#1 1993 vs #4 2012
Starters and Bench
||F||James Michael McAdoo
Is this the first upset of the tournament?
While 1993 has a lot of sentimental value as a title winning team that played Carolina Basketball in the way Dean Smith envisioned it, 2012 was awfully good in it's own right. While 1984, 1987 and 1994 get dinged for not doing more, 2012 had a season cut short by injury. It is possible had Kendall Marshall not been injured, the 2012 team wins a national title and gets slotted at least as the #4 overall seed maybe a notch higher. That puts them ahead of 1993 and this game happens one round later. As it stands, it happens now and there is a case to be made for 2012 advancing.
The case for 1993 is simple: Defense. Derrick Phelps pestering Kendall Marshall could create issues for 2012 getting into a decent offensive flow. Overall the 1993 team was capable enough on the defensive end to keep the Fab Five in check so it stands to reason they would be perfectly capable of doing the same with the 2012 team.
The problem for 1993 is the offense, especially on the interior where one of the best shot blockers in UNC history roamed the baseline in John Henson. Tyler Zeller matches Eric Montross in stature, enough to bother the current THSN analyst in the post. Donald Williams is the lynchpin of 1993 offense and he would face either Dexter Strickland or Reggie Bullock. This was pre-ACL tear Strickland who was a solid defender and Bullock whose size would be an issue for Williams.
On the flip side, Harrison Barnes presents an issue for Brian Reese or whoever else would try to guard him. Overall the 2012 team has more three point firepower though it should be noted it isn't overwhelming. The bread and butter is still with ACC POY Zeller and whatever Marshall creates from the point. Strickland and Bullock are also wildcards on the offensive end. Strickland for his speed on the break and Bullock for his perimeter shooting and size.
Ultimately, 2012 may have too many weapons. Then again they probably said the same thing about Michigan. 1993 will find a way to make this close and maybe even win.