TBS broadcasters Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Jim Nantz Mar 31, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; TBS broadcasters Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Jim Nantz call the game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Loyola Ramblers in the semifinals of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament will begin with its usual fanfare later this Thursday afternoon. As always, chaos and madness are heavily anticipated as 64 teams vie for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

As this is March 16th, and since 16 is such a synonymous number with the NCAA Tournament, let’s deliver to you sixteen memorable announcer calls from the tournament’s wild and crazy history.

These calls are ranked in chronological order.

1. “…Jordan! Michael Jordan!” (1982)

Gary Bender didn’t know it then but his simple delivery of the name “Michael Jordan” was a precursor to basketball history.

Jordan left his first significant mark on the game of basketball in the 1982 National Championship Game. MJ lifted his North Carolina Tar Heels over the Georgetown Hoyas as he knocked down a memorable game-winning bucket.

Short, sweet, and to the point by Bender. It doesn’t get too much better than the name “Michael Jordan.”

2. “They won it! On the dunk!!” (1983)

Billy Packer was synonymous with the NCAA Tournament for over 30 years and was part of perhaps the most iconic moment in NCAA Tournament history in 1983.

Lorenzo Charles slammed home a desperation heave from Dereck Whittenburg. The late, great Jim Valvano ran around in a tizzy, looking to find someone. A sports moment in time that still stands up to this day.

Much like the Jordan call by his partner Bender, Packer was short and sweet here and it worked extremely well.

3. “Puts it up… YES!!!” (1992)

Our first Verne Lundquist sighting! And surely not the last. This iconic moment has been played time and time again and you’ve probably heard the call tons of times.

The hateable Christian Laettner sunk Kentucky in a thrilling East Regional Final in 1992. Laettner and the Blue Devils are forever enshrined in the sports memory bank for this shot and Verne, too, will live on.

It’s another from the short-and-sweet department. No fancy words, nothing. Just pure emotion.

4. “HOLY MACKERAL!” (1992)

Georgia Tech stunned the USC Trojans in the 1992 NCAA Tournament. The Yellow Jackets, a 7 seed, took down the 2-seeded Trojans thanks to a last-second bucket with less than one second remaining.

Al McGuire, former college basketball coaching legend-turned-commentator, couldn’t believe what he saw. “HOLY MACKERAL,” he exclaimed while Tech celebrated the victory.

Georgia Tech would go on to fall to Memphis State in the Sweet 16, but they engineered quite the moment and McGuire went and met that moment quite well.

5. “HAMILTON, NO… HAMILTON… YES!!!” (1998)

UConn provided a stirring moment in NCAA Tournament history in 1998. Though they were a year away from their first title, the Huskies still left a mark with a wild buzzer-beater to take down Washington.

Sean McDonough, with CBS Sports at the time, belted out a strong and very good call. UConn becoming torch-bearers for the Big East shortly after this call and moment only helped really add to the legacy. Plus, it helped that Rip Hamilton was and became such a great player, as well.


Hello, Gus Johnson.

The memorable voice always had an exuberant touch. One of the famed announcer’s biggest breakthrough moments as a commentator was his legendary call of one legendary shot.

T.J. Sorrentine and the Vermont Catamounts were the 13 seed against 4-seeded Syracuse. Before Vermont started to rule the America East as they do now, UVM wasn’t thought to do much. But the Catamounts stunned ‘Cuse and won in one of the most memorable upsets of the century.

Gus’ call was just as memorable. It’s Gus Johnson to a tee: The excitement, the enthusiasm, meeting the moment, and delivering a line that will stick with you.

7. The entire dramatic conclusion of UCLA-Gonzaga (2006)

What can you even say?

The UCLA-Gonzaga Elite Eight matchup remains one of the best basketball games in NCAA Tournament history, or at minimum, one of the most dramatic and thrilling.

Gus put on a clinic alongside Len Elmore and delivered lines that still ring through everyone’s heads now. “Last chance to dance,” “Oh, what a game!” And, of course,


Enough said.


The 2006 Elite Eight was a remarkable round of the NCAA Tournament to say the least.

George Mason stunned the college basketball world in the 2006 Tournament. The Patriots went on an unforgettable run to the Final Four as an 11 seed. They took out several big-named programs along the way and their signature game may have been the Elite Eight round against UConn.

At the game’s conclusion, when George Mason walked off the court winners, Verne Lundquist uttered, “BY GEORGE… THE DREAM IS ALIVE!”

It’s a call that, much like his call with Laettner, will be forever attached to an incredible tournament moment.


The Law of Gus became a popular meme for a reason. Johnson called an absolutely thrilling encounter between Ohio rivals Ohio State and Xavier in the Round of 32 in 2007 at Rupp Arena.

The game featured a ridiculous finish that sent it to OT, where the Buckeyes emerged victorious. Gus provided the soundtrack to the rare affair between OSU and Xavier, who haven’t often met on the court.

Emphatically, Johnson dropped “COLLEGE BASKETBALL… CBS SPORTS… THIS IS MARCH MADNESS” as the game went to OT. Talk about meeting the moment.

10. “Folks… we got a STAR in the Motor City!” (2008)

Gus Johnson does know how to meet a moment and his foresight in the Motor City in 2008 was unbelievable.

Davidson took March by storm in the 2008 Tournament. Emerging to the foreground that year was the son of a former NBA player. Dell Curry’s son Stephen first got to the NCAA Tournament in 2007. But in 2008, Stephen made an impression that became a harbinger of things to come.

Curry dropped a flurry of three-pointers on Wisconsin at Ford Field. One particular three-pointer wowed Johnson enough to boast that a star was born. Boy, was he right.

Funnily enough, Curry impressed LeBron James at the game. If only someone told him what was to come…


Jim Nantz finally arrives on the post! One of his most memorable calls came during the epic 2008 NCAA Tournament final.

The 2008 Final Four is most known for being the only one to host all four No. 1 seeds. So we were guaranteed an absolutely titanic matchup in the finals. We got one between Kansas and Memphis and it came right down to the end.

Nantz totally met the moment of Chalmers’ big 3-pointer. He and the late Billy Packer delivered a big call in an absolutely huge moment.


Dan Bonner, Kevin Harlan, and Ali Farokemanesh are forever intertwined.

Farokmanesh drove a stake through the hearts of the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The nine-seeded Panthers stunned the top-seeded Jayhawks in one of the greatest upsets of the century.

Harlan provided the first move here with a vintage, enthusiastic call of a big shot. Bonner followed up the indescribable moment with that famed question.

13. “Crawford’s gotta hurry… Oh… OHHHHHHH!” (2010)

Hello again, Gus.

Kansas State and Xavier played an absolutely insane Sweet 16 game in 2010. Johnson once again provided the soundtrack for a thriller and his best call of the night may have resembled everyone watching.

The slight hesitation in the first “Oh” leading to the next elongated one makes this a great, great call. Johnson’s enthusiasm made him such a hit with fans as he gained popularity in the 2000s, and it’s very easy to see why.

14. “Jumper… OHHH!!! ONIONS!!!” (2011)

The tag team of Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery brought plenty of hits over the years. Some weren’t packed with as much punch as they were in a stunning upset in 2011.

13th-seeded Morehead State crushed the hopes of 4th-seeded Louisville after they drilled a pivotal 3-pointer in the waning moments of the game.

Raftery really shines here with his signature “ONIONS!” call that so many college basketball fans love and adore.

15. “WISCONSIN… HAS WON IT!” (2016)

Brian Anderson stepped up in the 2015 NCAA Tournament due to the abrupt absence of Marv Albert. After doing a pretty exceptional job in a hotly-contested matchup between undefeated Kentucky and upset-minded Notre Dame, Anderson was poised for more in 2016.

In St. Louis, Wisconsin played second-seeded Xavier. The Musketeers were in the midst of a dream season but that didn’t matter to the Badgers. Bronson Koenig drilled a 3-pointer that Musketeer fans won’t soon want to see again. Nor will they want to hear Anderson’s call of the game.

Anderson has been a quality commentator for several years now and this was one of his top calls.

16. “Jenkins… FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP!” (2016)

Kris Jenkins’ unbelievable buzzer-beater makes its way on the post. Jenkins delivered Villanova’s first National Championship in men’s basketball since 1985 with his unforgettable 3-pointer against North Carolina.

Jim Nantz was tasked with calling this absolutely epic moment. Nantz delivered, to say the least, with a line that Villanova and Big East fans still utter to themselves today.

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022