Most Impactful Basketball Games of All Time

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    mcpapa's Avatar
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    Most Impactful Basketball Games of All Time

    Today is the anniversary of Magic and Michigan State versus Larry and Indiana State. One of the most important and/or impactful basketball games of my lifetime. Some of the others would be:

    Texas Western vs. Kentucky
    UCLA at Houston in the Astrodome
    Russia over USA in the Olympics

    Iím sure there are others.
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    NC State/Maryland in the 1974 ACC tournament. Likely the impetus for the NCAA abandoning the one team per conference rule for the NCAA tournament.

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    Georgetown defeating Houston in 1984.

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    North Carolina vs Virginia in '82 ACC Championship game (probably the reason we have the shot clock today)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gchs_uk9 View Post
    NC State/Maryland in the 1974 ACC tournament. Likely the impetus for the NCAA abandoning the one team per conference rule for the NCAA tournament.
    As a Maryland fan, that was a bitter pill to swallow.

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    North Carolina State over Houston was one for all of the underdogs. NC State profited from the ACC experimenting with the 3-point line during conference play.

    I think Duke's 1992 win over Kentucky pretty much staked them as the villian of college basketball from that date forward. People rooted for Duke to beat UNLV in the previous years and wore the white hat until that year. Laettner's antics solidified them as the college team people love to root against and it started that night in the Spectrum.

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    Kentucky vs LSU 1986.

    NCAA moved to balance brackets and not stock pile same Conference Teams in one region.

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    I would say that Loyola Marymount's entire run in the 1990 tournament was incredibly impactful from an emotional standpoint. Following the tragic death of Hank Gathers, I have never rooted so much for a team that I had no attachment to, before or since.

    30 years later, and I still remember how much I enjoyed watching them play, and the atmosphere that was evident at those games. The 30 for 30 on that team, while a little quirky with the whole Shakespeare theme, is definitely worth a watch, if you're not too familiar with the story.

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    2018 UMBC vs. Virginia. Put an end to the line: "A 1 seed has never lost to a 16 seed!". Gave every underdog the hope they need.

    On another note, I was only 8 so I don't remember it but was the 1979 Bird vs. Magic game really as big at that time as it has been played out to be since then?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcpapa View Post
    Today is the anniversary of Magic and Michigan State versus Larry and Indiana State. One of the most important and/or impactful basketball games of my lifetime. Some of the others would be:

    Texas Western vs. Kentucky
    UCLA at Houston in the Astrodome
    Russia over USA in the Olympics

    I’m sure there are others.
    We talking 1972 or 1988? I'm assuming 1972, since that was USA's first loss, but I was thinking 1988 was a pretty big deal too. I don't know if it was 100% responsible for professionals being allowed at the Olympics, but it had to be a huge part of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by catholicdude View Post
    On another note, I was only 8 so I don't remember it but was the 1979 Bird vs. Magic game really as big at that time as it has been played out to be since then?
    Glad you asked this question because I have watched the game before and was like, "ok, I don't get what the fuss is all about." One team was vastly superior to the other and it showed in the end. Not remotely approaching classic game status. I know it has the highest ratings and most viewers ever, but that was also back when there were seven channels. Feels like the game became bigger as they rose in status.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bugatti View Post
    Glad you asked this question because I have watched the game before and was like, "ok, I don't get what the fuss is all about." One team was vastly superior to the other and it showed in the end. Not remotely approaching classic game status. I know it has the highest ratings and most viewers ever, but that was also back when there were seven channels. Feels like the game became bigger as they rose in status.
    The plays Magic made were unseen before by the National audience.

    Bird didn’t play great but it was obvious all tournament he had put that team on his back and got them to the Final.

    They both had instant impact on the NBA and so that title game grew in mystique.

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    Every part of this is correct...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatz View Post
    The plays Magic made were unseen before by the National audience.
    A 6'9" point guard was just non-existent. Magic averaged 17.1 ppg and 8.4 assists. We take for granted today the ability of big guys to handle the ball but for 100 years prior to this Magic would have played center.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatz View Post
    Bird didn’t play great but it was obvious all tournament he had put that team on his back and got them to the Final.
    Championship game definitely wasn't Bird's best game but he averaged 28.6 ppg, 14.8 rebounds, and passed it beautifully. It is usually stated that Indiana State was a bunch of stiffs, which isn't exactly true as they were undefeated and had Carl Nicks who averaged 19 ppg. and was drafted in the first round by Denver.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatz View Post
    They both had instant impact on the NBA and so that title game grew in mystique.
    This is definitely true. Bird had already been drafted by Boston and was seen as a savior of the Celtics while still playing in college. Magic would go to LA and win a title in his first season. Both would dominate basketball in the 1980s.

    While Michigan State/Indiana State might not have been the absolute best basketball game, there was so much around it and so much that came from it that it must be considered among the most impactful games in college hoops history.

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