whose team had been one of two that had
beaten the Tar Heels — was anything but
"I would think that Indiana would have
very little chance against them," said Krzyzewski. "I mean there's always a chance
.. .but I would have to think that North Carolina would have to be heavily favored."
Naturally, a great deal of the pregame focus was on the sideline matchup between
Knight and Smith — and the coaches did
have some fun with that.
"I'd take Smith to the pivot and burn his
butt," grinned Knight.
"But I think I'm a little quicker than
Bob," Smith retorted.
Behind the humor, though, serious preparations were underway. Smith, naturally,
fretted over his team's heavily favored status.
"The thing that worries me about Indiana
is that they have good young players who
have improved," he said. "You get this far
and every team is good. People say our
players 'should win.' I don't want them to
think they should win. I want them to play
well and concentrate."
Nor did Knight want his young Hoosiers
to walk on the floor thinking about their
roles as underdogs with nothing to lose.
"We saw the way Coach had
prepared us for the game. And
then we sat down and talked
about it. We knew what we had
to do. We knew if we'd follow it,
we'd be okay."
"People say this is a game where we have
everything to win and nothing to lose,"
Knight said. "I think we've got a helluva lot
to lose. My kids are just as interested in
going on to play another game as a team
that's ranked number one."
Knight had some other concerns. His
point guard, Robinson, had a sprained foot.
He would play, but his effectiveness was in
And then, of course, what to do about the
wonderous Jordan, who was averaging 20
points a game — an average normally based
on that high-percentage shot known as the
"Jordan is obviously a strength they
have," Knight remarked in his final pre-
Tar Heel fans expected their No. 1-ranked North Carolina team to advance past Indiana in the
1984 East regional.
game press conference. "What we have to
do is analyze Jordan, see what he likes to
do and what he does best, see if any of that
can be taken away. Sometimes it can't be.
Sometimes you have to make a decision on
letting a player like Jordan go and then concentrate on everyone else."
Ultimately what Knight decided to do offensively was have his Hoosiers spread the
Indiana "defensive specialist" Dan Dakich
shut down North Carolina's Michael Jordan.
floor in an attempt to avoid North Carolina's half-court traps and work the ball patiently — these were pre-shot clock days —
for good shots from the inside-outside combination of Blab and Alford.
Defensively, the plan was familiar to Indiana followers — a man-to-man defense
with zone principles. Sag back, get in the
passing lanes, get weakside help and deny
the middle. And then, about three hours before game time, he informed Dakich, a gritty but slow player long on smarts but short
on raw athleticism, that the task of defending Jordan would be his.
"I went to my room and threw up," he
would say later.
At game time, 16,723 were in their seats
in the Omni and a national television audience was tuning in from their living rooms.
What they witnessed was quite amazing.
Any doubts the Hoosiers may have had
that they could play with North Carolina
were dispelled in the first half. Those
doubts, in fact, were in the other locker
room at halftime. Alford's buzzer-beating
20-footer gave Indiana a 32-28 lead at the
"We saw the way Coach had prepared us
for the game," said Dakich. "And then we
sat down and talked about it. We knew what
we had to do. We knew if we'd follow it,
we'd be okay. And if not, we'd get blown
North Carolina, though, led only twice