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Best buzzer-beaters in March Madness history: Laettner, Jenkins or Suggs at No. 1?

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Best buzzer-beaters in March Madness history: Laettner, Jenkins or Suggs at No. 1?

March Madness is defined by buzzer-beaters.

The sound alone is the selling point for the NCAA Tournament. The ball going up. The horn going off. The reaction from the players, coaches and crowd (on both sides) when that ball goes in. It’s amazing every time you see it and will never get old.

Christian Laettner. Kris Jenkins. Lorenzo Charles. And now, Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. The guard hit a buzzer-beater in the Final Four which gave the Bulldogs a 93-90 victory against UCLA on Saturday.

These are the buzzer-beaters you think of first when March Madness rolls around — but not the only ones.

Sporting News ranked the best buzzer-beating shots in the NCAA Tournament. These are the shots that define March Madness. Watch all the clips. Relive these moments. And let’s hope we add a few more to the list this year.

25. Adam Woodbury, Iowa

Matchup: No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 10 (2016 first round)

At the buzzer: Iowa and Temple were knotted at 70 in overtime. The Hawkeyes had the last possession when Mike Gesell launched a shot from the corner in the final seconds. Woodbury came up with a two-handed tip for the victory.

Best part: Did he push off? Not on game point.

24. Don Reid, Georgetown

Matchup: No. 6 Georgetown vs. No. 14 Weber State (1995 second round)

At the buzzer: Georgetown was tied at 51 with Weber State with 7.4 seconds remaining when Allen Iverson launched a desperation leaner in the final seconds. Don Reid grabbed the shot in the midair and redirected it into the basket to give the Hoyas a trip to the Sweet 16.

Best part: The tip-in itself. Reid’s body control is amazing.

23. Matt Howard, Butler

Matchup: No. 8 Butler vs. No. 9 Old Dominion (2011 first round)

At the buzzer: Old Dominion gave national runner-up Butler all it wanted in the first round of the tournament, but they didn’t box out on the final possession, which Howard put back in at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 60-58 victory.

Best part: Howard’s quick reaction from the foul line to get to the basketball. That helped the Bulldogs reach their second NCAA championship game in as many years.

22. Danero Thomas, Murray State

Matchup: No. 4 Vanderbilt vs. No. 13 Murray State (2010 first round)

At the buzzer: The Racers trailed 65-64 with 4.2 seconds left before an under-the-basket inbounds pass. Thomas got the ball, took one dribble and swished the game-winning jumper.

Best part: The action around Thomas before the game winner. He was not bothered at all.

21. Korie Lucious, Michigan State


Matchup: No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 5 Michigan State (2010 second round)

At the buzzer: Maryland took an 83-82 lead on Michigan State in the final seconds. Instead of opting for a timeout, Draymond Green took the ball for the Spartans. He passed to Lucious, who drilled the game-winning 3-pointer. Michigan State used that shot to make a run to the Final Four.

Best part: The quick pump fake before the shot. Lucious stayed calm the whole way through.

20. Mike Miller, Florida

Matchup: No. 5 Florida vs. No. 12 Butler (2000 first round)

At the buzzer: Butler led Florida 68-67 with 7.7 seconds left. Teddy Dupay dribbled down the floor before passing to Miller, who hit an off-balance leaner between Bulldog defenders at the buzzer. The Gators would make a run to the national championship game.

Best part: Miller is almost touching the floor when the shot goes off.

19. Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin

Matchup: No. 2 Xavier vs. No. 7 Wisconsin (2016 second round)

At the buzzer: The Badgers and Musketeers were tied at 63 with two seconds left when Koenig wheeled around the right baseline before shooting a fadeaway 3-pointer in the corner. It swished for a 66-63 victory to send the Badgers to the Sweet 16.

Best part: Koenig hit the shot in front of his own bench, which made for an easy celebration.

18. Drew Nicholas, Maryland

Matchup: No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 UNC-Wilmington (2003 first round)

At the buzzer: The Terps trailed 73-72 to UNC-Wilmington with five seconds left before Nicholas dribbled to the three-point line and launched a fade-away 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded. The senior nailed it for a 75-73 victory. Maryland would make the Sweet 16.

Best part: Nicholas heading down the tunnel after making the shot.

17. Ty Rogers, Western Kentucky

Matchup: No. 5 Drake vs. No. 12 Western Kentucky (2008 first round)

At the buzzer: WKU and Drake played an overtime thriller, and the Hilltoppers trailed 99-98 with 5.7 seconds left. That’s when Tyrone Brazelton raced down the floor before pitching back to Rogers, who drilled the 26-footer for a 101-99 victory.

Best part: It’s a lot like the play Villanova would use in the NCAA championship game against North Carolina in 2016 (which might be on this list a little later).

16. Kenton Paulino, Texas

Matchup: No. 2 Texas vs. No. 6 West Virginia (2006 Sweet 16)

At the buzzer: West Virginia’s Kevin Pittsnogle drilled a game-tying 3-pointer with five seconds remaining, but Paulino answered with a long-range 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give the Longhorns the victory.

Best part: John Beilein’s stoic reaction to the bang-bang 3-pointers to end the game. That’s OK. He had a different reaction on the next buzzer-beater on this list.

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15. Jordan Poole, Michigan

Matchup: No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 6 Houston (2018 second round)

At the buzzer: Houston led 63-61 with 3.6 seconds left when Isaiah Livers ripped a pass to Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman at half court. Rahkman passed to Poole, who swished a 30-footer at the buzzer. Michigan used that run to make their second Final Four under Beilein.

Best part: Poole’s scissor kick and Beilein’s affirmation that the freshman had an “overdose of swag.”

14. Chris Chiozza, Florida

Matchup: No. 4 Florida vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (2017 Sweet 16)

At the buzzer: The Gators trailed Wisconsin 83-81 with five seconds left, when Chiozza tumbled down the court before launching an off-balance 3-pointer. It went in and sent the Gators to the Elite Eight.

Best part: The rainbow trajectory of the 3-pointer. You knew it was going in, somehow, when it left Chiozza’s hand.

13. James Forrest, Georgia Tech

Matchup: No. 2 USC vs. No. 7 Georgia Tech (1992 second round)

At the buzzer: The Yellow Jackets trailed 78-76 with 0.8 seconds left, and Forrest called for the ball after a botched inbounds play. He catches and launches the 3 over two USC defenders.

Best part: Forrest clapping his hands calling for the ball and the celebration afterward. It doesn’t get much better than that.

12. Richard Hamilton, UConn

Matchup: No. 2 UConn vs. No. 11 Washington (1998 Sweet 16)

At the buzzer: Washington led 74-73 on the game’s final possession, but Khalid El-Amin dished to Jake Voskuhl, who missed a shot in the lane. Hamilton missed too, but the ball was tipped back and forth several times in the final seconds. He grabbed the ball and nailed a fadeaway at the buzzer for the victory.

Best part: Hamilton sliding well past the 3-point line after the ball falls through the hoop.

11. Mamadi Diakite, Virginia

Matchup: No. 1 Virgina vs. No. 3 Purdue (2019 Elite Eight)

At the buzzer: Virginia trailed 70-68 with 5.9 seconds left, when Ty Jerome missed a free throw. Kihei Clark chased down the miss, however, and whipped a three-quarter court pass to Diakite, who hit the game-tying shot at the buzzer. Virginia won 80-75 in overtime.

Best part: The speed in which the final sequence unfurls, but Clark’s connection with Diakite is the best part by far. It’s a game-tying shot. The rest of the shots on this list are game-winners.

10. Tate George, UConn

Matchup: No. 1 UConn vs. No. 5 Clemson (1990 Sweet 16)

At the buzzer: Clemson led UConn 70-69 with one second remaining when Scott Burrell heaved a full-court pass to George, who caught the ball on the right baseline for a desperation shot that fell at the buzzer.

Best part: The quick-fire shot. How did George get that off in one second? Unfortunately for the Huskies, this isn’t even the best buzzer-beater from The Meadowlands that weekend. The next one is.

9. Christian Laettner, Duke

Matchup: No. 1 UConn vs. No. 3 Duke (1990 Elite Eight)

At the buzzer: UConn led Duke 73-72 in overtime in the same regional, but Laettner took a quick pass off his own inbound, double-pumped and buried a jumper that sent the Blue Devils to the Final Four. Duke would make the first of three straight NCAA championship games.

Best part: This isn’t even Laettner’s best tournament buzzer-beater — but you already knew that.

8. Paul Jesperson, Northern Iowa

Matchup: No. 11 Northern Iowa vs. No. 6 Texas (2016 first round)

At the buzzer: Texas tied the score with 2.7 seconds remaining. Instead of opting for timeout, Jesperson split two defenders before launching a half-court shot, which banked in for a 75-72 victory.

Best part: Did he call bank?

MORE: ’40 Minutes of Hell’ to Hog Heaven: Remembering Arkansas’ 1993-94 title

7. U.S. Reed, Arkansas

Matchup: No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 Arkansas (1981 second round)

At the buzzer: Reed took an inbound pass to half court before launching a desperation heave that gave Arkansas a 74-73 victory over defending national champion Louisville.

Best part: It was seen as part of a live cut-in on the television broadcast. Which is better: Bryant Gumbel’s flawless transition, or the horn going off for at least 15 seconds? This was part of a day when NBC showed this, No. 1 seed DePaul losing to St. Joe’s and Kansas State knocking off Oregon State on a jumper by Rolando Blackman. In other words, it introduced the world to “March Madness.”

6. Tyus Edney, UCLA

Matchup: No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 8 Missouri (1995 second round)

At the buzzer: The Bruins trailed Missouri 75-74 with 4.8 seconds remaining when Edney raced coast-to-coast for a layup at the buzzer. UCLA went on to beat defending national champion Arkansas 89-78 to win the national championship.

Best part: The behind-the-back dribble at midcourt Edney uses to seamlessly switch directions before delivering the game-winning basket.

5. Bryce Drew, Valparaiso

Matchup: No. 4 Ole Miss vs. No. 13 Valparaiso (1998 first round)

At the buzzer: Valpo trailed Ole Miss 69-67 with 2.5 seconds left. Jamie Sykes threw a three-quarter-court pass to Bill Jenkins, who perfectly timed another midair pass to Drew in transition. It set up for a magnificent, game-winning 3-pointer.

Best part: The precision of the passing. It’s the ultimate out-of-bounds play.

4. Lorenzo Charles, N.C. State

Matchup: No. 6 N.C. State vs. No. 1 Houston (1983 NCAA championship)

At the buzzer: With the score tied at 52 in the final seconds against Houston, N.C. State’s Dereck Whittenburg launched a deep jumpshot — which Lorenzo Charles plucked out of the air behind Akeem Olajuwon — and dunked for the game-winning basket.

Best part: Jim Valvano running around The Pit afterward looking for someone to hug.

3. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

Matchup: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 11 UCLA (2021 Final Four)

At the buzzer: UCLA and Gonzaga played an instant classic in the Final Four, and the Bruins tied the score at 90 on a Johnny Juzang layup with 3.3 seconds left. Suggs took the inbounds pass, dribbled past halfcourt and hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that sent the Bulldogs to the national championship game with a 93-90 overtime win.

Best part: The shot kept Gonzaga’s perfect season intact.

2. Kris Jenkins, Villanova

Matchup: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Villanova (2016 NCAA championship)

At the buzzer: The Wildcats were tied with North Carolina with 4.1 seconds remaining thanks to an incredibly clutch shot by UNC’s Marcus Paige. Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono raced down the floor before flipping back to Jenkins, who shot the game-winning 3-pointer for a 77-74 victory.

Best part: The explosions and confetti, which clinched Villanova’s first championship since 1985.

1. Christian Laettner, Duke

Matchup: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 2 Kentucky (1992 Elite Eight)

At the buzzer: Duke trailed by one to Kentucky. Grant Hill delivered a full-court pass to Laettner, who hit a turn-around jumper at the buzzer to give the Blue Devils the 104-103 overtime victory in one of the greatest games — if not the greatest game — ever played. Duke went on to win the second of back-to-back national championships.

Best part: Take your pick. The pass. The shot. Verne Lundquist belting out, “Yessss!” The fact Laettner finished 10 of 10 from the field and 10 of 10 from the line says it all. This is the perfect “10” of buzzer-beaters, and the shot that best defines March Madness.

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Is Julian Edelman a Hall of Famer? Twitter debates retired receiver’s credentials

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Is Julian Edelman a Hall of Famer? Twitter debates retired receiver's credentials

Julian Edelman called it quits Monday, announcing his retirement after an 11-year NFL career, all of it spent with the Patriots.

Edelman’s final stat line: 620 receptions for 6,866 receiving yards (11 yards per reception) and 36 receiving touchdowns; 58 rushes for 413 yards (7.1 yards per carry); 177 punt returns for 1,986 yards and four touchdowns. His yardage ranks 156h in NFL history, and his receiving touchdowns are tied for 261st.

Zero Pro Bowl selections. Three Super Bowl rings. One Super Bowl MVP. And a member of the Patriots’ 2010 All-Decade team.

Now, the ensuing debate: Are those numbers good enough to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (which Edelman won’t be eligible for until 2026)? The pure numbers say no, but that didn’t stop Twitter users from making “HOFer” and “Edelman” trend Monday evening as they discussed Edelman’s Hall of Fame credentials.

MORE: Why did Patriots cut Julian Edelman? Failed physical only part of New England roster move

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer in May 2019 made a compelling argument that Edelman’s Hall of Fame case isn’t so cut and dry. Working in Edelman’s favor is the fact that only Jerry Rice ranks ahead of Edelman in postseason receptions (151 to Edelman’s 118) and receiving yards (2,245 to Edelman’s 1,442). He was also one of the favorite targets of Tom Brady — himself a first-ballot Hall of Famer — as the two won three Super Bowls together.

But Edelman only led the Patriots three times in receiving yards, and never put together more than 1,117 yards in a season (in 2019, his last fully healthy season). He had three 1,000-yard receiving seasons and never scored more than seven receiving touchdowns a year. People were also quick to point out his stats pale in comparison to other non-Hall of Famers with considerably better stats, including Hines Ward, who in 2021 failed to make it into Canton for the fifth consecutive year.

Regardless of whether Edelman makes it into the Hall of Fame, the fact that his candidacy is so hotly debated — not even 24 hours removed from announcing his retirement — is a testament to his impact on the game.

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Why did Patriots cut Julian Edelman? Failed physical only part of New England roster move

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Why did Patriots cut Julian Edelman? Failed physical only part of New England roster move

The Patriots sent shockwaves throughout the NFL on Monday — tremors, at least — with the announcement that they would cut veteran receiver Julian Edelman.

Multiple reports suggest that New England cut Edelman, 34, because he failed his physical; he would have played his 12th season in the league in 2021 after missing the final 10 games of the 2020 season while recovering from knee surgery.

That said, New England’s decision to cut Edelman was more than just a simple failed physical. Either way, Monday’s decision could put the cap on an 11-year career that saw Edelman catch 620 passes for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns and win three Super Bowls.

NFL MOCK DRAFTS 2021: Compare Mel Kiper, Daniel Jeremiah, Todd McShay & other experts

Here’s everything you need to know about the decision, and Edelman’s future in the NFL.

Why did the Patriots cut Julian Edelman?

The initial reason for Edelman’s tenure ending in New England was a failed physical. That makes sense on the surface, considering that the 34-year-old receiver played in the fewest games in a given season since he entered the NFL in 2009. Considering how busy New England coach/GM Bill Belichick was in free agency, it also stands to reason that Edelman would have seen fewer targets in 2021 after the Patriots added receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, and tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

However, that was only part of the Patriots’ decision. Per Mike Weiss of ESPN, the decision could simply be a formality and precursor to Edelman retiring from football.

Edelman later confirmed rumors that he was, indeed, retiring. Edelman, in a pre-recorded video, announced his decision.

Why is Edelman retiring from the NFL?

In the video, Edelman credited an undisclosed knee injury from the 2020 season as the reason for his retirement. He underwent surgery on Oct. 29 and did not return for the remainder of New England’s 7-9 season.

“Nothing in my career has ever come easy. And, no surprise, this isn’t going to be easy, either,” Edelman said in his announcement. “I always said, ‘I’m gonna go until the wheels come off.’ And they finally have fallen off. Due to an injury last year, I’ll be making my official announcement of retirement from football. It was a hard decision, but the right decision for me and my family. And I’m honored, and so proud, to be retiring a Patriot.

That last line also puts an end to any rumors that Edelman will attempt a comeback somewhere else in the NFL — notably, in Tampa Bay with former teammates Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

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Dustin Poirier says Conor McGregor never donated promised $500K to former’s charity

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Dustin Poirier says Conor McGregor never donated promised $500K to former's charity

Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor are confirmed to be fighting again … on Twitter.

The latest clash between the two UFC fighters stems from a Poirier claim Sunday night that McGregor and his team failed to deliver on a promised $500,000 donation. It would have gone to Poirier’s charity, “The Good Fight,” after their UFC 257 bout in January, which Poirier won via second-round TKO.

McGregor responded in kind, saying that Poirier never said exactly where the money was going and how it would be used.

MORE: Francis Ngannou wins heavyweight title at UFC 260 after KO of Stipe Miocic

All this stemmed from a 2020 exchange between the two fighters where McGregor teased a comeback outside of UFC. He proposed a PPV with Poirier, saying all the money would go to charity. He eventually settled on the $500,000 amount, which would be donated after their January bout. Poirier confirmed in December 2020 that McGregor’s team had begun the process of donating to his foundation.

Poirier and McGregor’s online squabble further devolved from there, with Poirier claiming that McGregor’s team quit responding to emails and McGregor calling Poirier a “brain dead hillbilly” — before canceling their trilogy fight.

Both fighters have reportedly signed contracts to a trilogy fight on July 10 at UFC 264, though that promotion hasn’t been made official. What’s also uncertain is whether McGregor’s claim that the fight is off is him simply letting off steam or retaliation against Poirier.

Just another day in the UFC.

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