TarHeelIllustrated - No. 3: 2009
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No. 3: 2009

THI looks at the top UNC basketball teams ever, focusing here on the 2009 Tar Heels.
THI looks at the top UNC basketball teams ever, focusing here on the 2009 Tar Heels. (Getty Images)

Our series counting down the Top 30 North Carolina basketball teams of all time continues.

Our mission isn't to make any declarative statements, but rather have some fun, give our readers something to discuss, walk down memory lane some and provide a needed escape.

Your thoughts and picks are welcome in our message board thread for this series.



No. 3: 2009

Record: 34-4 (13-3 ACC)

NCAA Tournament: NCAA champions

ACC Tournament: Lost in semifinals

Ranking: 1

Coach: Roy Williams

All-Americans: Tyler Hansbrough; Ty Lawson

All-ACC: Tyler Hansbrough (1st); Ty Lawson (1st); Danny Green (3rd).

Honors: Ty Lawson, ACC Player of the Year, NCAA South Region MOP; Wayne Ellington, Final Four MOP.


What's To Know: When this team was rolling, it was as good or better than any team ever at UNC. Some might say, since the ’09 Tar Heels won it all, they are the last great college basketball team.

They steamrolled over the competition, reaching the 100-point mark nine times and blowing out teams such as Kentucky by 19, Oregon by 29, Michigan State (in Detroit) in the regular season by 35 a good Nevada team on the road by 23, and Notre Dame by 15 on a neutral floor.

During a December win at home over Valparaiso, Tyler Hansbrough became UNC’s all-time leading scorer. In an NCAA Tournament first-round win over Radford, he became the ACC’s all-time leading scorer. Hansbrough is also UNC’s all-time leading rebounder.

The Tar Heels swept Duke, meaning their win in Cameron Indoor Stadium (by 14 points), made the senior class 4-0 in games played in Duke’s fabled hall.

These Heels had it all. Ty Lawson’s game matured into the ACC Player of the Year, an earned honor as he ended up the Heels’ best player over the second half of the season. With Marcus Ginyard out for the season, Danny Green had a terrific campaign making himself into an NBA player. Wayne Ellington was a smooth, efficient complement to Lawson and Hansbrough, Deon Thompson gave the starting five stability and more scoring when needed, and the bench that included future NBA big men Tyler Zeller (who was injured some during the season) and Ed Davis along with Bobby Frasor made this one of the great ACC teams of all time.

They are the last team to win the national title taking every game by double digits, and excluding a 43-point win in the first round, the Tar Heels’ average margin of victory over their last five NCAA Tournament games was 15.6, including a 17-point win over Michigan State again in Detroit. The Heels led 40-20 at one point in the first half, meaning they had a margin of plus-55 over the Spartans in a 55-minute span that season inside Ford Field in Detroit.


2009 Schedule & Results


2009 NBA Draft

Tyler Hansbrough, 1st Round, No. 13 overall selection

Ty Lawson, 1st Round, No. 18 overall selection

Wayne Ellington, 1st Round, No. 28 overall selection

Danny Green, 2nd Round, No. 46 overall selection