20 Years Ago Today

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Dean Smith won his second NCAA title with a team that epitomized everything about Carolina basketball.

Has it really been 20 years?

If you are so inclined and have an hour and twenty minutes, the NCAA has the complete game online here. Of all the seasons of UNC basketball, 1993 might always be my favorite. It was my senior year of high school and remember watching most of that season with my father who passed away eight years ago this week. The 1993 season had the FSU Comeback Game in the Dean Dome. That game has been made even more magical because now we see it as our first clue this team was destined for greatness.

As for the game itself, in my mind it still stands as one of the best NCAA title games I've seen, especially in terms of the quality of play. Both teams shot a hair under 50% and there were a total of 28 fouls called for the entire game including only 11 in the second half and some of those came from Michigan playing catch-up. If there was one complaint it was the 24 combined turnovers but in most of those such turnovers were a result of good defense and not sheer slopiness.

Of course this game will always be remember for Michigan's Chris Webber taking a timeout his team did not resulting in a technical foul.

As Dean Smith once said, UNC's chances of winning the game at that point were favorable even if Webber doesn't call the ill-fated timeout. The Tar Heels were up two with 11 seconds left and had Webber trapped in the worst place on the floor by UNC's two best defenders Derrick Phelps and George Lynch. There was also the matter of fouls with UNC having three to give meaning they could force Michigan to inbound the ball three more times against pressure resulting in precious seconds draining off. Besides all of that, Webber traveled. Even Billy Packer said so.

It is also important to note this was Dean Smith's second title and the list of coaches who had one more than one is not a long one. Smith would end up topping the all-time wins list and while his greatness was never in dispute by rational people, the second title was the death blow to any notion that greatness was somehow undeserved. The game itself and the season as a whole were a masterful work of coaching art by Smith.

And the passage of years only makes us appreciate it more.

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