Men's Basketball Championships
1924 Men's Basketball Championship Team
The first of Carolina's national championships came long before the term "March Madness" became an annual rite of spring. In fact, when Carolina won the 1924 national championship with a 26-0 record, there wasn't even an NCAA Tournament.
The Helms Foundation voted the Tar Heels as national champions after their perfect season, as there was no post-season tournament. Carolina defeated Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Alabama en route to the Southern Conference championship.
Cartwright Carmichael, Jack Cobb, Bill Dodderer and Monk McDonald led the Tar Heel squad directed by first-year coach Norman Shepard. Carolina played its home games in the Indoor Athletic Center, also known as the Tin Can.
The championship season was also Shepard's last at the helm of the Tar Heels, as McDonald took over as head coach the following season. McDonald was the only former UNC player to coach the Tar Heels until Matt Doherty returned to Chapel Hill to take over in 2000-01.
1957 Men's Basketball Championship Team
North Carolina's march toward the NCAA championship in the 1957 Final Four provided legendary head coach Frank McGuire with the defining moment of his career and the Tar Heel faithful with more than a few tense moments.
attle-torn and weary, the Tar Heels faced a seemingly insurmountable challenge as they headed into the third overtime period against Kansas in the national championship game.
Having already taken three overtime periods to defeat Michigan State in the semifinals, the Tar Heels found themselves without national player of the year Lennie Rosenbluth, who had fouled out in the waning moments of regulation. They were playing a Kansas team led by Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain in the not so friendly confines of Kansas City, Mo.
The Tar Heels fought on without Rosenbluth and found themselves behind by one point in the final seconds of the third overtime. After a missed shot, the ball landed in the hands of junior center Joe Quigg near the top of the key. All that stood between him and the national championship was Chamberlain.
Carolina had its fair share of over-time experience entering the Final Four, securing an overtime victory over South Carolina and a double overtime victory over Maryland in the regular season. That experience may have been the difference as the Tar Heels continually came through with clutch plays throughout the Final Four. In the semifinal, neither team was able to open more than a six-point lead as Michigan State tested Carolina's mettle throughout the game.
Junior forward Pete Brennan kept Carolina's championship hopes alive when he nailed a baseline jumper with three seconds remaining in the first overtime to extend the game to another period. Both teams struggled in the second overtime, scoring only one bucket each. Carolina finally pulled away in the third overtime period scoring the first six points and holding on to a 74-70 victory.
Rosenbluth was the star of the 1957 squad. His 27 points and 8.6 rebounds a game in regular season play led the Tar Heels to the ACC championship and the NCAA tournament berth. Three of the victories came over fellow Big Four and ACC team Wake Forest, with whom Carolina had developed an intense rivalry.
At the end of his senior season, Rosenbluth held on to every major Carolina basketball record except for free-throw percentage and total rebounds in a season.
The championship season was Carolina's only trip to the Final Four under the tutelage of Frank McGuire, who left in 1961 to coach in the NBA. He later went on to coach at South Carolina. In nine years, McGuire led the Tar Heels to three Top 10 finishes and six Top 20 finishes.
The next Final Four appearance for the Tar Heels came under McGuire's replacement, Dean Smith, who began his Final Four legacy in 1967.
1982 Men's Basketball Championship Team
Every Carolina Basketball fan remembers The Shot. It is the most famous play in Tar Heel history and one of the most famous in college athletics. It won Dean Smith his first national championship and launched Michael Jordan as the greatest player in the sport's history.
Eric "Sleepy" Floyd had just hit a jumper in the lane to give Georgetown a 62-61 lead as 61,612 fans looked on at the New Orleans Superdome. Carolina called a timeout with 32 seconds remaining. Smith instructed point guard Jimmy Black to draw the Hoya zone defense to one side of the court and look to get the ball inside to James Worthy. But Black couldn't get the ball to Worthy. Smith had designed the play so that if that happened, Black could swing the ball to an open man on the far side of the court. Black found that open man, freshman Michael Jordan.
Jordan stood 16 feet to the left of the basket. Catch-jump-shoot. No hesitation. The ball found the bottom of the net. Carolina 63, Georgetown 62. Fifteen seconds remained on the clock.
Georgetown's Fred Brown got the ball near mid-court and looked for an open teammate. He passed the ball in F l o y d 's direction, but instead found Worthy, who raced downcourt with the ball to seal the victory. It was appropriate that Worthy clinched the win, since he had already muscled and finessed his way through the Hoya defense en route to five dunks and 28 points.
Worthy was not intimidated by the tenacious defense of Hoya freshman center Patrick Ewing, who logged two blocked shots and three steals to go with his 23 points and 11 rebounds. Throughout the game, Worthy challenged the Hoyas frontline and hit 13 of his 17 field goal attempts.
Carolina advanced to the title game with a 68-63 semifinal victory over Houston. Sam Perkins had 25 points and 10 rebounds.
UNC began and finished the year ranked No. 1 in the country in the Associated Press poll. In fact, Carolina held the No. 1 ranking for all but five weeks in 1981-82. The Tar Heels posted a 32-2 record, losing only to Wake Forest at home when Perkins was sick and did not play and at Virginia. Carolina did beat the Cavaliers, 47-45, in the ACC Tournament championship game in Greensboro. Worthy had 16 points and Matt Doherty had 11 points and four assists. Carolina led 34-31 at the half, but the game is most remembered for the Tar Heels using a delay game in the second half. Leading 44-43 with 7:34 to play, Carolina held the ball. Doherty hit three free throws in the last 28 seconds to win the game.
Top-ranked and top-seeded Carolina then survived a scare from James Madison in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, beating the Dukes, 52-50, in Charlotte. A 74-69 win over Alabama and a 70-60 triumph over Villanova in Raleigh's Reynolds Coliseum sent the Tar Heels to New Orleans for the Final Four.
Senior guard Jimmy Black was one of five starters in double figures in the regional final win over Villanova. Black had 11 points and 10 assists.
1993 Men's Basketball Championship Team
Dean Smith had been there before. The last time his Tar Heels walked on the Superdome floor, they walked off as NCAA champions.
Now, after a grueling ACC season that included five other Top 25 teams; after a tough road through the East Regional bracket that required an overtime victory to escape the final; after defeating a Roy Williams-coached Kansas squad that had beaten the Tar Heels just two years prior in the national semifinal-- Carolina was back on the Superdome floor playing for the national championship.
The 1993 Tar Heels were ready. Center Eric Montross and senior forward George Lynch anchored the team and shooting guard Donald Williams provided the spark from the outside. Point guard Derrick Phelps ran the offense and a handful of role players brought everything together in typical Dean Smith fashion.
Michigan was ready too, though. The Wolverines, led by vocal center Chris Webber and the rest of the "Fab Five," had lost the championship game in 1992 and were hungry to redeem themselves. They won a hard-fought overtime battle against Jamal Mashburn and the Kentucky Wildcats in the national semifinal, 81-78, and were confident they would return to Ann Arbor with a championship.
The styles of the two teams couldn't have been any farther apart. The Tar Heels were a traditional Dean Smith team -- talented, disciplined and focused. The Wolverines had brought a brash, new feel to the game, famous for their black shoes, baggy shorts and playground style of play. The teams battled back and forth throughout the game. Michigan led by 10 in the first half, but Carolina rallied for a 42-36 lead at intermission. The Wolverines built a 67-63 lead with 4:30 left to play, but the Tar Heels scored nine unanswered points to take a 72- 67 lead with 1:03 to play.
Trailing by four, Williams began the 9-0 run with a three-pointer, then Phelps hit a fastbreak layup to give UNC the lead with 3:07 to play. Baskets by Lynch and Montross upped the lead to five with a minute to go.
Michigan responded with a Ray Jackson jump shot and a Chris Webber put-back to bring the Wolverines back to within 72-71 with 36 seconds to play.
Carolina junior forward Pat Sullivan was fouled with 20 seconds left and went to the line for a one-and-one. Sullivan connected on the first, but missed the second and Webber got the rebound with the Wolverines trailing 73-71.
Webber stumbled and appeared to travel, but the officials made no call. He then dribbled past halfcourt and found himself surrounded by the Tar Heels and called a timeout. However, Michigan did not have any timeouts remaining and the officials called a technical foul on the Michigan bench.
Williams hit two free throws and Carolina marched on to a 77-71 victory. It was only appropriate that Williams stood at the line at the end of the game, as he dominated the Final Four en route to Most Outstanding Player honors. Williams made five of seven three pointers and scored 25 points in both the national semifinal and championship games.
The Tar Heels finished the season 34-4, winning 18 consecutive games at one point. Carolina had even faced Michigan early on in the season at the Rainbow Classic and lost, 79-78, courtesy a last-second shot from Wolverine point guard Jalen Rose.
The 18-game win streak was snapped by a 77-75 loss to Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament championship game. The Tar Heels played that game without Phelps, who injured his back when he was fouled from behind on a layup attempt in the ACC semi-final against Virginia.
Despite the loss to the Yellow Jackets, Carolina was No. 1 in the East Regional. Wins over East Carolina, Rhode Island and Arkansas setup a regional championship against Cincinnati in the Meadowlands. The Bearcats had played in the Final Four in 1992.
Nick Van Exel hit six three-pointers in the first half and the Bearcats built a 29-14 lead with 7:08 left in the opening half, but the Tar Heels rallied to pull within one at halftime. In the second half, Phelps clamped down on Van Exel, limiting him to just one field goal.
Carolina led late in regulation, but Terrance Gibson's driving layup with 35 seconds to play tied the game. The Tar Heels had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Brian Reese's dunk attempt after an out-of-bounds play with 0.8 seconds left ricocheted off the back iron.
Williams starred in overtime, hitting back-to-back three-pointers and the Tar Heels hung on for a 75-68 win. Lynch was the heart and soul of the team and recorded double-doubles in each of the last four NCAA Tournament victories.
2005 Men's Basketball Championship Team
Instead, led by seniors Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel and Melvin Scott, and under the tutelage of second-year head coach Roy Williams, the Tar Heels became the best team in the nation. Carolina led the country in scoring and assists and held the opposition to 40 percent shooting.
Center Sean May arguably became the finest player in the country, racking up eight straight double-doubles and averaging 17.5 points and 10.7 rebounds.
Point guard Raymond Felton joined May on the All-ACC first team and won the Bob Cousy Award as the best point guard in the country. He led the ACC in assists and hit 44 percent from three-point range.
Carolina lost at Wake Forest and Duke, but clinched its first outright conference title since 1993 with a 75-73 win over the Blue Devils in the regular-season finale. May had 26 points and 24 rebounds and Marvin Williams capped a rally from nine points behind with a three-point play with 17 seconds remaining.
UNC survived a first round scare in the ACC Tournament from Clemson in large part thanks to Felton's career-high 29 points. But Georgia Tech bounced the Tar Heels from in the semifinals behind Will Bynum's 35 points.
Carolina earned a No. 1 seed and opened NCAA play in front of a raucous crowd in Charlotte. UNC took out any lingering frustrations from the ACC Tournament in the first half, shooting 73 percent from the floor en route to a 59-33 advantage. Marvin Williams and Sean May combined for 39 points and 16 rebounds and Carolina opened its title run with a 96-68 win.
Iowa State was next in round two. Leading 36-33, UNC closed the first half with nine unanswered points. Iowa State never came within single digits in the second half. May had 24 points and 17 rebounds and Marvin Williams added 20 points and 15 boards.
Fifth-seeded Villanova gave Carolina a stern test in Syracuse in the Sweet 16. The Wildcats went to a four-guard offense and built a 21-9 lead midway through the first half behind Randy Foye's hot shooting. May scored 12 of UNC's 29 points as the Tar Heels clawed to within four at the break. UNC took the lead for good on a McCants three with 7:20 to play and extended its lead to 10 points with 3:45 remaining.
ut Felton fouled out with 2:13 to play and the Wildcats pulled to within 64-62 with 40 seconds left. Scott, who took over the point, canned two free throws for a four-point lead. Villanova made one free throw and had a chance to tie, but Allen Ray was whistled for a travel with nine seconds to play.
May dominated the regional final against Wisconsin with 29 points and 12 rebounds. The game was tied at 44 at halftime, but UNC went on a 14-0 run early in the second half. McCants had a key block and three-pointer in the final three minutes to secure the win.
Michigan State led UNC by five at halftime in the national semifinals, but UNC outscored the Spartans, 54-33, in the second half to post an 87-71 win. May scored 22 and Jawad Williams had 20. The Tar Heels held Michigan State to 34 percent shooting.
No. 2-ranked Carolina squared off against top-ranked Illinois in the championship. The Illini had been ranked No. 1 since Dec. 6th. But the Tar Heels built a 40-27 halftime lead behind 14 points from McCants and eight points and six assists from Felton.
The Illini made 5 of 19 threes in the first half, but got hot and tied the game at 65-65 with 5:34 to play. Felton knocked home a long three moments later, but the game was tied again at 70 with 2:40 to play.
The Tar Heels took the lead for good with 1:27 to play as Marvin Williams tipped in a missed shot. Illinois missed a pair of three-pointers; then Felton stole a pass. Felton hit three free throws in the final seconds to give Carolina a 75-70 win and Roy Williams his first NCAA title. May, the Final Four MVP, had 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Roy Williams on 2005 -- "I had watched One Shining Moment for so many years, and I had always wanted to watch it from the arena, from the floor, when it was about my team. It was a moment where I reached up to wipe a tear away because as a coach, that is the moment. That's what you dream about."