Member Mayhem Message Board (go vote)
"What is your favorite moment in March Madness history, and why?"
The year is 2000. Michigan State is playing Florida for all the marbles. It is a hotly contested game and both teams are reaching deep to keep up their intensity. Then it happens. Mateen Cleaves is hit and falls, hurting his ankle, a bad sprain. He his taken from the floor to the locker room. Both teams are shell shocked. The heart and soul of the Spartan team is gone. 16:18 to go. Somehow the Spartans hang on and stay in the game.
A short while later, about 4 minutes, Cleaves returns. He his hobbling. The crowd cheers his return. To everyone's surprise he goes right out on the floor. He is slow. He limps. He can't do much at all for the team, but he does everything. It does not matter. The Spartans play on in a 4 against 5 game. He is the icon, the inspiration. The game ends, the score 89 to 76. The Spartans win.
Then the TV camera zooms on Mateen. His face is wet with his own tears.
I recall my dad exclaiming, "Look at that kid crying!"
I turned to my dad, my own tears streaming and replied, "Dad, he just played the game of his life."
We all know the history after this. Izzo bought the floor and the Spartans went through the 2000 and 2001 seasons unbeaten at home and finally succumbed to Wisconsin on January 12, 2003, 63 to 64, nearly 3 years since the floor was installed.