The greatest performances in March Madness history

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

March 12th, 2020

Plenty of players have put on tremendous efforts in college basketball's regular season, but it's the work done in March that leaves lasting memories.

Let's take a look five of the most impressive performances in NCAA Tournament history.

5. Stephen Curry vs. Gonzaga (2008)

Prior to Davidson's first-round matchup against Gonzaga, Curry was considered an undersized shooter who wouldn’t have success against elite athletes. Curry completely changed the perception of his potential and illustrated just how lethal he would be for years to come.

Curry scored 40 points on 8-for-10 shooting from three-point range, even though Gonzaga knew he was Davidson's main offensive threat.

4. Kemba Walker (2011)

No March Madness run has been more impressive than Kemba Walker's to win the Big East Tournament and then the NCAA Tournament. He had long-time NBA player Jeremy Lamb to help him on that Connecticut team, but Walker was clearly the catalyst driving the team’s success.

While no single game stood out, the fact that Walker led a team that was 9-9 in conference play to a national championship, averaging 23.6 points per game, deserves a body-of-work trophy. Walker made an otherwise average UConn team feel invincible.

3. Dwyane Wade vs. Kentucky (2003)

Before he became an NBA champion and All-Star, Wade was Marquette’s greatest player of all time.

In the 2003 tournament, Wade got the opportunity to face off against college basketball powerhouse Kentucky. He scored 29 points, took in 11 rebounds, and dished out 11 assists, for together the fourth triple-double in NCAA Tournament history.

The craftsmanship Wade brought to the court in this performance was a preview of what he would bring for the rest of his career. With impressive athleticism, cleverness ,and grit, Wade dominated the game as a guard and was a joy to watch for basketball purists.

2. Austin Carr vs. Ohio (1970)

Carr still holds the record for most points in a game in the NCAA Tournament. He scored 61 points for Notre Dame in a 112-82, first-round victory against Ohio. The 61 points is impressive enough, but the fact that he did it without a single three-point shot makes it even more extraordinary.

1. Bill Walton vs. Memphis (1973)

It gets harder every day to recall Walton as an elite basketball phenom, but there was a time, before he was talking nonsense on television, that he was dominating the college game.

In 1973 Walton led UCLA to a national championship and averaged 23.8 points per game and 14.5 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament.

Walton saved his best performance for the greatest stage. He scored 44 points against Memphis in the national championship game and set the scoring record that stands to this day.