* 1998: #13 Valparaiso vs #4 Ole Miss (70-69 1st Rnd)
Both teams were playing winning basketball when they met up in the 1st round. The Crusaders were on an 11 game winning streak having won the Mid-Continent Conference championship and the Rebels had won 8 of 9 including a victory at Rupp Arena against the eventual national champions Kentucky. It was a closely played game throughout but with only 2.5 seconds left, Valparaiso was down 67-69 and needed to go the length of the floor. They had a play all set for this situation, it was called “Pacer”. In a sequence reminiscent of the “hook and lateral”, Valparaiso’s inbound throw sailed across mid-court where a Crusader out-jumped two Rebel defenders and flicked the ball to 3-Pt specialist Bryce Drew who caught the ball in mid-stride. Drew quickly pulled up for “The Shot” as another Rebel defender tried to recover and disrupt the shot but to no avail. The ball went through the net as time expired and Valparaiso had just won their first NCAA Tournament game in school history. They would go on to beat Florida State in the 2nd Round to advance to the Sweet 16.
* 1999: #10 Gonzaga vs #2 Stanford (82-74 2nd Rnd)
Gonzaga was coming off their first ever win in the NCAA Tournament when they beat #7 Minnesota in their opening round game. The Bulldogs wouldn’t have much time to celebrate their accomplishment as they soon faced #2 Stanford. The Cardinal, who reached the Final Four the year before, had an impressive regular season finishing 1st in the Pac-10 and remained ranked in the Top 10 throughout the season. The game was played at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington so the majority of the crowd was ready to cheer on the “local” underdogs from Spokane. Gonzaga was hot from the outside (11-20) and made clutch free-throws down the stretch to come away with the win. This would be the first of many trips to the Sweet 16 for the Bulldogs. In addition, Gonzaga was able to pull off another upset when they beat #6 Florida 73-72 in dramatic fashion before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut in the Regional Final.