Welcome to the Best Team Ever bracket series, where the greatest of all time have their most dominant seasons stacked up against each other until we ultimately crown a champion in each sport. The tournament will be decided by fan vote, so be sure to submit yours below! Check out the first round of voting here, the second round of voting here and the Final Four voting here. The championship round poll will close at noon ET on Tuesday.
The championship round is upon us and it pits one of the best teams of UCLA’s dynasty against a team that included the greatest individual player of all time. Michael Jordan may have only been a freshmen during North Carolina’s 1981-82 season, but he didn’t play like it in averaging 13.5 points per game and hitting the game-winning shot in the national title game.
So who deserves the ‘Best Team Ever’ moniker in college basketball? Vote below and we’ll crown a champion on Tuesday.
1972-73 UCLA vs. 1981-82 North Carolina
No. 1 UCLA (30-0)
Bill Walton set a school record with 506 rebounds
Set a new NCAA record of 75 consecutive wins
No. 2 North Carolina (32-2)
12-2 in the ACC
2 Hall of Famers
There were only a couple upsets in this bracket and now we have a No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the championship round. The undefeated UCLA team has rolled through the tournament with convincing wins in each round while Michael Jordan and North Carolina barely made it past the 1989-90 UNLV team. In one of the closest votes of the entire tournament, UNC advanced with 53 percent of votes compared to UNLV’s 47 percent. UCLA crushed the 1991-92 Duke team in the other Final Four matchup, earning 74 percent of the votes.
The championship round features a matchup between Bill Walton and Michael Jordan. Both players were picked No. 1 in the NBA draft, both are Hall of Famers and one is arguably the greatest of all time. During his time at UCLA, Walton scored 1767 points and grabbed 1370 rebounds and still holds the record for most rebounds in UCLA history. Jordan put up similar numbers at North Carolina, scoring 1788 points and averaging 17.7 points per game.
In the 1973 title game against Memphis State, Walton had one of the greatest performances in NCAA history, scoring 44 points and going 21 for 22 from the field. He added 13 rebounds as UCLA won convincingly, 87-66. Hall of Fame coach John Wooden told Walton after the game, “I used to think you were a good player … until you missed that one shot.”
On the other side we have Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins, who make up one of the greatest North Carolina teams of all time. During the 81-82 season, Jordan hit the game-winning shot in the national championship game to defeat Georgetown, 63-62. Worthy had a game-high of 28 points and Jordan finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. It was UNC’s second national championship ever.
This UCLA team was led by coach Wooden, who is one of the greatest college coaches of all time. He won 10 championships in 12 years and finished with an overall record of 664-162. Dean Smith coached at North Carolina for 36 years and won two titles while at Chapel Hill. Both coaches are in the Hall of Fame and are considered coaching legends by college basketball fans.
UCLA and North Carolina have played each another 13 times in school history, with UNC leading the series 10-3.
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