Best game of 2010s bracket



The Chicago Cubs celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians, Nov. 3, 2016 in Game 7 to win the World Series 8-7 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

By Michael Gasick

Bracket Intro

The 2010s have already given sports fans some of the most iconic moments of all-time. The past 12 months have consisted of memorable games. This year, the Daily Illini sports staff voted on a bracket of 32 games and events from the 2010s thus far. The staff determined the seeding based on excitement, popularity and importance of the games. The pairings were chosen at random.   

Super Bowl XLIX

The Patriots’ Malcolm Butler had one of the biggest interceptions in NFL history.

USA v Russia Ice Hockey (2014 Olympics)

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    The Russians got a chance to host the Americans in an Olympic hockey game. After finishing 2-2 in regulation, United States right-winger T.J. Oshie scored four of six shots in the shootout, giving the U.S. a victory in Sochi.

    San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals (2014 World Series, Game 7)

    San Francisco stamped its 2010s dynasty with a 3-2 victory against Kansas City. Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner capped his MVP performance by retiring the last 14 Royals batters.

    Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers (2016 Divisional Round)

    Quarterback Carson Palmer and the Cardinals were less than two minutes away from a playoff victory. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers made them wait longer with a signature Hail Mary to send the game to overtime. Arizona won after just two plays in overtime.

    Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs (2013 NBA Finals, Game 6)

    Miami’s Ray Allen hit a corner three after a Chris Bosh offensive rebound to send the game to overtime. Miami would win Games 6 and 7, giving LeBron James his second NBA title.

    Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey (2013)

    A second-round kick from Holm to Rousey’s head ended Rousey’s unbeaten record, one of the biggest upsets of the 2010s.

    Clemson vs. Alabama (2017)

    Clemson’s Deshaun Watson’s two-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow ended Alabama’s chance of a second-straight national championship and gave Clemson its first since 1981.

    Serena Williams vs. Venus Williams (2017 Australian Open)

    It was only fitting that Serena Williams won her Open Era record, 23rd grand slam against her older sister Venus in a thrilling match.

    Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors (2016 NBA Finals, Game 7)

    LeBron James led the Cavaliers to an improbable three consecutive wins, and his block in Game 7 helped Cleveland win its first major sports title in more than 50 years. Also, let’s not forget, the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead.

    Denver Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (2012 AFC Wild Card)

    In the first NFL playoff game with the new overtime rules, Denver quarterback Tim Tebow needed just one play to win the game on an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas.

    Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs (2015 NBA Playoffs, Game 7)

    After 31 lead changes and 19 ties, Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul hit a fading one-handed shot over Tim Duncan with one second remaining to clinch the series over the defending NBA champions.

    Canada vs. USA Ice Hockey (2010 Vancouver Olympics)

    The United States silenced the BC Palace in Vancouver with a late Zach Parise goal. Canada’s Sidney Crosby then scored the winning goal. It was the country’s eighth gold medal in hockey and the first one claimed in Canada.

    Auburn vs. Alabama (2013 Iron Bowl )

    The 2013 Iron Bowl is simply known as the Kick Six. Alabama missed a field goal as time expired and Auburn’s Chris Davis made them pay, returning the kick 109 yards in one of the craziest finishes in sports history.

    Ohio State vs. Alabama (2015 Playoff Semifinal)

    With electric performances from third-string quarterback Cardale Jones and running back Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State showed the nation why fans wanted a College Football Playoff.

    Villanova vs. North Carolina (2016 March Madness Final)

    Marcus Paige’s game-tying three for North Carolina with four seconds remaining and a Kris Jenkins buzzer-beater the following possession resulted in one of the greatest games in March Madness history. Villanova claimed the second national championship in program history. 

    Kansas vs. Michigan (2013 Sweet 16)

    A deep three from Michigan’s Trey Burke tied the game for the Wolverines, sending them into overtime. Michigan defeated Kansas in overtime in a Sweet 16 game for the ages.

    Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians (2016 World Series – Game 7)

    The crazy MLB playoff game led to a moment that Wrigleyville had been long-awaiting: the Cubs winning the World Series.

    USA vs. Japan (2015 Women’s World Cup Final)

    The U.S. women’s soccer team was seeking revenge against defending world champions Japan in Vancouver. It took only sixteen minutes for the Americans to complete their revenge. The tournament’s best player, Carli Lloyd, scored a hat-trick, including a goal from midfield that sent Americans to a euphoric state.

    Kentucky vs. Wisconsin (2014 Final Four Game)

    The 8-seeded Kentucky Wildcats shocked college basketball by getting to the national championship and Aaron Harrison hit a second-consecutive buzzer-beater, this time against Wisconsin.

    Duke vs. Butler (2010 National Championship)

    The Blue Devils led by two with seconds remaining. Butler’s Gordon Hayward heaved a final shot from half-court that almost went in — one of the most memorable missed shots in basketball history.

    Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins (2013 Stanley Cup – Game 6)

    In a 17-second span, the Blackhawks scored two goals in the last two minutes of the game to seal a second Stanley Cup in four seasons.

    Ohio State vs. Michigan Football Game (2016)

    The No. 2 Buckeyes defeated the No. 3 Wolverines in Columbus with a thrilling double-overtime victory.

    Penn State vs. USC (2017 Rose Bowl)

    The Trojans scored 17 4th-quarter points to defeat Penn State, 52-49 in the highest-scoring Rose Bowl of all-time.

    Louisville vs. Michigan (2013 National Championship)

    Louisville’s Luke Hancock hit four consecutive threes to put the Cardinals back in the game. Louisville would close out Michigan for a national title.

    Super Bowl LI (Falcons vs. Patriots)

    Tom Brady led the Patriots to 19 fourth quarter points and an overtime win to complete arguably the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, which gave Brady his record fifth Super Bowl title.

    Illinois vs. #1 Indiana (2013)

     Tyler Griffey’s buzzer-beating layup saw Illini students storm the court, something fans haven’t experienced since knocking off the top-ranked Hoosiers.

    Kentucky vs. Wisconsin (2015)

    Undefeated Kentucky were heavy favorites to win the 2015 National Championship. The Wildcats faced the Badgers in the semifinals, and the undefeated season ended with a loss.

    Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets (2013, Game 4)

    The Bulls were down by 14 points with less than three minutes against the Nets. Nate Robinson’s 34 points led the Bulls to a 142-134 triple-overtime win over the Nets to take a 3-1 first-round series lead.

    Clemson vs. Alabama (2016)

    After losing to Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff, Alabama made up for the loss with a nail-biting victory over Clemson.

    USA vs. Ghana (2014 World Cup)

    The match in Brazil started with an American goal from Clint Dempsey’s within the first 30 seconds. After conceding a goal, the United States clinched the win with an unexpected header from defender John Brooks with four minutes left in the match.

    St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers (2011 World Series, Game 6)

    David Freese and Lance Berkman spoiled the Rangers title hopes with two game-saving hits. Freese hit a walk-off home run to win Game Six and St. Louis would then clinch the team’s 11th World Series championship the next night.

    Triple Crown of Horse Racing (2015)

    For 37 years, viewers saw tons of horses come and go that failed to complete the Triple Crown. In 2015, American Pharoah was finally the horse to claim the Triple Crown, breathing life back into the sport