The 1982 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Game took place on Monday, March 29, between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Georgetown Hoyas at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana….as the match-up was the 44th consecutive final of the NCAA Tournament to crown a national champion for men’s basketball at the Division I level.
Head coach John Thompson and the Georgetown Hoyas entered the game ranked 6th in the final AP Poll….with an overall record of 28–6…..as the Hoyas were led by 1st team All-American guard Eric “Sleepy” Floyd and seven-foot (2.13 m) freshman center Patrick Ewing…..whereas their opposition was In the midst of a fifteen-game winning streak….as the North Carolina Tar Heels entered the National Championship game with a record of 31–2 after defeating the Houston Cougars in the national semifinal. The Dean Smith led North Carolina Tar Heels were anchored by 1st team All-American forward James Worthy.
The game was televised by CBS across the United States….which attracted over 17 million viewers. Georgetown jumped out to an early 12–10 lead after twelve minutes of play….with eight of North Carolina’s points coming from goal tending infractions by Ewing. The Hoyas entered halftime ahead by a single point, 32–31…..then the teams traded the lead multiple times during closing minutes of the second half….when following a turnover by UNC’s Matt Doherty….Georgetown took the lead 62–61 courtesy of a jump shot from Floyd. During the ensuing possession, North Carolina Freshman Michael Jordan hit a go-ahead basket with fifteen seconds remaining to give North Carolina a one-point advantage.
The Tar Heels would go on to win their 2nd NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship…..after winning their 1st in 1957….as Worthy was named the Most Outstanding Player for his efforts throughout the tournament….so, after UNC had lost in his first three national title game appearances….which Dean Smith had been openly criticized for….the “monkey was off his back” as coach Smith won his 1st of two National Championship as a head coach.
Patrick Ewing helped lead the Hoyas back to the national title game in 1984 and 1985…..in which they won it all in 1984…..as both talented freshman, Ewing and Jordan, went on to become National Players of the Year before each left college to play professional basketball.