50 in 50 rankings: No. 1 North Carolina

Editor's note: Using a point system devised by the ESPN Stats & Information department, ESPN.com is counting down the 50 most successful programs of the past 50 years. A running list of the top 50 can be found here. For an explanation of the scoring system, read our intro. If you disagree with the order -- and we're sure you do -- re-arrange our Top 25 here. Oh, and if your team didn't crack the top 50, click here to see where they rank among their peers.

1. North Carolina (911 points)

Positives: In our scoring system, the Tar Heels have been a top-four program in each decade. They lead all teams in top-10 picks (22) and, as of this writing, have not lost any points due to vacated wins or NCAA sanctions. UNC has reached multiple Final Fours in each of the past five decades and made 13 straight trips to the Sweet 16 from 1981-93.

Negatives: North Carolina missed the NCAA tournament in eight of the first 12 years (1963-74) of this study. Had a stretch of six Final Four trips from 1991-2000, but reached the national championship game just once in a 22-season span from 1983-2004.

Fun fact: Carolina is the only team to win a national championship in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

Rank by the decade

1962-69: 100 (3rd)

1970-79: 148 (4th)

1980-89: 228 (1st)

1990-99: 201 (3rd)

2000-present: 234 (3rd)

50 in 50 starting five (1962-present)

G – Phil Ford (1974-78)

G – Michael Jordan (1981-84)

F – Antawn Jamison (1995-98)

F – James Worthy (1979-82)

F – Tyler Hansbrough (2005-09)

Top options off the bench

Sam Perkins (1980-84)

Charles Scott (1967-70)

Brad Daugherty (1982-86)

50 in 50 coach: Dean Smith (1961-97)

Best teams (1962-present)

1981-82 (32-2, NCAA national champions)

2004-05 (33-4, NCAA national champions)

2008-09 (34-4, NCAA national champions)

--Ryan Feldman and Brett Edgerton contributed to this post