Though eager Beavers Charlie Sitton and Lester (The Molester) Conner dammed up Georgetown's Eric Smith at right, the Hoyas shot a tournament-record 74.4% to beat Oregon State in the West regional and advance to the Final Four in New Orleans. Georgetown defeated Louisville and North Carolina downed Houston in the semifinals, allowing a couple of high school rivals from Gastonia, N.C. to hook up before a crowd of 61,612 Superdome fans in one of the finest NCAA title games ever. Sleepy Floyd scored Georgetown's final basket in the Hoyas' 63-62 loss to Carolina; UNC's James Worthy made the game-saving steal after his teammate, freshman Michael Jordan, stuck a 17-footer with 17 seconds left that won it. For Georgetown Coach John Thompson, who'd taken over after a 3-23 season 10 years ago, it was the penultimate thrill. For Carolina Coach Dean Smith, who has been so well-Heeled in talent year after year, it meant vindication on two fronts. He finally had an NCAA title in his seventh Final Four appearance, and he'd done it his way, with a stubborn faith in his system. And for a collegiate sport so fraught with scandal, Carolina's victory was an affirmation that a program above suspicion could win. Louisiana Tech won the first NCAA women's title with a 76-62 defeat of Cheyney State (Pa.). The Lady Techsters' 69th win in their last 70 games capped a 35-1 season.
Freshmen grew up quickly. Auburn's Charles Barkley averaged double figures in scoring and rebounding. Keith Lee of Memphis State had the highest board scores in his class (11 per game) and led the Tigers to the Metro Conference regular-season and tournament titles. LaSalle Guard Steve Black topped the nation's frosh in scoring (20.0 ppg), while other backcourtmen, e.g., Chris Mullin of St. John's and Ennis Whatley of Alabama, and forwards like Carolina's Jordan and Villanova's Eddie Pinckney, stepped right into starting and starring roles. But the most promising of the newfledged lot was Patrick Ewing of Georgetown. He and his team struggled early, and an altercation in a Christmas tournament and taciturn demeanor earned the 7-foot center an unfair reputation as "the nastiest Ewing since J.R." But by March, Ewing and the Hoyas began cleaning up.
Tennessee's Dan Federmann shows Eric Richardson his backhand.
Eddie Pinckney of Villanova, which lost to UNC and Jordan (23) in the East regional final, gets all tangled up in Carolina blue.
Georgetown's T-shirted marvel, Ewing, played superb defense in the NCAA tournament. Here he lowers the boom on Rodney McCray of Louisville.
Worthy (52) was the tournament MVP, but Ewing inadvertently gave Carolina 10 points with five defensive goaltends in the NCAA final.
Tar Heel Jimmy Black, all akimbo, hangs in limbo.
Idaho's Phil Hopson skys big (above), while a K-Stater disappears on the dark side of Moon McCrary (22) and Prince Bridges of Missouri.
Chuck Verderber of Kentucky did face up to Alabama's Phillip Lockett (above), but the Wildcats took it on the chin in the SEC tournament. Fresno State's Donald Mason (right) scales Mountaineer Phil Collins.
Here's Verderber again, helping to hem in Sean Tuohy of Ole Miss.