With this year’s championship, the 2017 Tar Heels become the thirteenth team from the Triangle to win an NCAA title.That raises an obvious question, especially considering the heated rivalries that Carolina, NC State and Duke fans carry on: Which of those 13 teams is the best?To try to come up with a ranking of the 13 title teams, we’ve ranked them in several categories. Here are the results:Overall record:The 1957 Tar Heels were the only undefeated national champion in Triangle history. (We’re excluding UNC’s 1924 Helms Foundation team from these rankings and only including NCAA Tournament winners.) The 1974 Wolfpack went 30-1. A pair of teams1982 Tar Heels and 1992 Blue Devilshad two losses. At the other end of the spectrum are the 10-loss 1983 Wolfpack, the 32-7 1991 Blue Devils, and this year’s Heels, who went 33-7.ACC Championship:A truly dominant team should also win the ACC regular season and tournament. Eight of the national champions won the regular season outright. Another three 1982 UNC, 2001 Duke, 2010 Duke tied for the regular season crown. The 2015 Blue Devils finished second, and the 1983 Wolfpack tied for third.Seven of the champions won the ACC Tournament. The 2001 Blue Devils were most dominant, winning by an average of 14.3 points, just ahead of the 1957 Tar Heels. Three teams were bounced from the ACC Tournament by double-digit margins, including the last two champions, and the 1991 Blue Devils, who lost by 22.Bad losses:In a remarkable streak, Wake Forest defeated five straight Triangle national champions: 1982 UNC, 1983 NC State, 1991 Duke, 1992 Duke and 1993 UNC. The Deacs also claimed wins over 2005 and 2009 UNC, giving them at least a small piece of the state’s NCAA title history. Ten of the champions had losses by double-digits.Close calls:The 2009 Tar Heels stormed to the title, winning their six NCAA games by an average of 20 points. The 2001 Blue Devils were the only other team to win every NCAA game by double digits. Four teams1957 UNC, 1993 UNC, 1974 NC State and 1992 Dukehad overtime games in the tournament. Six others had one or two-point wins.Star power:The 1982 Tar Heels had Michael Jordan. The 1974 Wolfpack had David Thompson. ’82’s supporting cast of James Worthy and Sam Perkins gives the Heels the slight edge. The early 90s Duke teams with Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill are next, and the loaded 2001 Blue Devils rounds out the top five.Final results:In a surprise result by the margin of victory, if not the team, the David Thompson-led 1974 Wolfpack swept to the win by a 6.5-point margin. The Pack finished second in four of the six categories and no worse than fifth in any.The 1992 Blue Devils, Coach K’s second of back-to-back champions, were in second place, one point ahead of the undefeated 1957 Tar Heels. Two points behind that team were the 2001 Blue Devils.UNC teams took the next four spots in the rankings. The 2009 Heels were fifth, followed by 1982. The 1993 and 2005 squads tied for seventh.Two Duke teams tied for ninththe 1991 Blue Devils and the 2010 team.The two most recent champions were in the bottom three. 2015 Duke was in eleventh place, three points ahead of the 2017 Heels. The 1983 Wolfpack brought up the rear.
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