#15 North Carolina Tar Heels: College Basketball 111 in 111


tar heel cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The North Carolina Tar Heels never rebuild, they reload.  Despite losing four starters who were all first round picks in the 2012 NBA Draft, UNC has a talented squad but there are some questions marks.

Last Season: 1st, 14-2 in ACC, 32-6 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 3rd

Projected Depth Chart
C: Desmond Hubert (So)/Joel James (Fr)
PF: James McAdoo (So)/Jackson Simmons (So)/Brice Johnson (Fr)
G/F: Reggie Bullock (Jr)/P.J. Hairston (So)/J.P. Tokoto (Fr)
SG: Dexter Strickland (Sr)/Leslie McDonald (Jr)
PG: Marcus Paige (Fr)

Gone: SF-Harrison Barnes, C-Tyler Zeller, PF-John Henson, PG-Kendall Marshall, F-Justin Watts

2012-2013 Outlook:
The strength of the Heels will be their talented collection of wing players.  Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston are more than capable of filling it up from deep and also bring good size to the floor.  Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald each returning from season-ending injuries.  Strickland suffered a torn ACL in January while McDonald missed all of last season with the same injury.  Strickland is the lone senior on the roster so his leadership and ability to play lockdown defense will be vital for Carolina to succeed.  Crazy athletic freshman J.P. Tokoto will find PT hard to come by.

With Kendall Marshall in the NBA, the keys to the UNC offense are handed to freshman Marcus Paige.  Paige is a more skilled scorer than Marshall and while he is a solid distributor, doesn’t have the extremely high level of court vision that Marshall did.  Stillman White would have served as the backup to Paige but he will be taking a basketball hiatus while serves a Mormon mission.  That means Strickland or maybe McDonald will have to see some minutes at the one.

With the starting frontcourt Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Harrison Barnes all gone, it is now James Michael McAdoo’s turn to emerge as the star of this team.  He arrived on Tobacco Road with a ton of hype but never fully put it all together since he was stuck coming off the bench.  He has all the potential to be a superstar but is that a role he ready to take on right away?

There is a ton of inexperience alongside McAdoo in the frontcourt.  Desmond Hubert was used sparingly last year but figures to start in the middle.  He is nowhere near the defensive presence of Henson or Zeller meaning Carolina won’t have a true rim protector.  Freshman Joel James should see plenty of playing time because of his size while Jackson Simmons and Brice Johnson will compete for leftover minutes.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Roy Williams use a smaller four-guard line-up with Bullock at the four and McAdoo maybe playing some five.

Can McAdoo reach his potential?  How will Paige fair replacing Marshall?  Which of the young frontcourt players can take on starter’s minutes?  There are just too many questions to put UNC any higher on my rankings.

Player to Watch: Marcus Paige
Because of Williams’ desire to run at every possible opportunity, the point guard position is crucial to Carolina’s success.   Think Marshall.  Think Ty Lawson.  Paige doesn’t getting to dip his toes into the water since he will be thrown to the wolves right away, and how he controls the tempo makes a huge difference for the Heels this year.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/16 at Long Beach State
11/19 vs. Mississippi State (Maui Invitational)
11/20 vs. Marquette/Butler (Maui Invitational)
11/19 vs. Texas/Chaminade/Illinois/USC (Maui Invitational)
11/27 at Indiana (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/1 vs. UAB
12/19 at Texas
12/29 vs. UNLV

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats
#20 Marquette Golden Eagles
#21 Creighton Bluejays
#22 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#24 Memphis Tigers
#25 Baylor Bears
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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  1. UNC is #15 and UCLA i #17. Who is #16?

  2. Michigan St. it’s up now

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