It's the Indiana Hoosiers. It's the North Carolina Tar Heels. It's the Sweet Sixteen. In a college basketball season that has featured parity as a major theme, there are very few schools who are more familiar faces at this table based on basketball pedigree than these two universities.
The University of North Carolina began playing basketball in 1911 and their 2,140 wins ranks third all time among college programs.
Indiana University began playing in 1901 and their 1,755 wins all time comes in at tenth place all time. This Indiana team, however, is no stranger to playing all-time powerhouses. In their Round of 32 game, they knocked off the winningest program in the history of college basketball, the University of Kentucky.
Let's take a look at the two schools meeting in each of their illustrious histories.
1981: National Championship Game, Indiana Hoosiers 63, North Carolina Tar Heels 50
In the 1981 NCAA Tournament, legendary Indiana coach Bob Knight unleashed his buzz saw on the rest of the tournament field. Led by point guard and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, the Indiana Hoosiers captured the programs fourth national title.
The Hoosiers shot just under 48% for the game while also making seven more free throws than the Tar Heels, paving their way to a victory. Isiah Thomas was named the Most Outstanding Player of that Final Four run for the Hoosiers, who finished the season at 26-9 following the championship game win over those Tar Heels.
1984: Regional Semifinal, Indiana Hoosiers 72, North Carolina Tar Heels 68
In their second ever and most recent NCAA Tournament game, the Indiana Hoosiers managed to upset one of the best teams in the country in the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Sweet Sixteen.
That Tar Heels team had a certain guy on the roster that you may have heard of, none other than the one and only Michael Jordan. In that Sweet Sixteen game, however, Jordan could never manage to find his rhythm. If you ask the Hoosiers, they'll tell you that good ol' Dan Dakich had a lot to do with that.
Dakich was a scrappy player who was assigned the massive task of defending the magnificent and dynamic guard that the Tar Heels had at their disposal. Michael Jordan was held to 13 points on only 6-14 shooting. However, his fellow future NBA All-Star teammate Sam Perkins did his share to make up for it, scoring 26 points on 8 of 17 shooting.
For the Hoosiers, Indiana legend Steve Alford led the way in the scoring category with 27 points while shooting 9 of 13 from the floor. Other leading scorers included Uwe Blab with 16 and Stew Robinson who chipped in with 14. Dakich, who spent a majority of the game guarding Jordan, had only 4 points for the game on 2 of 3 shooting.
While these are the only two NCAA Tournament meetings for these two incredibly storied programs, they have met on other occasions. The Hoosiers own the all-time series edge with an 8-5 record against the Tar Heels, including the 2-0 record in the NCAA Tournament.
Perhaps this team could look a lot like the 1984 team who defeated the Tar Heels who entered the game as the number one team in the country, riding high at 28-2 overall and a definite favorite to win the crown. Those Hoosiers were a four seed. These Hoosiers are a four seed.
Those Hoosiers had a dynamic scorer in Steve Alford. These Hoosiers are led by a dynamic scorer in Yogi Ferrell and are littered with other scorers. Could the recipe be there for the upset? The history of this matchup seems to be in the Hoosiers favor.