Great Championship Gaines of the Past
A View from the Midwest
By BILL BENNER
It was North Carolina versus Indiana.
Goliath vs. Giant.
It was Dean Smith versus Bob Knight.
Genius versus Genius.
By all rights, it was a match made in
Well, not exactly.
For this 1984 NCAA championship East
regional semifinal in Atlanta's Omni featured a Number One against a Number Un.
Number one was North Carolina — 28-2,
unbeaten (14-0) regular-season champion of
the Atlantic Coast Conference whose two
losses had been by a total of three points.
Number "un" was Indiana — a 21-8
third-place finisher from the Big Ten Conference that was not only unranked, but
probably as unheralded as any Hoosier
team under Knight.
Steve Alford, conferring with Indiana coach
Bob Knight, led the Hoosiers to a 1984 East
regional semifinal upset over North Carolina.
The Tar Heels were a team Virginia
coach Terry Holland had dared to label
"the best ever" and one glance at the starting lineup told you that Holland's hyperbole
had some substance to it.
North Carolina's hand was as close to a
royal flush — or five aces, perhaps — as
one could hope. It featured two consensus
all-Americas, Michael Jordan and Sam
Perkins. Jordan, a junior, also was player of
the year. The remaining starters included 6-
11 sophomore center Brad Daugherty, consummate 6-8 senior Matt Doherty, who had
become only the second player in ACC history to amass 1,000 points, 400 rebounds
and 400 assists, and freshman point guard
Kenny Smith, who had been the most
sought-after backcourt player in the nation
coming out of high school.
Four of the Tar Heels had played on the
team that had lost to Indiana in the national
championship game at Philadelphia's Spectrum three years before. Seven had played
on North Carolina's NCAA championship
team in 1982. The Tar Heels were considered virtual locks for their third Final Four
trip in four years.
Against that, Indiana brought to Atlanta a
mix-and-match unit that Knight had tinkered with — 17 different starting lineups
— all season long in an effort to find his
best combination. In any form, experience
was not its long suit. The Hoosiers had only
one senior, guard Chuck Franz, but he was
not a major contributor.
Most of the production came from two
players: freshman guard Steve Alford, he of
the perfectly parted hair and the picture-
perfect jump shot; and 7-2 junior center
Uwe Blab, whose soft shots and hard hands
had alternately pleased and frustrated
Hoosier fans throughout his career.
Indiana's other "usual" starters came
from a group of four: Mike Giomi, a 6-8
sophomore; 6-5 Marty Simmons, another
freshman; 6-2 sophomore Stew Robinson
and 6-4 swingman Dan Dakich.
By any account, Alford, Blab, et al. did
not measure up to Jordan, Perkins & Co.
And so they arrived in the Omni on a
Thursday night in late March, North Carolina by virtue of a bye, then a second-round
victory over Temple; the Hoosiers, also
with a bye, advancing with a second-round
1984 East Regional
North Carolina 68
Site: Atlanta, Georgia
FGA FTA REB PF TP
2-4 3-4 6 4 7
1-1 2-5 2 2 4
3 3 16
3 5 4
6 2 27
4 2 14
FGA FTA REB PF
8-17 10-12 9 3
3-8 1-2 7 5
1-3 1-2 4 2
ana 32, North Carolina 28
ner, Stitler, Tanco. Attendance:
win over Richmond.
It would be the fourth meeting between
these two great programs. North Carolina
owned a pair of regular-season victories
over Indiana in 1978 and 1979. The
Hoosiers, of course, had come back to register that national championship win in
Philadelphia in 1981.
But this time, virtually no one outside the
state of Indiana gave the team much of a
Knight conceded, "Always before when
we've played North Carolina, it's been a
matchup of two really good teams. This
time, there will be only one."
Even Knight's former player and assistant, Mike Krzyzewski, who by this time
was in his second year at Duke — and