Our favorite memories of the decade
As we close out the decade, five of ESPN.com's writers and contributors pick out their favorite college basketball memory of the past decade
Jay Bilas: One of the coolest things I remember from the past decade was watching Kansas coach Bill Self cut down the nets in San Antonio in 2008. Just a few years earlier, Self had left a very good team at Illinois, and at the 2005 Final Four in St. Louis, he had to watch the players he recruited to the Illini play for the national title against the coach he replaced at Kansas. In 2008, Self showed why he took the KU job and why he is among the best coaches in America, winning the national championship in an epic game against Memphis. It won't be his last.
Pat Forde: Watching Stephen Curry shoot the ball in the 2008 NCAA tournament is on the top of my list. There's nothing prettier than a great shooter at the peak of his game during the heat of March, and Curry willed a very laudable Davidson team to go farther than its talent had any right to justify. What a show he put on.
Fran Fraschilla: 41-10. That was the lead Saint Joseph's jumped out to in the first half of its "Holy War" battle with the hated Villanova Wildcats on Feb. 3, 2003, at the sold-out Palestra. I was there to call this Big Five rivalry for ESPN, and the environment was the best I'd ever been a part of for pure intensity. Led by future NBA guards Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, the Hawks jumped on Jay Wright's young team, and the blue-collar Saint Joe's fans never let up on the visitors from Philly's upper-crust Main Line. When the stars align, a Big Five battle between two bitter foes in one of the country's greatest basketball venues is as good as it gets. I'll take a pretzel with mustard with that.
Andy Katz: I've covered college sports since the mid-1980s, and it's hard to remember a story as magical as George Mason's run to the 2006 Final Four. The odds were so stacked against the Patriots, with North Carolina, Michigan State and Connecticut lined up as three of the four road blocks. The Huskies were the overwhelming title favorites that season, and GMU was the hometown 11-seed in the Elite Eight in Washington, D.C. The unbelievable joy in that Patriots locker room and on the court when they were cutting down the nets was something special. You knew you were witnessing something rare, for a team outside the mainstream -- distant from the power-six conferences and not named Memphis or UNLV -- to get this far and actually pull off the upset. Accomplishing what Mason did that March will be difficult to ever match. Schools like Vermont and Northwestern State had magic moments but weren't able to string together four wins in a row to reach the sport's mecca -- a cherished spot in the Final Four.
Dana O'Neil: Syracuse 127, Connecticut 117. The game went six overtimes, took three hours and 46 minutes to complete, and spanned two days -- and I didn't want it to end. To have the chance to sit courtside and watch two teams go at it with such intensity, playing on whatever remains in the body after even adrenaline has been wrung dry, when nothing monumental is at stake -- no one was getting a trophy at the final buzzer, no one was being ousted from the NCAA tournament -- is one of the reasons I love my job.
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THE DECADE: A LOOK BACK
What a memorable and often tumultous past 10 years it has been in college basketball. Sit back and let our panelists of ESPN.com writers and contributors take you through the teams and personalities that made up the decade.