North Carolina State def. Houston – 1983 NCAA Tournament Finals:
Jim Valvano’s NC State was an underdog long before they faced juggernaut Houston in the NCAA tournament finals in 1983. After an injury to star Derrick Whittenburg forced the Wolfpack to a No. 4 finish in the ACC, NC State needed to win the ACC tourney to even get into the NCAA tournament. Somehow, they beat the favored North Carolina Tar Heels led by one Michael Jordan and made it.
They fought their way to the title game against Houston, who boasted stars Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. No one believed NC State could top “Phi Slama Jama’s” style of fast-paced offense. But they did in one of college basketball’s all-time greatest games, scoring a 54-52 victory when a Whittenburg miss was slammed home by Lorenzo Charles. It will remain one of the most iconic images in college basketball, along with late Valvano rushing onto the court to celebrate.