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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP GAME : NOTES : Michigan's Rose, King Turned Things Around

April 05, 1993|ELLIOTT ALMOND and DANNY ROBBINS | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

NEW ORLEANS — Michigan's 79-78 victory over North Carolina in December had an ending similar to that of the Wolverines' 86-84 overtime victory over UCLA in the second round of the NCAA tournament, although the roles of the key players were reversed.

Against North Carolina in the semifinals of the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Michigan won at the buzzer when Jalen Rose scored on a rebound of a missed 12-footer by Jimmy King. Against UCLA, King scored on a rebound of a Rose miss with 1.5 seconds left in overtime.

The Tar Heels were unable to handle Michigan power forward Chris Webber in Hawaii. He scored 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting, including two three-pointers. Rose scored 22 points and made seven of 14 shots.

Perhaps more significant is that Michigan won without forward Ray Jackson, who left the game after only two minutes because of a separated shoulder.

Looking back at that game Sunday, North Carolina Coach Dean Smith said: "Our offensive game was way behind our defensive game. Offensively, we started to come together in late February."

Tonight's game will make Smith the first coach to reach the NCAA tournament championship game in four decades. The Tar Heels also played for the title under Smith in 1968, 1977, 1981 and 1982, winning only in '82.

Kevin Salvadori, North Carolina's 7-foot reserve center, is not fond of Michigan's chatter.

"They got five guys the whole time out on the court that talk trash," he said. "We have not met a team this year, except them, that has everybody on the court at the same time talking trash.

"I don't appreciate somebody going out there and talking trash. I don't think there's any call for that."

Bill Walton, the former UCLA center who is a broadcaster, characterized Michigan's Fab Five as underachievers. What would they say to him now?

"I'd ask him for his autograph and ask him to work me out this summer," Webber said.

"I'd just say I hope I underachieve like this for the rest of my life," Rose said.

While coach at Rich East High in Park Forest, Ill., Michigan Coach Steve Fisher learned one night on his sister's Ouija board that he would win an NCAA title.

"We all laughed," he said.

And then his sister said it would be with Northwestern.

"We all laughed harder," Fisher said.

The Superdome is a popular place for North Carolina followers. The Tar Heels have a 5-0 record in the building, including two victories at the 1982 Final Four and the longest game in school history--a 113-106 quadruple-overtime victory over Tulane in 1976.

New Orleans' Ervin Johnson had 16 points and 14 rebounds to lead the West to a 104-95 victory over the East in the National Assn. of Basketball Coaches All-America Game at New Orleans. He was chosen as the game's MVP.

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