UNC Basketball: Here’s where Tar Heels rank in Athlon’s Early Top 25

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 29: Kenny Williams
CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 29: Kenny Williams /

Tar Heels land in Athlon’s Early College Basketball Top 25

The 2018-19 college basketball season is still months away, but nearly every major publication has already released its own version of an early top-25 ranking.

With the NBA draft deadline passed and the majority of college basketball rosters set, we’ve got a pretty good idea of what teams will look like in the coming season.

Athlon Sports released its Early College Basketball Top 25 on Monday, and the Kansas Jayhawks topped the list. The Jayhawks seem to be the consensus preseason favorite at this point, returning the majority of last season’s team and a talented freshman class.

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Kansas is followed by the Virginia Cavaliers, who are coming off an impressive regular season that ended in a first round NCAA Tournament loss to 16th-seeded UMBC. Gonzaga is ranked third, and Duke – who brings in the nation’s top recruiting class – is fourth.

After a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2018, the fifth-ranked Nevada Wolfpack return a talented team poised to build on their successes of the past couple of seasons.

Michigan State is ranked No. 6, followed by Tennessee and West Virginia at seventh and eighth, respectively. North Carolina comes in at ninth on the list, thanks to a talented and experienced group of players returning to Chapel Hill in the fall.

Syracuse rounds out the top 10, and Virginia Tech at No. 12 is the only other ACC team to make the top 25.

North Carolina says goodbye to seniors Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson, but return a talented core that includes seniors Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson and Kenny Williams. The Tar Heels also bring in a fantastic freshman class that is highlighted by five-star commits Nassir Little and Coby White.

Athlon’s Kyle Kensing had this to say of the Tar Heels:

"“While the loss of veteran backcourt mates Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson leaves a big hole, Roy Williams reloads with a top-10 recruiting class. Nassir Little and Coby White should help offset the losses, and they join an established corps of returners. Luke Maye emerged as a superstar in 2017-18. He could be a national Player of the Year candidate in 2018-19.”"

It’s unclear at this point how the team’s starting lineup or rotation will look in November. There’s a high probability, though, that Roy Williams again goes with a smaller lineup due to the current makeup of his team.

Next: UNC is battling Kansas for this 5-star prospect

Stick with Keeping It Heel for more updates on UNC basketball throughout the offseason.