UNC Tar Heels 2011-12 Basketball Season Preview


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The 2011 UNC Tar Heels Basketball program enters the season with huge expectations, the biggest since the 2009 team that went on to win the national championship the programs 2nd in 4 years.  The team is ranked #1 almost unanimously coming into the season and with a more experienced roster with a ton of NBA talent returning to UNC along with a  stellar recruiting class  this team could be better than the 05 and 09 national championship teams.  But will they be?

Welcome to Keeping It Heels 2011 Basketball Season Preview!

A year removed from a surprising elite 8 appearance just 1 year removed from an embarrassing season that ended in an NIT appearance the Tar Heels sit atop the college basketball mountain and only a national championship will due.  The surprise returns of several first round bound NBA players has put this team in position to dominate in the ACC and make a run at their 3rd title in 6 years.

Page 2: A look at the roster and UNCs chances of capturing another national title

The team is led by sophomore Harrison Barnes a national player of the year candidate and preseason first team All American.  If Barnes can show even nominal improvement from his fantastic late year run where he made 20 point, clutch shot performances a regular thing.  It looks like Barnes who was all but assured he would be a top 3 pick in the draft will be a finalist for the player of the year award.

Most of Barnes “supporting cast” would be the star at most schools, even incoming freshman James McAdoo would be the first or second best player at on most teams but will be coming off the bench at UNC.  The team is loaded with talent featuring an NBA front line of Barnes, junior John Henson and senior Tyler Zeller with McAdoo and fellow freshman Desmond Hubert and Jackson Simmons backing them up.  In the back court the “wing” positions are extremely strong despite the injury to junior Leslie McDonald that may cost him his season.  On the wings you have Barnes, junior Dexter Strickland the team’s best defender, sophomore Reggie Bullock and freshman sharp shooter PJ Hairston.  While there are many other deep, talented teams in college basketball no other team can say they run 5 deep down low with 3 NBA players at the big positions of power forward and center while also running a strong 4 on the wings with at least 2 pros.  The point guard position is thin after sophomore Kendall Marshall but the overall depth of this team is immense. Roy Williams has proved he can massage a deep lineup and teach kids fast how to adjust to roles on his team, this year could be special.

For an in depth look at the roster check out our Player by Player Review.  1st series: Kendall Marshall click Here

Business as usual at UNC?  Will the team meet or even exceed expectations?  Find out on Page 3

While the Tar Heels are stacked it won’t be a walk in the park to the Final 4 as the 2008 team that was heavily favored found out.  While this is a younger team, led by a sophomore instead of a senior I fully expect the outcome to be the same.  Most of the core pieces of this team have been around for at least 1 season.  Tyler Zeller a leader on this team and last member of the 09 championship team still around is sure to have more leadership on his side this year as Barnes, Henson and Marshall continue to develop.

Teams like Ohio State and especially Kentucky will give UNC a real test the Heels just have too much for any other team to withstand.  Jared Sullinger is very good, but again 3 NBA big men to combat that with 2 other serviceable players right behind them.  Five high quality wing players with the most gifted player in the country bank on UNC being too much for the rest of the nation to handle this season.

I do not agree with some opinions that this team is better than the 2009 national championship team.  That was a veteran team that grew together and was led by a once in a lifetime type of work horse star that ignited a consistent spark in the team.  While this team’s talent level is special they are not as experienced as either the 05 or 09 bunch but they are just as deep.  It will be interesting to see just how good this team really can be.

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