The Shot: An Inside Look at March Madness

Published: March 27, 2015 | Author: Alex Homer | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU basketball coach with buzzer beater in 2004 against Arizona Wildcats. March Madness. A sports phrase synonymous with exhilaration and unpredictability. Quite simply, it’s madness, with this year’s tournament already providing huge upsets such as 14 seeded University of Alabama at Burningham and Georgia State knocking off the three seeds in their respective regions against Iowa State and Baylor University.

Along with Cinderella stories, buzzer beaters always seem to play a big role in the NCAA tournament, something Southern Utah University men’s basketball head coach Nick Robinson has been a part of and not just in March.

Flashback to February 7, 2004, the day referred to by many as “the day Maples shook” or simply “the shot.” Robinson, then a forward for Stanford University, miraculously won the game by draining a 35-foot jumper at the buzzer to give the Cardinal the win over the then Pac-10 rival Arizona Wildcats.

“We came up with a steal and it ended up in my hands,” Robinson reminisced. “I took a quick look at the clock, took two dribbles and let it go. Fortunately it went in and what ensued was pandemonium inside of Maples.”

While Robinson’s shot was not in the NCAA tournament, it did give Stanford its 20th win in a row and had a tournament-like atmosphere with one exception according to Robinson.

“The competition is definitely intense in a regular season game, but the atmosphere might be fantastic because it’s a home crowd or an away crowd, so that has a certain feeling to it,” Robinson explained. “But the NCAA tournament, you’re on a neutral court, crowds are pretty similar, but the stakes are a lot higher. It’s just survive and advance and that’s what March Madness is all about.”

Robinson has experience as both a player and a coach in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the tournament as a student-athlete five times beginning as a redshirt freshman when Stanford became one of the final eight teams. He was also an assistant coach at Stanford when the team went to the tournament two years in a row and was one of the top 16 teams in 2008.

With all the tournament experience, Robinson has one goal for his tenure at SUU.

“Our goal is to get to our conference tournament, win that, and get to the NCAA Tournament.”

As far as filling out his own bracket for the NCAA Tournament, that’s something Robinson said he leaves to his assistant coaches.

With only 12 teams remaining, there’s only one thing that can be predicted about the rest of the tournament: it’ll be unpredictable. 

Photo: Nick Robinson in 2004 while playing for Stanford University with his buzzer beater shot against the University of Arizona. 

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