March 18, 1989: No. 1 Arizona Basketball defeats No. 9 Clemson in the second round of the NCAA Tournament

Arizona and Clemson have been on this stage before, and it ended really well for the Wildcats.

Lute Olson
Lute Olson / Stephen Dunn/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 3
Next

Regular season leadup

Arizona was led by Lute Olson, who was in the sixth year of his legendary tenure as the Wildcats' shot-caller. Arizona entered the 1988-89 season coming off a 35-3 season that culminated in a Final Four appearance the year prior. Olson and the Wildcats delivered in the regular season, finishing with a 28-3 overall record and an identical 17-1 record in Pac-10 play, with the loss coming to Stanford both times. They went on to win their second of three straight Pac-12 tournaments.

Clemson, on the other hand, was in the fifth year of the Cliff Ellis era and was making a return to the NCAA Tournament after spending the prior postseason getting knocked out in the first round of the 1988 NIT. The Tigers finished the regular season 18-10 and went 10-7 in ACC play. Clemson entered the 1989 NCAA Tournament fresh off of a first-round exit in the ACC Tournament and was looking to dispel the rumblings.