Overall Record: 26-6
Conference Record: 14-4
Biggest wins: Wisconsin (71-56), Florida State (96-83), Louisville (74-63), UVA (65-41)
Worst losses: @ Indiana (76-67), @ Georgia Tech (75-63), @ Miami (77-62)
Key players: Justin Jackson, Joel Berry II, Kennedy Meeks
Chance of making NCAA Tournament: 100% in
In a season in which the ACC is regarded as the toughest conference in all of college basketball, the Tar Heels won the conference by two games. UNC was perfect at home all season, picking up big wins over the likes of Florida State, UVA, Louisville, and Duke at the Smith Center.
Despite having one of the toughest end-of-season stretches to contend with, the Tar Heels got through it. They earned the top seed in the ACC Tournament with their outright regular season title. Justin Jackson was voted ACC Player of the Year. Roy Williams finished second in Coach of the Year voting.
Although the Heels have barely gotten to play a game at full health all season, this year’s team picked up right where the last one left off. They seem to be peaking at a great time to make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. The only question is what seed they will be awarded on Sunday.
One can’t talk about the Tar Heels’ season without discussing how much of a revelation Jackson has been. He has elevated his game so much in his junior season, becoming the go-to threat on the perimeter for UNC. His Player of the Year season allowed point guard Joel Berry to take on more of a role as floor general without having to be the one to look to for all the scoring, though he certainly proved he’s more than capable of being that guy to turn to when necessary.
UNC brought home the Maui Invitational title early in the season, kicking everything off on a good note. They slipped up a few times on the road, dropping games to Georgia Tech and Miami within the conference and Indiana and Kentucky in the non-con portion of the schedule. Sure, the Tar Heels would like to have a few of those back, but they are still in a great position.
What is left for Carolina is securing a #1 seed in the Tournament by performing well in the conference tournament this week. At least getting to the championship game on Saturday would probably lock it up for the Tar Heels. If this team plays like they have for the vast majority of the year, they are as big a threat as any team to go all the way.