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The Greatest UNC Team Bracket: Round 1, Part 4

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We wrap up the first round with matchups including two title teams.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Championship Game-Gonzaga vs North Carolina Chris Steppig-USA TODAY Sports

Two national champions, another that easily could’ve been, and several other notable teams make up the fourth and final region in our tournament to crown the best ever UNC basketball team.

Here are eight more first round matchups for you to vote on!

Frank McGuire Region

#1. 2008-09 vs. #16. 1963-64

2008-09

Record: 34-4 (13-3 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: National Champions

Best Win: 4/6/09 - 89-72 vs. #8 Michigan State

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #1

After three straight years of painful NCAA Tournament losses, Tyler Hansbrough and company finally got over the line to win a title. They did it in some fashion too. The final margin in their six NCAAT games were 43, 14, 21, 12, 14, and 17. They swept Duke and won 10 games over ranked teams.

1963-64

Record: 12-12 (6-8 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: None

Best Win: 2/8/64 - 81-73 vs. Wake Forest

AP Poll Peak Ranking: None

There honestly isn’t much notable about this season other than that it was the last time a Dean Smith UNC team didn’t finish above .500.

Poll

Who was better?

This poll is closed

  • 100%
    #1. 2008-09
    (193 votes)
  • 0%
    #16. 1963-64
    (0 votes)
193 votes total Vote Now

#8. 1985-86 vs. #9. 2014-15

1985-86

Record: 28-6 (10-4 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: Sweet 16

Best Win: 1/18/86 - 95-92 vs. #3 Duke

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #1

The Brad Daugherty led Heels started off the season 21-0 before falling to Virginia on January 30th. However, the lost three of four to end the regular season and lost to Maryland in their first ACC Tournament game, dooming them to a #3 seed. They won their first two games in the NCAAT before running into eventual national champions Louisville in the Sweet 16.

2014-15

Record: 26-12 (11-7 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: Sweet 16

Best Win: 1/10/15 - 72-71 vs. #5 Louisville

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #5

This year’s Heels team started in the top 10 and got as high as #5 before settling into being a perfectly fine top 20ish team. They got a #4 seed in the NCAA Tournament and played eventual national runner up Wisconsin close before falling. This season would be a building block to what was coming the next two seasons.

Poll

Who was better?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    #8. 1985-86
    (133 votes)
  • 26%
    #9. 2014-15
    (47 votes)
180 votes total Vote Now

#5. 1996-97 vs. #12. 2017-18

1996-97

Record: 28-7 (11-5 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: Final Four

Best Win: 1/26/97 - 61-48 vs. #2 Clemson

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #4

No one knew it at the time as he didn’t announce his retirement until October, but this was Dean Smith’s final season. The ideal way to send out a legend like him would’ve been with a title, but alas the Heels lost in the Final Four to Arizona. It may not have ended in a title, but it was still a really good season, marking the 27th straight year Smith won at least 20 games.

2017-18

Record: 26-11 (11-7 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: Second Round

Best Win: 3/9/18 - 74-69 vs. #5 Duke

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #5

This team is the perfect example for how good a basketball program UNC is. There are essentially 40+ deeper tournament runs than this one, and this team was really, really good. In the aftermath of the title team, the ‘17-18 Heels couldn’t repeat it, but they had a season good enough to get a #2 seed.

Poll

Who was better?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    #5. 1996-97
    (168 votes)
  • 7%
    #12. 2017-18
    (14 votes)
182 votes total Vote Now

#4. 1968-69 vs. #13. 1970-71

1968-69

Record: 27-5 (12-2 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: Final Four

Best Win: 12/7/68 - 87-77 at #3 Kentucky

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #2

The Tar Heels spent all season ranked in the top five and made their third-straight Final Four but still couldn’t quite get over the hump. Charlie Scott had a big season for UNC, averaging 22.3 points per game.

1970-71

Record: 26-6 (11-3 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: None, NIT Champions

Best Win: 1/4/71 - 79-64 vs. #2 South Carolina

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #8

The Tar Heels won the ACC regular season and spent much of it ranked, but missed out on the NCAAT thanks to an ACC Tournament loss to Frank McGuire, who was now coaching South Carolina. They did rebound to win the NIT, even beating Duke in the process.

Poll

Who was better?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    #4. 1968-69
    (141 votes)
  • 17%
    #13. 1970-71
    (29 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now

#6. 2011-2012 vs. #11. 1977-78

2011-12

Records: 32-6 (14-2 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: Elite Eight

Best Win: 3/3/12 - 88-70 at #4 Duke

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #1

This is one of the biggest “what could have been” Tar Heel teams. UNC was right there with eventual national champions Kentucky all season, even playing them very close on the road. However, an injury to point guard Kendall Marshall ended any real chance they had at a title.

1977-78

Records: 23-8 (9-3)

NCAA Tournament Finish: Round of 32

Best Win: 12/17/77 - 67-59 vs. #6 Cincinnati

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #1

The Tar Heels went into this season as the pre-season #1 for what was Phil Ford’s senior season. Ford lived up to the height, winning national player of the year for his efforts. The team in general was good, but not quite #1 and ended up losing their first tournament game.

Poll

Who was better?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    #6. 2011-12
    (165 votes)
  • 7%
    #11. 1977-78
    (13 votes)
178 votes total Vote Now

#3. 1980-81 vs. #14. 1969-70

1980-81

Records: 29-8 (10-4 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: National Runners-Up

Best Win: 3/28/81 - 78-65 vs. #5 Virginia

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #6

A year before they did win it all, UNC got very close in ‘81. Led by All-American Al Wood, the Tar Heels fell to Indiana in the championship game. In the semifinals, Wood turned in a heroic 39-point effort against Ralph Sampson and Virginia.

1969-70

Record: 18-9 (9-5 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: None, NIT First Round

Best Win: 2/9/70 - 88-86 vs. #5 NC State

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #4

This wasn’t a great team by any means, finishing unranked after getting as high as #4. However, they also probably would’ve been a NCAAT were the field size what it is today. It may have ended un-ideally, but Charlie Scott had a massive season, averaging 27 points and eight rebounds.

Poll

Who was better?

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    #3. 1980-81
    (171 votes)
  • 2%
    #14. 1969-70
    (4 votes)
175 votes total Vote Now

#7. 1984-85 vs. #10. 1993-94

1984-85

Record: 27-9 (9-5 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: Elite Eight

Best Win: 3/2/85 - 78-68 at #5 Duke

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #5

After losing Michael Jordan, UNC started unranked but ended the season as a #2 seed thanks to Brad Daugherty’s breakout season. However, they were felled by Villanova in the Elite Eight as the Wildcats made their miracle run to a title.

1993-94

Record: 28-7 (11-5 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: Second Round

Best Win: 2/3/94 - 89-78 vs. #1 Duke

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #1

UNC went into this season ranked #1 after bringing back several key pieces from the ‘93 title team and enrolling the like of Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace. This team was good, sweeping Duke and winning the ACC Tournament, but not quite good enough as they were upset by Boston College in the second round of the NCAAT.

Poll

Who was better?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    #7. 1984-85
    (46 votes)
  • 73%
    #10. 1993-94
    (125 votes)
171 votes total Vote Now

#2. 2016-17 vs. #15. 1962-63

2016-17

Record: 33-7 (14-4 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: National Champions

Best Win: 4/3/17 - 71-65 vs. #2 Gonzaga

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #3

This is the second national championship team that had to drop to the #2 seed line. Justin Jackson, Joel Berry, and co fought back from the disappointment of ‘16 to complete the final step and win the title. Four of their NCAAT games were absolutely battles in which UNC managed to make the big plays every time. Luke Maye’s game winner against Kentucky came out of this season, and is arguably the second biggest shot in school history.

1962-63

Record: 15-6 (10-4 ACC)

NCAA Tournament Finish: None

Best Win: 1/5/63 - 76-68 vs. Notre Dame

AP Poll Peak Ranking: #10

Dean Smith topped .500 for the first time in his second season in charge. Billy Cunningham had a big season, but UNC never came particularly close to challenging for a NCAAT bid this season.

Poll

Who was better?

This poll is closed

  • 99%
    #2. 2016-17
    (177 votes)
  • 0%
    #15. 1963-62
    (1 vote)
178 votes total Vote Now