Rank ‘Em: Best Decades of Tar Heel Basketball Since 1950

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#1 – 1990’s

The 1990’s, in my opinion, was when UNC became one of the most popular teams in the country and gained fans nationwide. All the success, great players, national exposure and classic games with Duke made them a team many fans (myself included) latched on to. The biggest story of the 90’s for the Carolina basketball program was the end of the Dean Smith Era. Shortly before the 1997-98 season, Coach Smith retired in an expected turn of events and the team was turned over to longtime assistant Bill Guthridge. The roster was loaded with talent so they were still okay for the remainder of the decade. The most memorable moment of the 90’s was the Tar Heels taking down the vaunted “Fab 5” of Michigan. The Chris Webber timeout was a critical factor in the game that saw Coach Smith win his second national title 77-71.

I think a big reason was that the NBA was so hot in the 90’s and a lot of the most exciting players in the league during that time came from North Carolina. So when fans kept hearing that all these studs are coming from UNC to the NBA, they’d watch the current Tar Heels to see the future stars of the NBA. I can’t think of a better decade for UNC basketball in their history. I give this the edge over the 1980’s because of 5 Final Fours in 10 years, losing Dean Smith unexpectedly in 1998 and keeping it together to get back to the Final Four and remain one of the top programs in the country.


10 NCAA tournament appearances (1990-1999)
5 Final Fours (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997 & 1998)
1 NCAA Championship (1993)
4 ACC tournament championships (1991, 1994, 1997 & 1998)
2 ACC regular season championships (1993, 1995)
270 victories

1 National POY & ACC POYAntawn Jamison (1998)

Retired numbers
#33 – Antawn Jamison (1995-1998)

NBA Alumni (19): J.R. Reid (1990-2001), Jeff Lebo (1990), Steve Bucknall (1990), Scott Williams (1991-2005), Rick Fox (1992-2004), Pete Chilcutt (1992-2000), Hubert Davis (1993-2004), Matt Wenstrom (1994), George Lynch (1994-2005), Derrick Phelps (1995), Eric Montross (1995-2002), Rasheed Wallace (1996-2013), Jerry Stackhouse (1996-2013), Kevin Salvadori (1997-1998), Jeff McInnis (1997-2008), Shammond Williams (1999-2007), Makhtar N’Diaye (1999), Antawn Jamison (1999-2014), Vince Carter (1999-2014)

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