The only Madness going on this March is taking place off the court, with the NCAA tournament cancelled in response to the growing coronavirus crisis. With no actual games to report on, SI All Wolfpack is looking back in time to remember some of NC State's best postseason games from the past. Today marks the anniversary of one of the most important games in college basketball history -- a Wolfpack victory that helped change the face of college basketball forever.
NC State has always fancied itself as a giant killer in college basketball.
It's a reputation that took on a life of its own in 1983 thanks to the salemanship of coach Jim Valvano and the incredible NCAA tournament run of his national champion Cardiac Pack.
State's championship game upset of Houston will always be remembered as one of the sport's greatest upsets. But by that time, the Wolfpack had already slain the biggest giant in college basketball history.
It happened on this date, March 23, 1974 when coach Norm Sloan's team beat mighty UCLA 80-77 in double overtime in a national semifinal at Greensboro Coliseum.
State wasn't the underdog it would be nine years later. It came into the game at 29-1, having won 56 of its last 57 games dating back to the previous season. But the Bruins were the reigning kings of college basketball, having won seven straight national titles, loaded with a talented, veteran lineup led by national Player of the Year Bill Walton.
UCLA had beaten the Wolfpack earlier in the season and appeared ready to repeat that victory and continue its dynasty when it built an 11-point lead in the second half. But State star David Thompson and his teammates weren't going to let that happen.
They rallied to tie the game, then after falling behind by seven in the second overtime, Thompson took over again -- sparking a 13-3 run to finish the game for the victory that helped change the face of college basketball forever.
The Wolfpack went on to win its first national championship two nights later. But when it comes to the 1974 season, this is the game people most remember.
It's not the only game State has played on March 23 ... although neither was as memorable. Or as successful.
In fact, both games resulted in losses to Kansas in the State of Missouri on the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.
The first came in 1986 when the Wolfpack was beaten 75-67 by the top-seeded Jayhawks in Kansas City. The other came in 2012 when Kansas ended the 10th-seeded Wolfpack's run with a 60-57 victory in St. Louis.
There was one other important game in NC State basketball history on this date.
On March 23, 1998, the Wolfpack's women's team also slayed a giant, in this case UConn 60-52 in the East Region Final behind an MVP performance by Chasity Melin to send coach Kay Yow to the Final Four for the first time in her Hall of Fame career.