NEW YORK – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – Thuuz Sports, an automated video highlights production platform, announced their Top 10 most exciting games for the month of March, or should we say, the Month of Izzo?
Zion Williamson of Duke
NCAA March Madness and NBA regular season action claimed the most attention from fans around the country, according to Thuuz.
Zion Williamson and the Duke University Blue Devils highlighted the month with three selections, while Final Four bound Virginia and Auburn also made the list. The University of West Virginia, by virtue of their March 15th Big 12 Tournament win over Final Four bound Texas Tech, were the only non March Madness participants on the list. Two NBA games and one NHL heart-stopper also appeared for March.
Using custom designed algorithms to measure real-time event excitement, Thuuz provides analytical insight into which games provided fans with the most excitement while engaging both core and casual sports fans.
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.
Using the Thuuz excitement measurement platform, the Top 10 most exciting games were:
1) Duke 77 UCF 76 (NCAAMB): 3/24: No. 1 overall seed Duke barely squeaked by UCF in this March Madness instant classic. Duke star RJ Barrett gathered an offensive rebound and made a layup with 12 seconds remaining to give Duke a one-point lead. A missed layup and then an agonizingly close missed tip-in for UCF secured the win for Duke, as Zion Williamson won the battle against UCF and their 7’6″ center, Tacko Fall.
2) Duke 74, UNC 73 (ACC MB): 3/15: These two bitter rivals faced off for the third time this season after the Tar Heels won both regular season games. The difference between this game and the first two was that Duke didn’t have their star freshman and likely No. 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 Williamson named as MVP.
3) West Virginia 79, Texas Tech 74 (Big 12 MB): 3/14: West Virginia became the only team to make the Top-10 list and not be in March Madness. 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 (TTU), who had 26 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat. West Virginia has skewed highly on the Thuuz measurement scale, despite their down season.
4) Tennessee 82, Kentucky 78 (SEC MB): 3/16: A back and forth affair between two of the top three teams in an SEC semifinal saw Tennessee edge out Big Blue Nation behind their back-to-back SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams. Lamonte Turner hit the game-winning three-pointer for the Vols with 30 seconds remaining after having previously been 0-14 in 3-pointers in his two prior games against Kentucky.
5) Virginia 80 Purdue 75 (NCAAMB) 3/30: A miraculous shot at the buzzer by Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite tied the game in regulation for the Cavs before they pulled away in OT to reach the Final Four. Kyle Guy hit 5 3-pointers in the second half, De’Andre Hunter hit a game-winning driving layup, and UVA secured their 1st Final Four berth in over 30 years. They outlasted a brilliant performance from Purdue star Carsen Edwards, who had 10 3-pointers and 42 points, and became the first player since Davidson’s Steph Curry in 2008 to win the regional’s Most Outstanding Player award without his team winning the region.
6) Portland 148 Brooklyn 144 (NBA): 3/25: In a game that had everything, Portland overcame a gruesome injury to their starting center, Jusuf Nurkic in overtime, to record a 4-point double OT win. Before his injury, the Trail Blazers were led by Nurkic with his 32 points and 16 rebounds, and Damian Lillard who chipped in 31 points and 12 assists. Brooklyn’s All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell had 39 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists in the loss.
7) Toronto 5 Philadelphia 4 (NHL): 3/27: After Philadelphia scored in OT, a replay review disallowed the goal that sent the game to an eventual shootout. Despite the Flyers young goalie Carter Hart making 38 saves, Sean Couturier (TOR) scored the only goal in the shootout to record a Maple Leafs win. Each team had four different goal scorers after Toronto’s William Nylander tying the game with less than 10 minutes remaining in the third.
8) Toronto 119 Portland 117 (NBA): 3/1: Kawhi Leonard (TOR) hit a game winning jump shot with 1.5 seconds remaining to cap a brilliant 38-point performance. Despite fouling Damian Lillard on a three-point jump shot to allow the Trail Blazers to tie the game, the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry had a fantastic performance with 19 points and 10 assists in 40 hard minutes of play. Portland’s CJ McCollum had a 35 point performance in the loss.
9) Auburn 78 New Mexico 77 (NCAAMB): 3/21: The most exciting game in the first two days of March Madness saw Auburn nearly blow an eight-point lead with under two and a half minutes to go. It took New Mexico missing two FT’s with 1.1 seconds left and a corner “three” at the buzzer for Auburn to secure the win and advance. Auburn made more three-pointers than any other team in the NCAA this year.
10) Michigan St 68, Duke 67 (NCAAMB): 3/31: Duke’s season came to an end in a thrilling one-point loss to Michigan State. RJ Barrett missed a free throw with six seconds left that ultimately led to the loss and the end of his impressive Duke career alongside Zion Williamson. Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston once again led Michigan St with a 20 point, 10 assist double-double, and Kenny Goins hit the biggest shot of his career with the game winning three-pointer.