Yesterday morning we received the matchups for the 2022 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and spoiler alert: the Tar Heels will not face off against Michigan, Ohio State, or Michigan State. Crazy, right? A little bit of change for once? This however doesn’t mean that their opponent isn’t a familiar one, as the Heels will have to travel to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers in Assembly Hall.
If it feels like it’s been a while since these two teams faced off, it is because it has been. The the Tar Heels and the Hoosiers met was on November 30, 2016 in Assembly Hall, and UNC lost 67-76. Since 1999, the Heels have a 2-4 record against Indiana, with one of those wins transpiring during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Overall, Indiana holds a 9-6 record over UNC, making them one very few Power Five schools able to make that claim (Texas, Iowa, and West Virginia are the other schools that hold that honor).
The most discussed game between these two schools involves former Indiana player and sports analyst, Dan Dakich. I’m sure many of you encountered him during his time on ESPN: he was the guy that broke down every single molecule of the game, called the 2015-16 UNC Final Four team soft, discussed how he “shut down” Michael Jordan, and how the GOAT still owes him money from a golf game. While it is true that Indiana took down Michael Jordan’s 1984 UNC team in the NCAA Tournament, Dakich remembers things a lot differently than what actually happened. Here’s a quote from the late Hall of Fame Indiana coach, Bob Knight:
“There were only two things I thought we could do with Jordan: take away the backcut and keep him off the backboard,” said Knight. “Dakich was about 6-foot-5, not very quick but a tough kid. I thought he was the best we had to do both of those things.
“We knew Dakich wasn’t going to be able to overplay Michael and keep him from getting the ball. So we underplayed him-backed him off and pretty much gave him the jump shot, which wasn’t nearly the weapon then that it became for him. He (Jordan) did two things that just killed you-he was great going to the bucket without the ball, and he was a very, very good offensive rebounder. But not that night.
“We told Dakich in the hotel the night before the game that he was going to guard Jordan. He told the press later his reaction was, ‘I went back to my room and threw up.’”
The Daily Hoosier does a great job of telling the truth about what really happened that night — Jordan had two fouls in the first half and so he only played eight minutes, and for the entire game he only played 26 minutes. He also stated that he felt the pressure of trying to play 40 minutes worth of a game in 26 minutes, and so he just never got anything worthwhile going.
If you don’t want to take The Daily Hoosier’s word for it, though, let’s see what Jordan himself had to say:
“I am not diminishing what he did. I think he did exactly what Coach Knight wanted him to do,” Jordan said.
“But (the media) made it a one-on-on proposition. Being the competitor that I am, and hearing the only one who could ever stop you was Dan Dakich … when I look back at the shots I had, I lick my chops. I just missed them.”
Needless to say, there’s enough history between the Hoosiers and the Heels to make this year’s ACC/Big Ten challenge game a fun one. It’s nice to finally play an opponent that the Heels don’t see often, and also is nice to have another opportunity to laugh at Dakich. But what do all of you think about this matchup? Let us know in the comments below.