Ranking the top student section moments of March

UC Irvine's Jonathan Galloway (right) and Collin Welp celebrated their Big West Conference tournament title with fans who rushed the court. Kyusung Gong/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

They call it March Madness for a reason. And some of the best student section moments of the year happened before the NCAA tournament even started.

With big conference games at the end of the regular season, including conference tournaments, there were plenty of eye-popping moments from student sections across the country.


1. UNC student nails half-court shot

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UNC student, Tar Heels team go nuts for $19K half-court shot

North Carolina student Sam Whitt drains a half-court shot to win $19,000 and is joined by the Tar Heels' men's basketball team to celebrate.

College GameDay has seen its fair share of half-court shots this season, and UNC student Sam Whitt didn't disappoint. With seven seconds to spare, the senior banked it in to win $19,000 -- and was mobbed by the basketball team afterward.

When asked how many shots he made during warm-ups, Whitt's response was "zero." He said he plans to put the money toward grad school.


2. Iggy Brazdeikis blows kisses to Maryland's student section

Result: No. 9 Michigan 69, No. 17 Maryland 62

How do you respond when opposing fans taunt you? With kindness, of course. Wolverines star freshman Iggy Brazdeikis did just that, blowing kisses to Terps students after he hit a clutch 3-pointer in Michigan's win over Maryland on March 3. He finished with 21 points.

"I love crowds like that. It motivates me," Brazdeikis said. "It makes me more hungry. I embrace that, every second of it. As much as they think they're getting in my head, that's actually fuel for me."


3. Fans storm court after Colgate makes first NCAA tournament since 1996

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UC Irvine punches ticket to NCAA tournament

UC Irvine players and students mob the floor after punching their ticket to the NCAA tournament.

Result: Colgate 92, Bucknell 80

When your school qualifies for its first NCAA tournament in 23 years, there's reason to celebrate.

After the Raiders topped Bucknell in the Patriot League final -- in front of a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd -- students in Hamilton, New York, took to the court to celebrate with the team.


4. UC Irvine students mob floor after making NCAA tournament

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Vermont on to NCAA tournament after winning America East

Vermont players rush the court to celebrate the program's seventh America East title after defeating UMBC 66-49.

Result: UC Irvine 92, CSU Fullerton 64

The Anteaters finished the season 30-5 -- the most wins of any Division I team in California -- and went 15-1 in conference play. The students celebrated in style, storming the court after the team's blowout win that sent them to the NCAA tournament.


5. Vermont clinches NCAA tourney spot; students rush the floor

Result: Vermont 66, UMBC 49

Last season, the Catamounts lost in the America East title game to UMBC, which went on to upset Virginia in the NCAA tournament. This year, Vermont made sure the Retrievers wouldn't get a return trip, topping UMBC 66-49 for their seventh America East title.

Anthony Lamb scored 28 points in the win, and his teammates and fellow students celebrated in style.