Happy Birthday to Michael Jordan who turned 50 today. A ton of articles have been done on his greatness, but twice during his college career, Jordan faced Syracuse and both times His Airness came out on top.
Matchup number one came on Jan. 8 in 1983 in Charlotte, North Carolina. UNC was ranked No. 18 entering the game with a 9-3 record. Syracuse was undefeated having picked up victories in their first 11 games. The Orange were led by Erich Santifer and Leo Rautins whose son eventually would suit up for Syracuse, too. The Tar Heels were led by Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty, Matt Doherty and Jordan himself. It was tied at halftime at 35, before the second half explosion by the Heels who scored 52 points on their way to an 87-64 victory. Jordan played 32 minutes scoring 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting while adding seven rebounds and four steals. Eventually UNC lost in the regional final to Georgia while the Orange would lose to Ohio State at the Hartford Civic Center.
The Carrier Dome was the site of game number two between these two schools. The Heels were 4-0 at the time ranked No. 1 overall while Syracuse sported the same record. Both teams returned a lot of the same players although UNC added Kenny Smith to the starting lineup. Syracuse had Dwayne Washington and Howard Triche. This one wasn’t very close from the start as UNC parlayed a 14 point halftime lead to another 87-64 victory. Jordan scored 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting adding five rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes.
Syracuse did not pick up a win in either meeting with Air Jordan, but they helped add to the legend that we know of today.