Dienhart: 64 reasons why the NCAA tourney is great

As if you needed any more reasons to celebrate the full-fledged start of the greatest spectacle in sports, here are 64 more—in no particular order—on why the NCAA Tournament is without peer. Why not 68? Because I don’t like the play-in games.

[ RELATED: Dienhart's 3 keys for every Big Ten team in NCAA tourney ]

Let’s roll!

1. It’s not the BCS—or just a four-team playoff
2. True equal access for little guys like …
3. George Mason
4. VCU
5. Butler
6. Butler, again
7. Did I mention upsets?
8. Princeton over UCLA in 1996
9. Jim Valvano’s impromptu dance of joy in 1983
10. Bryce Drew’s shot to shock Ole Miss in 1998
11. Danny Ainge’s drive to dump Notre Dame in 1981
12. Rolando Blackman’s dagger to oust Oregon State in 1981
13. Tyus Edney’s drive to stun Missouri in 1995
14. U.S. Reed’s half-court heave to beat Louisville in 1981
15. Keith Smart sinking Syracuse in 1987
16. Dueling pep bands
17. Squeezing the orange with Clark Kellogg
18. Onions with Bill Raftery
19. First Thursday and Friday of tourney, wall-to-wall hoops
20. Lorenzo Charles’ catch of a Dereck Whittenburg “pass” and subsequent stuffing of Houston in 1983
21. No. 5 vs. No. 12 games
22. Sweet 16
23. No. 15s beating No. 2s
24. Norfolk State over Missouri, 2012
25. Lehigh over Duke, 2012
26. Hampton over Iowa State, 2001
27. Coppin State over South Carolina, 1997
28. Santa Clara over Arizona, 1993
29. Richmond over Syracuse, 1991
30. Cleveland State’s Mouse That Roared in 1986 vs. Indiana
31. Bob Knight and his whip in 1992
32. Bob Knight and his rant vs. an NCAA official in 1995
33. Duke over 34-0 UNLV in 1991
34. Duke over Kansas in 1992
35. Coach K
36. Grant Hill-to-Christian Laettner to beat Kentucky in 1992
37. Thomas Hill weeping
38. Adam Morrison crying after a Gonzaga loss to UCLA in 2006
39. Danny and the Miracles shocking their way to the 1988 title
40. Glen Rice shooting Michigan to the 1989 title
41. Carmelo Anthony carrying Syracuse to the 2003 title
42. Kemba Walker shooting UConn to the 2011 title
43. Bird vs. Magic, 1979
44. Villanova’s perfect game in 1985 vs. Georgetown
45. Jerry Tarkanian’s towel
46. John Wooden’s rolled up program
47. The Wizard of Westwood’s 10 titles in 12 years (1964-75)
48. Indiana’s perfection in 1976
49. Chris Webber’s timeout in 1993
50. Fred Brown’s inexplicable pass to North Carolina’s James Worthy in 1982
51. Darrell Griffith and Louisville’s Doctors of Dunk in 1980
52. Texas Western’s landmark 1966 win over Kentucky
53. Baron of the Bluegrass
54. Bill Walton’s “perfect” 21-of-22 game vs. Memphis State in 1973
55. Bo Kimble’s lefthanded free-throw tribute to Hank Gathers in 1990
56. DePaul and Ray Meyer going down not once (1980 to UCLA), not twice (1981 to St. Joseph’s) but three times (1982 to Boston College) as a top seed in its first game
57. Filling out a bracket
58. Crumbling up a bracket
59. Bracketologists
60. Flipping channels
61. The night the “Goose” was Golden, Jack Givens scoring 41 points in Kentucky’s 1978 title win vs. Duke
62. Steve Fisher, Michigan’s “interim” coach and “championship” coach in 1989
63. Kansas and Wilt Chamberlain going down in triple overtime to unbeaten North Carolina in 1957 in one of the “greatest games of all time”
64. “One Shining Moment.” Shed a tear if you want. And wipe it away with Jim Nantz’s network-issued hanky.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Eric Sion (@ericbsion) on 3/20/2013 @ 6:56pm EDT Said:

It’s Bill Raftery

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