Wolfpack Postseason Run Brings Back Memories of ’74 and ‘83

— Written By
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

This may seem like an unusual article for the Extension Website, but we are the face of N.C. State in Henderson County so a little leeway is in order. In particular, given the recent success of the N.C. State basketball team this postseason.

By the time the weekend is over, the Wolfpack Men’s Basketball team may be on their way home OR on their way to the Final Four. Let’s also make note that the Wolfpack Women could possibly be a Final Four team this year as well.

But this rDavid Thompson scores over Bill Walton in 1974 NCAA Basketball Tournament semifinals.ecent success and some of the coincidental similarities bring back visions of the two greatest seasons in Wolfpack Men’s Basketball history – 1974 and 1983. Both of these years ended with National Championships and while the current season may not have such an ending, it’s an eerily similar feeling. Let’s look at this a little closer.

The Wolfpack went into the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament with no chance to make the NCAA Tournament except by winning the conference tourney. After having lost their last four regular season games, that seemed unlikely and a quick trip back to Raleigh from Washington, D.C. seemed imminent. Not so fast. The Wolfpack pulled off wins over Louisville, Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, and North Carolina in consecutive days to bring home the trophy and get the automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed. This coming after having just lost to Duke and UNC less than 10 days earlier.

Harken back to 1983 when N.C. State went into the ACC Tournament with a 17-10 record and virtually no chance to make the NCAA Tournament. The final game of the season in Reynold’s Coliseum saw the Pack blow out Wake Forest by 41 points and they had beaten UNC and Duke in the prior two weeks unlike this year. A promising season had been derailed when star guard Dereck Whittenburg broke his foot in the first meeting with No. 1 Virginia that year.

On a personal note, I was the sports editor of the Technician, the N.C. State student newspaper at the time and covered all of their games that season from courtside. In the first round of the ACC Tournament, they played Wake Forest again and squeaked out a one-point win. It was spring break and I had gone home and did not attend that game. I was a little put out that I was going to have to travel to Atlanta and likely see them ousted by UNC.

Oh, me of little faith. Not so fast. The Pack defeated UNC in the semis and Virginia in the finals to win their ninth ACC Championship. Boy, am I glad I decided to go. Bedlam ensued.

Let’s go back to 1973-74. Times were a bit different. The Wolfpack was ranked No. 1 in the country with their single loss coming in December to defending seven-time National Champion UCLA.

Maryland was ranked No. 4 in the country and the two squared off in what many consider the best college basketball game ever. David Thompson and Tommy Burleson went up against Len Elmore and John Lucas in a 103-100 overtime win in the ACC Championship game. At the time, only one ACC team went to the NCAA Tournament and Maryland stayed home – possibly the best team ever to not make the NCAA Tournament.

Of course, the 1974 team went on to beat the defending champion UCLA Bruins in the semifinals in double overtime to avenge the early-season loss and end Coach John Wooden’s seven-season dominance of college basketball. Then the Pack easily handled Al McGuire’s Marquette team in the championship game to win their first NCAA Tournament Championship.

This year’s N.C. State team has come alive late in the season. Finishing the regular season 17-14, the team has now won seven straight games. After winning the ACC Tournament, the team entered the South bracket as the No. 11 seed and upset No. 7 seeded Texas Tech in the first round and squeezed by No. 14 seeded Oakland in the second round in overtime in what was reminiscent of their first-round double overtime win in 1983 over Pepperdine – the No. 11 seed in the West in that tournament.

Oddly enough, this brings us to the upcoming game on March 29 against Marquette, the No. 2 seed in the region. As mentioned above, the Pack coincidentally beat Marquette in the 1974 national championship game. So, it’s not the first time the two have faced off in NCAA postseason play.

Look a little further down the bracket for some more irony. If the Pack manages to get past Marquette, they will play the winner of the Duke vs Houston game in the regional finals. Well, how about that, the same Houston team that N.C. State defeated for the 1983 National Championship or an all-to-familiar foe in Duke.

Should the Pack make the Final Four, only a dream at this point, they wouldn’t likely face any other foes from their famous runs in 1974 and 1983. So, the irony would end there. However, it is a great feeling to at least be back in the hunt. It’s been a long time. I remember fondly, being in the press room and interviewing, Coach Valvano, Thurl Bailey, Dereck Whittenburg and Sydney Lowe after that great last-second win over Houston.

I remember Thurl giving me a piece of the net that he had helped cut down in the Albuquerque arena known as The Pit. Whether the Pack pulls off another magical run in 2024 or not, I am hopeful that more nets will be cut down in the future. So glad there’s a little excitement about men’s basketball at N.C. State for the first time in a long time. Wes Moore’s women’s team has been doing this for the past five years at least with three ACC Championships in a row in 2020, 2021 and 2022. All I can say is Go Wolfpack!!