Tonight the North Carolina Tar Heels will start their season against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. After what feels like way too much waiting, we’ll finally get to see this team play a meaningful game right out of the gate as they attempt to start off the season 1-0 in the ACC.
With every new basketball season there are a lot of expectations and projections that happen in the college basketball world. Things are no different here at Tar Heel Blog, and so we wanted to share with you some of our thoughts about what we think will happen during the season. I had our staff answer a set of questions about individual player performances, as well as how this team will fare during the season in general. Without further delay, let’s take a look at the questions I asked our staff, and also see how they answered.
As we can see from the results, all of us here at THB believe that Cole Anthony will be the team MVP this year. He’s already received loads of praise from all over the country, and is currently in the running for multiple postseason awards. When looking at most improved and most minutes off of the bench, it’s about as close to unanimous as it can get that Leaky Black will play a huge role in this year’s team. Al, Jake, and Matt chose Brandon Robinson and Garrison Brooks for their most improved players, and honestly you can’t go wrong with those picks. Brooks should be better offensively this year, and Brandon Robinson will take on a bigger role with this team once he returns from his injury.
One of the more divisive questions asked was who the most surprising player will be this year, as there were many answers given. Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot, Justin Pierce, Christian Keeling, and Andrew Platek were all names mentioned, and I will be perfectly honest: I hope everyone is right. Alright, maybe everyone can’t be the “biggest” surprise, but one can dream that they will all surprise us in one way or another.
Moving on to some of the team-based questions, there is a lot of divide between the staff members when it comes to how this team is going to perform throughout the season. The good news is that for our best win of the season picks, everyone picked really good wins for the Heels to have. I’m sure the value of some of these wins will fluctuate throughout the year as the Basketball Gods decide which teams are legit, and which teams were fun to talk about in the offseason until they ran into a brick wall in the middle of the season.
As far as worst losses go, that’s where things get a little depressing and I personally will own some responsibility for that. Max, Matt and I have some pretty brutal picks in Wofford, Elon, and Yale, as it’s clear that we see an inevitable “what the heck just happened” loss waiting for the Heels down the line. Truthfully, none of these worst loss picks are particularly good, so let’s hope that none of these end up being true once the season starts.
Finally, here’s where all of the chaos comes to a head. Jacob and Tanya have the highest hopes in the Tar Heels when it comes to conference play, as they both picked them to finish in first place. Many of our staff members picked them to finish second, and there are some third and fourth-place finishes sprinkled in. As one would expect with these types of results, the seeding for the NCAA Tournament is all over the place as well. Only Joe was brave enough to pick Carolina to obtain the coveted one-seed, with everyone else feeling like the 2-4 range was more accurate. It goes without saying that I hope that Joe is right, and I personally would love nothing more than to be proven wrong in some of my predictions.
What do you think about the staffs answers? Whose predictions matched how you are thinking the most? Whose picks infuriated you to the point that you want to write us a nasty e-mail in bold red lettering? Let us know in the comments below, and also please send all angry e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.