While AD had the edge in overall stats, MJ and the TarHeels kept a lead the whole way with Kentucky finally cutting it to 54-53 with 7:54 (13 possessions) to play.
However, Sam Perkins scored and was fouled to make it 57-53, then UNC had 2 stops followed by 3-pointers by James Worthy and Matt Dougherty to take control 63-54 and the Wildcats never threatened again. The scoresheet is below followed by the other 3rd round games to get down to the all-time Sweet 16.
It turned out half the teams advancing are from the 21st century while the other 16 range from 1957 (Wilt Chamberlain's Kansas) to 1997 (Mike Bibby's Arizona).
The accounts of the 32 second round games are posted here and here. The accounts of the 1st round games (9 seeds through 24 seeds) are posted by region - East, West, Midwest and South. In the 1st round games (#24 seeds through #9 seeds) underdogs pull upsets only 28% of the time (9-23), while in the 2nd round (winners vs. #1 to $8 seeds) underdogs pulled upsets 38% of the time (12-20).
Below are the brackets leading up to the 3rd round games, and we list the results of the 3rd round games above each Regional Bracket:
West Bracket and Results
West: UCLA #1 Overall Seed, Winner Faces East Region Champ in Semifinals. 3rd round: #1 UCLA (1972) 78, #9 Arizona (1997) - Arizona's Mike Bibby out scored his dad Henry Bibby 15-11 in the match-up of shooting guards, but Bill Walton (10 pts, 9 Reb) pulled away to advance to the 4th round.
East Bracket and Results
East: Kentucky #4 Overall Seed, Winner Faces West Region Champ in Semifinals: #2 NC State (1974) 68, UNC (2005) 67. Towes and David Thompson combined for 41 points, both had 3 steals and Thompson added 5 blocked shots, but Rashad McCant's capped 17-7 run with a fast break 3-pointers to give UNC a brief 67-66 lead. Tim Stoddard was fouled on am offensive rebound and hit both free throws, and UNC turned it over without getting off a potential game-winner.
Midwest Bracket and Results
Midwest: Indiana #2 Overall Seed, Winner Faces South Region Champ in Semifinals. #1 Indiana (1976) 69, #8 Purdue (2018) 57. Purdue's feared 3-point shooting shot Carsen Edwards and crew to a 43-29 lead with 16:58 (28 possessions) to go, but Scott May and Quinn Buckner's dominant steals (13-6 Indiana edge) and the Hoosiers 39-31 rebounding edge helped them go on a 20-3 run from that point to lead 49-46 and never look back.
South Bracket and ResultsSouth: Kansas Overall #3 seed, Winner Faces Midwest Region Champ in Semifinals; #11 Auburn (2019) 87, #3 Florida (2006) 81 - Chuma Okeke (20 pts, 7 Reb, 4 steals) and Joakim Noah (18 pts, 4 blocked shots) were a classic battle of PF but if Okeke were not injured before the final 4 they likely would have one the title handily, and they kept alive in the all-time with this upset. UNC prevailed with Michael Jordan despite a dominant performance by Kentucky's Anthony Davis (see above).
Keep in mind each school was only allowed one team per century, so the Pac-12 and UCLA would likely have several other teams in the top 25 and UNC and Kentucky might as well if that was not our rule.
Previous Update from Conclusion of 2nd Round
At the end of the 2nd round of the all-time great tournament, we ranked the top 25 based on how good the team looks based on their player cards but also how impressive they looked in their opening game(s). Click here for free player cards for all 96 great teams and the updated "quick start" instructions so you can play your own games. An explanation and the brackets with all 2nd round scores appear below this top 25.
Top 25 After 2 Rounds: Bold is 3rd round win after these rankings, italics 3rd round loss. If the line is not bold or italics, then the score shown is the Round 2 win. ^ indicates team will move up, or ^^ way up as result of Round 3 result.
|Rank||School||Year||Conf||Region||Seed||2nd Round (bold = 3rd round)|
|1||Kansas||2008||Big 12||South||1||beat Tennessee 1977|
|2||Indiana||1976||Big Ten||Midwest||1||beat Purdue (2018) 69-57|
|3||Michigan St.||1979||Big Ten||Midwest||2||beat Notre Dame 1970|
|4||UNC||1982||ACC||South||2||beat LSU 2006|
|6||North Carolina St.||1974||ACC||East||2||beat Seton Hall 1989|
|7||Memphis||2008||CUSA||South||9||beat Louisville 1980|
|8||Louisville||2013||Big East||West||3||beat San Diego St|
|9^^||UCLA||1972||Pac-8||West||1||beat Arizona (1997) 78-63|
|10||Florida||2006||SEC||South||3||beat Auburn 1984|
|11||Kansas||1957||Big 7||South||5||beat Oklahoma St 2004|
|12||Houston||1968||Ind||South||4||beat Texas Tech 2019|
|13||Wisconsin||2015||Big Ten||Midwest||7||beat . Illinois 2005|
|14||Villanova||2018||Big East||East||4||beat . WVU 2010|
|15||Connecticut||2004||Big East||Midwest||5||beat K-State 2008|
|16||Virginia||2019||ACC||East||3||beat . Georgia Tech 2004|
|17||UNLV||1991||Big West||West||2||Beat UCLA 2006|
|18||Cincinnati||1960||MVC||West||4||Beat Gonzaga 2017|
|19||Ohio St.||2007||Big Ten||Midwest||11||beat . Michigan 1989|
|20||Arizona||2015||Pac-12||West||10||Beat San Fran 1956|
|21||Syracuse||1987||Big East||East||12||beat Virginia 1981|
|22||UTEP (TX W)||1966||Ind||West||6||beat Marquette 1977|
|23||Duke||2011||ACC||East||9||beat Uconn 1999|
|24||UNC||2005||ACC||East||7||beat Duke 1992|
|25||Georgetown||1984||Big East||East||11||beat Maryland 2002|
|Other||Arizona||1997||Pac-10||West||9||lost to UCLA (1972) 63-78|
|Other||Auburn||2019||SEC||South||11||beat Arkansas 1994|
|Other||Michigan St.||2009||Big Ten||Midwest||14||beat Ohio St 1960|
|Other||Missouri||1982||Big 8||West||12||Beat Loyola 1963|
|Other||Oklahoma||1985||Big 8||Midwest||13||beat Purdue 1969|
|Other||Purdue||2018||Big Ten||Midwest||8||lost to Indiana (1976) 57-69|
|Other||Wake Forest||1996||ACC||East||16||beat Kentucky 1996|
|NIT||Arkansas||1994||SEC||South||6||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Cincinnati||2002||CUSA||Midwest||9||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Duke||1992||ACC||East||10||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Kentucky||1996||SEC||East||1||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Louisville||1980||Metro||South||8||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Loyola||1963||Ind||West||5||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Marquette||1977||Ind||West||11||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Marquette||2003||CUSA||East||13||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Maryland||2002||ACC||East||6||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Michigan||1989||Big Ten||Midwest||6||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Ohio State||1960||Big Ten||Midwest||3||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Oklahoma St||1946||MVC||South||10||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Purdue||1969||Big Ten||Midwest||4||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||San Francisco||1956||CBA||West||7||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Syracuse||2003||Big East||West||8||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Virginia||1981||ACC||East||5||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
The 7 teams that are still alive in the tournament but I do not rank in the Top 25 are listed as "other" and I took 16 great teams who were upset or played a great game against a great team before losing - and those teams were not considered for the top 25 but I have put them in a "consolation" NIT - most notably the Kentucky team that was stunned by Tim Duncan and Wake Forest.
UCLA 1972 looked like the best team entering the all-time great basketball tournament, but Oregon 2017 gave them a run so we dropped them down to 7th behind a few teams that really looked impressive. On the flip side, the team it looked like we most underestimated may have been Memphis 2008. They had the most lopsided win of the tournament with an 82-52 win that was a slight upset against the 8th seed in the South. We rank them 3rd for the moment - the problem is one of the two teams that looked even better is Kansas from the same year - which won the actual game between the two in overtime to claim the 2008 title - so this 1 vs. 9 is scary.
We left Indiana 1976 at No. 2, leapfrogging Kansas over them but dropping UCLA behind them. However, they face a unique challenge as well next round. Even though we only moved Purdue 2018 up to No. 15 after their narrow win against Cincinnati 2002, they hit so many 3-pointers that they could pull a shocker over Indiana if they are hot - or the dice are lucky. Here is our updated Top 25 with all teams still alive listed as other. We list the conference in which they played, where we first seeded them and in what tournament, and finally their second round result followed by updated brackets at the bottom.