Ultimate March Madness Final Four: 1992 Duke Blue Devils vs. 1982 North Carolina Tar Heels

Two legendary in-state rivals go toe-to-toe

Like the other Final 4 game between Indiana and Kentucky, this would be an intense battle between rivals that hate each other. Both teams are extremely talented, as well.

Let’s take a look at the starting lineups?

Starting Lineups

1982 North Carolina Tar Heels

G – Michael Jordan

G – Jimmy Black

F – James Worthy

F – Matt Doherty

C – Sam Perkins

1992 Duke Blue Devils

G – Bobby Hurley

G – Thomas Hill

Forward – Grant Hill

Forward – Brian Davis

Center – Christian Laettner

First Half

Both teams are athletic and early on the difference is the toughness of Bobby Hurley, who constantly beats Jimmy Black off the dribble and slashes to the hole, repeatedly finding Grant Hill and Christian Laettner for easy baskets. The Heels respond with Worthy and Jordan, who are near unstoppable.

The flow to the game is fast, probably faster than Coach Dean Smith wants, but the first ten minutes are played evenly and at the ten-minute mark the score is tied 24-24.

Sam Perkins knocks down a three but is immediately answered by Bobby Hurley. The teams continue to slug it out. Still tied with under a minute left in the half, Jordan steals a pass and hits Worthy for a fast-break dunk to pull the Heels in front by 2 points. The Devils set up for the last possession of the half and Hurley drives and throws a bounce pass to Cherokee Parks who hits a layup as he is fouled from behind for an old-fashioned 3-point play, giving the Devils a 41-40 halftime lead.

Second Half

The intensity picks up even more in the second half (If that’s even possible). Jimmy Black does a much better job on Hurley and the Heels are starting to help out quicker, which makes Hurley’s drives less lethal. Sam Perkins hits a couple of 3-point shots and Jordan is impressive slashing to the basket. On the other side, Grant Hill has a hot hand also and with 10 minutes left, it is still tied 58-58. Neither team has led by more than 4 points at any time in the first 30 minutes of the game.

This will come down to free throw shooting and that should give an advantage to the Blue Devils. As the clock ticks down to 5 minutes, James Worthy dunks over Thomas Hill to extend the Heels lead to 4. On the ensuing Duke possession a missed three-pointer by Hurley leads to a quick transition basket by worthy and the Heels have the biggest lead of the night at 71-67. Coach K calls timeout with a little over 4 minutes to go.

Over the next 3 minutes, both teams hit a couple baskets each, making it 75-71 with a minute left. Hurley gets on the ground for a loose ball, tying up Black and causing a jump ball with the possession arrow pointing at Duke. With 35 seconds left Hurley pulls up from the top of the key and hits a huge 3-point shot to trim the lead to just one point. Duke presses to try to get the turnover but to no avail and the Devils end up fouling Matt Doherty with 22 seconds left on the clock. Doherty misses the first and the other off the front of the rim.

Christian Laettner rebounds the ball and gets it to Hurley, who pushes the ball up the court. Hurley dribbles the clock down to the 10-second mark and then drives to the basket at the 7-second mark. He hits Grant Hill on the right block. Hill pump fakes, goes up strong and puts the ball off the glass. The ball kicks out to the other side of the floor, Laettner races in from the backside, grabs the miss, and lays it in right as the buzzer sounds, giving Duke an incredible 76-75 win to advance to the Ultimate March Madness Championship game against the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.

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