March Madness is underway and spinning out winners and losers. The three-week tournanent is often a story of underdogs and favorites, but there is still room for an individual to stand out. Legends have been made, stars born and lucrative professional careers launched at the tournament. Some star players have not only personified their teams, but have taken them to that final championship game.
Beginning with the 1997 championships game between the universities of Arizona and Kentucky here's a look at some of past decade's outstanding players.
1997: Miles Simon trumps the ball after Arizona beat Kentucky 84-79 in overtime to win the national championship in Indianapolis on March 31, 1997. Simon scored 30 points in the victory and was selected the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. (AP)
1998: Kentucky, coached by Tubby Smith, won the national title with a 78-69 victory in the final game over Utah, coached by Rick Majerus. Jeff Sheppard of Kentucky was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Kentucky came back from double-digit halftime deficits in each of its last three games in the tournament, leading to the school's fans dubbing the team the "Comeback Cats".
1999: Connecticut, coached by Jim Calhoun, won the national title with a 77-74 victory in the fover Duke, coached by Mike Krzyzewski. Richard "Rip" Hamilton (pictured) of Connecticut was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and is now a star with the NBA's Detroit Pistons.
2000: Mateen Cleaves of Michigan State was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Michigan State, coached by Tom Izzo, won the national title with a 89-76 victory over Florida, coached by Billy Donovan. (AP)
2001: Duke University's coach Mike Krzyzewski with players Shane Battier and Jason Williams following their 95-84 win over Maryland. (AP)
2002: Juan Dixon, a University of Maryland guard, protects ball from Kansas Aaron Miles, photo (AP)
2003: Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony -- now a star with the NBA's Denver Nuggetts -- cuts off a piece of the net after winning the championship game 81-78 against Kansas at the Final Four Monday, April 7, 2003, in New Orleans. Anthony was named the tournament MVP. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
2004: Emeka Okafor, a University of Connecticut forward, celebrates semifinal win over Duke during NCAA Men's Final Four, San Antonio, Texas (AP)
2005: North Carolina's Sean May reacts after the Tar Heels beat Illinois 75-70 in the NCAA championship game Monday, April 4, 2005, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
2006: Florida's Joakim Noah celebrates during the second half of the Gators' 73-57 win over UCLA inf the Final Four national championship basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, April 3, 2006. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)