The 2018 NCAA Tournament has been one of the most thrilling in recent memory, with record comebacks, first-ever upsets and a Cinderella run for the ages with Loyola-Chicago making the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.
In considering and ranking the best games from this year's tournament, both the game play and the overall impact were taken into consideration. Since precedent and national impact certainly matter in this equation, the discussion has to start with UMBC knocking off Virginia, the first-ever 16-over-1 in NCAA Tournament history.
But history has to be supplanted by quality of play and quality of finish when putting UMBC-Virginia up against Kansas-Duke, the epic Elite Eight clash on Sunday night that finalized this year's Final Four.
Here's the top 16 games of the 2018 NCAA Tournament (so far)...
1. Kansas 85, Duke 81 (OT), Elite Eight
That game had two of the winningest programs ever, two Hall of Fame coaches and was the only regional final between the top two seeds. The back-and-forth overtime affair had everything you want from an epic second weekend clash, including a huge performance from tournament difference-maker Malik Newman. Now Kansas is headed back to San Antonio, where Bill Self won his first and only national championship as the Jayhawks head coach in 2008, with a record-setting team looking to add a national title to its regular season and conference tournament crowns.
2. UMBC 74, Virginia 54, first round
While it took place on the second day of the tournament, the Retrievers' momentous win still ranked as the No. 1 on our list until late Sunday. UMBC's win didn't come by a buzzer-beater or some odd sequence of events late in the game, as we might have thought for the first-ever No. 16 seed win in the first round. The dominant victory, pulling away late in the second half was stunning, even more so because Virginia was the No. 1 seed with only two losses on the season heading into the game.
Doesn't it perfectly describe the insanity of March Madness that Michigan, a potential national champion, was close to getting bounced in the second round? The Wolverines needed missed free throws and an absolute cold-blooded buzzer-beater from Jordan Poole to make it to the Sweet 16.
4. Rhode Island 83, Oklahoma 78 (OT), first round
A fun up-and-down game with Trae Young flashing and Rhode Island senior E.C. Matthews coming up with a couple huge plays in what would be his final career win as a Ram. During this Thursday first round game I was concerned that we were in the midst of the best game of the tournament in the first time slot of the weekend, but luckily the tournament delivered.
5. Kansas 83, Seton Hall 79, second round
An absolutely stellar performance from Angel Delgado highlights this tough challenge for Kansas, who like Michigan could have easily had their fate turn with a different bounce of the ball in the second round.
6. Loyola-Chicago 69, Nevada 68, Sweet 16
This unlikely No. 7-versus-No. 11 Sweet 16 matchup ended up feeling like four games in one. Nevada jumped on top early, Loyola then closed the half by taking the lead and holding the Wolf Pack scoreless for the final seven-plus minutes before halftime. Loyola started the second half 13-for-13 from the field, then Nevada mounted its eventual charge back into the game only to fall one point short.
7. Nevada 75, Cincinnati 73, second round
The most insane win probability chart that you'll ever see, and also the best comeback in NCAA Tournament history.
8. Loyola-Chicago 63, Tennessee 62, second round
A 10-point lead evaporated in the final moments for Loyola but the Ramblers held on it what would the second of three straight wins decided by two points or less.
9. Florida State 75, Xavier 70, second round
It wasn't nearly as bad as Cincinnati's blown lead, but Xavier was cruising in the second half before it all fell apart in the second half. The loss of a No. 1 seed in the second round normally resonates more but we had already seen Virginia fall in a historic manner.
10. Michigan 58, Florida State 54. Elite Eight
This low-scoring, hard fought battle was won in the first half with Michigan's defense, according to Leonard Hamilton. The thrills of the final minute and the Seminoles' late charge were doused with the cold water of passing up a chance to foul with 11 seconds remaining.
11. Kansas State 61, Kentucky 58, Sweet 16
Kansas State jumped on top of Kentucky early, punching John Calipari's young team in the mouth early with a 13-1 lead and out-executing them down the stretch. A packed Phillips Arena stood stunned as the Catlanta home advantage wasn't enough to help power the comeback.
12. Loyola-Chicago 64, Miami 62, first round
Like Michigan and Kansas, Loyola has its own moment of "what if" in the First Round. Marques Townes drops the first of his multiple game-winners.
13. Alabama 86, Virginia Tech 83, first round
This game was played with incredible pace and efficiency, back and forth between the two teams until John Petty came up big for the Tide with a lights-out three-point shooting performance. Alabama and Virginia Tech both averaged more than 1.20 points per possession and shot better than 58 percent from the field.
14. Nevada 87, Texas 83 (OT), first round
The record-setting comeback win for the Wolf Pack supplanted the first epic comeback of Nevada's Sweet 16 run.
15. Texas A&M 86, North Carolina 65, second round
Stunning result, packed with highlights as North Carolina continued the trend of defending champions falling short of the Sweet 16.
16. Syracuse 55, Michigan State 53, second round
Jim Boeheim's NCAA Tournament success might be the thing I'll remember the most from his Hall of Fame career. For the second time in three years, Syracuse made a charge out of the first weekend as a double-digit seed. A lot of brackets lost their Final Four pick when the Spartans lost one of the uglier, but most significant, games of the tournament.