The North Carolina men’s basketball team added another title to its collection in April with a little help from its fans.
Since teams across the country couldn’t compete for a national championship after the spread of COVID-19 cut the season short, the FOX College Hoops Twitter page gave fans around the country the opportunity to compete for a title of their own.
The Twitter page posted a bracket of head-to-head match ups to determine which school had the best fans in college basketball. The Ultimate Fan Bracket included 68 teams from around the country and allowed fans to vote for their team round by round to prove who has the best fan base in college basketball. The tournament's prizes consisted of a trophy and a billboard from FOX Sports in the territory of a rival team’s campus.
UNC was granted a No. 1 seed along with Kansas, Indiana and Duke for being one of the four teams with the most followers on Twitter.
Former Tar Heels such as Coby White and Justin Jackson made sure to garner as much fan support as possible, employing their own Twitter clout to help the Tar Heels get as many votes as possible.
UNC fans picked up a quick first-round victory over Robert Morris. The first round also included a Lehigh upset over Duke’s fanatics, bringing back memories of the Mountain Hawks' upset over the No. 2 seed Blue Devils in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
A second-round matchup against N.C. State resulted in another comfortable win for UNC fans. The Tar Heels collected a total of 27,010 votes during the round, totaling the fifth most for any fan base in the round of 32.
The Sweet 16 matchup against Murray State came with a little drama. UNC fans pulled off the closely fought battle to advance to the Elite Eight by just 0.8 percent.
The Elite Eight matchup against Purdue’s fans wasn’t an easy win either. It took a round-high 32,558 votes for North Carolina fans to advance into the Final Four.
The need for comebacks didn’t end in the Elite Eight.
A semifinal matchup against Michigan brought with it interactions between the fan bases involving the infamous timeout Chris Webber called in the 1993 National Championship to give UNC its third national title. Michigan fans sustained a lead for much of the round, but another late flurry of support for UNC ended up advancing Tar Heel fans to the final.
A final round matchup against BYU’s fan base had Tar Heel fans as the underdog despite entering the Tournament as a No. 1 seed, as the Cougars had amassed a tournament high in votes entering the final round.
BYU fans had a lead going into the final hours of the vote on April 27.
Tar Heel fans again brought an onslaught of votes in the closing minutes and pulled out another last-second victory. The Twitter poll read as a 50-50 tie, but in the end, UNC's fan base came out on top.
In an April that consisted of no college sports, North Carolina fans were still able to notch another, not-so-official, title for UNC.
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