Like everything he did throughout his HOF career, David Robinson’s 1986 tournament is one of the most underrated tournament runs in the history of March Madness. His 23 blocked shots in four games are more than any player has ever collected in five or fewer games and were only a portion of his NCAA single-season record 207 blocks.
Syracuse’s 1987 team is memorialized for coming within a missed free throw and Keith Smart jumper away from clinching Jim Boheim’s national title. The 1986 team may have been better. They entered the tournament as a No. 2 seed, led by Pearl Washington, Sherman Douglas, and Rony Seikaly. That is until Robinson dropped 35 on their domes, buttressed by 21-of-27 shooting from the charity stripe. He was a black hole defensively where he spaghettified seven shots.
Robinson posted a near triple-double against Cleveland State by putting up 22 points, 10 boards and swatting nine more shots. In the Elite Eight, Navy was overpowered by Coach K’s first Final Four team. Robinson’s 23 points, two blocks, and 10 rebounds in a loss to Duke weren’t the end of his college career though. To supplement his status as a March Madness legend, he returned the next season to drop 50 on Michigan in the first round.
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