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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--North Carolina State (26-10; coached by Jim Valvano/third of 10 seasons with Wolfpack; finished in a tie for third place in ACC with an 8-6 record).
NIT Champion--Fresno State (25-10; coached by Boyd Grant/sixth of nine seasons with Bulldogs; finished in fourth place in PCAA with a 9-7 record).
New Conferences--Association of Mid-Continent Universities (forerunner of Mid-Continent/Summit League) and ECAC South (forerunner of Colonial Athletic Association).
New Rules--It is no longer a jump-ball situation when the closely guarded five-second count is reached. It is a violation, and the ball is awarded to the defensive team out of bounds. . . . An opening round was added to the NCAA Tournament, requiring the representatives of eight automatic-qualifying conferences to compete for four positions in the 52-team bracket. . . . The current tourney format was established that begins the event the third weekend in March, regional championships on the fourth Saturday and Sunday, and the national semifinals and final the following Saturday and Monday.
NCAA Probation--Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Wichita State.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Dale Ellis, F, Sr., Tennessee (22.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 60.1 FG%); Patrick Ewing, C, Soph., Georgetown (17.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 3.3 bpg, 57 FG%); Michael Jordan, G, Soph., North Carolina (20 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.2 spg, 53.5 FG%); Keith Lee, C, Soph., Memphis State (18.7 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.1 bpg, 50.2 FG%, 82 FT%); Sam Perkins, C, Jr., North Carolina (16.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 52.7 FG%); Ralph Sampson, C, Sr., Virginia (19 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 3.1 bpg, 60.4 FG%); Wayman Tisdale, C-F, Fr., Oklahoma (24.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 58 FG%).
National Player of the Year--Sampson (AP/UPI/NABC/USBWA/Naismith/Wooden).
National Coaches of the Year--St. John's Lou Carnesecca (28-5/NABC, USBWA); Houston's Guy Lewis (31-3/AP), and UNLV's Jerry Tarkanian (28-3/UPI).
Parity was more than a rhetorical concept this season as an all-time high of seven different schools lost contests after they were ranked No. 1 in the country (Virginia, Indiana, Memphis State, UCLA, North Carolina, UNLV and Houston). In a game hailed as one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history, Ralph Sampson-led Virginia lost at Chaminade, 77-72, in Hawaii (see accompanying box). It marked the first of three consecutive years where Chaminade defeated a Division I team that won at least one NCAA playoff game (before Louisville in 1984 and SMU in 1985).
The Cavaliers finished among the nation's Top 5 in final national polls for the third straight season. But their campaign came to a conclusion in the NCAA Tournament West Regional final when they were stunned by Cinderella N.C. State, 63-62. Virginia also squandered a 10-point lead in the last 4:12 against North Carolina and bowed to the Tar Heels, 64-63, after they scored the game's last 11 points. A tip-in by All-American Michael Jordan cut their deficit to one before his steal and dunk gave Carolina the triumph.
Defending NCAA champion North Carolina had an 18-game winning streak snapped by visiting Villanova, 56-53. The Tar Heels then lost back-to-back ACC road games at Maryland and North Carolina State to post their longest losing streak during Jordan's three-year career. Earlier at Greensboro, Jordan scored a career-high 39 points in a 72-65 victory over Georgia Tech. It was the only time in 101 college contests that he tallied more than his NBA combined regular season and playoff career average of just over 32 points per game. Wilt Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history with more 40-point games than Jordan, who had more than 200 such outings with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. . . . N.C. State senior guard Sidney Lowe, an All-ACC first-team selection, went on to become an NBA head coach before coaching his alma mater. . . . NCAA champion-to-be N.C. State defeated Wake Forest by 41 points in their regular-season finale (130-89) after the Demon Deacons won by 18 points over the Wolfpack earlier in the campaign (91-73).
Wayman Tisdale, the first Oklahoma player since 1947 to become an NCAA consensus first- or second-team All-American, was the first freshman to be named an NCAA consensus first-team All-American. None of the NCAA's seven consensus first-team All-Americans reached the national semifinals. . . . Tisdale (24.5 ppg and 10.3 rpg in Big Eight) and Louisiana Tech's Karl Malone (20.9 ppg and 10.3 rpg in Southland) earned league player of the year honors as freshmen. It was the only season in history that two major conferences had a freshman become player of the year.
Sampson and Tisdale weren't the only players to take "center" stage. In a season dominated by premier pivotmen, other standouts patrolling the middle included NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans Patrick Ewing (Georgetown), Keith Lee (Memphis State) and Sam Perkins (North Carolina).
Houston swingman Clyde Drexler set a SWC record with 11 steals against Syracuse. The All-SWC first-team selection became coach of his alma mater before the end of the century. . . . Texas Southern's Harry Kelly led the nation in scoring with a 28.8-point average, including a national-high, school-record and SWAC-standard 60 points against Jarvis Christian (Tex.). Kelly was named league MVP for the fourth consecutive year. . . . Wichita State's Antoine Carr (47 points vs. Southern Illinois), Akron's Joe Jakubick (47 vs. Murray State), North Texas State's Kenneth Lyons (47 vs. Louisiana Tech in Southland Conference Tournament), North Carolina A&T's Joe Binion (41 vs. Livingstone), Western Illinois' Joe Dykstra (37 vs. Eastern Illinois) and San Diego's Mike Whitmarsh (37 at Loyola Marymount/subsequently tied) established school Division I single-game scoring records. Lyons helped hold foul-prone Tech star Malone to six points. . . . South Florida's Charlie Bradley (28.2 ppg) and George Mason's Carlos Yates (26.8) set school records for highest scoring average in a single season.
Washington State (since 1950), Wichita State (1965), Oklahoma State (1965) and Boston College (1969) finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll for the first time in a long time. Georgia finished in the Top 20 for the first of just two times in school history. Washington State posted an unblemished homecourt record (14-0) for the first time in 66 years. . . . Georgia (24-10/coached by Hugh Durham), Alabama State (22-6/James Oliver), Texas Southern (22-7/Robert Moreland) and South Florida (22-10/Lee Rose) had their winningest seasons in school Division I history. . . . Alabama State was in its first year at the Division I level. . . . Northwestern (18-12/coached by Rich Falk) compiled its only winning record in a 24-year span from 1969-70 through 1992-93. Falk was the only individual at the end of the 20th Century to direct a major college to a single-season record for most victories after setting the same school's single-game scoring standard as a player. . . . Boston College became the only school since 1952 to lead the nation in scoring with an average under 85 points per game (84.3 ppg).
Derek Harper, a guard from West Palm Beach, Fla., became the only one of Illinois' 26 All-Americans during the 20th Century to attend high school outside the state. . . . Ball State guard Ray McCallum, a three-time All-Mid-American Conference first-team selection, eventually coached his alma mater. He won an amazing 70% of his games decided by fewer than six points with the Cardinals in seven seasons from 1993-94 through 1999-2000. . . . Eastern Illinois swingman Kevin Jones, an All-Mid-Continent Conference first-team selection with 17.4 ppg and 3.6 apg, eventually coached Chicago State. . . . Illinois State, coached by Bob Donewald, and Tennessee-Chattanooga, coached by Murray Arnold, made their lone appearances in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll. Arnold won almost two-thirds of his games decided by fewer than five points during the decade with UTC and Western Kentucky. . . . Missouri, coached by Norm Stewart, became the only Big Eight school to win four consecutive regular-season championships after the now-defunct league expanded to eight members in 1959. Center Steve Stipanovich and guard Jon Sundvold earned acclaim as the first Mizzou players to receive recognition on an NCAA consensus first- or second-team All-American squad.
Tulane's Paul Thompson took a 90-foot inbounds pass from teammate Lamar Baker with one second remaining in double overtime and drilled an off-balance 25-footer to give the Green Wave an 80-79 victory at Florida State. Two nights earlier, a 30-foot buzzer-beater by Tulane's Daryl Moreau was the difference in a 49-47 victory over nationally-ranked Memphis State at Tulane Gym (now Fogelman Arena), a snakepit with one of the smallest seating capacities (3,600) among members of elite leagues.
New Orleans lost three consecutive games to LSU the previous four seasons by an average of 26 points before overcoming a school-record 38 turnovers to prevail at LSU, 99-94, in overtime in the first round of the NIT. LSU, which lost to Tulane, 83-72, in the NIT the previous year, is the only school to be eliminated by visiting intrastate rivals in the opening round of back-to-back NITs. . . . Guard Mike Davis averaged more than 10 points per game for Alabama for the third straight season. He went on to succeed Bob Knight as Indiana's coach in 2000 before returning to the South as coach for UAB. . . . William & Mary, coached by Bruce Parkhill, went unbeaten in the ECAC South en route to an NIT appearance. It was the only time the Tribe participated in national postseason competition in the 20th Century.
The nation's top shot blocker before the NCAA began charting the statistic nationally was Old Dominion's Mark West, who finished his career with an average of 3.8 rejections per game. . . . Backup guard Marc Campbell of Clemson connected on seven of seven three-point field goals in back-to-back ACC games. . . . Georgia Tech lost 14 consecutive games in its series with Clemson until topping the Tigers, 71-66. . . . South Carolina coach Bill Foster missed more than half of the campaign after suffering a heart attack during a game against Purdue. . . . Western Carolina guard Ronnie Carr, the Southern Conference's leading scorer the previous season, suffered career-ending injuries in an auto accident over the summer. . . . Furman swingman Michael Hunt, an All-Southern Conference Tournament first-team selection, went on to become coach at Towson. . . . The SWAC had two head coaches with a son playing for him--Alcorn State (Whitneys) and Jackson State (Covingtons). Moreover, Grambling coach Fred Hobdy had a nephew, William, on his Tigers' roster. . . . Stetson (19-9), coached by Dr. Glenn Wilkes, posted a 10-7 mark in games decided by fewer than four points, including four consecutive one-point defeats in midseason. . . . Southwestern Louisiana (22-7), coached by Bobby Paschal, won five two-point verdicts. Paschal posted a 20-3 mark in two-point decisions with the Ragin' Cajuns in his eight seasons at their helm through 1985-86.
Villanova, winning five one-point verdicts under coach Rollie Massimino after winning four the previous season, finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll for the only time in a 22-year span from 1972-73 through 1993-94. . . . Manhattan, coached by Gordon Chiesa, posted its only winning mark (15-13) in a 16-year stretch from 1975-76 through 1990-91. The Jaspers won fewer than 10 games in nine of those seasons. . . . St. Bonaventure broke West Virginia's 39-game homecourt winning streak, 64-63. . . . LIU's Carey Scurry grabbed a school-record 26 rebounds in a game against Marist. . . . Holy Cross (17-13), coached by George Blaney, had half of its games decided by fewer than five points (8-7 mark in that category). . . . Hofstra center Tim Cluess, a transfer from St. John's, went on to coach Iona. . . . Two-time Ivy League MVP Craig Robinson eventually coached Brown and Oregon State. His brother-in-law, Illinois Senator Barack Hussein Obama, became the nation's first African-American president in 2008. . . . St. Francis (N.Y.) letterman Barry Rohrssen went on to coach Manhattan.
Texas Tech's streak of consecutive winning records ended at 13 when the Red Raiders registered an 11-20 mark. . . . Guard Darrell Browder became TCU's first All-SWC first-team selection in 11 years. . . . Coach Ted Owens, who compiled a losing record (69-74) in 19 years with Kansas in games decided by fewer than five points, was replaced after the season by Larry Brown. . . . Colorado forward Rob Gonzalez paced the nation in free-throw shooting (91.5 percent) to become the only individual ever to lead the country in a major statistical category after previously playing in both games at the Final Four for another four-year school when it captured an NCAA Tournament championship. Gonzalez was a freshman with Michigan State's 1979 titlist.
Wyoming led the nation in field-goal percentage defense for the third consecutive season under coach Jim Brandenburg. . . . Utah State, which compiled a 4-23 record the previous season, improved by 15 games to 20-9 under coach Rod Tueller. . . . Oral Roberts' team voted to boycott when Ken Hayes was fired in mid-season. That put ORU star Mark Acres in the unusual position of having to strike against his father, Dick Acres, who was promoted from assistant to head coach. . . . New Mexico State finished in a tie for third place in the Missouri Valley Conference in the Aggies' final season as a member of the league. . . . Arizona State (19-14) had two-thirds of its games decided by fewer than eight points in Bob Weinhauer's first season as coach of the Sun Devils.
Michael Holton, who led UCLA in free-throw percentage (85.3%), went on to coach Portland for five seasons from 2001-02 through 2005-06. . . . Cal State Fullerton's Leon Wood set a Big West Conference single-season mark by averaging 11 assists per game. Wood had averaged only 1 apg as a freshman in 1979-80 with Arizona before transferring. . . . UNLV won its first 24 games until bowing at Cal State Fullerton, 86-78. The Rebels, coached by Jerry Tarkanian, won their first 10 contests decided by fewer than six points until they were upset by eventual NCAA champion North Carolina State, 71-70, in the first round of the West Regional. UNLV All-American Sidney Green, leading the Runnin' Rebels in rebounding for the fourth consecutive year, would go on to coach in Division I at Florida Atlantic. . . . The number of independent schools in Division I decreased from 52 to 19. There had been as many as 79 independents in the mid-1970s. . . . Baltimore competed in its final season at the major-college level.
1983 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Sophomore forward Lorenzo Charles scored only four points in the title game, but two of them came when he converted guard Dereck Whittenburg's off-line desperation shot from well beyond the top of the free-throw circle into a decisive dunk as North Carolina State upset heavily-favored Houston, 54-52. Houston's 17-2 spurt at the start of the second half was in vain. The Cougars, entering the final with a 26-game winning streak, had a seven-point lead midway through the second half before Houston coach Guy Lewis inexplicably went into a spread offense, a ploy for which he was widely criticized. N.C. State, the first titlist with a double-digit loss total, became the only school to have as many as four playoff games decided by one or two points en route to a championship. The Wolfpack defeated Pepperdine in double overtime after trailing by six points with 24 seconds remaining in regulation, erased a 12-point deficit midway through the second half against UNLV and overcame a 10-point deficit against Virginia in the West Regional final. N.C. State capitalized on its six victims combining to shoot an anemic 56.8 percent from the free-throw line. Pepperdine guard Dane Suttle, an 84 percent free-throw shooter, missed the front end of two one-and-one opportunities in the last half minute against the Pack. "Conceive the inconceivable--then accomplish it," N.C. State coach Jim Valvano said.
Outcome for Defending Champion: North Carolina (28-8) was eliminated in the East Regional final by Georgia, 82-77. The Tar Heels won the ACC regular-season title after recovering from a shaky start when they could have lost four of their first six non-league contests if not for a miraculous 70-68 triple-overtime victory against Tulane. Sophomore backup guard Buzz Peterson, who hit half of his 30 three-point field-goal attempts, went on to coach Appalachian State in the NCAA playoffs.
Star Gazing: Hakeem Olajuwon, who collected 41 points and 40 rebounds (tourney-high 22 vs. Louisville and 18 vs. N.C. State) for national runner-up Houston in two Final Four games, is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player since 1972 not to play for the championship team. . . . Houston backup Dave Rose went on to coach Brigham Young in the NCAA playoffs. . . . Whittenburg led the Wolfpack in scoring with at least 20 points in four playoff games. . . . N.C. State's victory over Houston probably shouldn't be deemed as much of an upset as it is frequently portrayed because both squads boasted five players in their regular rotation who were selected in the first four rounds of an NBA draft. Valvano gained a reputation as a keen late-game coach but he compiled a modest 79-77 mark in games decided by fewer than six points over his 18-year major-college career.
Biggest Upset: The first meeting between in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville in more than 24 years was memorable as the Cardinals outscored the Wildcats 18-6 in overtime in the Mideast Regional final to reach the Final Four. Kentucky (23-8) might have prevailed if center Sam Bowie didn't miss the season because of a leg injury.
One and Only: This was the only year when all of the Final Four teams won their conference tournaments--North Carolina State (ACC), Houston (SWC), Georgia (SEC) and Louisville (Metro). . . . This was the only year two teams reached the Final Four despite losing an undergraduate player who defected at the end of the previous season to become an NBA first-round draft choice (Georgia forward Dominique Wilkins, the 3rd pick in the 1982 draft and Houston guard Rob Williams, the 19th pick overall). Georiga is the only school to advance to the national semifinals despite the early defection of a top five draft pick. . . . This was also the only year the four No. 2 seeds combined for a losing record (3-4). . . . Ohio State, which tied for second place in the Big Ten with an 11-7 league mark, became the only team seeded as high as No. 3 despite not winning 20 games. The Buckeyes, entering the playoffs with a 19-9 record, were eliminated in the East Regional semifinals.
Celebrity Status: Arkansas' Robert Brannon, who appeared at the end of the Hogs' victory over Purdue, went on to briefly play defensive end for the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints in 1987.
Numbers Game: UH coach Lewis was unfairly characterized but he did lose 19 games by fewer than three points over the previous five seasons. . . . Georgia, seeded No. 4 in the 1983 East Regional in its playoff debut, is the only first-time entrant to be seeded better than fifth since the field expanded to at least 48 teams in 1980. The Bulldogs are the last school to reach the NIT semifinals the season prior to reaching the NCAA Final Four. They advanced to the Final Four despite having three in-state products play pivotal roles for other SEC institutions--Tennessee forward Dale Ellis, Mississippi State guard Jeff Malone and Kentucky forward Kenny Walker. . . . La Salle's Steve Black scored a tourney-high 31 points in a 76-67 setback against Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of the East Regional. . . . Princeton's Pete Carril posted his first NCAA playoff victory in his 17th season.
What Might Have Been: Houston swingmen Clyde Drexler and Michael Young and forward Larry Micheaux combined to score 47 points per game. If only they combined for 17 points instead of 14 points in the championship game, the Cougars could have defeated N.C. State rather than losing by two points. Drexler played only 25 minutes after drawing four fouls in the first half. . . . Boston College (25-7 record/without John Bagley), Indiana (24-6/Isiah Thomas), North Carolina (28-8/James Worthy) and Ohio State (20-10/Clark Kellogg) might have advanced farther in the playoffs if standout players had exercised their remaining eligibility instead of turning pro. Indiana was also without All-American forward Ted Kitchel, the Big Ten's leading scorer who had his career ended by a recurrence of a disk problem. . . . DePaul (21-12) probably would have participated in the NCAA Tournament instead of the NIT if Terry Cummings didn't defect early to the NBA. . . . The first NCAA Tournament appearance in 18 years for Oklahoma State (24-7) might have been more successful than one-game-and-out if forward Joe Atkinson didn't miss most of the season because of a broken wrist. Atkinson, a starter as a freshman, was the Cowboys' leading scorer and rebounder the next two years. . . . Washington State (23-7) could have advanced farther in the West Regional if leading scorer Guy Williams didn't mangle his knee at Oregon on a twisting dribble while trying to break the Ducks' press. . . . Pepperdine (20-9) might have given N.C. State even more problems in the West Regional if starting center Scott McCollum didn't miss the season because of a knee injury. McCollum went on to become the Waves' leading rebounder the next year. . . . Wichita State (25-3), featuring a terrific tandem in Antoine Carr and Xavier McDaniel, probably would have done some damage in the tourney if it wasn't on NCAA probation. The Shockers would have boasted one of the finest frontcourts in NCAA history if Cliff Levingston didn't leave early for the NBA.
Putting Things in Perspective: Maryland (20-10) defeated N.C. State twice by a total of 14 points before losing in the second round against eventual national runner-up Houston. Virginia (29-5) defeated the Wolfpack twice by a total of 19 points before losing against N.C. State by one point in the West Regional final. N.C. State lost six of eight games in one span. Five of the Wolfpack's six ACC losses were by at least eight points, including back-to-back defeats by 18 points apiece. . . . The highest-scoring output by an individual against N.C. State was 33 points by Virginia center Ralph Sampson, the unanimous national player of the year.
NCAA Champion Defeats: At Louisville (5-point margin), at Missouri (7), at Virginia (8), at North Carolina (18), at Wake Forest (18), at Memphis State (4), at Maryland (5), Notre Dame (1), at Virginia (11), and Maryland (9).
Scoring Leader: Dereck Whittenburg, North Carolina State (120 points, 20 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Steve Black, La Salle (46 points, 23 ppg).
Rebounding Leader: Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston (65 rebounds, 13 rpg).
Thurl Bailey, F, Sr., North Carolina State (35 points, 15 rebounds in final two games)
Sidney Lowe, G, Sr., North Carolina State (18 points, 19 assists)
*Hakeem Olajuwon, C, Soph., Houston (41 points, 40 rebounds)
Milt Wagner, G, Soph., Louisville (24 points/one game)
Dereck Whittenburg, G, Sr., North Carolina State (34 points)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.
Championship Team Results
First Round: N.C. State 69 (Whittenburg team-high 22 points), Pepperdine 67 (Sadler 19)**
Second Round: N.C. State 71 (Bailey 25), UNLV 70 (Green 27)
Regional Semifinal: N.C. State 75 (Whittenburg 27), Utah 56 (Williams 15)
Regional Final: N.C. State 63 (Whittenburg 24), Virginia 62 (Sampson 23)
National Semifinal: N.C. State 67 (Bailey/Whittenburg 20), Georgia 60 (Fleming 14)
Championship Game: N.C. State 54 (Bailey 15), Houston 52 (Olajuwon 20)