1983 College Basketball Recap
Ralph Sampson of Virginia was the consensus Player of the Year for the third season in a row, but this was North Carolina State's year.
N.C. State's year? Wait a minute, wasn't the Wolfpack 17–10 going into the ACC tournament? True, but then they won nine straight games.
NCSU played Sampson and Virginia twice during that streak and won by a combined four points—first in the ACC tournament final (81–78) and then in the NCAA West Regional Final (63–62).
Good luck followed coach Jim Valvano's squad to the Final Four in Albuquerque where No.1 Houston and No.2 Louisville faced off in one semifinal and the Wolfpack met No.18 Georgia in the other.
The eventual Houston-N.C. State title game was a slow-paced contest that came down to one shot: a desperation jumper by Dereck Whittenburg in the last seconds that Lorenzo Charles picked off and dunked at the buzzer for the 54–52 upset.
Houston center Akeem Olajuwon was named the tournament's outstanding player, making him the 12th member of a losing team to receive the honor in 45 years.
The tournament expanded by four teams to 52. One of the 48 teams that didn't make it to Albuquerque was No.3 St. John's, which went 28–4 before losing to Georgia in the East Regional semifinals.