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2003 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Game

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2003 NCAA Tournament Championship Game
National Championship Game
12 Total
Syracuse 5328 81
Kansas 4236 78
DateApril 7, 2003
ArenaLouisiana Superdome
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
MVPCarmelo Anthony, Syracuse
FavoriteKansas by 5
Referee(s)Gerald Boudreaux, Reggie Cofer, Dick Cartmell
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersJim Nantz (play-by-play)
Billy Packer (color)
Bonnie Bernstein and Armen Keteyian (sideline)

The 2003 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Game was the finals of the 2003 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament and it determined the national champion for the 2002-03 NCAA Division I men's basketball season The 2003 National Title Game was played on April 7, 2003 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, The 2003 National Title Game was played between the 2003 West Regional Champions, #2-seeded Kansas and the 2003 East Regional Champions, #3-seeded Syracuse.



Things did not start well for Syracuse. Guards DeShaun Williams[1] and James Thues[2] both left the team. Williams transferred to Iona while Thues left for Detroit. Freshman point guard Billy Edelin was suspended for 12 games for participating in a non-sanctioned basketball league. Syracuse then started its season with a loss against Memphis, despite Carmelo Anthony's 27 points, a then-high for a Syracuse freshman debut.[3]

But things turned around, as Syracuse went 13–3 in the Big East, with several memorable wins. Gerry McNamara would establish himself as a clutch player, nailing a game-winning 3-pointer as then-No. 17 Syracuse notched an 82–80 win over then-No. 10 Notre Dame in February.[4] In an upset of then-No. 24 Syracuse over then-No. 2 Pittsburgh, McNeil, a career 49.1% free throw shooter, hit two key free throws, and added a game-winning tip in a 67–65 upset.[5]

The Orangemen would play five Big 12 teams throughout the year, including games against Missouri[6] in the regular season, and against Oklahoma (Elite Eight), Oklahoma State (second round), Texas (National Semifinal) and then Kansas (National Championship game).[7]


Kansas would get off to a rough start as they lost both games in the championship round of the 2002 Preseason NIT to North Carolina and #7 Florida. After dropping a game to #7 Oregon at the Rose Garden, Kansas would go on a 10-game winning streak which was highlighted by home victories over UCLA and Kansas State. Kansas then would suffer two consecutive losses to Colorado and #1 Arizona and would then go on a seven-game winning streak which included victories over #3 Texas, #21 Missouri Tigers men's basketball, and Kansas State, but that streak would end with a loss at #5 Oklahoma. Kansas would win their final four games of the regular season which was highlighted by victories over #16 Oklahoma State and Missouri. Kansas would win one game in the Big 12 Tournament before losing to Missouri in the semifinals. Kansas would get off to a slow start in the NCAA Tournament as they barely beat Utah State in the 1st round, but would catch fire during the rest of the NCAA tournament as they romped Arizona State in the 2nd round and would beat Duke and Arizona (avenging a loss from earlier this season) to reach the Final Four and would romp Marquette in the National Semifinals to reach the 2003 National Championship Game.

Game Summary

Leading up to the championship game, much of the conversation revolved around how, no matter the outcome, one of the well-known head coaches would win their first championship.[8] In Jim Boeheim's 27 years as head coach at Syracuse his team had been to two Final Fours, and finished runner-up each time (1987, 1996).[8] Roy Williams, during his fifteen seasons as Kansas head coach, had reached the Final Four four times, and finished runner up once (1991).[8] Syracuse dominated with a hot shooting first half to lead by 11 at the break. Gerry McNamara connected on an impressive six three-pointers in the half, which were his 18 points for the game. Kansas fought back to within 80-78 in the final minute and had a chance to tie after Hakim Warrick missed a pair of free throws in the final moments. Warrick, however, then blocked Michael Lee's three point attempt with 0.7 seconds remaining on the game clock. After Kirk Hinrich's three-pointer at the buzzer went over the net, Syracuse's victory gave them, and Jim Boeheim, their first ever national championship. Carmelo Anthony was named Most Outstanding Player (MOP) with 21 points in the win. Syracuse also avenged a second-round loss to Kansas two years earlier.[9]


  1. ^ Williams to leave Orangemen – News[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Thues transfers to Detroit Mercy – Sports
  3. ^ Memphis Holds Off Syracuse, 70–63 Archived 2009-11-26 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The Daily Orange Archived 2009-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ – Syracuse blocks Pittsburgh from first coronation at No. 1
  6. ^ NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball – Missouri vs. Syracuse
  7. ^ Fresh-squeezed orangeman: Carmelo Anthony carries Syracuse to its first NCAA championship and proves to have the juiciest game of any college freshman—ever | Sporting News, Th...
  8. ^ a b c Wojciechowski, Gene (April 6, 2003). "Boeheim, Williams say title won't define careers". ESPN the Magazine. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  9. ^ CNN Sports Illustrated. "2003 NCAA National Championship: (E3) Syracuse 81, (W2) Kansas 78". Retrieved 2008-03-06.
This page was last edited on 16 June 2020, at 19:47
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