|9||1974 North Carolina State|
By Jeff Goodman | CBSSports.com College Basketball Insider
It's the team that will forever be remembered as the one that ended UCLA's Streak. N.C. State, led by athletic forward David Thompson and 7-foot-2 big man Tom Burleson, knocked off UCLA in the national semifinals to end the Bruins' string of seven consecutive national championships before defeating Marquette to win the national title. But the Wolfpack almost didn't even get into the NCAA tournament, needing to get past Maryland in the ACC tournament just to earn a bid. Back in those days, there was just one bid for each conference -- and N.C. State played in one of the most exciting ACC tournament games in the history of the league against Maryland for the championship. It included 10 future NBA Draft picks, but it was Burleson who dominated with 38 points and 13 boards in a 103-100 overtime win. Norm Sloan's team would get another shot at UCLA, the lone team that had defeated the Wolfpack in the regular season, in the national semifinals down the road in Greensboro. Thompson and Burleson combined for 48 points and 24 rebounds as N.C. State won 80-77 in overtime and snapped the Bruins 38-game NCAA tournament winning streak. A couple nights later, N.C. State won its first national title by beating Marquette.
Coach: Norm Sloan
Primary starters: David Thompson, Tom Burleson, Monte Towe, Moe Rivers, Phil Spence
NCAA Tournament final result: Defeated Marquette 76-64 to win the national title.
Best player: David Thompson -- The ultra-athletic 6-foot-4 junior scored 49 points in the two wins at the Final Four, including 21 points with seven boards to knock off Marquette in the final. Thompson averaged 26 points and 7.9 rebounds and wound up being selected first overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1975 NBA Draft. Thompson, who had freakish athletic ability and a reported vertical of 48 inches, was the guy who basically invented the alley-oop -- he was on the receiving end of many from point guard Monte Towe.
Another worth noting: Tom Burleson -- Listed at 7-4, the North Carolina native was truly 7-2. But he was still a monster -- and provided a tough matchup for UCLA star big man Bill Walton in the national semifinal. Walton still finished with 29 points and 18 boards, but Burleson was nearly as effective with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Burleson was also the MVP of the ACC tournament -- and went on to be drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics with the third pick in 1974.
This team is one of the best of all-time because ... It didn't just snap UCLA's streak of seven consecutive national titles, but it had a significant impact on college basketball. After N.C. State beat Maryland in the ACC title game, the rule was changed and more than one team from a league was allowed to get into the tournament. It expanded from 32 to 48 teams in 1975.
Did you know ... Tim Stoddard, the starting forward on the team, is the only person to have played in a World Series and a national title game. Stoddard was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1975 and went onto pitch in 485 major league games -- all in relief. He was the closer for the Baltimore Orioles in 1980, racking up 26 saves.