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Retro THB: 1994 UNC at Duke

With UNC-Duke happening this weekend I thought it would be fun to reach back and watch one of the older versions of this rivalry. The year is 1994, UNC had just won an NCAA title a year after Duke had gone back-to-back. The Tar Heels returned four starters and added a talented freshman class. UNC started the season ranked #1 and while played at high level was never quite as good as everyone expected. Duke was bouncing back from a 2nd Round loss in 1993 and the graduation of Thomas Hill and Bobby Hurley. The two teams met on March 5th in Durham with Duke already having clinched the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament and UNC at #2.

Let's take a trip to 22 years ago.

1:50: The broadcast opens with an intro from Grant Hil and holy crap can you believe we used to wear sweaters like this? Hill delivers a monologue about the UNC-Duke Rivalry with the rhythmic drumbeats of Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight" playing in the background. Somewhere Butch Davis is totally fired up.


2:25: I am old enough to remember when UNC and Duke were just 11 miles apart, apparently that was the case in 1994.

3:08: Amazing how calm and nearly tolerable Dick Vitale was at this point. Mike Patrick hasn't changed in 22 years and I don't mean that in a good way.

4:50: Player introductions with "In the Air Tonight" as the backdrop because it's the 1990s..

Brian Reese is starting instead of Jerry Stackhouse. I can only imagine what the fan base would do with that today.

Cameron Crazies do the "Hi , *player name* you suck" They even do it to Dean Smith.

UNC starting five: Derrick Phelps, Donald Williams, Brian Reese, Rasheed Wallace and Eric Montross.

Duke's starting five:  Chris Collins, Marty Clark, Antonio Lang, Grant Hill and Cherokee Parks

7:55: Derrick Phelps starts out guarding Grant Hill. Phelps is probably one of the better defenders in UNC history.

9:40: All four of UNC's points have come from Rasheed Wallace, the second basket was on a dunk.

10:30: The more things change, the more they stay the same. UNC tossing the ball into the paint early and often versus Duke.

Eric Montross was only shooting 57% at the free throw line.

11:40: Another Rasheed Wallace dunk. This was a recurring theme throughout his career versus Duke.

13:10: Three of UNC's first four FGs are dunks. Brian Reese comes down the lane and gets a pass from Montross for the dunk.

13:55: Patrick and Vitale talking about Donald Williams deterioration as a shooter. He had two injures during the season and at one point went 1-18 on FGs. Patrick notes he is no longer a reliable outside shooter. Sounds eerily similar to a current UNC player.

16:40: Kevin Salvadori makes an appearance. He would have gotten a ton of "why does Dean play him so much" treatment in the message board era.

18:30: Seeing what Duke had left after Grant Hill left, it should have been surprising  how the 1995 and 1996 seasons went.

19:30: Dick Vitale has his first verbal orgasm over something a Duke player does. It was Grant Hill.

20:40: This UNC team was really deep. Second unit included Salvadori, Jeff McInnis, Dante Calabria and Jerry Stackhouse. McInnis enters the game and promptly hits a three.

21:00: Then McInnis takes a ten foot jumper in a 3-on-1 break when he had Wallace wide open and ready for a lob at the basket.

22:45: UNC's second unit also had problems stopping Duke and scoring, even with Wallace on the floor allowing Duke to take a 21-15 lead by the second media timeout.

24:05: Dante Calabria: Best Hair in UNC History?


24:25: Scores at the bottom of the screen show UAB and St. Louis were both ranked teams in 1994.

25:01: ESPN had a 1-900 number you could call and pay 95 cents per minute to get scores. Yes, really.


27:10: Dick Vitale with the uncomfortable ethnic comment. Erik Meek protests a call by Frank Scagliotta. Vitale says: "He can't talk Italian and that's Scagliotta, he can't understand a word he's saying. " Vitale proceeds to butcher Italian. Mike Patrick has  a long pause before he says anything.

28:35: More hand wringing over Donald Williams' shooting. "What's wrong with Donald Williams?" is the long lost cousin of "What's wrong with Marcus Paige?"


36:30: Has anyone heard from Marty Clark since he left Duke?

38:20: Eric Montross called for his third foul in the first half on a highly questionable call. Even Patrick and Vitale thought the call was hot garbage.

44:30: At halftime Duke lead 40-39.

General comment. Dick Vitale still did his excitable act and took every opportunity to talk up Duke(and to lesser extent Dean Smith) Even with all that he also did actual Xs and Os analysis.

48:55: Dick Vitale begging for Derrick Phelps to shoot open threes. Phelps shot 37% from three in 1994(25-66). He didn't shoot them much but when he did he wasn't bad. Still that wasn't really Phelps' game.

51:00: Even after Phelps drives and hits a floater, Vitale kept harping on him needing to shoot threes.

52:55: Phelps takes an open three. Vitale loves it even though he missed the shot.

53:40: Cherokee Parks is destroying Eric Montross in this game though Montross has three fouls in the first half.

55:00: "Duke plays, essentially, seven players" So that hasn't changed either.

55:45: Donald Williams wasn't shooting threes but was able to score off drives. He hit a variety of tough shots.

57:20: Charge/block calls sucked even in 1994.

59:00: Eric Montross picks up his fourth foul with 12:43 left in the game. Game tied 55-55.

1:03:31: Some guy named Tony Moore who apparently played very little came off the bench and dunked on Rasheed Wallace. Okay not on him, more like near him since he was allowed to live.

1:08:15: Grant Hill's mother roomed with Hilary Clinton in college. Bet none of them thought Clinton would be running for President 22 years later.

1:11:25: Dick Vitale still harping on Derrick Phelps to shoot threes. Phelps was averaging two 3PA per game in 1994, he just doesn't take them that often.

1:12:00: Erik Meeks gets a dunk in transition and UNC goes back the other way for a spectacular dunk by Rasheed Wallace. His reaction.


One of the great tragedies of life is we didn't have Twitter back then for all the stuff Wallace and Stackhouse did at UNC.

1:13:15: UNC goes up seven, Duke calls timeout and out of the timeout the Tar Heels go zone. Classic Dean Smith move.

1:15:50: Eric Montross accidentally hits Derrick Phelps in the throat forcing Phelps out of the game. Jeff McInnis in his place hit two free throw line jumpers near the end of the shot clock to help UNC slowly pull away.

1:18:19: The Les Robinson Invitational in all its glory.


1:22:30: For some reason near the end of the game Duke fans started chanting "ACC! ACC! ACC" Reference to the fact Duke had won the regular season? Leftover cheer sheet from a non-conference game got passed around by mistake?

1:22:50: UNC wins 87-77 pulling away over the final five minutes.

UNC went to the ACC Tournament the next weekend and won three games to secure a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. After a brief struggle with Liberty in the First Round, UNC was upset by #8 seeded Boston College. That was the game Derrick Phelps was knocked out by what today would have been at least a flagrant one if not flagrant two by Danya Abrams. The season that started with dreams of a repeat ended in disappointment.