In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
North Carolina beats Michigan 77-71 to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final at the Louisiana Superdome. The game, which was close throughout, was decided with 11 seconds left when Michigan star Chris Webber after being double team, attempted to call for a timeout with his team down two points. However, since the Wolverines were out of timeouts, Webber was called for a technical foul, allowing North Carolina to put the game away.
The Fab Five, Jimmy King, Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Ray Jackson, and Juwan Hoard took the NCAA by storm as they quickly became stars as Freshmen at the University of Michigan. Recruited and coached by Steve Fisher, the Fab Five went all the way to the championship game in 1992 before losing in the championship game to Duke 71-51.
Returning for their sophomore year, the Fab Five hoped to get another chance at bringing home another championship to Ann Arbor. Known for their baggy shorts, the Fab Five set new fashion trends in basketball and became a cultural phenomenon. After a 26-4 regular season, Michigan went into the NCAA Tournament as the number one seed in the West Region. The Wolverines began their tournament with an 84-53 win over Coastal Carolina in Tuscon. The second round would be a struggle, as they survived a battle with #9 UCLA to reach the Sweet 16 with an 86-84 win. In the regional semifinals at the Kingdome in Seattle, the Wolverines beat #12 George Washington 72-64 before beating #7 Temple 77-72 in the Elite Eight to punch their ticket to the Final Four in New Orleans.
While Michigan was flashy, North Carolina, coached by Dean Smith, had a quiet confidence. The Tar Heels had been the top-ranked team in the nation before suffering an upset loss to Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. Despite the setback in the conference tournament, North Carolina was still a number one seed in the East Region after posting a record of 28-4. North Carolina’s road to the Final Four began in Winston-Salem, where they beat East Carolina 85-65. They would go on to reach the Sweet 16 for a record 13 straight season beating #8 Rhode Island 112-67. Things would get tougher for North Carolina in the East Regional Semifinals at the New Jersey Meadowlands as they slipped past #4 Arkansas 80-74. In the Elite Eight, the Tar Heels needed overtime to beat #2 Cincinnati 75-68 to win the East Region and advance to the Final Four.
The 1993 NCAA Tournament had some upsets in the early rounds, but in New Orleans, there were no Cinderella teams, as the Final Four had three number one seeds and a number two. With #1 Kentucky winning the Southeast Region, while #2 Kansas came out of the Midwest Region beating #1 Indiana in the regional final.
The first semifinal would see Dean Smith of North Carolina taking on his Alma matter and a long-time protégé Roy Williams. North Carolina got big games from Donald Williams and Eric Montross to beat the Jayhawks 78-68. Williams scored a game-high 25 points, making five of seven three-point attempts, with Montross scoring 23 points to send the Tar Heels on to the championship game. In the second semifinal, Michigan faced Kentucky, who continued to rise into a powerhouse under coach Rick Pitino. The game was as good as advertised as nothing was decided after 40 minutes, with the game tied 71-71. The game's turning point came when Kentucky star Jamal Mashburn fouled out in the middle of overtime after scoring 26 points. With Mashburn on the bench, the Wolverines took control, winning 81-78 to advance to the tournament final as Chris Webber had a game-high 27 points.
The NCAA Tournament Final between North Carolina and Michigan was one of the best matchups in the history of the championship game. The two played in an early-season game in Maui, with the Wolverines beating the Tar Heels 79-78. Donald Williams again was the Tar Heels' best player with a game-high 25 points as Carolina held a 42-36 lead at the half. The Wolverines stepped up their defense in the second half got back in the game, as the last ten minutes saw the game go back and forth. With North Carolina leading 73-71 with 19 seconds left, Chris Webber pulled down a rebound after Pat Sullivan missed a free throw. Forgetting his team was out of timeouts; Webber tried to call a timeout and got away with a travel before heading up the court. Trapped on the baseline by George Lynch and Derrick Phelps, Webber again asked for a timeout with 11 seconds left. Since his team was out of timeouts, Webber was assessed a technical foul giving the Tar Heels two shots and possession. North Carolina would go on to score close out the championship from the free-throw line, as Webber’s blunder became one of the NCAA Tournament’s most notorious moments. Despite his momentary lack of the game’s situation, Chris Webber with 23 points and 11 rebounds in the championship game, while Donald Williams was named the Most Outstanding Player.