SportsNation Speaks: 1982 UNC best ever
|Michael Jordan's 1982 UNC squad is SportsNation's pick as the best ever.|
As a freshman on the 1982 North Carolina squad, which featured the likes of Sam Perkins, James Worthy, Jimmy Black and Matt Doherty, Jordan hit the game-winning shot to send the Tar Heels to the winner's circle. No late wing jumper was needed in ESPN Classic's All-Time Greatest College Basketball Tournament championship game, though.
Those Tar Heels handed the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers something they didn't experience at all that season - a loss. And UNC did it by a relatively comfortable six-percent margin. North Carolina was a No. 3 seed in this tournament, and much like the real NCAA Tournament, there were a fair share of upsets and Cinderella stories. Here's a quick recap of each round leading up to the championship game:
The first round brought seven upsets according to seed, although three of those were No. 9s defeating No. 8s. The biggest surprises came when the 13th-seeded 1991 Duke Blue Devils bounced the 4th-seeded 1980 Louisville Cardinals, and a Cinderella was born in the form of Larry Bird and the 12th-seeded 1979 Indiana State Sycamores took out 5th-seeded Kentucky from 1978.
In the second-closest game of the second round, 1999 UConn defeated 2001 Duke by 86 votes to move on to the Sweet 16. Meanwhile, those Cinderella Sycamores easily knocked off No. 12-seeded 1991 Duke to setup a matchup with the following season's Blue Devil squad in the Sweet 16.
The other surprise of the regional semis came from the aforementioned 9th-seeded 1991 Runnin' Rebels. Tark the Shark's bunch knocked off Bill Russell's 1955 USF Dons by a comfortable margin. The remaining six Elite 8 teams were all top-three seeds.
Southeast Region: Rick Pitino's 1996 Kentucky Wildcats, which featured eight future NBA players, finally put an end to Indiana State's great run, but not without a fight from the Sycamores, 56-44.
Midwest Region: The unbeaten Indiana Hoosiers of 1976 proved way too much for Magic Johnson, Greg Kelser and 1979 Michigan State, 60-40.
West Region: The closest Elite 8 game featured the 1969 UCLA Bruins and those freakishly-athletic 1991 Runnin' Rebs. But too much Lew Alcindor in the minds of SportsNation, as UCLA moved on to the Final Four, 55-45.
To view the entire tournament, check out the all-time greatest basketball tournament bracket!
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