Ah, the buzzer beater. Few moments in sports can compare to the cathartic jubilation of watching your favorite college basketball team win a tight game as time expires. Those few moments while the ball travels toward the hoop seem to last an eternity. The ball is released from the shooter's hand, the buzzer sounds, the red light flashes, and then we wait. Agony, ecstasy, or overtime. Those are the outcomes depending on the accuracy of the effort.
There is no nuance with a buzzer beater. No point after attempt. No baserunning. And generally no whistle forthcoming from a referee no matter the degree of contact -- unless, of course, we're talking about that Butler-Pittsburgh game from the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
While a list of the best men's college basketball games in any given year could be populated solely by games that come down to the final play, 2011 was stocked with classic contests of all stripes. There were upsets galore, stellar individual performances and hotly contested games between teams stocked with NBA-caliber talent. But, sweet Naismith's ghost, were there some unbelievable buzzer beaters, too.
Following a regular season complete with memorable matchups and a slate of conference tournaments, highlighted by Kemba Walker's heroic performance at Madison Square Garden, the 2011 NCAA Tournament lived up to it's billing as a month of "madness." Especially exciting was the fact that the kids from Virginia Commonwealth University and Butler didn't get the memo that they didn't have the talent to play with the big boys. Actually, Butler had been told in 2010 and just continued to disregard the message.
Here are more than a dozen of the greatest college basketball games from 2011. Help us decide which was the BEST GAME OF 2011. Of course, we know these games are just the tip of the ice berg. So let us know the other great games that took place this year by clicking 'Add A Slide' and submitting a YouTube highlight of your favorite game.