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It is a simple exchange of positions—one man posting up inside, the other vacating the area to clear out the riffraff, a maneuver contrived long before Dean Smith became the resident genius at Chapel Hill. But in the North Carolina design the strategy inspires terror simply because of the two gifted players who work it. Before thundering into Raleigh's Reynolds Coliseum on Sunday, the Tar Heels had won 29 games. In the East Regional finals they won No. 30 by defeating Villanova 70-60 and thus became the first team since UCLA in 1976 to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament two years in a row.
Working in tandem, James Worthy and Sam Perkins doubled their pleasure and doubled their fun, but they weren't the whole story. In fact, Carolina Point Guard Jimmy Black may have been just as valuable with his 11 points, 10 assists and the way he shut down the wild excursions of his Villanova counterpart, Stewart Granger (2-for-8 shooting and passes that barely stayed in the building). But just the presence of Perkins and Worthy, the regional MVP, seemed to turn the game to Carolina.
Consider Villanova Coach Rollie (as in Raleigh) Massimino and poor John (the Bear) Pinone. Rollie was coaching like the dickens and the Bear was playing his considerable heart out in the suffocating heat of the Coliseum, and the Wildcats, relying on their multiple zones, were behind only 41-36 with a little more than 10 minutes to play. But then Carolina came out in its spread-court delay game, and now Villanova couldn't get the rest it desperately needed. The 'Cats and the Bear had to chase. At 9:08, Worthy spun around Pinone for a bucket. At 7:37, Perkins jump-hooked over Pinone for another.
In between these plays the exhausted Pinone and his cohort inside, Ed Pinckney, were drawn outside, so the Tar Heels' Matt Doherty cut back-door from the corner for a three-point play. "They're so well trained," said Pinone. "Not only great players but smart players. That makes it all the more difficult to guard them."
If that sequence wasn't enough to discourage faltering Villanova, the Tar Heels at one stretch made 10 field goals without a miss. Pinone and Pinckney never gave up—their points-rebounds figures exceeded those of Worthy and Perkins 32 and 16 to 27 and 12—but Massimino recognized superiority.
"A wonderful team, a clean team, maybe the best team," he said of North Carolina.
Villanova was hoping to gain a little prestige by going once in a row. Their 23 pre- Raleigh victories and regular-season Big East championship had gone virtually unnoticed, mainly because of three straight losses to Georgetown.
Before Villanova's 70-66 overtime defeat of Memphis State, Massimino pumped up Pinckney, his 6'9�" freshman forward, vis-�-vis Keith Lee, the Tigers' 6'10" freshman forward. "All we heard was Lee, Lee, Lee," Massimino said. "I told Eddie the only difference between him and Keith is that Keith's better. That got him." What Pinckney got next were 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, most of the latter after Lee had gone to the bench with four fouls.
In truth, the Wildcats' aggressive mix-master zones and traps—Forward Aaron Howard at the controls—prevented Lee from creating scoring opportunities, and Villanova seemed in command even as Memphis State stayed close during the 12:04 Lee sat in the second half. When Lee, whose curly, processed hair recalls Jimi Hendrix in full cry, had concluded his riff (14 points, four rebounds) and fouled out at 4:58 and the 'Cats ahead 58-57, it was Villanova's game.