39 most iconic sports photos from March Madness and Getty Images

Micah Peavy of the TCU Horned Frogs falls on Dalen Terry of the Arizona Wildcats as he attempts to block a shot during the first half in the second round game of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena at San Diego State University on March 20, 2022, in San Diego, California.

March Madness is an event that I really enjoy covering because of the images that can be produced. I am always certain that I will make images that have lots of action and pure raw emotion.   This particular image is one of my favorites from this year’s tournament in San Diego, California. It is a remote camera that I installed underneath the basketball in a cutout for cameras.  There is only room for one camera, and I triggered it from the other side of the court. I was very fortunate to make this image as I know the players are giving it their all. Because if they don’t the season is over.  

Armando Bacot of the North Carolina Tar Heels and Fousseyni Drame of the St. Peter’s Peacocks battle for a rebound during the Elite Eight round game of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on March 27, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For March Madness, Getty Images always has multiple remote cameras set up throughout the venue to make sure we cover every inch of the court because it only takes one play to swing the momentum of the game. While this image triggered from a remote camera in the catwalk wasn’t a defining moment, it was a telling one. Arguably, one of the most dominant players this year, Armando Bacot of the North Carolina Tar Heels battled with Fousseyni Drame of the St. Peter’s Peacocks for a rebound during the Elite Eight round game. A Cinderella team versus a powerhouse team, this image shows that Drame wouldn’t give up when matched up with an elite player. From the arm pull to the body language and both players’ eyes, it’s a timeless image that will celebrate the underdogs and the never quit attitude.

— Patrick Smith

Caleb Love of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts in the second half of the game against the UCLA Bruins in the Sweet Sixteen round game of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on March 25, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The best part about March Madness and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is the emotion. Whether that’s jubilation or dejection, it’s all visually compelling. During the Sweet Sixteen round game, Caleb Love of the North Carolina Tar Heels hit a clutch shot against the UCLA Bruins. While that shot happened on the other end, his reaction happened on his defensive end of the court. All game Love displayed his energy and emotion. I stuck with him after he tallied a few points and was pleasantly surprised by his full-blown raw emotion. This is what sports is about, being able to celebrate after a clutch point.

— Patrick Smith

Victaria Saxton of the South Carolina Gamecocks hugs Aliyah Boston after defeating the UConn Huskies 64-49 during the 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament National Championship game at Target Center on April 3, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Last season, South Carolina lost to Stanford in the semifinals in the final minute of the game. That loss definitely stuck with Aliyah Boston and she and Victaria Saxton celebrate the moment. Boston had talked about how images of her crying in sadness from last season stuck with her. I hope this moment of her crying tears of joy is the one that sticks with her.

Paige Bueckers of the UConn Huskies reacts in the fourth quarter against the Stanford Cardinal during the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four semifinal game at Target Center on April 1, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sophomore Paige Bueckers of UConn is a rising star in women’s basketball. She has kept her poise under intense pressure. Here, she celebrates after making a 3-point shot in the second half against Stanford during their semifinal game. UConn likely made it as far as they did due in a large part to the play of Bueckers.

Paige Bueckers of the UConn Huskies kisses Dorka Juhasz of the UConn Huskies on the forehead in the game against the NC State Wolfpack in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Elite 8 Round at Total Mortgage Arena on March 28, 2022, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Juhasz was injured during the first half. UConn defeated NC State 91-87 in 2 OT.

Dorka Juhasz of Connecticut broke her wrist in the Sweet Sixteen game against Indiana and was a big loss for the UConn Huskies. Sophomore Paige Bueckers and the rest of her team fought hard in a double-overtime win over the NC State Wolfpack to advance to the Final Four. As Dorka Juhasz was standing near the bench, Bueckers came over and kissed her on the forehead after the game. Juhasz’s playing season ended after that Sweet Sixteen game but I thought it was a lovely moment as it seemed to me Bueckers was celebrating the moment and consoling her teammate at the same time.

Aaliyah Edwards of the UConn Huskies looks to shoot the ball during the second half against the NC State Wolfpack in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Elite 8 Round at Total Mortgage Arena on March 28, 2022, in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Aaliyah Edwards of the UConn Huskies played a great game against the NC State Wolfpack. Connecticut wasn’t favored to win. They had some injuries that made it seem unlikely that they would advance as far as they did this year. Edwards was aggressive, played great defense and really drove the team in the paint to get the double-overtime win. What I like about this image is that you can see not only the push but the speed at which she is heading for the basket. I love the way her hair is flying and really helps illustrate her movement.

Emily Engstler of the Louisville Cardinals falls to the floor in the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four semifinal game at Target Center on April 1, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Louisville had a great season. They have really talented players, but they couldn’t get past South Carolina in the semifinals of the women’s Final Four. What I like about this image is that it illustrates just how much of a battle it was in this game. Both teams were aggressive in the paint, but Louisville just could not match the strength of South Carolina. I put a remote camera in the bottom of the stanchion just under the basket. I think the angle and the location of the camera helped illustrate the hard-fought battles under the rim. This sums up the game in one picture to me.

Raina Perez and Jakia Brown-Turner of the NC State Wolfpack celebrate the win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Total Mortgage Arena at Harbor Yard on March 26, 2022, in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

This was another game that came down to the wire. Notre Dame had a decent lead late in the game, but NC State came back to win it and advance to the Elite Eight — due largely to the play of these two women. Both took advantage of some key turnovers and made 3-pointers in the final minutes of the game. Here, they are celebrating the win. I shot this image a bit tighter than I would normally shoot post-game celebrations. I wanted to focus in on these two as they were phenomenal in that game.

The Stanford Cardinal hoist Anna Wilson after their victory over the Utah Utes in the championship game of the Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball tournament at Michelob ULTRA Arena on March 6, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cardinal defeated the Utes 73-48.

In championship games, every photographer sits at the baseline watching the final seconds tick down, then right at the buzzer there’s a mad dash onto the court to capture that initial few minutes of pandemonium when emotion is the most genuine. There’s a ton of other photographers/videographers around doing the same thing, so you’re also looking not to trip on a cable or get in someone else’s way. In this case, I got really lucky. I remember turning around in the chaos and boom…Anna Wilson got hoisted, and I was front and center. Usually, you’re a few people deep in a scene like that, holding a camera above your head just hoping to get something out of it. This was a rare occasion where I could actually compose through the viewfinder, which maybe lasted about 15 seconds.

Kansas Jayhawks players celebrate after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 72-69 during the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament National Championship at Caesars Superdome on April 4, 2022, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

It’s very nerve-racking when it comes down to the final moment of the championship game at the end of several long weeks of March Madness. Sometimes the game is a blowout and pretty much a foregone conclusion who the winner will be. Other times come down to the buzzer and either team could win.

In the case of this year’s final, it was a nail-biter. North Carolina was up 15 points at the half, but Kansas came back in dramatic fashion to win by three. When the moment arrives it’s hard to know where to go. Do you point the camera at the MVP? Do you even know who it might be?

Will they celebrate toward you or going away from you? Will the team run out and swarm the players on the floor or will the players run towards the bench? Being ready for this moment is essential but anything could happen. Fortunately, the players celebrated my way and I wasn’t blocked by a referee, a TV camera or anything else and was able to capture this image.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils walks off the court after losing to the North Carolina Tar Heels 81-77 in the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal at Caesars Superdome on April 2, 2022, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This picture was taken as Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski walked off the floor after losing the final game of his career against UNC in the Final Four. As the game ended, I jumped up from my position to move around to where I knew he would exit the floor. As he walked toward me, I remember seeing the scoreboard flash “Tar Heels Win” and framed him in between. I was looking for an image that told the story of his historical career coming to an end. Luckily no one jumped in front of me or grabbed him as that often occurs. It’s kind of a fleeting solitary moment within the chaos that occurs at the end of one of these games.

Mark Williams of the Duke Blue Devils dunks the ball against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the second half in the Sweet Sixteen round game of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Chase Center on March 24, 2022, in San Francisco, California.

March Madness has quickly become my new favorite event to cover. It has everything a photographer loves: fast action, emotion, celebrations, dejections and many options for remote cameras. I learned some new remote angles from my colleague Ezra Shaw. My favorite angle he taught me was the backboard glass remote, which looks directly at the rim of the hoop as players dunk or rebound. This works well because you feel right in the action and can see their faces at the peak moment like in this Mark Williams dunk.

Mark Williams of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates after defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks 78-69 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Elite 8 Round at Chase Center on March 26, 2022, in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

I’ve learned to never fully rely on remote cameras because sometimes there can be interference or other issues that keep them from consistently working. Prioritizing the handheld camera you have in your hands leads to dependable coverage. This image shows Mark Williams reacting as the final seconds ticked off the clock in Duke’s Elite Eight win against Arkansas. It’s an added bonus to have dejected players walking past him, which fills the frame and adds another visual and narrative layer.

Victaria Saxton of the South Carolina Gamecocks falls over Anya Poole as Alyssa Ustby of the North Carolina Tar Heels and Brea Beal of the South Carolina Gamecocks battle for a rebound during the second half in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 Round at Greensboro Coliseum Complex on March 25, 2022, in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Gamecocks won 69-61.

For this angle, I put a remote camera in the “mousehole” position, which is a cutout at the bottom of the basketball hoop. I really like this angle for a couple of reasons – it gives me a view of the court from the direct center, which I don’t ever get to have since our shooting positions are off to the side on the baseline. As someone who is really drawn to composition, having this centered spot for a remote camera opens up my photo possibilities. The second reason I like this angle is that it dramatizes the action by looking upward at the players, creating that “hero” angle – jumps appear higher, bodies look taller. In this moment, as Victaria Saxton fell over Anya Poole, you can see just how high she jumped, and just how far she’d fall back down to the floor, all because of this angle.

Victaria Saxton of the South Carolina Gamecocks reacts before cutting down the net after defeating the Creighton Bluejays, 80-50, in the second half in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Elite Eight Round at Greensboro Coliseum Complex on March 27, 2022, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

I had this shot in mind before the net-cutting began, but I soon realized it would be more of a challenge to capture what I was looking for. Some players aren’t tall enough to be able to see them through cutouts in the net. Some players are so focused on trying to cut their own piece that they don’t really react with looks other than concentration. What a relief it was that when Victaria Saxton came up to cut her piece of the net, she had the biggest smile on her face. Shooting tightly with a 70-200mm lens, I framed the net with her smiling face. No scissors, no ladder – just the net and her reaction.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils rides a golf cart with his wife Mickie Krzyzewski after being defeated by the North Carolina Tar Heels 81-77 during the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal at Caesars Superdome on April 2, 2022, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This photo of Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was made following his final press conference after Duke lost to North Carolina. During the press conference, Coach K insisted on keeping the questions and answers about his team and athletes rather than his retirement. Following the press conference Coach K boarded a cart and returned to his team in their locker room.

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