It's only three games into the Big East tournament, but Kemba Walker is already looking downright heroic for the Connecticut Huskies. The 6-foot-1, Bronx native nailed a step-back jumper at the buzzer to down Pittsburgh on Thursday and he's carrying the Huskies on his back to the tune of 27 points per game. Who else stepped up their game during championship week? SI.com looks back at some memorable prime-time performers.
2 of 16Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Despite being the No. 1 seed in the 2010 Big Ten tournament, Ohio State needed a healthy dose of late-game heroics from Evan Turner to win the title. In the Buckeyes' opening game, Turner nailed an improbable 37-foot three-pointer to defeat the Michigan Wolverines; in the second round, he scored the game-tying bucket to send the game to overtime, and then scored 12 points in the extra period to defeat the Illinois Fighting Illini; and in the championship game, Turner scored 31 points as the Buckeyes trounced the Minnesota Gophers.
3 of 16Harry How/Getty Images
On the bubble for the NCAA tournament, the USC Trojans rode freshman DeMar DeRozan to their first ever Pac-10 title and an automatic berth in the tourney. DeRozan averaged 21 points and demoralized opponents with his thunderous dunks in the Pac-10 tournament.
4 of 16Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
The MVP of the 2008 ACC tournament averaged 22 points during North Carolina's run to the title, but it was two points against Virginia Tech that cemented him as a Tar Heels hero. With seconds remaining in a tied semifinal match against Virginia Tech, Hansbrough scooped up a loose rebound and nailed a fadeaway jumper to propel UNC to the championship game. Elated, Hansbrough marched back down the court pumping his fists, a demonstration even he deemed excessive. "I'm not going to lie," he said of the celebration. "I kind of overdid it." Wouldn't you?
5 of 16Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Only a member of the Texas Longhorns for one year, Kevin Durant didn't waste any time making his mark. He set a Big 12 tournament record with 92 points in Texas' three games, and his Longhorns narrowly fell to Kansas in an overtime thriller in the Big 12 tournament title game. Even with the loss, Durant was named the tournament MVP.
6 of 16Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
On the bubble for the NCAA tournament, ninth-ranked Syracuse needed to win the Big East tournament to secure a bid. And Gerry McNamara made sure the Orange did. He hit a three-pointer with 0.5 seconds left to beat Cincinnati in the opener; made a three-pointer with 5.6 seconds left to force overtime against Connecticut in the second round, and then hit two free throws in overtime to ice Syracuse's 86-84 victory. He assisted on the game-winning basket against Georgetown in the semifinals; and his three-pointer in the championship game against Pittsburgh put the Orange up for good in a 65-61 victory. McNamara was named tournament MVP and set a tournament record with 16 three-pointers.
7 of 16Craig Jones/Getty Images
In a tournament that featured future NBA stars such as Chris Paul, Luol Deng and Raymond Felton, no one would have guessed that the star would be Maryland's John Gilchrist. No. 6 seeded Maryland knocked off the ACC's three top seeds -- Wake Forest (3), N.C. State (2) and Duke (1) -- en route to its first ACC title in 20 years, and Gilchrist was instrumental in each win. He hit the game-winning free throw against Wake Forrest; scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half of Maryland's upset of N.C. State; and tied the game at 77 before the Terrapins dominated Duke in overtime.
8 of 16Jonathan Daniel /Allsport
In 2001, Iowa's Reggie Evans led the nation in free throw attempts, free throws made and double-doubles during the regular season. During the Big Ten tournament it was much of the same. Evans set a tournament record with 51 rebounds during Iowa's run to the title game, and his last-second block of a Kirk Haston three-pointer sealed the championship for the Hawkeyes.
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Aided by a Kenyon Martin injury, Justin Love led the Saint Louis Billikens to their first and only Conference USA title. Love averaged 21 points during the tourney as Saint Louis defeated Southern Mississippi, No. 1-ranked Cincinnati (who lost star Kenyon Martin early to a broken leg), Tulane and DePaul to earn only their fourth NCAA tournament bid since 1957.
10 of 16Manny Millan/SI
In a battle of several future superstars, Connecticut's Ray Allen reigned supreme. The sharpshooter put the Huskies on his back, nailing an improbable runner from the elbow to push the Huskies past the Georgetown Hoyas for the Big East title.
11 of 16AP
Randolph Childress isn't the most famous Wake Forest hoops alumnus, but he might have been the best, at least during the ACC tournament. In 1995, Childress scored 40 points against Duke, 30 against Virginia and 37 against UNC in the championship game, including the game-winning jumper in overtime.
12 of 16John Biever/SI
James Forrest gained notoriety for his last-second shot against USC in the 1992 NCAA tournament, and while the fanfare faded, Forrest didn't. A year later the Yellow Jackets forward averaged 26.7 points and seven rebounds as sixth-seeded Georgia Tech swept the ACC tournament.
13 of 16Anthony Neste/SI
Oliver Taylor, a little-known, diminutive point guard, developed a flair for the dramatic during Seton Hall's run to the Big East title game. Taylor downed Pittsburgh with a last-second layup in the quarterfinals, and, a day later, sent Villanova packing with a game-winning jumper. In the title game against Georgetown, Taylor didn't need any late-game heroics, as the Pirates dismantled the Hoyas 74-62.
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Following decades of NCAA dominance, UCLA basketball hit a rough patch in the '80s. Luckily, the Bruins had a player like Reggie Miller to get them back in the swing of things. He propelled UCLA back in to the tourney (after a four-year absence) with a brilliant Pac-10 tournament, averaging 27 points as the Bruins nipped the Washington Huskies for the conference crown. Unfortunately, Miller couldn't sustain the success, and the Bruins lost in the second round of the tournament.
15 of 16Allsport /Allsport
Vinny Del Negro
During the 1987 ACC tournament Vinny Del Negro hit clutch free throw after clutch free throw to propel sixth-seeded North Carolina State to the title. In the opening round against Duke, he scored nine of his 15 points in overtime as the Wolfpack shocked the Blue Devils; in the second round, he hit two free throws to ice N.C. State's victory over Wake Forest in double overtime; and in the title game, he nailed free throws down the stretch as N.C. State defeated rival North Carolina 68-67.
16 of 16Manny Millan/SI
Patrick Ewing averaged 23 points and shot an astounding 78 percent from the field during Georgetown's 1984 Big East title run, but Ewing saved his best for the title game against Syracuse. In the overtime thriller at Madison Square Garden, Ewing tallied 27 points (including nine points in overtime), 16 rebounds and five blocks as the Hoyas outlasted the Orange 82-71.
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