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UNC Basketball Preview: Staff predictions

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Oh my god, it’s happening. Maybe. Hopefully.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Washington vs North Carolina Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

For better or worse, despite the fact that coronavirus cases are spiking across the country, college basketball is gearing up for its start to the 2020-2021 season. College football has shown us that the highly contagious virus presents a real problem to playing with several games postponed on a near-weekly basis at this point.

Nevertheless, we proceed.

As is tradition, the Tar Heel Blog staff was tasked with putting on their prognostication caps and dare to put their names behind some predictions for the season. These are those predictions.

Chad went and messed up our unanimous vote for Garrison Brooks as Carolina’s MVP. I think we’d all take Caleb Love impressing in his first season in Chapel Hill, of course, but this is Brooks’ team and he seems poised for a big year. Akil did the same as far as ruining Brooks’ shot at unanimous selection as the team’s best defender. I share his optimism about Leaky Black but it’s hard to see anyone besting Brooks in that category across the entire season.

Our selections were less uniform from there. The staff was pretty split on whether Armando Bacot or Leaky Black would be the most improved player over last season and the newcomers got a lot of love in the surprise category. Unsurprisingly, we are very high on Day’Ron Sharpe and Love.

Well, this is where it gets interesting. Brandon predicted a 40-point blowout for the Tar Heels at some point this season while Joe, on the other end of the spectrum, thinks their biggest win will be under 20 points. Chad got a jump on the COVID worries by hoping for fewer than five games to be impacted by the virus. Here’s hoping he’s correct. I don’t want to talk about Al thinking they’ll lose to Boston College. Thanks.

You’ll notice some discrepancies in the predictions around season record. Not everyone thinks the team will actually be able to play every game, and with the way football has played out and even less leeway baked into the basketball schedule, that’s hard to argue with.

No one thinks that Carolina will be winning the ACC this year, so anyone who thinks we’re all just a bunch of homers incapable of being critical will have to shelve their complaints on that one. The majority of the staff thinks the Heels are headed for a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament...if there is one. Sorry, that was bleak.

There you have it! A lot of uncertainty this year for a number of reasons, but we did our best. Feel free to argue with our picks or leave your own in the comments below.