The national title game can be a hit-or-miss affair.
The NCAA final can be as long on drama as any sporting event, but it’s often an anticlimax after two frantic weeks of March Madness. For every Duke-Butler, there are two or three Duke-Michigans. Or, even worse, Duke-UNLVs.
But there’s one thing you can always count on: the Nantzism. That’s Jim Nantz’s game-closing call, a cornball explosion that has attended the end of every title game since 1991, when Nantz joined Scooby Doo villain Billy Packer at the announcing table.
The Nantzism is a sacred event, even spawning its own aprocrypha. For instance, we’ve always remembered his 1999 call: “Just when you thought you can’t, UCONN! The Huskies win the national title!” This line has come up in IoT conversation many times over the years.
But when we watched the video for this feature, we found that he actually said something quite different: “Just when people say you can’t, you can! And UConn has won the national championship!”
That’s not much fun.
When Nantz is good, he’s bad. And when he’s bad, he’s spectacular. Here are our top Nantz calls of the last 20 years:
- 2004: Emeka Okafor was made for Jim Nantz: eloquent, intelligent and dominant. Man met moment with Nantz’s cheesiest call: “The mecca of college basketball is in Storrs, Connecticut!” Unfortunately, we can’t find audio or video of the call.
- 2005: a title-winning center was again Nantz’s muse. This time, it was pudgy UNC big man Sean May: “The Madness began in March, it ended in April, but it belongs to May.” Oddly, we couldn’t find audio or video of this one, either. If you know where we can, post it in the comments.
- 1997: (fast-forward to the last 10 or 15 seconds of the videos) Not only did we get a classic Nantzism (“A Milestone victory for Arizona!”), but Packer even joined in: “Simon says, championship.” I bet you haven’t thought of Miles Simon in a while.
- 1994: “Arkansas is in hog heaven! They’ve won the first-ever national championship!”
- 2000: “Leave it to Cleaves!”
In the spirit of the Nantzism, we came up with a few ideas of our own for tonight’s Butler-UConn game (with a special bonus Nantzism from Jimmy for good measure). And in an IoT first, we recorded them as MP3s so you can hear us do our best (or worst) Nantz impressions: