MORGANTOWN – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – Thuuz Sports, announced its Top 10 most exciting games for the 2018-19 men’s basketball season and despite not making the NCAA Tournament, West Virginia, by virtue of their February 26 win over TCU, topped the list. The Mountaineers, with their loyal fan base, appeared twice on the list, just behind Tennessee and Duke, who are each on the list for three games. The regular season matchup between top seeds Duke and Gonzaga also qualified in the Top 10.
Using custom designed algorithms to measure real-time event excitement, Thuuz provided new insights into which games brought the most excitement to fans during the just completed college basketball regular season.
The game excitement ratings are measured on a 0 to 100 scale and take into consideration game pace, team parity, play novelty, momentum shifts, social buzz, and historical context. The algorithms behind the excitement ratings are statistically calibrated to insure the appropriate distribution of ratings across the duration of a season or course of a tournament.
The top 10 most exciting games, according to Thuuz:
1) West Virginia 104, TCU 96 (Big 12): 2/26/19
WVU outlasted TCU in a triple OT showdown in Big 12 conference play. WVU had 4 players play over 50 minutes in the game, led by Derek Culver who ended the game with 22 points and 21 rebounds. This is the only game in the top 10 that was between 2 teams that did not make March Madness.
2) Duke 71, Louisville 69 (ACC): 2/12/19
Louisville was winning 59-36 with under 10 min left in the 2nd half, before Zion Williamson and Duke began a massive comeback that ended in a 2-point victory. Duke freshman Cam Reddish made 2 FT’s with 15 seconds remaining to give Duke their 1st lead since they were up 21-20 in the 1st half. A defensive stand after those FT’s led to an improbable Duke victory.
3) Tennessee 76, Gonzaga 73 (NCAA): 12/9/18
A battle between two veteran-heavy teams came down to the wire as Rui Hachimura and Gonzaga came up just short against 2-time SEC player of the year Grant Williams and Tennessee. Admiral Schofield was the standout performer for Tennessee with 30 points and 6 rebounds as Tennessee picked up a great non-conference win against the #1 seed in the West in Gonzaga.
4) Duke 74, UNC 73 (ACC): 3/15/19
The two heated rivals faced off for the 3rd time this season after the Tar Heels had won both regular season games. The difference between this game and the 1st two was that Duke didn’t have their star freshman and likely #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, Zion Williamson. In his first full game against UNC, he posted 31 points and 11 rebounds as Duke defeated UNC and went on to win the ACC Championship, with Zion being named MVP.
5) Gonzaga 89, Duke 87: 11/21/18
A matchup between two #1 seeds in March Madness went down to the wire in what remains Duke’s only loss of the season with Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish all on the floor for a full game. Gonzaga was led by recently announced 1st team All-American Rui Hachimura, who had 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. He out-dueled Duke’s 1st team All-American duo in Barrett and Williamson, who both had 20+ points in the loss.
6) West Virginia 79, Texas Tech 74 (Big 12): 3/14/19
WVU became the only team to make it in this top-10 list twice and not be in March Madness by pulling off a major upset during the Big 12 tournament over Texas Tech. Two of the better players in the Big 12 battled it out in an entertaining matchup as Emmitt Matthews Jr (WVU) posted 28 points and 8 rebounds against likely NBA lottery pick Jarrett Culver, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat.
7) Tennessee 82, Kentucky 78 (SEC): 3/16/19
A back and forth affair between 2 of the top 3 teams in an SEC semifinal saw Tennessee edge Big Blue Nation behind their back-to-back SEC player of the year Grant Williams. Lamonte Turner hit the game-winning 3-pointer for the Vols with 30 seconds remaining after having previously been 0-14 in 3-pointers in his 2 prior games against Kentucky.
8) Arizona State 80 Kansas 76: 12/22/18
Arizona State is one of the final teams in the field, and they can likely point to this monumental win over Kansas at home as the big reason why. Remy Martin (ASU) hit a pull-up jumper with just under a minute remaining to put ASU up 78-76 and become the 5th Sun Devil to reach double figures. That depth outlasted Kansas’ star Dedric Lawson who had an impressive 30 point, 14 rebound performance for the Jayhawks.
9) LSU 73, Kentucky 71 (SEC): 2/12/19
LSU defeated Kentucky on a controversial buzzer-beating tip-in for their 1st win over Kentucky since 2009. This incredibly close game was within 5 points for the final 14 minutes of the game, as the 2 SEC rivals went back and forth in a conference showdown.
10) LSU 82, Tennessee 80 (SEC): 2/23/19
After a crucial foul by Tennessee with less than a second remaining, LSU’s Ja’vonte Smart drained the go-ahead FT’s and as Tigers beat the Vols in OT. This was LSU’s 2nd victory in 2 weeks over a top-5 SEC team. Smart scored a career-high 29 points in the win.