UNC Basketball: Heels Top Rothstein’s ACC Power Rankings

The CBS college hoops insider has high expectations for the UNC basketball program this coming season.

Jon Rothstein is one of the most well-known insiders in the sport of college basketball and he is expecting a big season in Chapel Hill this year.

After already ranking the UNC basketball program at No. 1 in his preseason rankings, Rothstein released his ACC Offseason Breakdown on Monday, and the Heels are at the top of his ACC Power Rankings as well.

The entire ACC Breakdown can be found here:

Carolina tops these power rankings, followed by Duke, Virginia, Florida State, and Miami to round out the top five.  With a roster that returns four starters from a team that nearly won it all last year, the Tar Heels are the presumptive preseason favorite in the ACC.

Rothstein predicts that North Carolina will not only be the best team in the conference this season but also that the Heels will have the league’s best player.

Armando Bacot is his preseason pick for ACC Player of the Year, an award that many believe the big man should have won last year when he finished second behind Wake Forest’s Alondes Williams.

Bacot is joined on Rothstein’s All-ACC First team by fellow Tar Heel Caleb Love, along with NC State’s Terquavion Smith, Miami’s Isaiah Wong, and Duke’s Derrick Lively.  As usual, there will be plenty of competition to make this list this season.

Some Tar Heel youngsters are earning recognition as well, as both Seth Trimble and Jalen Washington are listed as “Impact Freshmen,” while Tyler Nickel is mentioned as an “Under-The-Radar Freshman” by Rothstein.

In the other categories, Pete Nance is noted as one of the league’s top transfers, while Puff Johnson is named as a breakout player to look out for.

There is no prediction for ACC Defensive Player of the Year in this article, however, we have a feeling that a certain Tar Heel will be the favorite for this award as well.

After a season where the ACC was criticized by the national media more than any time in recent memory, the league still found a way to send three teams to the Elite Eight and make up for half of the Final Four.

With squads loaded with key returnees, highly-touted freshmen, and experienced transfers, don’t be surprised if the conference bounces back this season.  And if that happens, expect the UNC basketball program to be leading the charge.

Follow us @KeepingItHeel on Twitter and like our fan page on Facebook for continued coverage of UNC basketball news, updates, and recruiting.