Look, I know we all like to avoid getting to excited about Carolina teams. Half of the reason why is because we’re afraid of jinxing things, and the other half is just not wanting to be heartbroken at the end of the season. I get it, I’ve been guilty of getting my hopes up only to have things play out in the worst way imaginable, but there’s something to this 2023-24 team that we haven’t seen in years. A team that hasn’t yet peaked offensively, is playing elite defense, and has yet to suffer an embarrassing loss (yet)? This is the recipe for outside media folks to start talking Final Four talk, and yes, even perhaps winning the National Championship.
Rob Dauster with The Field of 68 tweeted yesterday that he thinks UNC, among other teams, could win it all.
Other teams that Dauster mentioned in his tweet were UConn, Purdue, Illinois, Auburn, Duke, and Marquette. It is worth noting that there is one thing that UNC hasn’t done that all of these other teams have, and that is they haven’t lost on the road against a conference opponent yet. In fact, UNC hasn’t lost on the road at all — all three of UNC’s losses happened in neutral court games during the nonconference schedule. The Heels face a sizable test this weekend when they travel to Tallahassee to face off against Florida State, but even if they were to lose it will be an impressive feat to make it this far into the season without a road loss, especially since literally every other AP top ten team has had some shocking losses away from their home floor. Every. Single. One.
Record on the road aside, Carolina has been playing really tough basketball, and RJ Davis has been playing at an All-American level. ESPN analyst and former Duke player has had high praise for Davis this season, and has went as far as saying that he is the best guard in the country. Elliot Cadeau has also been taking some sizable steps forward in his game, and Harrison Ingram has been very impressive over the last few games. It likely goes without saying that this team is far from perfect, and there is a lot of team for this team to grow yet as we get deeper into conference play. Regardless, UNC has easily been one of the best teams in the country, and if they were to get a run-back game against the teams that they lost against earlier in the season, it would be hard to convince me that they wouldn’t come out on top. A lot of credit goes to Hubert Davis for making some key defensive adjustments, but also this team is playing true team Carolina basketball, and continuing to do so could make or break their chances of punching their ticket to Phoenix.
It’s wild to think that just a year ago we were wondering if UNC could even make it into the NCAA Tournament, and now it’s becoming harder and harder to argue against this being a team that could make it to the final weekend. It can’t be emphasized enough that there’s a lot of basketball left to be played, and I highly doubt they will go undefeated in the ACC, but truly there are no limits to what this team can accomplish in 2024. What do you think of Dauster’s tweet, and what heights do you think this team can reach? Let us know in the comments below.