Meadowlands: In-between Day Pressers

By David Scott - March 24, 2007

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Welcome back to the Continental Airlines Arena where the in-between day press conferences and player/coach availibility is scheduled to begin in about 15 minutes.

The match-up most folks were anticipating (and media members were begging for) has come to fruition as No. 1 seed North Carolina will face No. 2 seed Georgetown in what is being billed as the 25th Anniversary re-match of the 1982 NCAA Championship game played at the New Orleans Superdome on March 29, 1982.

UNC won that historic battle 63-62 on a 16-foot jumper with 15 seconds left by a precocious freshman named Michael Jordan. Georgetown's Fred Brown, on the ensuing possession, threw the ball away into the hands of James Worthy to clinch the first National Championship for Dean Smith and launch the Era of MJ.

"Jordan had his best game as a freshman in the final, but Worthy was the obvious MVP," said Dean Smith in the UNC media guide. "His play gets overshadowed because of Michael's shot. The play was No. 1 to post up Worthy, then have Perkins come in behind him. or you could go crosscourt to the wing for Michael and was wide open from 17-18 feet. It looked good, i was right in line with him. Then we put on our scramble defense. Worthy was out of position, but Jordan stopped the pass that made Fred Brown throw it away."

The teams have met four times since then, splitting those games (1989-90 and 2002-03 games went to Georgetown; and 1994-95 and 1999-00 to UNC). Overall, the series is even at 4-4. UNC is 2-0 in NCAA Tournament play against the Hoyas (the other win coming on March 23, 1995 in the Southeast Regional semifinals in Birmingham, Ala.).

While that storyline will be overplayed and overhyped in the next 27 hours (and throughout the CBS broadcast which tips at 5:05 EST on Sunday), the overall effect of that game on this Regional Final is negligible at best. Yes, there's a Ewing on the floor for Georgetwon tomorrow night as there was in '82 and yes, Roy Williams was an assistant coach on that Smith staff. But this is a completely different era of college basketball and the stakes are arguably higher (at least monetarily and in terms of exposure) in this game than they were in '82.

. . . The team's last met, oddly, in the NIT quarterfinals in Chapel Hill in 2003 in Matt Doherty's final game as Tar Heel head coach as the Hoyas won 79-74 in a down year for both teams. What a difference four years makes.

. . . Just got to meet CSTV's Brian Curtis who is working his rear off here in East Rutherford and is getting geared up for the Atlanta sojourn where the network has some major plans to bring wall-to-wall coverage. Curtis's producer and camera man have been working the phones all morning long as they set up some special features which you're going to need to tune into CSTV to watch.

. . . A little bit of buzz in the media room concerning the perception that Jeff Green may have travelled on his game-winning move and bank-shot. We've seen the replay several times and we're not buying the travel. He fumbled the ball, which he admitted and there's no way you can travel when you don;t have possession of the ball. Just something for the talk radio folks to burn the lines about. No referee has ever determined the outcome of a game by himself. Never.

That said, Taj Gibson's fourth and fifth fouls in the nightcap for USC were sketchy at best and Tim Floyd said as much (coyly) in the post-game.

. . . We're heading over to the pressers and we'll be back periodically, so stick with us you Hangers-on.

Posted by David Scott at 01:25 PM on March 24, 2007

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