Monday, January 7, 2008


After last night's somewhat lucky escape over Clemson, some UNC fans are already wondering if an undefeated season is possible. As a passionate alumnus, I kind of doubt it.

The 1957 Carolina team and the 1976 Indiana squad hold the record for most wins in a season when winning a national championship without a loss, both 32-0.

The amount of good fortune that Carolina had in 1958 to achieve that mark was clearly phenomenal, so maybe last night' s lucky win is a good sign.

With 2:30 on the clock, Carolina lost control of the ball and it bounced right into Danny Green’s hands and he hit a 3-pointer to cut the margin to four. If Clemson had come up with that ball, Carolina probably would have been toast.

With respect to going undefeated, my freshman year in 1984, we had a great chance to do that until Kenny Smith got hurt. We did go undefeated in conference, but strangely enough it got a little boring, because even if we had lost, it would have been to an inferior team, not one on par with us, a bit like the situation, Duke had in the ACC several years ago. You always need a foil. Someone who can take you to hell and back. Dean Smith’s successful struggles to best K again in the 90’s really got me back into things, as did the 8-20 debacle. It is no fun if it is too easy, but it would not have been a gimme in 1984 even if Kenny had not gotten hurt.. Georgetown was basically our equal that year by the time of the tournament.

The ‘82 team had that foil with UVa, playing them three times and barely eeking out two wins and needing a big comeback to win in Chapel Hill.

UVa was the only squad to beat Carolina in a game that year in which all of our starters were available–Sam Perkins missed the Wake defeat. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers beat the daylights out of us in Charlottesville. So, if Sam had not gotten sick for Wake, that team probably would have been 33-1, given no other changes in the space-time continuum.

And for all you younger Carolina fans, UVa might have been our chief rival from 1980-1984, and maybe back to 1976, with both teams going to the Final Four multiple times.

Boy, did we despise Tom Sheehy and Terry Holland, and there seemed to be bad blood between Dean and Holland and Marc Iavaroni. UVa killed our hopes for a national title in 1976 and Carolina paid them back the next year, winning a thriller at the end, even without most of our starters. And of course, UVa and UNC are the only two ACC teams to ever meet in the Final Four and we smoked them after they had beaten us twice that year.

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