The Best Dunks in March Madness History, By Round

Before you fill out your bracket, take a stroll down memory lane (of slams).

Best Dunk of the First Round – James Michael McAdoo – 2012

UNC was a one-seed in 2012 and looking to make a statement in the opening round of the tournament, and while they only won by 19 (which is not a huge margin for a 1-16 matchup), this put-back slam by James Michael McAdoo made it clear it who was in charge. UNC and the returning McAdoo had to settle for a 6 seed this year, so look for them to (and him) to put a stamp on their entrance to this year’s dance.

Best Dunk of the Second Round – Blake Griffin – 2009

We assume you’ve heard of this guy before, but before the legend of Lob City was born, Blake steamrolled down the court and destroyed some poor soul from Michigan who tried to draw a charge from him. Oklahoma was dismissed in the Elite Eight, but that didn’t hurt Blake’s draft stock, going first overall in the following draft.

Best Dunk of the Sweet Sixteen – Florida Gulf Coast University – 2013

Lovingly dubbed “Dunk City” after becoming the first 15 seed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, in a seriously high-flying fashion, these sweethearts were the story of last year’s tournament. Unfortunately, FGCU isn’t bracket-bound this year. But, we’ll always have the memories (and maybe some nasty dunks in the NIT tournament).

Best Dunk of the Elite Eight – Dwyane Wade – 2003

In a regional final that was never really close, Marquette’s D-Wade (maybe you’ve heard of him?) had to do a little something to spice up the proceedings. Wade wrestled a rebound that ended with him on his ass, but proceeded to spring up, go end-to-end, and put in a nasty dunk from outside the key. Complete with the “and one,” of course.

Best Dunk of the Final Four – James Southerland – 2013

Although Syracuse would go on to lose this game to Michigan, one of their many attempts to jump back into the lead came equipped with this nasty cut to the basket late in the game. Everything about this dunk is ill-advised: There’s 25 on the shot clock, three defenders in the paint, and a 6 point deficit, but when it goes down, boy is it sweet.

Best Dunk of the National Championship – Lorenzo Charles – 1983

In what is probably the best March Madness moment that doesn’t involve Christian Laettner, 6-seed NC State (also appropriately known as the “Cardiac Pack” and “Phi Slama Jama”) took down heavily favored Houston with a buzzer-beating slam. The image of Jimmy V running onto the court after the win is a classic, and it’s difficult to imagine this will ever be topped. Although, with people like this dude in the 2014 tournament, you’ll probably want to watch, just to make sure.

Photos by Photo: Robert Willett/ MCT/ Landov