UNC Basketball: Where Tar Heels are ranked in Way Too Early Top 25 by Sporting News

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 11: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts to a call by the officials during the second half of their game against the Virginia Cavaliers at the Dean Smith Center on February 11, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Virginia won 69-61. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 11: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts to a call by the officials during the second half of their game against the Virginia Cavaliers at the Dean Smith Center on February 11, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Virginia won 69-61. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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The first Way Too Early Top 25 poll for the 2019-20 season is officially out. See where the UNC Basketball program landed

With Virginia and Texas Tech battling for the 2019 National Championship, many “Way Too Early” Top 25 polls for the 2019-2020 season. These aren’t official but it’s just a look at what some analysts and publications think about programs going into next season.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are set to lose a lot of production next year with Luke Maye, Kenny Williams and Cam Johnson all graduating. Both Nassir Little and Coby White are heading to the NBA Draft, marking five of UNC’s top six in their rotation leaving.

Replacing that production will be tough as Roy Williams only has Armando Bacot and Jeremiah Francis signed in 2019.

Williams has already contacted a few potential graduate transfers but that will be a waiting game.

As for what some analysts think about UNC going into next season, there is some hope.  Sporting News just put out their “Way Too Early” Top 25 for the 2019-20 season.

Virginia is the early favorite for next season, whether they win the title or not as the Cavaliers are expected to return Kyle Guy, Kihei Clark, Braxton Key, Ty Jerome and Mamadi Diakite, all of which were key contributors this season.

For the Tar Heels, they weren’t in the Top 10 but Sporting News didn’t keep them off of their list completely. They have UNC ranked at No. 14 in the early poll, behind ACC foes Virginia (No. 1), Duke (No. 5) and Louisville (No. 11).

The publications lists both Garrison Brooks, Sterling Manley as key returners and players that will contribute.

Brooks looked like he improved in his sophomore season, coming off a nice freshman year for the Tar Heels in 2017-18. But Manley was slowed down with injuries, causing him to miss games down the stretch. If the two can continue to develop, UNC should be strong in the post with that duo and five-star recruit Armando Bacot.

A lot can happen between now and the start of next season as well. UNC is in the running for a few top recruits, waiting on decisions from Cole Anthony, Matthew Hurt and Precious Achiuwa.

There is also the possibility of landing a graduate transfer to add to the rotation. It’s going to be an exciting April and May as the recruiting cycle winds down and then we should know the state of the roster this Summer.

Next. A top target in the 2020 recruiting class will visit UNC again. dark

For more on the UNC Basketball program, please check back with Keeping It Heel.