BOZICH | 10-Point Indiana-North Carolina Rivalry Primer
What is the recruiting scorecard between Tom Crean and Roy Williams? How many Hoosiers have left the state to play for the Tar Heels? Ten tidbits to get you ready for IU vs. UNC.
ALONG THE ROAD TO PHILLY (WDRB) – On the road again.
Take your pick. I’ve borrowed those words from A) Canned Heat; B) Willie Nelson or C) the WDRB Sports team.
I’m guessing your answer was C. As Tom Lane, Mike Lacett, Jacob Davis and I make the drive from Louisville to Philadelphia on Wednesday (ETA: 8 p.m.) for the NCAA Tournament East Regional, I’ve assembled 10 Quick Takes on Indiana Vs. North Carolina.
1. McDonald’s All-American Scorecard
I ran the numbers on the recruiting rankings of both teams. The talent factor leans heavily toward the Tar Heels. No surprise, right?
Counting guys who are injured and sitting out as transfers, there are 27 McDonald’s all-Americans still playing in the NCAA Tournament. Of the teams in the Sweet 16, nine have at least burger boy. (I'm more amazed that seven do not have any, including a pair of Number One seeds -- Oregon and Virginia.)
UNC and Duke are the leaders with six each. Indiana has three – senior guard Yogi Ferrell, sophomore guard James Blackmon Jr. (who is injured) and freshman Thomas Bryant.
2. Recruiting Crossover
IU coach Tom Crean has tried to improve the Hoosiers’ talent by fishing in the same recruiting pond as programs like North Carolina.
Crean and UNC coach Roy Williams battled vigorously over five players. The Tar Heels signed three (Kennedy Meeks, Theo Pinson, Kenny Williams) and the Hoosiers signed two (Troy Williams and Robert Johnson).
3. Common Opponents
More overlap than usual this season between the programs. They had five common opponents: Northwestern, Maryland, Notre Dame, Duke and Wake Forest.
UNC went 5-2 against that group with an average winning margin of 9.1.
Indiana went 3-2 with an average winning of 6.6.
4. Dakich vs. Jordan
The second most famous North Carolina-Indiana game was the 1984 East Regional semifinal in Atlanta.
What you remember is that IU coach Bob Knight gave his fifth starter (Dan Dakich) the assignment of guarding North Carolina’s best player (Michael Jordan), right?
He did the job – as Dakich is happy to remind you on his daily radio show in Indianapolis. (And he should be happy to remind you.)
In his final college game, Jordan bricked his way to 13 points by missing eight of 14 shots. He fouled out and watched Indiana win, 72-68.
Dakich had more fouls (five) than points (four), but he did an excellent job of forcing Jordan to take jump shots instead of feasting at the rim. Three Indiana players did outscore Jordan – Steve Alford (27), Uwe Blab (16) and Stew Robinson (14).
Outscored by Blab and Robinson in his final college game? Goodness gracious sakes alive.
Dakich did a wonderful interview about the game with Grantland several years ago. I’ll also share the money quote after he was asked if the Hoosiers were tougher than the Tar Heels that night.
“One hundred percent. I remember making fun of Brad Daugherty raising his fist to come out. I remember Coach Knight telling us, ‘Any one of you wants to come out of this game, you ain’t getting back in. We’re going to let them do that.’
“He was kinda making fun of them, too. Before the game, he said, “We’re going to be tougher than them, because they’re not tough.” And they weren’t. They were pretty, they were athletic, but they weren’t tough. At least that night.”
5. Isiah Shall Lead Them
IU and North Carolina played for the 1981 NCAA title.
Like Friday’s game, that one was played in Philadelphia (at the Spectrum, which has been flattened and replaced by the Wells Fargo Center).
Like this season, Indiana was led by a point guard who wears No. 11. That would be Isiah Thomas. He scored 23 as IU beat North Carolina, 63-50, on the day when the game was nearly postponed because President Ronald Reagan was shot earlier that day.
Thomas wore 11. Dakich wore 11. Yogi Ferrell wears 11.
6. The Computer Rankings
Here are the latest computer numbers:
Ken Pomeroy’s formula favors North Carolina by five points with a 66 percent win probability.
Jeff Sagarin’s formula also favors North Carolina but only by 2.46.
The Vegas line is holding at UNC by 5 ½.
7. Benedict Hoosiers
Dean Smith started North Carolina’s recruiting push into Indiana – and the Tar Heels have continued to work the state with reasonable success.
UNC chased and signed Darrell Elston (Tipton), Dave Colescott (Marion), Rick Fox (Warsaw), Eric Montross (Lawrence North), Jonathan Holmes (Bloomington South), Sean May (Bloomington North) and Tyler Zeller (Washington).
Indiana has not been as successful pursuing guys from North Carolina. I can only remember two – George Leach, a center on IU’s 2002 national runner-up team and guard Josh Newkirk of Raleigh. Newkirk is sitting out this season at IU after transferring from Pittsburgh. He played at Word of God Academy, John Wall’s high school.
8. Williams over Crean
Roy Williams and Tom Crean met in the 2003 Final Four in New Orleans – and it was not pretty for Crean. Kansas and Williams rolled Crean and Marquette, 94-61 on a day when the Golden Eagles shot 31 percent and missed 13 of 16 three-point shots. Kansas ran the Dean Smith corner break to perfection, generating enough easy baskets to make 53.5 percent of its shots.
9. Crean over Williams
Crean and Williams also met in the 2012 ACC/Big Ten challenge in Assembly Hall. Crean and the Hoosiers rolled, 83-59, behind Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Ferrell. Indiana pushed the pace and ran the Tar Heels into submission.
10. Series Scoreboard
The programs should play on a regular basis. They don’t. But they have played 13 times – and Indiana has won five
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