Sunday, March 29, 2009

CBS's "One Shining Moment " Arrives Early: Reynolds Layup Already A Legend of NCAA Tournament Lore

To the Villanova Wildcats faithful!!!-

"The ball is tipped... and there you are..." (accompanied by trumpet flourishes)...

The CBS "One Shining Moment" montage, with the song performed by Luther Vandross, is a cherished part of the grand ritual of every March Madness. (Here's the 2008 "One Shining Moment" version, with a much wider screen...)

As each year's tournament progresses, veteran observers of the tourney will note the various and sundry buzzer-beaters, upsets, and thrilling endings and think, "That's going into 'One Shining Moment'."

Well, even with the Final Four still yet to be played-

Scottie Reynolds has already etched himself a place, not just in the 2009 "One Shining Moment", but in the annals and lore of all subsequent NCAA tournaments...

After the initial euphoria, I considered the play in the context of the other incredible endings that have punctuated the tournament over the years. I realized that that the play was in fact very similar to the Tyus Edney coast-to-coast layup in 1995, in which UCLA avoided a second-round upset by Missouri, en route to its first national championship since John Wooden.

Nearly two decades later, the Edney play is still frequently featured in the CBS opening montage, and that was a second-round game - won by the favorite - UCLA was a #1 seed, Missouri an #8. In contrast, Villanova/Pittsburgh was in the Elite Eight, with the lower seed winning...

If CBS had scripted a "One Shining Moment", in fact, it couldn't have scripted one any more compelling or thrilling than the Reynolds layup... the only remote flaw in the script was the irritating fact that Pitt was subsequently granted 0.5 seconds, in which to undo the happy ending. That was very anticlimactic, though... and fortunately, Pitt played its role perfectly, by not making its own miracle shot to wreck the Reynolds layup...

As it turned out, that was the only potential problem in the story. One of the greatest aspects of the play is the fact that the Wildcats bench reacted as if the game were over, as they genuinely believed it to be. The fact that they hadn't realized there was still time on the clock, is what rendered the play as completely perfect for "One Shining Moment".

The shot from CBS's overhead camera, with which they closed the broadcast, of the exuberant Wildcats pouring off the bench onto the court, like a torrential blue-jerseyed wave, carried along by euphoria, and collapsing on Reynolds at the other end of the floor... it was among the most magnificent moments in the history of the NCAA tournament - and certainly in the CBS era of the NCAA tournament.

You can also take a look at the other Villanova blogs included in Various Viewpoints on the right sidebar, for their takes...

Go Wildcats!

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1 comment:

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