16) UNC 2008 (Tie) - Where should I begin with this team? Consensus National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough aka “Psycho T” was the leader of this team. Tywon Lawson was the coach on the floor, and wings, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green, lit up any defense from the arc. The 2008 team won the most games in one season (36) by any North Carolina Tar Heels team. In addition, they won the ACC Tournament. North Carolina lost to Kansas, the 2008 NCAA National Champions, in the Final Four. Carolina finished the season with a 36-3 record. In the following season, UNC won the national championship after the core of the team decided to come back to Chapel Hill for another year.
UNC 1984 – The 1984 team is arguably one of the best teams not to win a championship. Initially, I had this team in the top 10. To be honest, both UNC 2008 and UNC 1984 deserve to be there. However, based on my criteria for this list I changed their positions. Michael Jordan headlined the star-studded Tar Heels during the 1983-1984 season. Freshman point guard Kenny “The Jet” Smith, accompanied Jordan in one of the best backcourts in the history of UNC basketball. Former UNC basketball coach, Matt Doherty, was the starting small forward. Sam “Big Smooth” Perkins, the starting center on the 1982 championship team, was the starting power forward, and Brad Daugherty (ESPN NASCAR Analyst) was the starting center as a sophomore. This team has three losses the entire season: one loss during the regular season, one loss to Duke in the 1984 ACC Tournament, and a loss to Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Similar to the 2012 Tar Heels, Carolina’s title hopes changed when Kenny Smith sustained an injury late in the season. This team finished the season with a 28-3 record. Every loss was a close game. In addition, each loss was no more than four points.
15) UNC 1972 – The interesting thing about this team is that most of the players hailed from the states of New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Notable players on the roster were George Karl (Denver Nuggets head coach), Bobby Jones (played for the Philadelphia 76ers for many years), Bob McAdoo (relative of James Michael McAdoo; averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds in his only season at UNC; assistant coach with the Miami Heat), Bill Chamberlain (2nd team All-American), Steve Previs, and Dennis Wuycik. Wuycik was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the NCAA East Regional. Wuycik also led the Tar Heels in scoring this season. The 1972 UNC team had their season cut short when they lost to the Florida State Seminoles in the 1972 Final Four by a score of 75-79. This team finished the 1972 season with a 25-5 record.
14) UNC 1991 – North Carolina had a highly, touted freshman class that included Derrick Phelps, Eric Montross, Brian Reese, Kevin Salvadori, Pat Sullivan, and Clifford Rozier. Dean Smith had an 11-player rotation that was used regularly. Other notable standouts on the team included King Rice, Rick Fox, Hubert Davis, Pat Sullivan, Henrik Rodl, Pete Chilcutt, and George Lynch. Carolina finished the season with a 29-6 record. Several players on this team averaged close to double figures in points. The 22-point whooping of Duke in the 1991 ACC Championship is one game that I remember very well. However, the irony behind this victory is that Duke swept UNC during the regular season. In addition, both UNC and Duke made it to the Final Four. Duke beat the defending national champion, UNLV, which had an undefeated record. Carolina loss to a young Kansas Jayhawks’s team led by third-year head coach, Roy Williams. UNC head coach, Dean Smith, was ejected from this game with 35 seconds left in the second half after he received his second technical foul. Several of the role players on this team would lead Carolina to a championship in 1993, where Dean Smith exacted revenge against Roy Williams and Kansas. Til this day, I think about what would have happened if Carolina and Duke faced each other in the national championship? 1991 was supposed to be the year this happened.
13) UNC 1995 – This team is one of my all-time favorites. All-Americans Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace led this team to a
Final Four as the “Super Sophomores” excited Tar Heel Nation with numerous thunderous dunks and alley-oops. Several highlights during this season included the double overtime win against Duke in Hansbrough, I mean, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Jerry Stackhouse’s posterizing dunk against Virginia Tech, beating a Georgetown Hoyas team led by Allen Iverson in Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament (Iverson had 29 points), and the fact that Rasheed Wallace was third place in voting for the Student Body President from write-in’s. There was a four-way tie for first place in the ACC between Maryland, Virginia, Wake Forest, and North Carolina. All of these teams had a 12-4 conference record during the regular season. Stackhouse averaged 19 points and 8 rebounds in 1995, and Wallace averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds during this season. In the 1995 NBA Draft, Jerry Stackhouse was drafted #3 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, and Rasheed Wallace was drafted #4 overall by the Washington Bullets.