Why North Carolina is #1 in our 2022-23 college basketball countdown

Editor’s Note: John Fanta is counting down his top 15 college basketball teams as of the start of the 2022-23 season. Topping the list at number 1 is North Carolina.

It was a glorious time in Chapel Hill, which is really something when you think about it. Just 261 days ago, North Carolina Tar Heels lost a home game first ACC Subordinate Pittsburgh to fall to 18-8 in the season and 10-5 in the conference. In most seasons you would look at the records and say they were more than OK, but the ACC had a rough season last year.

However, Tar Heels found his chance, going on to win six games in a row, including an unforgettable victory that ruined Mike Krzyzewski’s final act at Cameron Indoor Stadium and cemented the ticket. attend the NCAA Tournament. They didn’t stop there, riding their 8th seed to the national title after ending Coach K’s career in Duke.

UNC outlasts Duke is an advanced class

Despite reaching the Finals as the favorite, the Duke Blue Devils lost to North Carolina Tar Heels, 81-77, ending coach Mike Krzyzewski’s career.

Now, Tar Heels returns the four starting from that wild run, and while replacing Brady Manek was tough, UNC did so by adding Northwest transfer Pete Nance.

Hubert Davis enters his second season at the top of the college basketball world. The question is simple: Which North Carolina team will this version be closer to – the team that started August 18 and lost at home to Pittsburgh, or the team that won 11 of the last 13 games and shocked the world? college basketball?

Who’s back for Tar Heels?

There is no shortage of experience in this team. Armando Bacot was last season’s ACC Player of the Season and pre-season all-around American. The 6 foot 11 man, who weighs 235 pounds, decides to come back college basketball for a final act that was one of the biggest moves of the season and automatically catapulted the Tar Heel near the top of the pre-season polls.

Last season, Bacot became the first player in college basketball history to hit six doubles in the NCAA Tournament. His 99 goals in the tournament are the second-most in the event’s history and the most since 1954. He finished the season with an average of 16.3 points and £13.1 in shooting 57% but up. His recovery averages up 16.5 per game in the League to go with 15.3 points. The list of accolades and eye-popping numbers from Bacot goes on and on, and the fact that he’s had 1,300 points, 1,001 rebounds and 127 blocks over three seasons is downright terrifying. He will certainly continue to go up against the trainers into the night and his return is another result of allowing players to monetize NIL.

So the Tar Heels have their mighty superstar back on the front journey man, and they had the back lane duo skyrocket back in March. Caleb’s Love and RJ Davis.

The keeper duo played poorly last year, but Davis’s ability to lead the line and make important decisions is great for Tar Heels to turn the tide and go deep. He averaged 13.5 points and 3.6 assists last season and produced big numbers in the Finals, combined with 33 points and 19 rebounds in two games in New Orleans. His shot is important, as Davis’ on-field goal percentage has increased to 43%, but he has experienced ups and downs in circumference. In the last four games of the season, Davis has shot 3 to 17 from downtown. When he is from a distance, it becomes even harder to defend against a powerful UNC attack, which is ranked 8th in KenPom’s adjusted attack effectiveness stat.

Then there’s Love, who is capable of delivering big bangs for North Carolina, as shown by a 30-point performance before UCLA and a 28-point match against Duke in the NCAA Tournament. When Love gets hot from downtown, it lifts Tar’s heels up a notch. He offers an element of boom, but as best as it can be, there’s another side to that. Sometimes, Love’s shot selection can be incorrect, and he can shoot UNC missing the opportunity. In the national championship match, he came on with a 5v 24 score. Two games ago, Love shot 6 to 17, despite winning. Saint Peter’s in the Eastern Regional Finals. Shot selection is key to his continued growth.

Another high-impact player is a 6-foot-9 . 5-year-old Black leak, whose length and robustness give Heel Tar a great weapon in defense. He’s going to start for UNC, and while he’s not great at the start of the game, his role is to be that backstop.

The main protected area to watch is Puff Johnsona 6-foot-8 junior who averaged nearly 11 minutes per game last season, scoring 11 points and six rebounds in the national championship game.

What is North Carolina’s biggest concern?

Tate Frazier tells Mark Titus his biggest concern for Tar Heels, plus biggest winners and losers from secret scenarios.

Who’s new on the list?

Nance will be a big part of the puzzle. The 6-foot-11-year-old 5-year-old is almost as powerful a replacement for Manek that Davis and his staff could ask for in managing their roster. Nance adds a lot of experience and the best thing about him is that he keeps getting better and better throughout his career in Big Ten, a difficult tournament to play cards. He was comfortable in pick and roll situations and was able to secure the rims at a steady pace, while showing off his ability to hit out-of-the-box shots.

Last year, Nance delivered a career-best number of 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 blocks per game with 45% shooting from outside the arc. He was an effective player who was seen as more than a fair share in college basketball. His maturity makes him a great fit for a squad that is missing only one key part. Along with Bacot, he will help make Tar Heels one of the country’s best forward duos.

In addition to its wealth of experience, North Carolina also welcomes the nation’s 12th class of freshmen, according to Sportsbook 247.

The highest rated freshman is a four-star player Seth Trimble. He joined the freshman class of a four-star center, Jalen Washingtonwho entered the ideal learning situation in his first year with the program, as well as four-star power Tyler Nickel.

The big question for North Carolina…

Expectations are always high at Chapel Hill. But Tar Heels didn’t show up last year as the 8th seed in the NCAA Tournament. Now no one would think to take them lightly. How will this team of Tar Heels handle the role of the hunted, and could the buy-in present a star-studded, experienced team to replenish and avoid underperforming offensive moments? ?

Duke will once again become strong, and Virginia could be the biggest challenger to Tar Heels in the ACC, as Hoos is full of experience. Key point? It won’t be easy for North Carolina, and repeating the deep runs in March Madness is always a challenge – the tournament can bring a lot of gain and loss.

Schedule highlights:

  • Friday, November 25: Villanova or Iowa State (PK85 Invitational)
  • Sunday, November 27: Oregon / Michigan State / UConn / Alabama (PK85 Invitational)
  • Wednesday, November 30: in Indiana
  • Sunday, December 4th: at Virginia Tech
  • Saturday, December 17: Ohio State (Madison Square Garden)
  • Wednesday, December 21: Michigan (Charlotte, NC)
  • Tuesday, January 10: in Virginia
  • Saturday, February 4th: at Duke
  • Saturday, March 4: Duke

Top 15 countdown:

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as main presenter on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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