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UNC Basketball: The Tar Heels make an appearance in Lunardi’s way-too-early Bracketology

“Opening night is less than 200 days away.”

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Elite Eight - Philadelphia Photo by Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

There have been a lot of way-too-early pieces coming out over the last few weeks following UConn winning the 2023 national championship. It was inevitable that ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi was going to jump in, which he did Tuesday morning with his way-too-early bracket.

In his extremely early bracket projections, Lunardi has the Tar Heels as the #6 seed in the East region, with Duke being the #1 team in the region. The other #1 seeds in his bracket are Marquette, Michigan State, and UConn, and his last four in are Virginia, Ohio State, Clemson, and Michigan.

While I would love to discuss how great it is that UNC didn’t tarnish their good name this past season and that national media still believes in them, what I can’t get past is how extremely early pieces like Lunardi’s have been coming out. Now that we have the NCAA Transfer Portal, there is so much that we don’t know about every single team across the country because nobody’s roster is set. I would venture to say that most if not all schools have at least one player that entered the portal, and in UNC’s case it was several. The portal doesn’t close until a month from now, meaning it will be that much longer before we can make sense of anything prior to November.

I know that media outlets have to post something during the downtime between the title game ending and the portal closing, but I will be the first to tell our loyal readers that nothing you read will mean anything a month from now. If we’re really wanting to find a positive in this particular projection, it would be that the Tar Heels are far from a complete team and Lunardi has them in the NCAA Tournament. Ideally, Hubert Davis will find the pieces that he needs to put around RJ Davis and Armando Bacot before the portal closes, and the Heels will have a strong team that will indeed participate in the tournament this time around. However, I can’t stress enough that we know nothing right now, so everything you read until we do have a complete picture should be taken with a grain of salt.

While this wasn’t meant to be an article trash-talking various outlets for doing their job, I do hope that the hype machine adapts to the very different college basketball landscape that we are in. Everyone is dealing with “free agency” right now, and once that’s done, we can hurry up and put that preseason crown on Duke so that they can go another season without winning the NCAA title (by the way, he really does have them as the top overall seed). Until then, maybe we stop getting ahead of ourselves. Cool? Cool.