During the 1992 NCAA basketball tournament, Duke and Kentucky matched up in a regional semifinal that has come to be regarded as one of the best college games ever played, if not the best. It was an overtime thriller, with innumerable lead changes and palpable tension from start to finish. With mere seconds to go in overtime, righ after Sean Woods of Kentucky had seemingly sealed victory with his own impossible back-breaking shot, the game was won on an even more improbable Christian Laettner buzzer beater that sent Duke onto the Final Four, and eventually their second championship in a row.
Daniel Ralston is best known as one of the folks behind the great Low Times podcast, where he and co-hosts Tom Scharpling and Maggie Serota interview musicians from every conceivable genre. If you have not heard their show yet, you still have time to rectify your error. Daniel is also a huge basketball fan who was in the building for that legendary Duke-Kentucky battle (the building in this case being Philadelphia’s Spectrum). So he has a lot to say about the experience of watching something so amazing in person, then watching it again years later as a broadcast product. We also talk about Daniel’s lapsed Duke fandom, the oddly adult looking college students of 1992, CBS’s infuriatingly elusive scorebugs, the network’s lowkey broadcast team, the array of commercials that aired during the game, why Laettner gets a bum rap—all that and much, much, much, much more! Plus! A tale of my first brush with insane college basketball fandom.
Listen below or, even better, subscribe to Replacement Players on iTunes. (Those who wanna subscribe in non-iTunes fashion can grab an RSS feed here.) If you go the iTunes route, please take an extra few seconds to leave the podcast some stars and a shiny review. You can also check out a special Extra Innings post, which features some amazing video from the openers to other games in this tourney, as well some very important images of the unsettling stoicism of Christian Laettner’s injured mother.
Also! If you’d like to watch the Duke-Kentucky game again, or for the first time, you’re in luck. Some daring soul (not me, I swear) has posted the entire game to YouTube. With commercials, even! So go ahead and check it out before taking in this episode and you’ll be completely up to speed with all of our quips and witticisms. Or watch it at the same time as you listen to this episode for a A/V experience that’ll blow your mind. I’m not saying it’s gonna sync up like The Wizard of Oz and Dark Side of the Moon, but I’m not not saying that either.