Will the Tar Heels shoot some threes, play some D and will depth be the key?
Last season, the North Carolina Tar Heels went into the basketball season with high expectations, being ranked in the top 3 of most preseason polls. After some unexpected losses, the Heels finally gelled late and lived up to those expectations – losing to Villanova in the NCAA finals.
The 2016-17 version, without leader Marcus Paige and All-America Brice Johnson, may or may not make it back to the championship game but Carolina has a good chance to finish with a comparable record.
The Heels have six very experienced players although Theo Pinson, a 6-6 junior swingman, has been lost for much, if not all, of the season with a broken foot. Pinson, who led the team in assists per minute last year, is expected to make it back on the floor by late January.
If he returns earlier, he could be an impact player as Coach Roy Williams had planned to start him at the off-guard position. If he’s not ready until late January, the Heels might think about getting a medical redshirt for him.
By then a crop of new talent will be enmeshed with returning starters Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks and Joel Berry, and experienced players off the bench in Nate Britt and Isaiah Hicks.