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Jared Jacobs of Boise, Idaho, used stop-motion animation to recreate the Wildcats' championship victory as a birthday gift for his 11-year-old daughter, Jovie, who picked Villanova to win the college tournament.
“I just remember my daughter’s reaction and that I was watching her reaction to it more than the game,” Jacobs, a diehard UNC fan, told ABC News. “That’s always been a bond for us that we share, March Madness.”
Jacobs, 38, said he spent nearly 40 hours to build the recreation. The video shows UNC player Marcus Paige's basket in the game's final seconds and then Villanova star Kris Jenkins' winning three-point shot that gave the No. 2 seed Wildcats a win over the No. 1 seed Tar Heels.
The video is also synced to match the announcers’ calling the game.
My oldest daughter was born right at the beginning of March Madness. I remember watching non-stop basketball in the hospital and the first few days of bringing her home. Maybe that's part of the reason her and I have shared a special bond when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. Last year she picked @novambb to win the whole thing and I picked @unc_basketball I'll never forget watching her reaction to the final 10 seconds of that game. This year for her birthday I wanted to do something special for it. So I told her I was going to make a Lego re-enactment video dedicated to her. Happy Birthday Jovie! I hope this year is as magical as last year.
Jacobs was more into sports than Legos as a kid, he said, but began tinkering with the building toys about four years ago. He now has a “Lego studio” in his family’s home and builds the sets before and after his full-time job as a marketing specialist at a building supply company.
“The process is taking a picture, moving the characters ever so slightly and then taking another picture,” Jacobs said, explaining he watches YouTube videos over and over to capture the moments correctly. “After you’ve taken 200 or 300 of those pictures it’s all compiled and you just speed it up.”
Jacobs first created the animation on an iPhone app but now uses a professional animation software program on his computer.
He estimates he used around 400 Lego figurines for the March Madness video. The customized Villanova and UNC jerseys on the players and the fans' attire were designed by a friend and then printed out by Jacobs and taped to each individual figurine.
“That takes a lot of time,” said Jacobs, who posts his Lego creations on Instagram.
Jacobs' three children and wife also help him with his Lego creations, particularly his oldest daughter, Jovie.
“She’s pretty good at building the Legos and she helps me keep it all organized, too,” Jacobs said. “She’s that type-A personality where she’s super-organized and I’m the polar opposite, a creative type.”
He added of Jovie’s help, “It gives her a sense of accomplishment.”
The 2017 March Madness tournament begins March 14. Jacobs said he is sticking with his Tar Heels and would bet that Jovie will pick the Wildcats again, too.
“This month is really the only time she pays attention to college basketball,” he said, “but I would be shocked if she didn’t pick Villanova to win the whole thing again.”