#8 2003 vs #8 2002
In many ways this is incredibly fitting. Two seasons that UNC fans would rather forget happened facing off against each other in hopes of moving into the Dean Dome Regional and facing the #1 overall seeded 1982 team.
On paper this game is pretty cut and dry. The 2002 was awful in so many ways as was revealed when KenPom added the 2002 stats to his ratings. How bad was it? The 2002 recorded the only defensive efficiency over 100 for a UNC team in the 13 years of the KenPom rankings. The 101.7 put UNC 174th in 2002. The 2003 team was a full six points better and ranked 60th in defensive efficiency. For reference the worst defensive team of the Roy Williams era was 2013 with a 95.9 ranked 55th.
The offense wasn't much better with 2002 posting an offensive efficiency of 103.2 versus 106.4 for 2003. With numbers like that it is no wonder UNC lost games to Hampton, Davidson and College of Charleston. Heck, UNC only beat 291st ranked Binghamton by a single point at home. After December the 2002 team won just three times, two of those came against Clemson.
While 2003 wasn't a great team finishing the season in the NIT and failing to win pull itself out of the ACC cellar, it was clearly an improvement on the dumpster fire that was 2002.
Vote now to decide which team advances to the next round.
Note: Teams should be viewed as fully healthy.