STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Even after you see the video, it's hard to believe so much could happen in eight seconds. It's the final game of the men's college basketball tournament. North Carolina's Marcus Paige leaps with the ball. He double pumps, then lets it go from way beyond the 3-point line - scoring to tie the game. Just five seconds to go now. Villanova comes the other way. Chris Jenkins receives a pass - 1.1 seconds on the clock. And as the ball arcs toward the basket, you have just a fraction of a second to consider whether this was the instant that saved the tournament. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: That finish.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
JIM NANTZ: Arcidiacono - for Jenkins, for the win. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Cheering).
GOLDMAN: That finish, a winning 3-point shot by Villanova's Chris Jenkins, heard on truTV, will surely spark some conversation in Yago Colasâ Cultures of Basketball class at the University of Michigan. I spoke to Professor Colas, author of the new basketball book "Ball Don't Lie!," before last night's game.
YAGO COLAS: You know, it's interesting. My students didn't even talk about the Final Four today. And that's unusual. I'm not so sure they're interested anymore.
GOLDMAN: OK, very small sample size, but his 30 students reflected a broader waning interest in the men's tournament. After an exciting first round, there were largely predictable results - lopsided wins in Saturday's Final Four and two teams in the title game that didn't trigger much national excitement beyond their own fan bases. But then, a season's worth of excitement in the final - a 3-pointer by North Carolina that tied the game with seconds left and then Jenkin's shot. It's a hard act to follow for UConn and Syracuse in tonight's women's title game. UConn's a heavy favorite. The Huskies' dominance has for some stripped drama from the women's tournament. But tonight still could be hugely significant. With a win, the Huskies become the first women's team to win four straight titles. Yago Colas' class meets again tomorrow. Between Villanova, North Carolina and most likely UConn, there's going to be plenty to talk about. Tom Goldman, NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.