What If Tourney: 5/12 matchup

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It's the fifth-seeded 1995-96 Tar Heels against 12th-seeded 2009-10 in today's first-round game of the What If Tar Heel Tournament. The 1995-96 team welcomes freshmen Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison to campus, as they join juniors Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace (who here did not go third and fourth in the 1995 NBA Draft) and Jeff McInnis. Similar to yesterday's play-in game, this contest features a team that in reality did not make the NCAA Tournament. But this is the What If Tournament, and the 2009-10 team returns three starters from a national championship team (even if Deon Thompson is a reserve in What If-land).

Here's David Culp's breakdown of these two teams:

1995-96 What If Tar Heels

Coach: Dean Smith

Strength: Athleticism

Weaknesses: PG/front line depth

Will win the tournament if: runs team out of gym; McInnis stays out of foul trouble

Will lose in the first round if: either McInnis or Jamison gets in foul trouble

Captain(s): Stackhouse/Wallace

This team in one word: Fun.

2009-10 What If Tar Heels

Coach: Roy Williams

Strengths: Experienced backcourt, frontline depth (Davis, Wright, Deon, Henson, Zeller), defense

Weaknesses: Chemistry (how to divvy up minutes)

Will win the tournament if: Lawson and Ellington control games, Davis develops offense to offset Wright

Will lose in first round if: Lack of post play allows opponents to key on backcourt

Captain: Ginyard

One word: Defense


  1. Geoff's avatar
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    Put Vince on bench and Dante in starting lineup. Just like it was in 95-96.
  2. Mikey in DFW's avatar
    Mikey in DFW
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    Remember how much fun the '98 team was? Multiply that by 2 and that's the hypothetical 95-96 squad.
  3. Jason's avatar
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    The 09' 10' team loses bc Drew is on the team, if he's off then i would swing my vote to them! too much depth, Ty would smoke Jeffrey! i see sheed and AJ getting into foul trouble...but like i said earlier, the bad attitude Drew is on the team!
  4. Adam Lucas's avatar
    Adam Lucas
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    Some video highlights of that 1997-98 team for those who don't remember:


    May have been the highest-flying Carolina team of all time. Putting that group with Stackhouse/Wallace would've been incredible.
  5. Troy's avatar
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    The What If 95-96 team is one of my favorite what if topics to dicuss. Seeing the names in a semi offical looking line up is outstanding! Dunks and blocks galore. Gotta give it to the 95-96 what ifs. Thanks for the video Adam.
  6. Lorenzo Dickerson's avatar
    Lorenzo Dickerson
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    I love the 95-96 team. But the 09-10 team just has too many weapons, and are especially stacked in the paint. Wallace & Zwikker alone are no match for Davis, Wright, Henson, Zeller, Thompson, and the Wear twins. They will dominate the paint too well. With the edition of Lawson & Stickland's speed, and Ellington shooting, 09-10' team wins easy.

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