Despite a less-than-ideal finish – an upset loss to Auburn in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament – there were still plenty of bright spots for the North Carolina men's basketball team in 2018-19.
The Tar Heels went 29-7 overall and posted a 16-2 mark in conference play, enough to split a regular season ACC title with eventual national champion Virginia. It was UNC's 32nd time capturing at least a share of the ACC regular season title and the ninth in head coach Roy Williams' 16 seasons.
After going 11-3 in a tough non-conference slate – including a Dec. 15 win against Gonzaga – the Tar Heels soon found themselves at a crossroads, suffering an 62-83 thrashing at the hands of Louisville in their third ACC game. Rather than roll over, the team responded by ripping off seven straight wins and going 16-2 to finish the regular season, tying the Cavaliers atop the ACC.
North Carolina also went 2-1 against a much-hyped Duke team in 2018-19. The 73-74 loss to the Blue Devils came in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, N.C., denying the Tar Heels a third win against their rival and a shot at a postseason conference title.
Still, North Carolina earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the 17th time in school history, an NCAA record. But after handling Iona and Washington in the first two rounds, UNC was outshot and outplayed in the Sweet 16 against Auburn, bringing the Tar Heels' season to an end with an 80-97 loss. The Tigers advanced all the way to the Final Four in Minneapolis, Minn. before falling to Virginia.