North Carolina coach Dean Smith assembled the "greatest team of all time" in 1984, according to Virginia's Terry Holland.
— 4-0 and 8-4 early. Then the Hoosiers
reeled off six straight points to take a lead
they would never lose.
Perkins was getting his points inside, but
the rest of the Tar Heels were cold. Jordan,
especially, somehow could not shake that
slow defender, Dakich, and never scored on
one of his patented, back-door alley-oop
North Carolina succeeded in forcing
Hoosier turnovers but when Indiana did get
into the frontcourt, its offense was efficient,
effective and precise. The presence of Blab
inside provided shots for Alford outside.
And Robinson, despite his sprained foot,
came off the bench to handle the ball
against North Carolina's pressure and stick
some shots of his own.
As the game wore on and the Hoosiers
stuck gamely to their lead, frustration began to mount among the Tar Heels. Alford,
en route to a 27-point night, finally sparked
the Hoosiers to a 59-47 lead with just 5:54
But North Carolina was too talented —
and too proud — to go quietly. With the
Hoosiers opening the door by missing four
straight one-and-ones, the Tar Heels
charged back, scoring 10 unanswered points
to cut the lead to just 59-57. Bedlam
reigned in the Omni.
"I didn't think the game had gotten
away," Knight said later. "My only thought
was that I didn't want to see the kids put
forth that kind of effort and lose because of
missed free throws."
Ultimately, however, they won it at the
free throw line. North Carolina made the
mistake of fouling Alford and the nation's
best free throw shooter — .913 on the season — knocked down six straight. Robinson
added two more, then came Blab — Indiana's poorest foul shooter — with two at 19
seconds and finally, the clinchers, a pair by
Giomi with five seconds to play.
Indiana 72, North Carolina 68.
In the end, shooting told much of the story. The Hoosiers had made 65 percent (24
of 37 shots) from the field. The Tar Heels,
number two in the nation in field goal percentage coming in, had made only 42 percent of their tries. Perkins (26 points)
proved to be North Carolina's only effective
offensive player. Jordan fouled out with
1:11 to play with 13 points, seven below his
"Vd have to say that Indiana is
four points better than the
greatest team of all time.
Indiana played as well as any
team I've ever seen."
"Maybe that was the only time in five or
10 times we could beat them," Knight
would say. "But we did what we had to do
to win. We knew it was going to be tough,
but there was a way.
"Part of championship play is emotional
preparation and involvement," he continued. "Maybe North Carolina didn't have
that in total. We were not a formidable opponent. We had lost to some average
But on this night, they had upset a great
"I've never felt," said Knight, "that you
can't get something done. There has to be a
Virginia's Terry Holland, who had declared North Carolina the best team ever,
was asked what he thought in the aftermath
of the upset. "I'd have to say that Indiana is
four points better than the greatest team of
all time," Holland admitted. "Indiana
played as well as any team I've ever seen."
Two days later, however, Indiana did not
play that well. Holland's Cavaliers had
more than a little to do with it, defeating
the Hoosiers in the regional championship,
50-48, for the trip to the Final Four in Seattle. A