Commentary

The classics we were able to witness

Updated: December 31, 2009, 12:45 PM ET
By Staff | ESPN.com

As we close out the 2000s, six of ESPN.com's writers and contributors share memories from the most memorable game they saw in person during the decade:

Jay Bilas: Syracuse 127, Connecticut 117 in 6 OT (March 12-13, 2009)

The best game I saw courtside was the six-overtime thriller between Syracuse and UConn in the Big East tournament. Not only was the game filled with late-game situations, but it also featured great players and two great coaches. It was played at a high level and had drama punctuated by amazing toughness from both teams. The players had to be exhausted, yet they rose to the occasion time after time. Of games I did this decade, the only ones that could rival the Syracuse-UConn matchup were the triple-overtime Maui Invitational game between Gonzaga and Michigan State, and the crazy Illinois comeback against Arizona in the 2005 Elite Eight. Both of those games were unforgettable and incredibly well played. I was lucky to be courtside to call all three of these. I will never forget them.

[+] EnlargeKevin Durant, Acie Law
AP Photo/Eric GayKevin Durant and Acie Law IV embraced after an epic battle between rivals Texas and Texas A&M.

Fran Fraschilla: Texas 98, Texas A&M 96 in 2 OT (Feb. 28, 2007)

Few games this past decade featured a pair of individual performances quite like this double-overtime duel in Austin, Texas. It was a showdown of the Big 12's two best players that season, Kevin Durant (Texas) and Acie Law (A&M), and the pair distanced itself from the rest of the field in the race for the conference's player of the year award. Law forced both overtimes with late 3-pointers en route to a stellar 33-point performance, while super frosh Durant was equally brilliant, and ended up with 30 points and 16 rebounds in his last game at the Erwin Special Events Center.

Doug Gottlieb: Oklahoma State 64, Saint Joseph's 62 (March 27, 2004)

Saint Joe's had finished the regular season unbeaten at 27-0, with an A-10 tourney loss to Xavier the only blemish on the record heading into the NCAAs. Oklahoma State had won the Big 12 regular-season and tournament championships, and entered the game 30-3. The Elite Eight matchup in East Rutherford, N.J., pitted a 1-seed against the best 2-seed, and it certainly lived up to the hype, as the teams swapped leads throughout the second half. John Lucas hit a miracle 3-pointer on a broken play with 6.9 seconds left only to have to run back and watch national player of the year Jameer Nelson barely miss a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer.

Andy Katz: Kansas 75, Memphis 68 in OT (April 7, 2008)

Rarely does a national title game live up to its billing. This one did. Memphis and Kansas, two powers that had combined to go 74-4 up to that point, had parallel stories that season, and for them to meet in the national title game in San Antonio seemed perfect. So did a matchup between Bill Self and John Calipari, who were carrying burdens as each sought his first national title. This classic matchup had lead swings, missed free throws late in the game and a memorable Mario Chalmers shot to complete a furious rally that sent the contest into overtime. The shell-shocked Tigers never recovered in OT.

Dana O'Neil: Syracuse 81, Kansas 78 (April 7, 2003)

I can still see Hakim Warrick stretched out to the last inch of his fingertips as Michael Lee brought the ball up in the corner to try to tie it for Kansas, which had nearly rallied all the way back from 12 down in the final five minutes. As we all know, Warrick got a piece of that shot. There would be no Keith Smart-like heartbreaking moment at the Superdome -- Syracuse finally had its national championship trophy. Kansas? The Jayhawks would have to wait another five years to finish off another miraculous title-game rally.

Howie Schwab: Duke 95, Kentucky 92 in OT (Dec. 18, 2001)

This Jimmy V Classic game between two top-10 teams was a classic in every sense of the word. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski got frustrated and benched all five of his starters at one point. The players got the message, and New Jersey native Jason Williams put on quite a show at Madison Square Garden. The All-American ended up with 38 points and led the top-ranked Blue Devils, down 12 midway through the second half, to a thrilling overtime victory over Tubby Smith's Wildcats.