Sunday, April 5, 2009

Shades of 1981?

DETROIT -- As North Carolina prepares for the NCAA title game against Michigan State on Monday, many North Carolina basketball fans no doubt recall an unsavory reversal of fortune with a Big Ten opponent in the 1981 national championship game.

The Tar Heels that season lost to Indiana in the final game at Philadelphia, 63-50. It was the same day — March 30, 1981 -- that President Ronald Reagan was shot on a Washington street by John Hinckley, Jr.

In the Spectrum arena a few hours after the shooting, NCAA officials almost postponed the championship game even though the third-place game — Virginia 78, LSU 74 -- was already under way. It wasn’t until Indiana coach Bob Knight and the Tar Heels’ Dean Smith agreed to play that the NCAA actually decided to proceed as scheduled.

Almost overlooked in the pre-game conversation was the fact that Indiana and Carolina had played earlier that season with the Heels taking a 65-56 win their Carmichael Auditorium on Dec. 20, 1980.

The second game went almost opposite from the regular-season meeting when Indiana pulled away from a 27-26 halftime lead to rule most of the second half. In the game at Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels turned it on after intermission and basically shut down Hoosiers’ star Isiah Thomas.

When Michigan State of the Big Ten and the Heels meet for the title Monday night at Ford Field, it will their second game this season. The Tar Heels buried the Spartans, 98-63, in the same building on Dec. 3.

And by the way, that '81 game in Philly was the last time Carolina reached the championship game and didn't win it. -- Caulton Tudor


Anonymous said...

Het Tudor...find a retirement home.

Anonymous said...

Great, yet another "historical omen" story that has zero to do with this year's game.

Anonymous said...

Like I said on Except for MSU's emotion and revenge factor, this article offers superstition as analysis. What happened 28 years ago in the same arena has little or no bearing on tomorrow night's outcome. If Carolina loses, it will be because MSU outplays them. Please be aware that Carolina has its own emotion and revenge factors-certain seniors' final game and last year's embarrassing showing against Kansas.

Matt Privett said...

Here's a historical omen or whatever...

1993: UNC played in HI. UNC lost at Wake. UNC Lost 3 regular season games. UNC lost in the ACCT. UNC beat a Big 10 team for the title.

2005: UNC played in HI. UNC lost at Wake. UNC Lost 3 regular season games. UNC lost in the ACCT. UNC beat a Big 10 team for the title.

2009: UNC played in HI. UNC lost at Wake. UNC Lost 3 regular season games. UNC lost in the ACCT. UNC plays a Big 10 team for the title.

Anonymous said...

Nice research, Matt. Get a life!

Anonymous said...

Hey Tudor....stop hating on the heels (hating is 21st century for bad-mouthing...thought i'd help you out since that word wasn't part of the vernacular when you where a younger pup).

I got an idea, let's sit around and come up with arbitrary stats and try to tack them onto the story...hmmm, let's see. Every time Roy Williams has eaten 2 egg whites for breakfast AFTER he has a slice of wheat toast on a Tuesday morning, his team loses on a Monday. Get real, write something worthwhile, or wait for next season like the rest of the Carolina haters. GO HEELS

Cliff said...

Y'all don't be so hard on the guy. He was just bringing up an interesting tidbit. Matt's stats make more sense though. Go Heels !

Anonymous said...

When the moon is full you have to turn completely around 3 times, throwing salt over your shoulder and chanting, "go heels" in order for the Heels to win.


Anonymous said...

If Tudor has to look back 28 years to find a loss for the heels, he will probably camp out for Caroilna football this year. He will find a lot of hating material.

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Anonymous said...

Oh come on. In 1981,I was there, the Heels limped into Philly with an injury list an arm long...remember James Worthy's broken leg? Outside of Al Wood, the lineup was not the one which got them to the final. They pounded UVA with Sampson, one of the top 2-3 teams in the semis. If worthy had been healthy, it would not have been close....sour grapes, but fact of life. Indiana did not belong on the same court as the Heels in 1981- check out the 1982 team with no injuries!