Madness, Cinderella’s, upset and number one the land this could only be one thing march madness and to celebrate the NCAA is creating 75 great moments in the tournaments history.
If a person had to chose the top 75 moments in tournament one would probably say at the top are UCLA Championship, Christian Lattener buzzer beater, Florida’s back to back, George Mason Final four, VCU final four ETC.. However at the top of that list few would deny that the number one moment is NC State wining the national title not just because of what the story was but because of how great Jimmy V was a person and coach.
In 1979 Noam Sloan the Wolfpack’s greatest coach in their history resigned from the university to return to coach were he started, Florida. When the coaching process began name started to float around one that popped up was Jimmy V. At the time if one looked at Jim Valvano one would say he was inexperienced, young , and didn’t know what he was doing because it seemed as if, he was not from this country. Well as luck would have it NC State would give Jimmy the job and from that day it seemed as if Jimmy Valvano was destine to win a national championship, however the first year did not go so well as they did not make it to the NCAA tournament. Although they didn’t make the tournament Jimmy had ritual that always stuck. The ritual would be to cut the net year after year to get use the feeling of a champion. In 1981, NC Qualified for march but failed to make to it out of the first round however two years late it was a whole different story.
In the year 1982-1983 NC State looked dangerous thanks to juniors, seniors good team chemistry. The juniors and seniors that year were Lorenzo Charles , Spud Webb, Cozell Mcqueen Derrick Wittenberg and Sidney Lowe. When the season started NC State came out firing finishing the first half of the season with a 9-2 record then in the first game of conference play it went down hill when Derrick Wittenberg injured his leg which would keep him out until the ACC tournament. After that game they would go to lose 8 out of the next 18 games and went from ranked to unranked and no shot of being in the tournament. However Jimmy knew one thing if they won the ACC it would be a sure lock.
In the first game of the ACC tournament NC State welcomed back Derrick Wittenberg and boy were they happy to see him. At the end NC state and would go on to win 71-70 thanks to missed fouls shots by Wake Forest and great coaching. In the second game NC State played Michael Jordan who was on North Carolina and they knew in order to beat them they would have to get him out and have good shooting game. Well as luck would have it NC State did it again and Michael fouled out before the overtime and then when the over time happened NC State took over and went on to win. In the finale they faced Virginia, and Ralph Samson who would dominate. Until they came up with the triangle 2 defense and then after that NC State took over and would tie the game, and eventually would move on to win by 2 and move to the Dance.
During that year the phrase survive and advance became popular when Jimmy once announced it during a press conference. In the NCAA tournament this phrase became very true because every game in that tournament was a close game where NC state never won a game by more than 8. Every game they played it seemed as if they were destined to be champions. In the championship game they faced Houston and Hakeem Olajuwon the man who had mission to win a championship. Knowing this NC had a strategy to hold the ball but instead of doing that they came out shooting and kept missing , while Houston kept hitting but coach V had one rule do not let them dunk and that they didn’t which led them to an 8 point lead. After the half Huston woke up and went on a 17-3 which led them to 42-35 lead .However NC still had a feeling they were going to win. When Houston got the lead Hakeem became tired because of altitude and then found themselves Houston holding the ball to early which led to the momentum shifting to NC’s side. When momentum shifted they went on an 8-0 run. The key to the of the game was Huston missed free throws and because of that the game was tied at 52. With a minute the name of the games was foul the freshmen and that did and when he missed. After that a time out has called and when they in bounded NC passed the ball around and around held the ball for the last shot. With 6 seconds left Sidney made a baseball pass to Wittenberg and caught it ,took a shoot, and air balled and although that happened Lorzeno caught the air ball hit the shot and NC pulled off the biggest Cinderella story in the history of the NCAA.
Ten years late Jimmy V faced cancer and fought it hard and became the spokesman for the Jimmy foundation. As the spokesman he kept talking about how we had to fight cancer not for him but for other people. Then a couple months before he died the events happened that defined the team and Jimmy. At the ESPYS Jimmy made the speech of a lifetime where he said do not waste any moment make use of all the time you have . When he said that the crowd clapped and remembered that in that championship game where every second and every minute was used even to the last second and that is why the Cinderella won that night. Lastly the reason this moment is greater than all other moment is because it was probably one of the biggest upset’s in tournament history which led to the NCCA championship being won by a Cinderella team.