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Highlight-reel dunks from Harrell and Hardaway Jr. shook Atlanta

Apr 9, 2013, 12:45 AM EDT

APTOPIX NCAA Final Four Michigan Louisville Basketball AP

What. A. Game.

What we witnessed on Monday night in the Georgia Dome may go down as one of the best, most entertaining National Championship games in the 75 year history of the NCAA Tournament. Louisville’s 82-76 victory over Michigan was not only the best game of the NCAA tournament, but also the best game of the entire season.

Early on it was clear that we were in for something special.

Trey Burke scored Michigan’s first seven points of the game. The Wolverines shot out to a 12-point lead on the shoulders of Spike Albrecht and his 17 first half points. But then Louisville made their run. Luke Hancock hit three-straight 3-pointers to cut the Michigan lead to just one, 36-35.

Then this happened.

Did you see where Peyton Siva left the ball for Montrezl Harrell? He had to jump and catch the ball from no more than two steps inside the foul line. It doesn’t matter how tall Harrell is. That was an impossible ally-oop to catch, let alone finish.

That should have been it. That was one of the best ally-oops of the season. But there was a reason why last night’s National Championship game was one of the best of all time.

Then this happened.

It’s safe to assume that Tim Hardaway Sr. could not dunk like that.

Harrell and Hardaway threw down two of the best dunks of the tournament, both coming in the most important game of the year.

But the National Championship game often showcases some of the best dunks of the tournament on a yearly basis. Who will ever forget Grant Hill’s monstrous one-handed ally-oop dunk against Kansas in the 1991 National Championship game.

Then there was Lorenzo Charles’ buzzer-beating tip-dunk that gave North Carolina State the 1983 National Championship victory over Houston, widely considered the greatest buzzer-beater in NCAA Tournament history.

The best players play their best when the stage is brightest and there is no stage brighter than the National Championship game. As redundant as that sounds, we have the video footage to back it up.

#DunkCity took over the 2013 NCAA Tournament, but Montrezl Harrell and Tim Hardaway Jr. reminded us that it didn’t end when the FGCU Eagles were eliminated in the Sweet 16.

You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir.