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NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP : INDIANA 74, SYRACUSE 73 : Notebook : Hoosiers' Championship Makes Icy Bloomington the Hot Spot

March 31, 1987|From Times Wire Services

Thousands of fans celebrated at Showalter Fountain on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington, Ind., shortly after the Hoosiers won the NCAA title in New Orleans.

"Never since Rome fell has there been such pandemonium in such a small area," said Mike Burdick after Indiana rallied for a 74-73 victory over Syracuse and its fifth NCAA title.

The victory sparked a wild celebration despite sub-freezing temperatures, ice-covered sidewalks, chilling winds and four inches of snow on the ground.

Police closed streets and stationed 15 extra officers at the fountain in hopes of avoiding the overturned cars, broken windows and other vandalism that followed Indiana's 1981 NCAA championship.

Two of the more popular places to watch the game in Bloomington were Alumni Hall, in the student union building, and Nick's English Hut, a popular bar near the campus.

"This table is where we wanted to be," said Indiana senior Scott Campbell, who was among six people to grab the table closest to the big screen television at Nick's when the bar opened Monday morning. The group stayed almost 12 hours, drinking dozens of pitchers of beer in order to keep the table.

"It's an IU tradition. My dad talked about how he would come in here and knock a few (beers) down in 1953 when IU won the title," Campbell said.

The city of Syracuse was ready to explode in celebration while the Orangemen led Indiana most of the way, but when it was over there was just silence.

"It got so silent," said Carol Shoenberg, a 21-year-old Syracuse student. "We deserved to win. I can't believe it."

City police estimated that 4,000 Syracuse fans were gathered along Marshall Street leading to the campus.

After the initial shock of the loss wore off, students and fans poured out into the street and began chanting "We're still No. 1," and "Go to hell, Bobby Knight."

Police Chief Leigh Hunt said: "It was pretty subdued for a while, but then it started getting a little rowdy. You have people doing some pretty crazy things."

Hunt said students were climbing trees and then diving into the arms of other students.

The area was the scene of unruly celebrating Saturday night after Syracuse defeated Providence, 77-63, in the semifinals.

But Monday night, police doubled their strength in the area to more than 100 patrolmen. No serious incidents were reported.

Said student Debbie Richmond: "I'm so depressed, I'm going back to the dorm to study."

Outside the Superdome, a woman held two tickets, offering each for $5. The tickets ordinarily sold for $10 each.

The seats were in section 619 in the upper deck, so far from the court that binoculars are an absolute necessity to watch the game.

Asked how the seats were, the woman said: "They're not bad."

Drug testing, installed at the NCAA championships for the first time, is all business for the NCAA. Syracuse sometimes has a hard time taking it seriously.

"We more or less joked about it," Syracuse guard Greg Monroe said. "If we had trouble going to the bathroom, someone would say to drink a Coke. Then, we'd say, 'You can't do that--it has caffeine."

The semifinals drew a crowd of 64,959 Saturday, a record for college basketball. Monday's attendance was exactly the same.

Other than New Orleans Saints' games, there have been few bigger crowds at the Superdome: 87,500 for a 1981 Rolling Stones concert, 78,124 for the 1983 Sugar Bowl between Georgia and Penn State and 65,000 for the 1978 heavyweight title fight between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks.

This September, Pope John Paul II plans to speak at the Superdome, where he is expected to address 88,000 school children.

A motor in an escalator at the Louisiana Superdome caught fire and smoldered briefly about one-half hour before tipoff.

The fire was extinguished by the engineering crew at the stadium.

"Somebody smelled the electrical wire smoldering and notified one of our security officers, and he notified the engineering department, and that automatically goes to the fire department," said Bob Johnson, who runs the Superdome.

"We canceled the call to the fire department before they got here," Johnson said.

He said few of the 63,000 fans on hand for the Indiana-Syracuse game were even aware that there had been any problem, and nobody became frightened by it.

"There weren't actually any flames, just a smoky smell," Johnson said.

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