N.C. State’s 1983 NCAA basketball championship run continues to be regarded as one of the most exciting and unexpected winning streaks in collegiate basketball history. ESPN’s documentary “Survive and Advance” chronicles the Wolfpack’s famous season, as well as the life of then coach Jim Valvano, who succumbed to cancer in 1993.
The Wolfpack’s 1983 championship bid ended in a series of nine wins, seven of which they were losing in the last minute. In the famous final game against the University of Houston, the two teams were tied 52-52 with only seconds left on the clock. At the last second, shooting guard Dereck Whittenburg lobbed a shot towards the basket from outside the 3-point line. Teammate Lorenzo Charles, who was standing beneath the basket, seized the ball and dunked it, putting them ahead 54-52 to win the NCAA championship. Coach Valvano famously ran onto the court in celebration, and that moment became one of the most replayed videos in college basketball.
The idea for “Survive and Advance” came from Whittenburg, who contacted director Jonathan Hock with the idea in 2011. Hock, who watched the famous championship game in 1983, had directed films and TV series for ESPN, and he agreed to the idea. The documentary premiers on ESPN Sunday, March 17 at 9 p.m., nearly 30 years after the famous championship game, and is a part of the network’s “30 for 30” series.