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Elite Eight Battle Between Duke and Kentucky in 1992 was a Classic Thriller 0

Posted on March 24, 2022 by Chris Kent

I

t was a game that epitomized March Madness. The 1992 East Regional Final of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament between Duke and Kentucky was as thrilling a game as one can imagine. Basketball pundits and fans everywhere witnessed a game for the ages. It was an instant classic packed with as much drama as a play on broadway in New York City.

Actually, it was played in Philadelphia, PA at The Spectrum and featured the east region’s top two seeds. On Saturday March 28, 1992, the Blue Devils and the Wildcats battled in a game that is remembered as a theatrical masterpiece. Veteran broadcasters Verne Lundquist and Len Elmore called the game for CBS Sports and did a masterful job. With a trip to The Final Four on the line, the two nationally ranked powers went back-and-forth much of the game leading up to a frantic, thrilling, and dramatic finish.

Having just fallen behind by one point on a Kentucky basket after which they used their final timeout with 2.1 seconds left in overtime, Duke inbounded the ball under the Wildcats’ basket. Sophomore forward Grant Hill prepared to make the long inbounds pass which was nearly the full length of the court. The call by Lundquist sounded like this:

“There’s the pass to Laettner…puts it up…(Buzzer sounds) Yessssssssssss!

Hill’s long inbounds pass was caught by 6-11 senior forward/center Christian Laettner just outside the top of the foul line where he made a turnaround jumper as time expired. Echoes of Lundquist’s call have lingered on for decades since this fabled play.

Christian Laettner makes a turnaround shot to beat the final buzzer lifting Duke over Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional Championship Game of the NCAA Tournament. The win sent the Blue Devils to their fifth straight Final Four. Click on the above photo to watch a replay of this full game, one of the best basketball games ever played.

Ecstasy resulted for the Blue Devils while Kentucky was left in anguish. Laettner’s basket, a swish, lifted Duke to an improbable 104-103 win and sent the Blue Devils to The Final Four for the fifth straight year. Wildcat senior forwards John Pelphrey and Deron Feldhaus, each standing 6-7, defended Laettner on the final play. Pelphrey made a reach for the ball before backing off to avoid fouling for Kentucky. Feldhaus was closer and raised both arms up on Laettner as he took the epic shot.

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Waiting for the Weekend: Inconsistency of Justice 3

Posted on June 16, 2017 by Dean Hybl

Thee NCAA punishment for Rick Pitino and Louisville is the latest inconsistency in justice from the NCAA.

Thee NCAA punishment for Rick Pitino and Louisville is the latest inconsistency in justice from the NCAA.

The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) was created in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt primarily to oversee and make safer intercollegiate football as well as to oversee eligibility in intercollegiate sports. The name of the organization was changed in 1910 to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Over the last 111 years, this organization has grown to become one of the most hypocritical behemoths within the United States. Though considered a non-profit, the NCAA generates billions of dollars in revenue annually while their primary labor force receives no direct compensation from the association. To make it even worse, those “student-athletes” are penalized by the organization if they dare to attempt to receive anything other than a college scholarship and minimal gifts and awards for participating in tournaments or championship competition.

I could spend thousands of words illustrating examples of the hypocrisy and exploitative nature of the organization, especially when it comes to student-athletes. But, I do not intend to make that the subject of this column.

Instead, I want to briefly explore the announcement this week of penalties against the Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball program and head coach Rick Pitino.

The NCAA is investigating what ineligible players may have appeared in games for the Cardinals from 2010-2014 as part of an alleged sex-for-pay scandal involving a Louisville assistant coach and basketball recruits. If any players were deemed to have performed while they should have been ineligible, then Louisville could be forced to vacate victories, including their 2013 NCAA Championship.

Though he has not been directly implicated, head coach Rick Pitino was suspended by the NCAA for five ACC games next season.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if a Louisville coach was involved in paying women to have sexual relations with basketball recruits, that is morally abysmal and just another example of how some in college athletics have crossed the line. However, much like the Penn State scandal of a few years ago where the university and football administration were without question guilty of failing to meet simple ethical standards, they weren’t necessarily guilty of anything that specifically provided the team with an on-the-field advantage by providing a special benefit or keeping a player eligible.

That lies in very deep contrast to the University of North Carolina, whose men’s basketball team won the NCAA Championship just two months ago. The University and many athletic teams, including the men’s basketball program, have been under the cloud of an academic scandal in which the credibility of an entire department at the college was fabricated for many years, in part to help ensure that student-athletes could remain eligible.

Yet, not only was UNC allowed to participate in the last two national championship games, their head coach, Roy Williams, is regularly lauded by the NCAA and coaches association for his “ethical” behavior.

There is an old saying that the NCAA is so upset with the actions at UNC that they put UNC-Wilmington on probation for ten years. In this case, it almost seems that the NCAA is working with the University to try and make the entire issue go away. It is a stark contrast to how the NCAA handles much less significant scandals at other institutions. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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