Help is exactly what Sampson himself got from Lee Raker off the bench and Othell Wilson on the foul line when the Cavs beat Villanova 54-50. But that game again displayed Virginia's inability to get Sampson the ball low, even against massive John Pinone. And unless Jeff Lamp learns to shoot in TV games, Virginia could easily be defeated.
After Kansas State beat Oregon State, the only questions remaining in this region were who had the best front line in the land, Utah or North Carolina? And what is there that Wyoming's Charles Bradley can't do?
Bradley, the Cowboys' 6'5" monster guard, did everything but round up the herd against Howard and Illinois, but a teammate's late rebound foul enabled Illinois Forward Mark Smith to make two free throws, granting the Big Ten's third-place team, along with Illinois Governor James Thompson (orange and blue war-paint daubed on his executive dimples), another trip west.
Mobile guards Derek Harper and Craig Tucker, scoring Forward Eddie Johnson and defensive Center Derek (The Incredible Hole) Holcomb have made the difference for the Illini. But this team is most effective in a sprinting contest and the wily Hartman with his deliberate Kansas Staters, will have none of that. Color the game K-State purple.
While the North Carolina trio of Sam Perkins, James Worthy and Al Wood (the beauties who combined for 56 points against Pitt) and the Utah trio of Danny Vranes, Tom Chambers and Karl Bankowski (the beasties who combined for 63 points against Northeastern) are working each other over, the Tar Heel-Ute game may well be decided by whose point guard performs more consistently, N.C.'s Jimmy Black or Utah's Scott Martin. Still it's the 6'9" scoring marvel, Perkins, who makes North Carolina the choice to win here.
Perkins has given the Tar Heels the capability to play Virginia and Sampson head on. Coach Dean Smith's team led the Cavs by 13 and 16 points in their two regular-season meetings before losing both; there is genuine dislike between the coaches and the squads, and the Tar Heels swore they wouldn't be denied in a third challenge.
All in all, an appetizing menu. Be prepared for more super stand backs.