2009 North Carolina Tar Heels NCAA Basketball Championship Ring
The 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament was a tournament involving 65 schools playing in a single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball as a culmination of the 2008–09 basketball season. It began on March 17, 2009, and concluded with the championship game on April 6 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, where the University of North Carolina defeated Michigan State to become the champion. The 2009 tournament marked the first time not only for a Final Four having a minimum seating capacity of 70,000 but also by having most of the tournament in the February Sweeps of the Nielsen Ratings due to the digital television transition in the United States on June 12, 2009, which also made this the last NCAA Basketball Tournament, in all three divisions, to air in analog television. The University of Detroit Mercy hosted the Final Four, which was the 71st edition.
Prior to the start of the tournament, the top ranked team was Louisville in both the AP Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Polls, followed by North Carolina, Memphis, and Pittsburgh. Only the Tar Heels of North Carolina were the regional winners and played in the Final Four. The Tar Heels completed one of the most dominant runs in the tournament's history by winning each of their games by at least twelve points.
For the first time since seeding began, all #1-#3 seeds made it into the Sweet 16, and for the third consecutive time, all #1 seeds made the Elite Eight.
Four schools made their NCAA tournament debut, all respective conference champions: Binghamton (America East), Morgan State (MEAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), and North Dakota State (Summit), a school in its first season of Division I eligibility.