The NCAA Tournament is always filled with shocking upsets as Cinderella teams look to make runs each year. Already through the first two days this year we have seen some big upsets with No. 4 Virginia losing to Furman, No. 2 Arizona losing to Princeton and then No. 16 seeded Farleigh Dickinson taking down No. 1P urdue on Friday night.
There’s always a ‘what if’ team in the tournament, leaving many wondering what could have been if they had just avoided an upset.
As we continue on in the tournament, 247Sports released their list of the biggest ‘what if’ teams in tournament history that lost early and never made a run. And cracking that list is the 1999 North Carolina Tar Heels:
North Carolina basketball fans are still haunted by the performance from Weber State’s Harold “The Show” Arceneaux and the 14th-seeded Wildcats during the NCAA Tournament in 1999. Weber State has only played in the Big Dance four times since, but Arceneaux’s 36-point outing is one they’ll never forget. It was the first time in nearly two decades that North Carolina went to the NCAA Tournament and didn’t win a game. UConn, who was the top seed in the same region, would eventually win the national championship, though facing a No. 10 seed — the Gonzaga Bulldogs — in the Elite Eight certainly made the path to the final Final Four and beyond a bit easier for Jim Calhoun and company. It’s easy to speculate that UConn would have faced a tougher opponent than the Zags had UNC not been eliminated from contention out of the gate, and who knows what that would have meant in terms of the Final Four makeup and hence the national title outcome.
That was a tough year for North Carolina, with a very talented roster and being a No. 3 seed, they had their eyes on making a run in that tournament.
But they’d have to wait another year as the Tar Heels would avenge that early loss and make a run to the Final Four the next season. Still, one has to wonder how far UNC could have gone in that 1999 season.
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