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Bernie Stein

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On March 4, 1990, Hank Gathers died on the court while playing basketball for Loyola Marymount University, the most high-powered offense in the country. A year earlier he had become only the second player in NCAA history to lead the nation in scoring and rebounding in the same year. Gathers had a heart condition, for which he took medicine, but the meds made him sluggish, and that just wasn’t happening for a guy who was a surefire first-round NBA draft pick. So he reduced his own dosage of the medication, didn’t take it all on game days, and began skipping doctor’s appointments to test for his condition. An autopsy revealed no...

So here’s what it’s like to be North Carolina today. You thought your biggest nemesis might be waiting in the title game. Nope, dispatched in the second round. You expected your coach’s old team to be waiting in the semifinals. Wrong, wiped out in the Elite 8. Perhaps this latest version of Kentucky, every bit as much March Madness royalty as your own squad would ride its super freshmen to victory over you Sunday. Sorry, Luke Maye had the final word. And so, the mighty Tar Heels are in the Final Four for a 20th time overall, a NCAA tournament record. And they’re two wins away from finally chasing off the ghosts of 2016...