UNC Basketball: Tar Heels crack ESPN’s Early Top 25

There is a lot of uncertainty around the UNC Basketball program with Roy Williams retiring and Hubert Davis officially taking over. 

That’s no disrespect to Davis but he doesn’t have head coaching experience and has the tough task of getting North Carolina back on track following a disappointing 2019-20 season and first-round exit in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. It won’t be easy for Davis but many believe he is the right man for the job and away we go.

With the 2020-21 season complete as Baylor beat Gonzaga on Monday night, it’s now time to look ahead to next season and that means way too early Top 25’s.

Almost every major publication released their early Top 25 as they get set for what should be a very interesting offseason with the transfer portal already being very active. Plus, there are a few other big recruits that are available which should change some things.

But as it stands now, the Tar Heels are considered a preseason top 25 team according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello. The analyst has the Tar Heels coming in at No. 18 overall in his rankings. Here is what Borzello said:

Ideally, there won’t be much attrition from Chapel Hill in the aftermath of Hubert Davis’ elevation to the top job at UNC. If that’s the case, the Tar Heels should be fine in year one of the post-Roy Williams era. Caleb Love needs to become more consistent and less mistake-prone at the point guard spot, but R.J. Davis and Kerwin Walton provided good perimeter pop, and Leaky Black is a versatile player. It’s unclear what the frontcourt will look like after the NBA departure of Day’Ron Sharpe, the transfer of Walker Kessler and the expected graduation of Garrison Brooks. But Davis also might move away from the two-big lineups that have been staples under Williams. Armando Bacot is still set to return, for now, and he should be a good enough anchor in the post.

The Tar Heels are set to lose freshmen Walker Kessler to the transfer portal and Day’Ron Sharpe to the NBA. Plus, Garrison Brooks is expected to graduate, leaving the Tar Heels with just one big man in Armando Bacot.

The good news for UNC is that Caleb Love, R.J. Davis, and Kerwin Walton are expected to return and have another year under their belt. Davis could go with a lineup of Love, Davis, Walton, Leaky Black and Armando Bacot, a non-traditional look for UNC as they have usually stuck with a two-big set. The success will likely depend on the development of Love, Davis and Walton as the program hopes they take that next step.

UNC could also land a graduate transfer here this offseason plus they are welcoming in two four-star recruits in their 2021 class.

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