clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Greatest UNC Team Ever: A Champion has been crowned

New, comments

We have a winner in our bracket!

NCAA Basketball: Duke at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After 64 teams started and six rounds of competition, we finally have a winner in our Greatest Ever North Carolina Tar Heels Men’s Basketball Team Bracket!

The title game left us with a matchup between the Dean Smith coached 1981-82 team and the Roy Williams 2004-05 coached squad. After a fairly decisive vote, you have decided that the ‘81-82 team is the greatest team in Tar Heels’ history. The James Worthy, Sam Perkins, and Michael Jordan led bunch received an impressive 79% of the vote to take home the crown.

It shouldn’t come as a huge shock considering how dominant they were throughout their run in our tournament. In advancing to the Final Four, the ‘81-82 team got at least 92% of the vote in all four of their early round matchups. Their closest battle came in the Final Four when the eked out a win over the 2008-09 squad, getting 53% of the vote. In retrospect, that game was the de facto championship game, but unfortunately due to seeding, those two ended up getting matched up a round earlier. Their average percentage of vote received across the six rounds is 86%.

Looking at their roster, it’s easy to understand why this team is so fondly remembered. They were led by two future Hall of Famers in James Worthy and Michael Jordan, while Sam Perkins would also go on to have an 18-year professional career after a stellar college run. Add in that Jordan was the third leading scorer among those three, you won’t find many better college trios than that. Throw in Matt Doherty and Jimmy Black, who both had solid college careers, and the fact that it was all overseen by the legendary Dean Smith, it’s a very strong team.

Despite falling at the final hurdle, the 2004-05 team also had an impressive run. Prior to the loss in the final, they received 81% of the vote on average in their first five wins. While they didn’t have anyone have a career to the level of Jordan or Worthy, six players from this Tar Heel team went on to play in the NBA.

What this tournament did do was show just how storied a history UNC basketball has. Any of the six NCAA Tournament champions would’ve been runaway winners for many other schools. For Carolina, two of them weren’t even among the last four standing. Just a handful of team that were included in the tournament didn’t participate in an NCAA Tournament. All but one of the Sweet 16 made it to at least the Final Four. The one team that didn’t had Michael Jordan in a season where he averaged 20 points per game. It’s quite the rich history.

Now that this is over, I’d like to thank anyone that read and voted in any of the rounds of our tournament. It was a fun thing to put together and learn about some of the UNC teams before my time. I hope it was a nice distraction to help in these times without live sports to watch.