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Check back prior to the 2008 season for a preview and a program outlook.
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The 2007-2008 season

The 2008-2009 season

The 2009-2010 season

The 2010-2011 season

The 2011-2012 season

The 2012-2013 season

The 2013-2014 season

The 2014-2015 season

The 2015-2016 season

The 2016-2017 season

The 2017-2018 season

The 2018-2019 season

 


2008-2009 UNC basketball
The Schedule (pdf file)
The Roster

The National Championship Game (click here)

The Results (click each game for an analysis)

11/15/08 Tar Heels 86, Penn 71 1/04/09 Boston College 85, Tar Heels 78
11/18/08 Tar Heels 77, Kentucky 58 1/11/09 Wake Forest 92, Tar Heels 89
11/21/08 Tar Heels 84, UCSB 67 1/15/09 Tar Heels 83, Virginia 61
11/24/08 Tar Heels 115, Chaminade 70 1/17/09 Tar Heels 82, Miami 65
11/25/08 Tar Heels 98, Oregon 69 1/21/09 Tar Heels 94, Clemson 70
11/26/08 Tar Heels 102, Notre Dame 87 1/28/09 Tar Heels 80, Florida State 77
11/30/08 Tar Heels 116, UNC-A 48 1/31/09 Tar Heels 93, N.C. State 76
12/03/08 Tar Heels 98, Michigan St. 63 2/03/09 Tar Heels 108, Maryland 91
12/13/08 Tar Heels 100, Oral Roberts 84 2/07/09 Tar Heels 76, Virginia 61
12/18/08 Tar Heels 91, Evansville 73 2/11/09 Tar Heels 101, Duke 87
12/20/08 Tar Heels 85, Valparaiso 63 2/15/09 Tar Heels 69, Miami 65
12/28/08 Tar Heels 97, Rutgers 75 2/18/09 Tar Heels 89, N.C. State 80
12/31/08 Tar Heels 84, Nevada 61 2/21/09 Terrapins 88, Tar Heels 85 OT
01/07/09 Tar Heels 108, Charleston 70 2/28/09 Tar Heels 104, Georgia Tech 74
  3/04/09 Tar Heels 86, Virginia Tech 78
  3/08/09 Tar Heels 79, Duke 71
  3/13/09 Tar Heels 79, Virginia Tech 76
3/14/09 Florida State 73, Tar Heels 70
  3/18/09 Tar Heels 101, Radford 58
  3/21/09 Tar Heels 84, LSU 70
  3/27/09 Tar Heels 98, Gonzaga 77
  3/29/09 Tar Heels 72, Oklahoma 60
  4/04/09 Tar Heels 83, Villanova 69

UNC Season Preview
How will a Carolina team improve after going 36-3?

So, how can a team that had a 36-3 record the previous year improve? Some seem to think by going undefeated.

“I have no dream, none of going undefeated,” sixth-year UNC head coach Roy Williams said. “Not even a blip on the radar. I could care less. I'll take a great year and a great run playing it hard every single day and enjoying my life.”

Williams points out that a Kansas team won the national championship in 1988 with 11 losses. So some Carolina fans might settle for a team not as good as last year's team over the season but one better in the Final Four.

The Heels were drubbed by Williams' former team, the Kansas Jayhawks, last year in the national semi-finals.

“We just didn't play,” Williams said. He said coaches did all the same things they had done for all the ACC tournament and NCAA games that the Heels won and felt good going into the Final Four.

“Last year Kansas had the best defensive team in the country,” Williams said. “We have to get better defensively. By the end of the year (last season) we were just a good defensive team and I'm hoping we can become a great defensive team.”

So, how can a team that went 36-3 improve? Defense.

With five returning starters and all underclassmen who considered going pro after last season back, it should be doable. But, to start the season, the Tar Heels will be without team leader and best defensive player Marcus Ginyard, who is recuperating from ankle surgery. He should be back by the end of December.

Ginyard, a senior who Williams says will be president of something one day, says that maybe he'll be fresher at the end of the season by starting later. “Sitting on the bench and kinda being on the outside looking in will be interesting,” he said. “Ultimately I think it will help me.”

In the meantime, Danny Green, the sixth man last season, will be a starter to begin his senior season. Green, one of the ones who tested the NBA waters, has been questioned about his desire to play college basketball since most everybody thought he was not ready to go pro but seemed to want it anyway.

“I'm here now and not worried about what happened before,” Green said. “I'm focused on what I have to do now – I'm a college athlete, I'm a college student so I'm focused on North Carolina .”

Even though rarely a starter and only 6-foot-6, Green is 10th in UNC history in blocked shots. He says it all comes down to timing. While sometimes erratic, Green has been improving defensively, which is something he says the whole team is doing. He says the team is communicating with each other better defensively and that he feels the team will be better this year because of it. But will the No. 1 ranked Heels win the national championship?

“We're not guaranteeing it or expecting it,” he said. “We're going to be the best team we can be and win the most games possible.”

Ginyard, who before last season admitted to me that he had thoughts of going undefeated a year ago, has no such expectations this season – or at least isn't publicly saying so. “People are expecting us to be amazing,” he said. “I've heard people say ‘undefeated' and a ‘sure shot' but we block those things out and stay focused about what we need to do as a team.”

And, again, to a man that seems to come down to defense. Coach Williams is drilling that into their heads every day.

“I want us to go crazy defensively but be fundamentally sound,” he said with a smile. “Playing fast is a way to get the depth to be more of a factor. We want to be fresh at the end of the game.

“I do believe we can go faster,” he said. “We can get more possessions, score more points and shoot a higher percentage but it's extremely difficult."

He not only wants to tire the other team out by pushing the tempo, he wants to create more turnovers, which will lead to those additional possessions and higher shooting percentage with easy transition baskets.

“Several teams can compare to our starting five but where we have the advantage over other teams are our 7, 8, 9 players who are talented and experienced,” he said. “Depth is a huge factor.”

That much is true but few teams have anyone like Tyler Hansbrough, who surprised most people by coming back for his senior season after having won national player of the year.

“It did not surprise me but it was not an easy decision,” Williams said. “I think he seriously considered it for a couple of weeks and went back and forth.”

Williams said that even with all the acclaim, Hansbrough is the same person. “He's a youngster who's not going to change,” he said. “He won't change his personality or his dreams and goals to win.”

Hansbrough has a chance to be the only player to win back-to-back national player of the year awards since Ralph Sampson did it in the early 1980s. In addition, if he stays healthy, Hansbrough will become the all-time leading UNC scorer surpassing the legendary Phil Ford and will become the all-time leading UNC rebounder passing the icon Sam Perkins.

In addition, he could become the first player in ACC history to earn first team All-America honors four times.

“My primary goal is to earn a national championship,” Hansbrough said. “I realize the guys who hold those records are important, but I want to make sure the team comes first and I want to focus on playing the way I've always played.”

Hansbrough has been bothered by a stress reaction in his shin and will probably miss his first game ever as a Tar Heel. He played in 108 straight games but will likely miss the season opener against Penn. However, he is expected back after that.

“He has more disciplined focus of anybody I've ever been around,” Williams said.

Another player getting over an injury is senior guard Bobby Frasor who missed most of last season with an injury and who sprained an ankle just before the season opener this season. When he's healthy, he'll back up all-ACC guard Ty Lawson and be a team leader. His outside shooting and defensive prowess will make sure he gets lots of playing time.

Wayne Ellington, the junior sharpshooter, is also back after considering turning pro. He, along with teammates Hansbrough and Lawson, are on the Wooden Award watch list. No one on the team, or in the league for that matter, made bigger shots than Ellington did last season. Still, unlike Hansbrough and Lawson, he is not on the preseason All-ACC team.

Boston College 's Tyrese Rice, Miami 's Jack McClinton and Duke's Gerald Henderson join Hansbrough and Lawson on that team.

Lawson, who pulled out of the NBA draft when he discovered he wasn't going to go as high as he thought he would, probably would be in the NBA right now had he not gotten caught underage drinking and driving. That seemed to scare off NBA team officials.

Lawson said that he is working on his shot – jumping higher and following through better and that he hopes to run the team better and play better defense.

Quinton Thomas, who started in place of an injured Lawson for a month, has graduated. Frasor, even though he is nursing a sore ankle, is back and looks bigger and stronger. But freshman Larry Drew should see a lot of time at point guard. Lawson already says that Drew is one of the best point guards he's ever played against.

Williams said Thomas was ready to play last season after Frasor and Lawson went down. “We want to build depth and confidence in case something like that does happen,” Williams said.

Two other freshman likely to see a lot of playing time are big man Tyler Zeller, an athletic 7-footer who can shoot, and Ed Davis, known as a shot blocker. Ahead of them in the rotation should be Deon Thompson however, who had a solid season last year and who some players have said is the most improved player this year.

The forgotten men who could make an impact if healthy are 6-7 senior Mike Copeland, who has been injured most of his career, and 6-6 sophomore Will Graves, who can shoot the eyes out of it.

Whatever happens, Coach Williams wants his players (and presumably the fans) to enjoy the journey. “I deal in dreams and hopes, not expectations,” Williams said. “We are going to go out and play as well as we can play from the first day of practice until the last game.”

Advice for Carolina fans: Don't fret if there is a loss and don't worry about March until March. Enjoy each game of what is almost sure to be one of the best seasons in Carolina history.

Notes: Carolina 's five seniors are Copeland, Frasor, Ginyard, Green and Hansbrough. “I can't imagine a better group to represent our university,” Williams said. “They'll all graduate and graduate easily – they'll go with smaller loads this year and still graduate. With the exception of jumping off balconies into swimming pools, I think they've done the right things.”

Williams says this team can be one of the best in UNC history. He singles out the teams from 1982, 1984, 2005 and 2008 as the best Tar Heel teams he has seen.

The ACC preseason poll, in order of finish: North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Miami, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Florida State, Boston College and Virginia. That looks pretty good to me but I'd move Clemson ahead of Miami and Florida State ahead of N.C. State (at least until I see the Wolfpack guards play).

The three-point line has been moved back from 19 feet, nine inches to 20 feet, nine inches. That's a good move. Not only should that open the middle for big guys to operate a bit more, it should open the lane for drives to the basket. Too many big guys have been shooting long balls. They will notice a big difference but pure outside shooters probably won't have much trouble adjusting.

What might be confusing at the Smith Center this year is that the women's three-point line and the men's line will both be on the court. The women's team is playing at the Smith Center instead of Carmichael while renovations are being made.

© 2009 CB3media Cary, NC