48. NC State, 1983
The "Cardiac Pack" will always be remembered for Lorenzo Charles' national championship dunk and coach Jim Valvano's ensuing run for a hug. But the pieces that got the Wolfpack to that moment were equally key. There were senior forward Thurl Bailey, who led the team with 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, and senior point guard Sidney Lowe, who averaged 7.5 assists per game. Backcourt mate Dereck Whittenburg, who broke his foot, was thought to be done for the season yet returned and made 47.6 percent of his 3-point attempts for the season. On paper, perhaps, this team didn't look like a national title contender at the beginning of the season. But momentum carried it there.
-- Robbi Pickeral