The North Carolina Tar Heels know that they will not have the services of small forward P.J. Hairston for a few games this season… which is good news. Why? Given all the troubles Hairston has encountered this past offseason, the Tar Heels are fortunate that Hairston will be able to play at all. Having Hairston available for most of the season will keep North Carolina as a contender in the ACC and in the national picture at large.
North Carolina’s Strengths:
The Tar Heels were loaded in 2012, and had point guard Kendall Marshall not gotten injured in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament, the Tar Heels probably would have made the Final Four. As it was, they had to settle for an Elite Eight showing. Last year, though, the core members of the 2012 team went off to the pros, and it was expected that the Heels were going to have a down year. They did. Now, however, the players who were too green and underdeveloped in 2013 should be able to blossom in 2014. The aforementioned P.J. Hairston, who has incredible range as a shooter but must learn to make better decisions with the ball, should be a much more polished player this season, and if that’s the case, North Carolina should become a much more consistent offensive team. The biggest point of encouragement for the Tar Heels, in the eyes of most NorthBet experts, was the emergence of Marcus Paige last season. Only a freshman, Paige made a lot of big shots for North Carolina, helping the Tar Heels to make the championship game of the ACC Tournament and return to the Big Dance, something that Kentucky could not do in 2013. Paige is a crafty playmaker with a silky-smooth array of floaters and touch shots within five to six feet of the basket. If Paige becomes a steadier and stronger ballhandler who can set up his teammates for high-percentage shots, North Carolina’s offense could evolve to the point that the team’s defensive deficiencies won’t matter as much.
North Carolina’s Weaknesses:
The Tar Heels were so powerful when John Henson and Tyler Zeller manned the paint for them, but these days, Carolina is weak as a defensive team near the rim. James Michael McAdoo has not impressed at all in his UNC career. The Tar Heels need a breakthrough season from him if they’re going to go deep in the NCAAs, but it’s hard to feel too confident about that prospect. The departure of Reggie Bullock for the NBA removes a reliable shooter from UNC’s arsenal. Head coach Roy Williams is going to struggle to put together a complete team this season. There are still some missing pieces from a group that should be better than last season, but probably won’t make the top tier of national title contenders.
- Odds AtNorthBet To Win National Championship: +1400
- Are They Worth A Shot On The Odds At NorthBet To Win It All?
This is a team that has a ceiling of the Sweet 16 at best. Opposing teams will be able to attack the rim on North Carolina. The Tar Heels’ interior defense will be too vulnerable.