But much has changed in a year. Doherty's task to tip off 1999 was to lead his Notre Dame squad on the road against fourth-ranked Ohio State. The Fighting Irish won 59-57.
Doherty's task this year? To lead North Carolina past Winthrop in the first round of the NABC Classic at the Smith Center. The teams square off at 7:30 p.m.
"No one expected us to beat (Ohio State)," Doherty said. "This situation is kind of different. That's not a knock against Winthrop - that's just fact. We're the ones coming off the Final Four. Winthrop has everything to gain, and we've got to go out and play."
UNC will probably have to do it without supersub Max Owens, who sprained an ankle in Wednesday's practice after landing on Brendan Haywood's foot.
Owens, who scored 16 points in UNC's final exhibition game, is doubtful for this weekend's Classic.
Tulsa and Arizona State meet at 9:30 p.m., and the winners will play for the title Saturday at 8:30. The consolation game is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The Tar Heel starting lineup is set, with the exception of point guard. Doherty will go with Joseph Forte at shooting guard, Jason Capel and Kris Lang at forward, and Brendan Haywood at center.
But he said Wednesday on a conference call with the media that he had not yet picked his floor general.
"The point guard position is geared to be going toward defense and taking care of the basketball - who can best guard the ball and who can best take care of the basketball," Doherty said. "I can't say it's more offense than defense - I think it's an even split."