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Top 10 Most Memorable NCAA Tournament Runs 3

Posted on March 18, 2011 by A.J. Foss

The N.C. State Wolfpack made an amazing run through the 1983 NCAA Tournament.

Welcome to the third and final part of the 50 most memorable NCAA tournament runs since 1979.

Today, we look at the best of the best, the 10 greatest tournament runs since the NCAA began to use seeding back in 1979.

10. 1987 Providence

Before the 1986-87 season, the NCAA adopted a three-point line for division I basketball.

The three-pointer became the focal point of Providence’s Final Four run, the first team Rick Pitino took the Final Four.

The sixth-seeded Friars knocked off UAB in the first round, then held off #14 seed Austin Peay with an overtime victory in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16, where the team drained 14 off 22 three-pointers to upset second-seeded Alabama 103-82 to reach the Southeast Regional Final and a date with top-seed and conference rival, Georgetown.

Expecting a barrage of three-pointers, the Hoyas were stunned when Providence went to an inside game and shot only eight three-pointers as the Friars surprised Georgetown 88-73 to make it to the Final Four for the first time since 1973.

However, the Friars could not overcome another Big East team in their national semifinal, as they were defeated by the Syracuse Orangemen, 77-63.

9. 1989 Michigan
Although there were ranked 3rd in the preseason poll and were ranked throughout the season, the Michigan Wolverines’ championship run in 1989 was unexpected because of their coaching situation.

On March 15th, just two days before Michigan’s first tournament game, head coach Bill Frieder announced that he would leave after the tournament was over to become the new head coach at Arizona State.

But athletic director Bo Schembechler relieved Frieder of his duties immediately, saying “A Michigan man will coach Michigan” and promoted assistant head coach Steve Fisher to interim head coach.

All the Wolverines did under Fisher was win all six games and the school’s first national championship in basketball, thanks to the three-point shooting of Glen Rice and point guard Rumeal Robinson.

Rice averaged 30.7 points per game as 3rd seeded Michigan knocked off Xavier, South Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia to win the Southeast regional and make the trip to the Final Four.

Then, Michigan knocked off Illinois 83-81 in their national semifinal when Sean Higgins rebounded  a missed shot and puts it back in for the game-winning basket with two seconds to go, sending the Wolverines to the title game to face Seton Hall.

Robinson made the game-winning free throws with three seconds left in overtime to give Michigan an 80-79 victory, the national title, and the head coaching job for Fisher, who stayed as the Michigan head coach until 1997. Read the rest of this entry →

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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is the only football player ever to capture college football’s top individual award twice.

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