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The Untouchables
Alexander Wolff
April 08, 1996
It wasn't always pretty, but Kentucky rubbed out scrappy Syracuse to win its sixth national championship
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April 08, 1996

The Untouchables

It wasn't always pretty, but Kentucky rubbed out scrappy Syracuse to win its sixth national championship

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The players felt that internal pressure so keenly that in one case it gushed forth like a geyser. Last week Pope was watching a segment on Geraldo about runaway kids and suddenly found himself sobbing uncontrollably. After the final, a spent Pope just shook his head recalling how he had lost it. "Ridiculous," he said. "It was Geraldo!"

From that summer trip to Italy, where this splendidly deep and talented team first started to come to terms with its depth and talent, reserve guard Jeff Sheppard most vividly recalls one episode. He and his teammates had gathered on Aug. 19, the night Mike Tyson made his comeback against Peter McNeely, and together they had played cards and gabbed until the bout came on Italian TV at six in the morning. "We stayed up all night," Sheppard recalls, "for a fight that lasted 89 seconds."

That's a parable for a powerful Kentucky team that won the championship by a TKO. And a reminder of a certain freshly adorned finger belonging to a man possessed—possessed of his first NCAA title.

You can pucker up now, Your Holiness.

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