Comparing two top Tar Heels teams
Does this season's star-studded UNC roster measure up to '09 title team?
This past April Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller announced they would return to North Carolina for another season. And pretty much from that moment on, the Tar Heels have been regarded as the favorites to win the 2012 national championship. Not that UNC won't have competition, naturally. Kentucky, for one, looks as if they'll be pretty tough. But there can be only one No. 1, and right now Dick Vitale, Andy Katz and a lot of other people agree the top ranking belongs to Roy Williams' team.
Of course, this isn't the first time Carolina has faced great expectations before the season has tipped off. Just three short years ago, a Tar Heels team led by Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson was ranked No. 1 (unanimously!) in both major preseason polls. Observers more or less took it for granted that the Heels would win the national championship that year. They did, winning all six of their NCAA tournament games by double-digits. The real question with that team was whether it would go undefeated, which it did not, as the Heels finished 34-4.
So in honor of UNC's return to preseason-favorite status, I've decided to give this year's Tar Heels some much needed competition: that 2009 North Carolina team. How do the two teams stack up? Who would win a hypothetical showdown between the two? According to the categories I hold most dear, here's how these two scary-good Carolina teams would match up against each other.
To see how the 2011-12 Tar Heels compare to the national championship squad of '09, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- UW dismisses Upshaw for violating team rules
- Unbeatens Kentucky, Virginia still atop AP poll
- Hoosiers' Crean: Davis won't play this season
- Wichita St. guard arrested on suspicion of DUI
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider College Basketball
New on Insider
Lunardi: Pac-12 locked into 2 bids?
Player Rankings: Davis over Robinson for POY
Lunardi: Where UW, Northwestern fall
Hume: Bid thieves are few
Bilas: Sizing up the Big East
Gasaway: Pac-12 stronger than it seems
Hume: Best bets among bubble teams
Lunardi: VCU may be first bid thief
Ford: Time running out for 5 NBA prospects
Lunardi: How UConn, Texas, others earn bids
Lunardi: Latest look at the bubble
Fraschilla: Previewing Big 12 tournament
Bilas Index: UNC remains at No. 3
Pomeroy: Trends predict UNC-Duke clash
Lunardi: No No. 1 seed for Big Ten?
Player Rankings: Purdue's pivotal players
Ford: Will MKG, Cody Zeller stay in school?
Gasaway: Rebounding won't crush Orange
Telep: UCLA's top recruits remain committed
Bilas: How Michigan State can still improve
Bilas: Keys to the Hoyas' continued success
Lunardi: Watch out for NCAA bid thieves
Lunardi Rundown: Kentucky is No. 1 overall
Bilas Index: Kansas returns to the top five
Make smart bracket picks by spotting Cinderella early.
And don't forget these Insider mainstays:
Doug Gottlieb, Fran Fraschilla, Joe Lunardi and Jay Williams offer their opinions.
Insights from the mind of the College Gameday analyst.
The national recruiting analyst weighs in on news and rumors surrounding the top high school prospects.
Stay on top of all the latest recruiting buzz.
Every D-1 player's efficiency rating.