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|Photos: Allen (Getty), Hamilton (Getty), Okafor (Getty)|
|Eric Neel predicts ...|
Stung by being left off the UNC roster, Vince Carter and Rasheed Wallace go Bobby Valentine -- complete with fake mustaches -- hoping to suit up for the Huskies. Dean Smith spots Rasheed's white patch, though, and the jig is up. After that, it's the all-finesse game, the super smooth championship of the world. Ray Ray rising up, Rip floating back and left, Michael soaring, The Greyhound sliding. Emeka's baseline turnaround vs. Big Game James' baseline spins. There's defense, but it's all about forcing an extra pass -- about making the other guy make a decision. No muscle. No messages.
It's a thing of beauty, really, the sort of ball folks mean when they compare the game to jazz or dance. Connecticut hangs right with the Heels. Allen gets his shot off against Jordan and starts feeling it, scoring on five straight trips at one point. Okafor, not looking for his own shot much, keeps possessions alive with textbook blockouts under the boards. McAdoo is eventually the difference. Marshall can't keep up with him and can't close the gap on his behind-the-head jumper. "We had no answer for McAdoo," Jim Calhoun says afterward. "Maybe if Rasheed had dyed the patch "
Final score: North Carolina 91, UConn 86
|Photos: Ford (Getty), Worthy (US Presswire), Jordan (AP)|
|Scoop Jackson predicts ...|
The Tar Heels are not happy about having to go to Syracuse for this round, where the Carrier Dome has been infiltrated by UConn fans. As the second seed in the tourney, they feel they should have been slotted to play closer to home -- like at Cameron Indoor. They take their anger out on UConn immediately, jumping out to a lead that makes ESPN analyst Jay Bilas say, "This is the team that's going to walk out of this tournament with the trophy."
Billy Cunningham and Michael Jordan set the pace with 14 points apiece in the first 20 minutes. Followed by Worthy and Davis, who have 14 apiece in the second half. The Heels never allow Jim Calhoun's Huskies a chance to establish any rhythm. And once again, the hidden gem -- Charlie Scott -- leads the Heels in scoring with 22.
Final score: North Carolina 98, UConn 76