Flashback Friday: Larry Bird's other Final Four game
One great thing about the end of the week is due to alliteration I get to post classic Celtics stuff on Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday. Today we have a treat for you in a rarely seen college basketball classic featuring Larry Bird. Many of you have see the famous 1979 NCAA Final which pitted Earvin Magic Johnson's Michigan State vs. Larry Bird's underdog Indiana State. But that wasn't the only instant classic from that year.
To get to Magic, Bird had to defeat DePaul University. DePaul's basketball program as been brutal for many years now, but back then they were one of the elite NCAA programs which attracted all of the top Chicago players (They now all go to Kentucky, Duke, etc). DePaul was coached by the legendary Ray Meyer at the time, who was winningest active college basketball coach in 1979.
Anyway it was a great game. I watched it last night and I think you'll enjoy it too. Bird was phenominal. DePaul played it's starting 5 the whole game. Yup all 5 starters played all 40 minutes. It's also fun to watch a game without the 3-point line and shot clock. I mean basketball is basketball. I love old school basketbal, but still love watching today's game and how elite players have become at shooting.
Watching Bird shoot with limitless range in this game even though there was no reward, you can tell that if he grew up in an era that espoused the 3-point shot like today, he simply would have perfected that shot. You know he just practiced these long range 2's on his own as a youngster, since I'm sure no coach was telling his big man to practice shooting from there. Again it should be mentioned that if Bird grew up in a 3-point era, his attempots would have been way up, his percentage made way up, and his scoring average way up. Just keep that in mind when someone tries to throw Durant or LeBron's stats against you when you're arguing you'd take Bird over them.
A couple more fun facts from this game: DePaul's Gary Garland is Whitney Houston's brother and back then the two teams that lost on Final Four Saturday would play each other for 3rd place (or the Bronze medal if you will). After having all their starters play this entire game, DePaul had to go to overtime ( I think I might have read double OT) to defeat PENN in the consolation game.
If you don't have the time to watch the full game, here are Larry's highlights: