re a lifetime Hoos fan, this is the card for your Guy.

6. Saint Peter’s Stuns Kentucky (2022)

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Jamie Sabau / Contributor (Getty Images)

Just 12 months ago, hoop fans witnessed the first ever #15 seed make an Elite Eight appearance. Saint Peter’s began their reign of terror with a wild upset against the blue-blood Kentucky Wildcats. Unrelenting performances from Daryl Banks III and Doug Edert propelled the Peacocks into the Round of 32, and they would go on to win two more games before falling to North Carolina.

This licensed shirt from Fanatics helps fans commemorate the Peacocks’ run, which they are not soon to forget.

5. Jimmer Fredette Catches Fire (2011)

Doug Pensinger / Staff (Getty Images)

Jimmer Fredette rocked the basketball world with a series of sharpshooting outings in the 2011 tournament. Fredette’s propensity for scoring and unlimited range made him an instant watch. He led BYU to a Sweet 16 appearance after a remarkable 34-piece against Gonzaga.

This Shanghai Sharks jersey from Walmart is a unique way to show your Jimmer fandom, and it’s a jersey you probably don’t see too often on the blacktop.

4. Jalen Suggs Calls Game (2021)

jalen suggs
Andy Lyons / Staff (Getty Images)

Despite the empty gyms, the 2021 tourney managed to produce some all-time battles between several blue blood programs. Perhaps none were more entertaining than the UCLA-Gonzaga Final Four matchup. An undefeated Zags team, led by Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert and Drew Timme faced off against Johnny Juzang and a fierce Bruins squad. With time winding down, Suggs let a half-court heave go. The shot banked in, and he quickly found himself celebrating atop the scorers’ table.
This Jalen Suggs Optic Rated Rookie autograph sells for $80-100, providing a solid on-card signature of the Gonzaga great. You can find similar Suggs autos here.

3. Kentucky Outlasts Kansas in an All-Time Classic (2012)

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Jeff Gross / Staff (Getty Images)

In 2012, Anthony Davis was a skinny Kentucky center who had yet to cement his basketball legacy. However, his performance for the Wildcats that year gave him a pretty good start. “The Brow” led the Calipari-coached team all the way to the championship, where they duked it out against the Kansas Jayhawks. Thomas Robinson and the rest of the Jayhawks gave a solid effort, but a late-game surge from Davis proved to be too much.

Although he has many trading cards and apparel items, but this NBA Hoops offers a classic shot of the budding star. It can also be picked up for $50-60 as a graded PSA 10.

2. Cardiac Kemba Leads the Huskies All the Way (2011)

kemba walker
Andy Lyons / Staff (Getty Images)

Few will rival the 11-game run encapsulated by Kemba Walker and the UConn Huskies. A jarring stepback to win the Big East Championship? Done. Winning 10 more games that no one thought they would be in? Done. Teams like these bring validity to the magic of sports, and it’s a season that Husky fans will always cherish.

This replica jersey from Dick’s Sporting Goods will help you rep an all-time great, and maybe it will boost your stepback ability too.

1. Kris Jenkins’ Game Winner Against North Carolina (2016)

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Ronald Martinez / Staff (Getty Images)

To round this list off, we have an incredible moment from one of the greatest years in sports history. With time winding down, Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige hit a double-clutch three that have North Carolina the lead. Villanova, out of timeouts, drove down the court quickly, and forward Kris Jenkins fired up a deep three. The ball swished through the net as the buzzer sounded, sending the crowd into a jolting uproar.

This ticket, which can be purchased for $5-10 on eBay, may be the most inexpensive collectible on the list. However, it’s a tangible stub that helps Nova fans remember a shot heard around the world.

What did we miss? Is your team going to add a special moment to this list during the Sweet 16? Let us know @CardTalkPod on Instagram and Twitter!

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