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YouTube Gold: ESPN’s 1986 NCAA Tournament Preview

This is really interesting on several levels

Clarkson NCAA Archive
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 31: Johnny Dawkins #24 of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles up court against the Louisville Cardinals during the 1986 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship held at Reunion Arena on March 31, 1986 in Dallas, Texas. Louisville defeated Duke 72-69 to win the national title.
Photo by Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Every once in a while it becomes clear that 1986 was a long time ago.

In 1986, Mike Krzyzewski got Duke to the Final Four for the first time in his career and the fifth in Duke’s history.

Dick Vitale was still a fairly recent ESPN employee, having arrived there the year before Coach K got to Duke, and as you’ll see in this 1986 tournament preview, he was still playing it pretty straight (although the Vitale-isms were starting to creep in).

Bob Ley was using a physical pointer to to point out the matchups; there were no slick graphics. Eddie Sutton was still at Kentucky.

Duke was the first team mentioned and Vitale was pretty high on the Blue Devils (he was pushing Krzyzewski for the national coach of the year).

Interestingly, UNC isn’t mentioned until it’s about 13:20 in. Keep in mind that this was when Dean Smith was still in Chapel Hill and still very much in his prime.

It’s fun to watch this first because it’s cool to see the time capsule aspect and second because, well, it just looks so different than what we’re used to.