In 1983, almost no one thought that NC State could beat Houston. Hakeem Olajuwon was a junior and obviously gifted but he was not yet what he would ultimately become. Houston also had Clyde Drexler though, and several other guys who were just tremendous.
The Pack just didn’t measure up, at least on paper. But State did have some advantages.
First, their guards, Dereck Whittenburg and Sidney Lowe, played four years together at DeMatha and four at State. Who gets eight years together before they’re 23?
And second, State had had some tough luck during the season. Whittenburg was injured for a long stretch and the Pack was no lock for the tournament. And it was no easy path to the Final Four either. State had some very narrow escapes including a Western regional final win over Ralph Sampson’s Virginia.
We’re sure everyone has seen the last second shot that made Jim Valvano a superstar but this tape of the game is a treasure because it’s not edited.
So you see Houston’s Guy Lewis saying he wants to run and that he thinks the team that dunks the most will win. He was right - the winning dunk was the only dunk of the game.
Second, you see the amazing talent of Olajuwon emerging. He finished the game with 20 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks.
But who remembers that Drexler had four first-half fouls? And who remembers that State’s backcourt scored all of its second-half points until Lorenzo Charles hit his buzzer beating dunk?
But that’s not all.
This video also includes all the pre-game, the post-game and all of the original commercials.
It’s a time capsule. Check out the State Farm lady, the ads for the Chevrolet Chevette at just 9.9 percent, and maybe most of all, IBM explaining supermarket scanner technology.
Then we get to see Cozell McQueen stand on the rim, along with a teammate, and watch the Wuffies hoist each other up to cut down the nets. Apparently there were no ladders in 1983. And there was no One Shining Moment - that would come later.
Anyway, if you get a chance, watch the whole thing. It’s an amazing piece of video archeology and the game will still give you chills.