2011-12 North Carolina Tar Heels: 16
2008-09 North Carolina Tar Heels: 14
2004-05 North Carolina Tar Heels: 12
Both the 2004-05 Tar Heels and the 2008-09 Tar Heels possessed three superstars on their teams.
The 2004-05 Tar Heels had Sean May, Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants, all who were voted All-Americans.
Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough and Wayne Ellington were the three superstars for the 2008-09 Tar Heels. Two of them were consensus All-Americans—Hansbrough for the first team and Lawson for the second team.
In addition, each of these two teams possessed a "glue guy" who did anything and everything in his power to make sure his team won the basketball game.
For the 2004-05 Tar Heels, that man was Jawad Williams. And for the 2008-09 Tar Heels, that man was Danny Green.
Finally, both of these teams possessed a good amount of depth, which is necessary for any team competing for a national championship, as it provides an opportunity to rest its star players and keep their legs and bodies as fresh as possible all season long.
Marvin Williams, Jackie Manuel, Melvin Scott and David Noel were some of the key players who provided the 2004-05 Tar Heels with depth, while Deon Thompson, Ed Davis, Bobby Frasor and Larry Drew II provided the 2008-09 Tar Heels with a solid amount depth.
The comparisons are eerily similar in terms of their rosters, not to mention the fact their records were almost identical (2004-05 Tar Heels went 33-4 while the 2008-09 Tar Heels went 34-4) and that their point differentials per game were very close to one another as well (2004-05 North Carolina's point differential per game was 17.7 while 2008-09 North Carolina's point differential per game was 17.8).
In addition, both teams were ranked very high entering the season by both the AP Top 25 Poll and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The 2004-05 Tar Heels entered their season ranked fourth in the AP poll and third in the coaches poll, while the 2008-09 Tar Heels entered their season unanimously ranked first.
So how do the 2011-12 North Carolina Tar Heels compare to both of these team?
For starters, this team possesses three superstars in Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson, who all have a legitimate shot at being named consensus All-Americans.
Kendall Marshall could end up being the "glue guy" for the 2011-12 Tar Heels, although he also has a chance of being named an All-American—or at least a chance to be part of the Associated Press' Honorable Mention list.
As far as depth is concerned, the 2011-12 Tar Heels will count on Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston and James McAdoo. All five of these men are more than capable of contributing to this team, but if any of them are unable to perform well, Roy Williams will still have Justin Watts, Desmond Hubert and Jackson Simmons sitting at the end of the bench, ready to enter when called upon.
Just like the two former North Carolina squads, expect the latter squad to win anywhere between 32 and 35 games and lose anywhere between two and five games. Also, just like the two previous squads that won the national championship for the Tar Heels, the 2011-12 North Carolina squad easily has the potential to outscore their opponents by 16 to 20 points per game.
Finally, the 2011-12 North Carolina Tar Heels are expected to be ranked very high before the season even begins. Just like the 2008-09 Tar Heels, they have a very legitimate chance to be unanimously voted first in both the AP and coaches polls. (However, Kentucky might ruin that prestigious honor for North Carolina.)
In conclusion, the similarities between all three of these teams are very scary—of course, no one knows how the 2011-12 Tar Heels will perform until the season begins.
With that being said, all North Carolina fans have a lot to look forward to over the next upcoming months, as the potential this team possesses is downright freaky and the similarities between this squad and the 2004-05 & 2008-09 squads could only increase our hope for a national championship.