The North Carolina men’s basketball team is 6-1 after the departure of multiple contributors from last year, the football team recently became bowl eligible for the first time since 2016 and the women’s soccer team is preparing to take on Washington State in the program’s 29th College Cup appearance.
But not all of these programs were always as successful as they are today. Let's take a stroll down memory lane to the 2009-10 UNC athletic year.
The 2009-10 season was the lone blemish on an otherwise impressive decade for one of the nation’s premier men’s basketball programs.
North Carolina advanced to at least the third round in every NCAA tournament of the last decade except for one year: the 2009-10 season. In fact, the Tar Heels didn’t even receive an invitation to the tournament after falling to Georgia Tech, 62-58, in the first round of the ACC tournament, giving UNC a 16-16 record before the selection process.
After some strong performances early in the season — a 77-73 win over then-No. 15 Ohio State, a seven-point victory over then-No. 9 Michigan State and a two-point loss in Rupp Arena to then-No. 5 Kentucky — things quickly fell apart for the Tar Heels.
North Carolina managed a dismal 5-11 record in conference play and had to settle for focusing on making a deep run in the NIT the year after winning a national championship. The Tar Heels would go on to fall in the NIT finals, a 79-68 loss to Dayton.
The Tar Heels opened the season looking to defend the previous year’s NCAA title, but only returned 25.2 percent of that squad’s scoring. Only two players finished the year with a scoring average in double digits — senior Deon Thompson (13.7) and sophomore Ed Davis (13.4).