— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 2, 2017
At long last, March is upon us. And that, of course, means March Madness is fast approaching. But even though the NCAA tournament won’t kickoff for another two weeks, March Madness has already begun for Northwestern, following what will undoubtedly go down as the greatest basketball play in school history.
Wednesday night, with Northwestern’s game against Michigan tied 65-65 with 1.7 seconds remaining, the Wildcats’ Nathan Taphorn fired a pass the length of the court, and somehow hit Dererk Pardon right underneath the basket. Pardon shook off a defender, and made the game-winning layup.
The play conjured up memories of one of the most iconic plays in college basketball history: Grant Hill‘s length-of-the-floor pass to Christian Laettner, which set up his game-winner to propel Duke over Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA Tournament. The pass, on this play, was arguably even better than Grant Hill’s. Taphorn was able to hit pardon perfectly in a spot where all that was needed was a simple layup.
And even though this one didn’t come in the NCAA tournament, this play is likely to have similar significance in Northwestern lore. Never before in school history has Northwestern qualified for the NCAA Tournament. This year, they appeared to be on their way — having reached 20 wins to go with an over .500 Big Ten record. But they’d lost three of their last four, and were edging closer to bubble territory. The Wildcats are now all but certain to be dancing.
Incredible stuff. Watch above, via the Big Ten Network.
[featured image via screengrab]
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