One Shining Moment is a song written by David Barrett in 1986. It was scheduled to air after Super Bowl XXI as a postgame montage of the game. The network ran past their expected airtime and the montage was cancelled. In 1987, Indiana beat Syracuse to win the men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship in basketball. To end the tournament and the game, One Shining Moment was aired. The overwhelming response from fans and media made it an annual feature. From 1987 to now, David Barrett, Teddy Pendergrass, Jennifer Hudson, and Ne-Yo have been used to record One Shining Moment. The song’s best and current rendition is by Luther Vandross. Maybe it is due to the fact that it is believed to be his last recorded song before he died. Either way, there was only one team that would appreciate that song this year.
The Men’s Final Four games were played in Houston, Texas at the NRG Stadium. Playing in a stadium is usually hard to do because of the depth perception when shooting. That was not the case for the Villanova Wildcats, who shot 65% in both games. In the semifinal game against the Oklahoma Sooners, they shot an amazing 71% on the way to a 95-51 win. Throughout the year, the Wildcats shot 48%, but exceeded that in the tournament to 58%. In the championship game, verse the North Carolina Tarheels, they matched their tournament total of 58% shooting. Not only were the Wildcats good on offense, but they were stingy on defense. They forced their opponents to turn the ball over 22% of the time. They were the only team to outscore the Tarheels in the paint, while holding them to 43% shooting for the game. It’s true that defense wins championships, and the Wildcats solidified that. Given all the facts stated, you would have thought they won easily. No so fast! With five minutes left to go in the game, the Wildcats had their largest lead of ten. The Tarheels fought their way back but could only cut the lead to six with 1:35 left in the game. That’s when Marcus Paige hit a huge three-point shot to cut the lead in half (70-67). The Tarheels would score again at the one minute mark to trim the lead to one. Phil Booth would make two critical free throws to give the Wildcats a three point lead again with 35 seconds left. His 20 total points off the bench were amazing, considering he averages six points a game. Paige responded with a layup with 23 seconds to move the Tarheels closer at 72-71. Josh Hart added two free throws for the Wildcats with 13 seconds left. It was Paige time again! This time he hit a double-clutch three-point shot with four seconds to tie the game. Everyone assumed it would be the shot of the tournament that would eventually go into overtime. The only problem was, Kris Jenkins only needed four seconds to prove everyone wrong. Ryan Arcidiacono raced up the floor and made the perfect pass to Jenkins, who caught the ball in stride and hoisted a game winning three-pointer. WOW!! The Wildcats win 77-74.
This was the greatest championship moment in men’s college basketball since 1983. That year, the North Carolina State Wolfpack were highly underrated against the #1 Houston Cougars. Dereck Whittenburg shot an air ball that allowed a game winning dunk by Lorenzo Charles, giving the Wolfpack a 54-52 win. It’s a shame that One Shining Moment wasn’t around for that time. There is no better ending than standing with your teammates on a stage with confetti falling from the ceiling, holding the national championship trophy, and watching One Shining Moment. Congratulations to the Villanova Wildcats!