With three All-Americans, led by National Player of the Year Erin Matson, this North Carolina team was the obvious choice for UNC Team of the Year and put together one of the most impressive showings of any program across the country.
While women’s lacrosse could have competed for this spot if the remainder of its season had played out, there is no question that field hockey takes the day when it comes to team-based supremacy right now.
Most improved: Football
Coming off the heels of consecutive seasons in which the North Carolina football team missed out on a bowl appearance, head coach Mack Brown inherited a program that had seemingly lost its ability to string together wins.
With the addition of first-year phenom Sam Howell and development from veterans on both sides of the ball, UNC put together a seven-win campaign in Brown’s first year back in Chapel Hill, culminating in a resounding 55-13 victory over Temple in the Military Bowl.
Early wins over South Carolina and Miami and a one-point loss to No. 1 Clemson convinced a fan base that had previously been dormant to believe that the Tar Heels could reach national prominence in the coming years.
With the addition of a top-20 recruiting class coming in, and a class currently ranked in the top-five for the following season, UNC football’s comeback doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.
Biggest surprise: Men’s basketball
While surprises can be a good thing in the world of sports, for a UNC men’s basketball team that typically holds itself to a championship-or-bust standard, the twists and turns that this season held were less than ideal.
Despite the addition of first-year firepower from guard Cole Anthony and forward Armando Bacot, along with huge improvements from forward Garrison Brooks, injuries and the loss of a multitude of contributors from the 2018-19 squad led to a sharp decline for this year’s North Carolina team.
A 14-19 record was Roy Williams' first losing season as a head coach and included seven games decided by three points or less, a four-point loss to Wofford in Carmichael Arena and a 59-game home winning streak against Clemson snapped in an overtime loss.
By the time North Carolina suffered its final loss, an 81-53 drubbing at the hands of Syracuse in the second round of the ACC Tournament, a poor outing came as anything but a surprise after the near-constant struggles of the season.
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