|A young Bob Knight celebrates a win with his 1981 Indiana Hoosiers. (Getty Images)|
Seventy-five years of the NCAA tournament can invoke so many memories for different people. Therefore, choosing 75 of the greatest moments from thousands of games was difficult to do--- but we tried anyway. To continue celebrating 75 Years of March Madness, CBS will count down the 75 greatest moments in March Madness history. The list will conclude at 9 p.m. March 7 (CBS Sports Network) with the No. 1 moment.
In the first episode where we count down from 75-56, my favorite moment has to be the 1981 title game between Indiana and North Carolina on a day that the nation stood still. Earlier in the day, President Ronald Reagan was hit by a bullet in an assassination attempt in Washington, DC. The national championship game, about 130 miles to the northeast of DC in Philadelphia, was in jeopardy of being canceled as the nation's mind was on Reagan's well-being.
“As far as we knew President Reagan could die and we were going to play a basketball game?” questioned Dick Enberg, who was a CBS Sports announcer from 2000-2011.
The game was played -- as was the third-place game, the last in Final Four history -- but there was one fan who wished he could be there. Reagan supposedly was upset he missed the game, and while he was intubated reportedly scribbled a note to a nurse mentioning, “All in all, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.”
“I said the words, but I don't remember the players or anything because the president had been shot,” Enberg said of his memory calling the game.
What makes this moment so special is the convergence of national solidarity and sports. Sports have been proven to bring relief to the nation in times of extreme duress. Moments like the 1981 championship game can show that it's not “just a game” it's also a healing and unifying medium.
74) 1948. Kentucky wins the first of its eight titles.
69) 1946. A young NCAA tournament witnesses its first repeat winner as Oklahoma A&M wins its second straight championship in a win over North Carolina.
66) 1981. Hours after an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Indiana defeats North Carolina in the championship game about 130 miles northeast of where Reagan was hospitalized in Washington, DC.
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62) 1975. An injured Scott May leaves Indiana vulnerable as it falls to Kentucky 92-90 in the regional finals.
58) 1984. Michael Jordan closes out his collegiate career with a 72-68 loss to Indiana in the Sweet 16.
56) 1992. Duke becomes the first team since UCLA to win consecutive national championships.
Tune in to CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. Monday to see moments 40-26 and at 8:30 for moments 25-11. Use the channel finder to find CBS Sports Network on your television. Also, get all your March Madness kicks throughout the tournament on our NCAA tournament homepage and Facebook page.
Are there moments on here that we missed? Who would you have picked? Make your voice heard in the comment section below or on Twitter @Hoopsoncbs. You can also follow Adena Andrews on Twitter @adena_andrews.
CBS Sports researcher John Kollmansperger contributed to this piece.