This might be better suited as a discussion to have if UNC wins the title but since the N&O is comparing the 2005 championship team to the present squad I decided to toss it out there for discussion. Especially since this stands to be a slow news day for Final Four related issues.
From the N&O:
* Both UNC editions featured similarly speedy point guards in Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson.
“Raymond really drove that team, a lot like Ty does now,” said senior point guard Quentin Thomas, who was a freshman on the 2005 team.
* Both had reliable wing shooters (Rashad McCants and Wayne Ellington) and sticky defenders (Jackie Manuel and Marcus Ginyard).
* Both feature selfless sixth men. On the ’05 team, Marvin Williams never started a game but became the second overall pick in the NBA Draft. This year, Danny Green is the sixth man, though he would start for most other teams in the country.
* Both even had a star miss time during the latter part of the season, making their teams stronger in the long run. In 2005, McCants missed the last four games of the regular season with an intestinal disorder. This year, Lawson missed six games with a sprained left ankle and didn’t return to the starting lineup until the ACC Tournament.
“That is kind of weird,” Felton said, realizing yet another similarity.
* But the key comparison, according to May, is the big men. In 2005, he averaged 17.5 points and 10.7 rebounds, and was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. This season, Tyler Hansbrough is averaging 22.8 and 10.3 rebounds, and he has already been named the Most Outstanding Player of the East Regional.
Granted this is a very general comparison of how the personnel is similar which is probably a product of it being a Roy Williams coaches team. Based on statements he made on Tuesday the kind of team he wants has evolved over the year and I think he had decided that the makup of the 2005 team should serve as a model of sorts going forward. If the 2008 team is similar to the 2005 team it is because Roy believes that type of team has what it takes to win the title. So far he has been pretty spot on since these Heels are 36-2. One marked difference is the 2005 team was more veteran than this team is right now. Jawad Williams, Melvin Scott and Jackie Manuel were all seniors with Sean May, Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton and David Noel being juniors. The current team has one senior and a mix of juniors and sophomores. Not that I think this is all that important but the 2005 team was more experienced which might be one of the reasons they played better defense.
In the end, I would very much like this team to be similar to the 2005, 1993, 1982 and 1957 teams in one particular area: winning it all.