Remember the 80s – A Golden Era of ACC Basketball

I was chatting with a UNC fan colleague yesterday, who is also a world-class ACC historian (could have a great conversation with SFN commenter noah). He has an extensive game collection, and recently acquired tape of the first State/Carolina matchup in 1984. You may remember that as the year the Wolfpack opened with a repeat upset of again #1 Houston…and it went rapidly downhill from there. The Pack finished 4-10 in ACC play, and IIRC, lost to Florida State in the first round of the NIT. What I did not remember was how very good the ACC was that season. Virginia was the #6 seed (out of EIGHT, remember) in the ACCT, but made the Final Four, losing to Houston in OT. Wake Forest finished at .500 in league play, but made the regional final (also losing to Houston, by a mere 5 points).

One of my fondest wishes is for the ACC to start its own “classic” channel or series, or put out a DVD set with highlights and full games from ACC play in the 1980s. For the Wolfpack fan, this would include the 4OT game against Wake, the 1987 ACCT run, and of course, 1983.

Please share your own memories below (I would love more details on the regional final runs by the Pack in 1985 and 1986), and answer these 1980s ACC trivia questions:

– Name the Wolfpack starting five in the first game against UNC in 1984 (I got 3 correct).
– How many ACC teams qualified for either the NCAAT or NIT in 1985?
– Who was the last ACC team to go winless in league play, and in what year did they do it?
– Three ACC teams made the regional finals in 1985, but all 3 lost to Big East foes. Name the ACC teams and their corresponding Big East opponents.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

General NCS Basketball Sports Junkies Tradition

151 Responses to Remember the 80s – A Golden Era of ACC Basketball

  1. BillyTheKid 06/13/2007 at 9:08 AM #

    I agree about having a ACC Basketball network. Everytime I watch the NFL Network I think about how nice it would be to have the same with ACC Basketball. I would love to watch some of the old games and have hour long Docs on the best teams of all-time like the “America’s Game” show that they have on NFL Network.

  2. BillyTheKid 06/13/2007 at 9:20 AM #

    Something went wrong there;>) NCAA =GT, NCSU, UNC, Duke, Maryland. we lost to St. John’s, GT to GT, and UNC to Nova

  3. BillyTheKid 06/13/2007 at 9:21 AM #

    Pierre was the other starter in that game??Right??

  4. BillyTheKid 06/13/2007 at 9:22 AM #

    The last one is GT in 1981?

  5. BillyTheKid 06/13/2007 at 9:24 AM #

    My bad Wake in 1986 and Maryland in 1987.

  6. RickJ 06/13/2007 at 9:31 AM #

    “..with a repeat upset of again #1 Houston…and it went rapidly downhill from there.”

    We actually played pretty well for the bulk of this year. We stood at 19 – 7 and 4 – 5 in the ACC before losing the last seven games of the year. The real killers were the second & third losses of this streak – both at home to Duke in overtime and UVA.

  7. packbackr04 06/13/2007 at 10:02 AM #

    MY FAVORITE memories of the late 80’s- early 90’s was watching fire and ice in action and also i was a big Googs fan.

    speaking of times past. any word on whether or Not El Sid is gonna make any jersey changes this year. going with just STATE on the jersey, maybe putting the writing on the shorts again? shorty shorts?

  8. noah 06/13/2007 at 10:04 AM #

    I haven’t looked at anyone’s answers…so lemme see if I can do this:

    Name the Wolfpack starting five in the first game against UNC in 1984 (I got 3 correct).

    This is the game in Raleigh? I used to have a tape of that. We actually kept it close in the first half. But they just put us throught it and capped off an easy win with a breakaway jam by Kenny Smith. That was an amazingly talented Carolina team. Future #1 pick in Brad Daugherty, #3 pick in Michael Jordan, #4 pick in Sam Perkins, top-10 pick by the Kings in Kenny Smith, and Matt Doherty.

    Our starting five were: Lorenzo Charles at power forward, Cozell McQueen at center, Russell Pierre at small forward, Errrrrrnie Vaughn-Myers at shooting guard and Terry Gannon at the point.

    Spud had started off hot but had slumped badly and had a terrible game against Maryland. V juggled starting lineups the way a circus clown goes through bowling pins. I think we started every member of the team at some point during that year at small forward. Pierre was a good rebounder, excellent garbage player, but he couldn’t shoot to save his life. He was more likely to put out the eye of the guy beside him with an elbow than he was to hit a free throw.

    How many ACC teams qualified for either the NCAAT or NIT in 1985?

    All of them, I think. There was a three-way tie for first with State, Carolina and Tech and we drew straws for ACC play. We drew the #3 straw and had to get matched up with the Holes in the second round. Seems like we lost in overtime.

    Seems like Clemson and UVa made the NIT and everyone else went to the tournament.

    HUUGE talent in the league that year. The Yellow Jackets were some people’s #1 team (and remember that Pat Ewing was still at Georgetown). They had Price and John Salley, Yvon Joseph, Bruce Dalrymple and Duane Ferrell.

    Carolina had Brad Daugherty, Kenny Smith, Joe Wolf, Dave Popson, Ranzino Smith and Warren Martin (I think).

    We had Lo, Co, Washburn (for the first 10 games), Webb, Nate McMillan was our small forward (so we had two point guards), Gannon, Myers, Bennie Bolton, Vinnie Del Negro and Pierre (I think he was still there)…

    Dook had Alarie, Dawkins, Bilas, and Amaker, Dan Meagher, Billy King, David Henderson…

    Maryland had Len Bias, Adrian Branch and Keith Gatlin (tallest backcourt in the country probably…

    Wake had Mugsy, Kenny Green, and Delaney Rudd…

    UVa had Olden Polynice and Tom Sheehey…

    Clemson had Grayson Marshall, Harvey and Horace Grant (their only year together, I think)…

    Every team had talent and on any given night, anyone could win.

    Who was the last ACC team to go winless in league play, and in what year did they do it?

    Oh man…good question. Didn’t Maryland do it under Bob Wade? I don’t remember what year…

    Three ACC teams made the regional finals in 1985, but all 3 lost to Big East foes. Name the ACC teams and their corresponding Big East opponents.

    State lost to St. Johns, Carolina lost to Villanova and Georgia Tech lost to Georgetown. Maryland also lost to Villanova.

  9. BJD95 06/13/2007 at 10:18 AM #

    Bonus question – when was the last time 2 NC State players made 1st team all-ACC, and who were they?

  10. RickJ 06/13/2007 at 10:25 AM #

    Chucky Brown & Rodney Monroe – 1989?

  11. kool k 06/13/2007 at 10:41 AM #

    Any day that has a Bruce Dalrymple reference is a good day

  12. lush 06/13/2007 at 10:55 AM #


    my only memories of the 80’s were fire, ice, googs, bryant feggins, and kevin thompson. wasnt feggins here for like 6 years?? and good luck getting some shorty short action. it aint happenin

  13. BJD95 06/13/2007 at 11:22 AM #

    Damn, you guys are good – answers are correct.

    I thought Spud was starting in 84 (couldn’t see Meyers or Gannon playing point), and knew we started an obscure forward, but guessed the wrong one (Battle).

    Every single ACC team made the post-season in 1985. Pretty amazing.

    I didn’t remember Chucky being “first team” good, but he was. State finished first that year, and lost to #8 seeded Maryland in the ACCT first round, which almost killed soon to be ex-coach Bob Wade.

    Maryland went 0-for-1987, one year after Wake did the same.

    Corchiani missed 1st team all-ACC in 1991 by 10 votes (Rick Fox beat him out 141-131). NC State had 3 of the top 9 vote-getters, including POY Rodney Monroe – yet did almost nothing in the regular or post-season. Thanks again, Les!

  14. noah 06/13/2007 at 11:29 AM #

    Was Rodney first team all-acc in 1989? Wow…

    The 1980s really were a glorious renaissance age of college basketball. There’s a bit from HST’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas…”We were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

    That’s the way I feel about the 80s and ACC basketball.

    It didn’t start out that way…the ACC finals in 1982 between UNC and UVa, for instance. It should have been a great game. Worthy vs. Sampson. It wasn’t. It was awful. Dean broke out the Four Corners and it was such a horrible travesty that it basically brought forth the shot clock era in college basketball. It was 30 seconds in the ACC in 1983 and then they brought it back as a 45-second clock and then, of course, as a 35-second clock.

    Nobody really went straight to the NBA. It wasn’t realistic, for one thing. Chris Washburn was HUUUUGE when he got to NC State and he weighed 250 pounds. No 18 year old could handle the physical demands of pro basketball. Even when guys at the end of the decade like Sean Kemp and Kenny Williams went pro, they had played SOMEWHERE for a year or two.

    Until Kemp in 1989, I can’t really remember anyone going pro after one year. Washburn left after two and that was pretty rare. Basically, if you were a top prospect, you were going to college for three years and odds were 50-50 that you’d stay all four.

    Ewing, Mullins, the Admiral, Bias, Reggie Williams…those guys were all huge stars as underclassmen. None of them went pro early.

    I’m not a big fan of basketball in the 1970s. Obviously, if those were your salad days, you probably feel differently…but I’ve never been impressed with the quality of the game. There were great individual performers, but the offensive and defensive schemes were pretty vanilla. Think about it…Dean was hailed as this great genius and his big contribution to that era was dribbling the ball in the corner and not attacking the goal. yay.

    If you catch that 1986 game on classic sports between UNC and Len Bias (the rest of the Maryland team pretty much just got out of the way), watch how well Carolina passes the ball…especially, on the interior.

  15. noah 06/13/2007 at 11:30 AM #

    Spud did start in 1984…but like I said, he had struggled before that game and V sat him down for a little bit.

  16. MatSci94 06/13/2007 at 11:54 AM #

    One of my favorite memories from that time period is someone (Nate ?) having a breakaway dunk where they were running so fast they held on to the rim and swung up to almost horizontal to the floor.

    That and Spud tossing a half court (or longer) alley-oop.

  17. BillyTheKid 06/13/2007 at 11:55 AM #

    Noah, Fear and Loathing!! I knew I liked you. I would like to hear your (or anyone else’s) all-time 1980’s 1st and 2nd team.

  18. BillyTheKid 06/13/2007 at 12:12 PM #

    I’ll throw mine out so everyone can get a big HAHAHAHA. 1ST TEAM: Sampson, Worthy, Bias, Price, Dawkins. 2nd TEAM: Perkins, Ferry, Bailey, Jordan, Othell Wilson.

  19. Texpack 06/13/2007 at 12:23 PM #

    I still remember the first round loss to FSU with former Furman coach Joe Williams. It was my final game as a State student. The final victory for that team was over Northeastern starring Reggie Lewis who went on to play with the Celtics, but was more famous for being the sixth man on a great Dunbar (Baltimore) team that featured Mugsy Bogues, Reggie Williams (G’town) and 3 other division one starters.

    I remember the ’82 Tournament well. State and Maryland were booed loudly for a 19-17 first half. That was exactly the score of the second half of the UNC-CH vs. UVa game that Noah mentions above. That was also the tournament where I had a seat adjacent to the pep band section at one end of the G’boro Coliseum and found out that the Ga Tech pep band only knew one song.

    I remember with sadness the crucifixions of Valvano and Lefty. Bob Wade was hired to “clean up” the UMd program after Len Bias’ OD and got them on probation. Lefty is still my all time favorite opposition ACC coach. He never took himself too seriously, even though he had every right to get the big head.

  20. RickJ 06/13/2007 at 12:31 PM #

    My favorite player from the 80’s is Nate McMillan. I am so hopeful that Greg Oden will put Portland at the elite level. Nate may also do something else to help out the Pack:

    “Virginia point guard Sean Singletary was among a group of four draft prospects to work out for Portland on Friday. Coach McMillan described Singletary as an “unbelievable” player with a great shooting touch. Singletary has yet to hire an agent so he can still elect to opt out of the draft and return to college before the June 18 deadline.”

    I don’t ever want to see Singletary down the stretch of another game.

  21. burnbarn 06/13/2007 at 12:42 PM #

    Nobody really went straight to the NBA.

    you are correct save Darryl Dawkins and Moses Malone.

    I think the passing today is not as good as the rosters of the best team are filled with underclassmen. It used to be rare for freshmen to play much. Now they don’t come unless they know they will get “PT”.

    Let’s hope predictions of a past high water mark are incorrect.

  22. BJD95 06/13/2007 at 12:53 PM #

    I watched the 1982 UVA/UNC final at my uncle’s house (the UNC fan who was Roy Williams’ famous “high school coach”) – and even he and his family thought the game was a travesty.

    Here’s a min-rant from my friend that brought a smile to my face – great microcosm of the Baby Blue frustration of suffering through Dean in March:

    “The years from 83-88 were a bittersweet time to be a UNC fan–great teams (every team but the 85 team was #1 at one point during the season), great (and extremely likeable) players, but brutal Marchs:

    83: Lose to State in ACC tourney semis, Lose to underdog Georgia in Elite 8 when a win would have set up 4th game with State and the biggest game in the history of basketball in North Carolina

    84: Team that was 21-0 in country didn’t even make ACC tourney final (lost to Duke in semis) or regional final (lost to Indiana in Sweet 16). Most talented UNC team ever. Finished 28-3 but with nothing else.

    85: Three game sweep by GT, loss to underdog Nova.

    86: #1 in country for most of the first half of the season, went 5-7 over last 12 games.

    87: Debacle in Landover; bitter loss to Syracuse in regional final. Went undefeated in ACC reg season (as did the 84 team).

    88: 3-game sweep by Duke; blowout loss to Arizona in regional final”

  23. noah 06/13/2007 at 1:05 PM #

    “you are correct save Darryl Dawkins and Moses Malone.”

    And Bill Willoughby. But that was in the 70s. No one went pro out of high school in the 80s (I don’t think).

    Lloyd Daniels and Kemp were the only ones to go pro without playing a college game, but Kemp had enrolled at UK and at some JUCO (I don’t think he ever played) and had sat out a year or two.

    And Daniels…well, there was UNLV, JUCO, prison, getting shot three times, rehab, and then a journeyman’s career through five NBA teams and about twenty four different countries.

  24. kool k 06/13/2007 at 1:13 PM #

    First Dalrymple, now Lloyd “Sweet Pea” Daniels…Noah, you haven’t been on fire like this since you referenced a coked out Steve Bedrosion a few weeks back

  25. noah 06/13/2007 at 1:17 PM #

    The 1984 UNC team is probably the most talented team that didn’t win the title. Easily the best team that didn’t make the Final Four.

    That team got hamstrung when Kenny Smith broke his wrist against LSU. But he came back in time for their final run…but Smith never let Jordan off the bench after his third foul against Indiana. Whoops.

    The 1986 team had a bunch of injuries too. Steve Hale collapsed his lung in the game against Maryland and Warren Martin broke his foot. The Carolina-Dook game that year had some obscene number of players who made it in the NBA.

    The 1987 team was so, so, SO superior to everyone else in the ACC. The only team that was worth a damn in the ACC was Clemson. And then they got run by Wake in the ACC tourney, so we didn’t have to play them.

    Syracuse had Sherman Douglas, Derrick Coleman, Ronny Seikaly, Gregg Monroe, and Stevie Thompson…

    They were just better.

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