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It’s what keeps all of us coming back year after year. Without fail, there are always a handful of memorable performances during the 3+ weeks of  NCAA March Madness.

Bovada’s College Basketball lines and futures leading up to the tournament are all you need to get into the action now.

We are 100% ready for March Madness 2024, and to warm you up, we’re listing the 10 best performances in March Madness History. Let’s go!


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#10 – Danny Manning

Danny Manning went off in the 1988 NCAA National Championship Game against Oklahoma. March Madness indeed.

Manning led his Kansas Jayhawks to the win over Oklahoma with 31 points, 18 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. He was simply possessed. It’s a good thing he put the Jayhawks on his back too – they entered the tournament with a 21-11 regular season record, which is the most losses of any NCAA basketball champion ever.

It’s no wonder that he took home the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament that same year, and he turned his overall college performance into being selected with the number one pick in the NBA Draft just a few months later.

#9 – Carmelo Anthony

In 2003, Melo played his one and only season of college basketball, and he made sure it was a year to remember. He led Syracuse University to its first-ever appearance in the March Madness tournament that season.

Anthony led the Orangemen in scoring, rebounding, minutes, field goals, and free throws during the NCAA tournament. He capped it off with a 33-point performance in the Final Four, taking his team past Texas before heading to the big Monday night matchup against Kansas. Melo took his fellows to the title win, scoring 20 and adding 10 boards and 7 assists.

Despite winning the MOP that year, Anthony fell to third overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. Part of that was understandable – the number one pick was a guy named LeBron James. Number two, however, was Darko Milicic.

#8 – Jeff Fryer

The 1990 March Madness tournament was marked partly by the tragedy of Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers’ passing just a few weeks earlier in the West Coast Conference tournament.

His teammates stepped up with an incredible performance against Michigan, the defending NCAA champs (more on them at number 2 below). In the second-round matchup, LMU scored 149 points (still a March Madness tournament record) and sent the Wolverines packing. Fryer led the way with an incredible 41 points, 33 of which came from his eleven 3-pointers.

#7 – Bo Kimble

Loyola Marymount University didn’t just rely on Jeff Fryer’s crazy shooting night that evening against Michigan.

Bo Kimble became an even more recognizable name after that night, scoring 37 points and adding 7 rebounds in LMU’s win over the Wolverines. He also shot several of his free throws left-handed, even though he was a righty. He did this in memory of his teammate Gathers, who would also shoot left-handed. Kimble made all three of his left-handed free throws in that game, and many of the millions watching that night would remember him for the emotion and significance of his performance.

Kimble also poured in 42 points against UNLV that same year, in a losing effort to the Running Rebels.


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#6 – Christian Laettner

Duke and March Madness seem to go hand-in-hand every year, and it started way back with Laettner and his teammates in 1992.

Known now simply as “The Shot,”  it was Laettner’s Elite Eight buzzer-beater against Kentucky, hitting a turnaround jumper from the top of the key as time expired, that is one of the most iconic moments in March Madness history.

What many don’t realize is that Laettner turned in an epic game for that entire 40 minutes, shooting perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line and the field, scoring 31 points overall.  He went on to become the only college player to join the famous Olympic “Dream Team” that summer, playing alongside Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson.

#5 – Ja Morant

Anytime a 12 beats a 5 in the March Madness tournaments, it’s news. When it’s Ja Morant leading the 12th seed, it becomes the stuff of legend.

Morant took Murray State to an opening-round W against 5th-seeded Marquette in 2019, scoring a triple-double and laying down an epic dunk that went viral. His line? 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 16 assists. He was already on his way to becoming a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft that year, and this amazing display likely moved him to becoming the number two pick overall after Zion Williamson went first.

#4 – Steph Curry

A guaranteed NBA Hall of Famer, Steph Curry showed some of his potential playing for Davidson as an underdog against Gonzaga in the opening round of the 2008 college basketball tournament.

Curry hit 30 points in the upset win for Davidson in the second half alone, finishing with 40 points and a life of NBA titles and fame that is up there with the greatest players of all time. He’s a 4-time NBA champion and a 2x NBA Most Valuable Player. Quite the change from the obscurity of the Davidson Wildcats.

#3 – Dwyane Wade

Along with Curry, one of the most iconic and accomplished names on this list of the 10 best performances in March Madness history is Dwyane Wade. He was a 13-time NBA All-Star and 3-time NBA champion in his illustrious pro-life.

That career was foreshadowed by an amazing college career at Marquette, including an NCAA men’s tournament to remember in 2003. Wade scored 29 points, 11 boards,s and 11 assists against Kentucky, then the #1 seed. His triple-double in that game was only the fourth in March Madness history. It also sent Marquette to the Final Four for the first time in 26 years and put Wade even higher on the radar for NBA teams. He was picked 5th overall that summer, passing up his final year of college ball.

#2 – Glen Rice

In 1989, the Michigan Wolverines’ sharpshooter had an incredible run of 184 points over six games, culminating in a championship trophy for Rice and his teammates. It’s still a record for the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Interestingly, Rice was not a member of the Fab Five – the famous crew that conquered the NCAA in 1991. By then, he was already playing for the Miami Heat, who tool him 4th overall in the ’89 draft.
But back to March Madness. As part of that epic six-game run, Rice scored 36 points in one game in the Round of 32 versus South Alabama. He was voted the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player as well and made the cover of Sports Illustrated before even hitting the NBA Draft a few months later.

#1 – Austin Carr

The Notre Dame star scored more than 2,000 points in his high school career, so it may not have been much of a surprise to some when he set the all-time single-game point scoring record in the history of March Madness.

Austin Carr dropped a cool 61 against Ohio in 1970 during the NCAA Tournament. Talk about March Madness. In that opening round game – still the most points ever scored by a single player in a single game during the tournament – the Fighting Irish scored 112 points in the win, meaning Carr was responsible for 54% of his team’s points.

That one epic performance, not to mention his current ownership of four of the top 10 scoring performances in March Madness history, scored Carr the number one pick in the 1971 NBA Draft, and he enjoyed a 10-year career in the league.


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