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36 Years Ago Today…NC State Won the National Championship

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36 years ago today, the Cardiac Pack won the 1983 NCAA Championship against highly favored Houston.

Below is the full writeup from the NC State Media Guide:

NC State’s second national championship was as unexpected as its first was anticipated. The 1983 Wolfpack, head coach Jim Valvano’s third NC State team, was a veteran unit with a gifted backcourt in seniors Sidney Lowe and Dereck Whittenburg, and an All-America candidate at forward in senior Thurl Bailey. Although expectations were high that NC State could return to national prominence
in 1983, few expected anyone from the ACC other than Virginia and North Carolina to contend for the national championship.


The Wolfpack, coming off a 22-10 season the year before, got off to a strong start. The Pack won seven of its first nine games, heading into a January 12 game at Reynolds against Virginia. UVa had won five straight from the Wolfpack prior to that meeting.


The season turned when Whittenburg, who had scored 27 first-half points and led the Pack to a 16-point lead late in the first half against the Cavaliers, broke his right foot when he landed wrong on the foot of a UVa player early in the second half. Not only did the Wolfpack let a big lead slip away and absorb its sixth consecutive loss to the Cavaliers, but team doctors informed Valvano after the game that Whittenburg was lost for the season.


Following Whittenburg’s injury, NC State lost three of its first four games. Then, the tide began to turn. The Wolfpack won eight of its next 10 and began to pull back together as a unit. At 16-8 with three regular-season games remaining, things were looking up again. Whittenburg, recovering faster than expected, was cleared to return to the lineup.


He reappeared against the Cavaliers in Charlottesville, and though the Wolfpack lost, the season began to turn again. The Pack finished the regular season 17-10 following a 130- 89 win over Wake Forest in the final game.


SURVIVE AND ADVANCE

Throughout the postseason, Valvano implored his team to stay close every game and put itself in a position to win at the end. “Survive and advance,” Valvano would say, and the Wolfpack took his words to heart with last-minute wins over Wake Forest, North Carolina and Virginia to capture the ACC Tournament title.


The Pack was sent to Corvallis, Ore., for the NCAA West Regionals and a first-round date against Pepperdine. NC State missed its first 12 shots from the field against the Waves, but recovered and managed to force a 47-47 tie at the end of regulation. After Pepperdine built a six-point cushion with less than a minute to play in the first overtime period, it appeared the Wolfpack’s season was slipping away.


Miraculously, the Wolfpack was able to cut the lead to two after Dane Suttle, an 84 percent free-throw shooter, missed the front ends of two one-and-ones. After Whittenburg missed a free throw, Cozell McQueen grabbed the rebound and threw in an incredible off-balance shot from eight feet to send the game into double overtime. NC State went on to a 69-67 victory in the second overtime, and the push toward Albuquerque had begun.
Sixth-ranked UNLV was up next, and after falling behind 52- 40 with 11:40 to play, the Wolfpack went on a run. Bailey hit a jumper with 37 seconds left to cut the lead to 70-69, and after Vegas missed the front end of a one-and-one, he was able to hit a fadeaway bank shot with four seconds to play for a 71-70 win.


NC State cruised to a 75-56 win over Utah in the regional semifinal matchup, setting up another meeting with Virginia in the regional final. Whittenburg continued his sparkling long-range bombing, and the Pack stayed close throughout. Virginia owned a 62-61 lead, when Sampson fouled Lorenzo Charles with 23 seconds remaining. Charles made both free throws, and the Pack was headed to the Final Four.

THE FINAL FOUR

Houston vs. Louisville was the headliner game in the first round of the Final Four, a game most people said would really decide the national championship. But while much of the basketball world awaited the Cougars and Cardinals, Jim Valvano and his Wolfpack came to Albuquerque and stole the show, on and off the court. Valvano, glib and mercurial on his feet, immediately stole the media spotlight, taking the pressure off his team, which faced 18th-ranked Georgia in the other semifinal matchup. The Wolfpack smoked the Bulldogs, building an 18-point lead with less than five minutes to play before hanging on for a 67-60 win that sent NC State into its second national championship game in nine years.


When Houston destroyed Louisville in the other semifinal game, the NC State-Houston game was viewed as a major mismatch by the national media, though the Wolfpack had won four games against top 10 teams (North Carolina, Virginia twice, and UNLV) in the month of March.
Houston hoped to control the game with its superior front line, led by All-Americans Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. The Wolfpack game plan was simple – control the tempo with its peerless guard play. Lowe played all 40 minutes, scored eight points, had eight assists, five steals and no turnovers. He dominated the game from the backcourt. Whittenburg played 39 outstanding minutes, hit six long-range bombs, scored 14 points and had five rebounds. Bailey and McQueen, meanwhile, helped tighten the defense on Olajuwon. Bailey delivered 15 points and five rebounds, and McQueen added four points and 12 rebounds.


The Pack forced the action in the first half and held a 33-25 lead at halftime, but Houston charged back after intermission and took 42-35 advantage following a 17-2 run. The Pack was once again searching for a miracle.


Turnovers and several missed free throws allowed the Wolfpack to tie the game at 52-52 with 1:59 to play, and after Houston missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:05 to play, NC State worked the clock to the 44-second mark and called a timeout.


Valvano wanted to hold the ball until 10 seconds remained, and then have Lowe penetrate in hopes of creating a shot. Instead, State wound up with Whittenburg launching a wild shot from 30 feet. When the shot came up short, Charles was there to grab the rebound and slam it home as time expired to give the Wolfpack a 54-52 win and its second national championship.


For the second time in less than a decade, the state of North Carolina celebrated a Wolfpack national championship, and this time, the entire country was captivated thanks to the charismatic Valvano and the manner in which his determined team of underdogs slayed one Goliath after another in the month of March.

NC State Media Guide

The famous buzzer beater…

Check out the FULL GAME below.

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Forward Ernest Ross Enters the Transfer Portal

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NC State Forward Ernest Ross announced today that he is entering the Transfer Portal.

 

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Ross played in 14 games this year, averaging 3.4 minutes per contest. After playing in 34 games last season, averaging 11.4 minutes per contest, Ross saw his participation dip to a career low this season, but that didn’t for a second break his infectious personality. On the sideline, you could count on Ross every single game to be the heart and soul of the Wolfpack on the bench. To watch a player who played as little as he did, care as much as he did, makes me super proud that this young man represented NC State so well.

Ross was a consensus 4-star player in the 2021 recruiting class, with 247Sports ranking him as the #60 overall player nationally. ESPN ranked him as the #5 overall player in the state of Florida.

Ross has one more year of eligibility remaining.

NC State has 3 scholarships available now.

Best of luck Ernest!

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NC State Basketball

What did the Wolfpack’s Incredible Run to the Final Four Mean to NC State Legend Chris Corchiani?

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What did NC State’s miraculous run to the ACC Championship and Final Four mean to Wolfpack legend Chris Corchiani? I caught up with the man who is still NC State’s all-time leader in Assists and Steals to get his take.

What was it like for you watching NC State go from the #10 seed in the ACC Tournament, to winning the Championship, to going to the Final Four?

Man, it was unreal. They caught lightning in a bottle and it was an absolute amazing run. They were a mediocre team all year that turned into a feared team that nobody wanted to play! To win the ACC championship in 5 days and to get to Final Four…..Wow!!

What did this run say about Kevin Keatts and these players? In what ways did you see them adapt, change or persevere?

Keatts received a lot of criticism for 7 years and after this run is deserving of great praise. I think shortening the lineup to 7-8 guys and doing away with the full court press and playing solid half court defense was a great move that obviously paid huge dividends. He also kept this team together which was not easy as they lost last 7-9 going into the. postseason. The guys also grew confident in their roles and played possessed!

As one of the best players to ever wear the Red & White, what did this run mean to you personally?

This run was something I have dreamed about happening and the fact it was so unexpected made it so much sweeter! To see the students, alums, boosters, and fans get what we all have been waiting for was the best!

What was the most memorable moment for you?

Most memorable for me was going to Final Four with my family and enjoying catching up with old friends, boosters, friends and teammates!

How do you think this run can change things for the NC State Basketball program going forward?

This run gives us momentum in so many ways. Listen, this was good not only for our hoops team but for our University! Hopefully our recruiting will take a big step forward with kids wanting to run with the Pack! A month of free advertising should be Huge for the future of our Men’s and Women’s basketball programs!

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When NC State legend Chris Corchiani left NC State, he not only held the school’s record for career Assists and Steals, but he also was career leader in ACC conference history. His 40.8% career Three-Point Percentage ranks 7th in school history. Corchiani was the first player in NCAA history to have 1,000+ career assists.

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ON3’s Jamie Shaw Puts in a Prediction Georgetown SF Transfer Dontrez Styles will Land at NC State

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ON3’s Jamie Shaw put in an RPM earlier today for Georgetown Small Forward Transfer Dontrez Styles to land at NC State. All-time, Shaw’s prediction accuracy is 87%.

I spoke with a source, and it seems like this prediction has some merit.

ON3 ranks Styles as the #66 overall prospect in the Portal.

Styles was the 2nd leading scorer for Georgetown this season, averaging 12.8 points per game, while grabbing 5.8 boards. He shot 36.8% from three.

Originally, Sytles was a consensus 4-Star prospect in UNC’s 2021 recruiting class. 247Sports ranked him as the #62 overall player nationally, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina, playing for Kinston High School.

After two seasons with the Tar Heels, Styles entered the Portal, and took an Official Visit to NC State and Georgetown, and ultimately chose the Hoyas.

With his final year of eligibility, maybe he’ll make the right choice this time.

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NC State Basketball

Tennessee Guard Freddie Dilione V is Visiting NC State Tomorrow

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Tennessee Transfer Guard Freddie Dilone V (6’5″/195) is visiting NC State tomorrow.

Dilone V just wrapped up his Redshirt Freshman season with the Volunteers, averaging 1.7 points in 5.2 minutes of play per game (18 games).

In 2022, Dilone V was a consensus 4-Star prospect, and the #33 overall prospect nationally according to Rivals. ON3 and 247Sports both ranked Dilone V as the #1 player in the state of North Carolina, playing right down the road at Word of God Academy in Raleigh.

Currently, 247Sports ranks Dilone V as the #71 overall player in the Transfer Portal, and the #10 Combo Guard. He played his first three seasons of high school ball down in Fayetteville at Trinity Christian.

Dilone V has 3 more years of eligibility.

 

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