Preseason NCAA basketball favorite?

The NCAA basketClarion Call Logoball season tips-off this Friday.

Not only does this mean we will soon have one of my favorite sporting events, March Madness, but it means we get to find out who will be playing in March.

College basketball is definitely one of the more competitive collegian sports around.

Any team can upset a high ranked opponent at any given time.

However, I think the best team in the NCAA this season is also the one ranked number one currently.

North Carolina sits first in the AP Top 25 rankings.

They were barely beat out by Kentucky for number one in USA Today’s Coaches Poll, by one vote.

They also have one of the best coaches in the nation, and one of the best historically, Roy Williams.

Coach Williams is the 15th coach to record 750 wins for his career.

He’s taken 16 teams to the Sweet 16, seven to the Final Four, and two championships in 25 NCAA Tournament appearances.

He boast a winning percentage of .788.

He is definitely a guy who can coach and mentor younger players, but he really doesn’t have to break in too many new recruits.

The Tar Heels have four returning starters, and nine returning impact players out of a 16 player roster.

They are returning their top four scorers on the team.

Even though they are going to be without their top scorer, and best player Marcus Paige for 3-4 weeks with a broken hand, this team definitely has the experience, and the coaching, to do quite well in his absence.

A team doesn’t get the No. 1 spot in the nation for any D1 sport without more than just one player.

They will be tested in his absences, and if his rehab takes some time, they will really be tested with Maryland, but it’s not like they just went down to their local park or recreation center, picked 15 other players, and hoped for the best.

Without Paige, UNC still has three players who averaged over double digits in scoring: Brice Johnson, 12.9, Kennedy Meeks, 11.4, and Justin Jackson, 10.7.

Johnson and Meeks also led the team in rebounding last year with 7.8 and 7.3, respectively.

Once Paige comes back to the court, he will add more scoring and better ball movement.

Last year, he led the Tar Heels with 14.1 points per game, 4.5 assist per game and 1.7 steals per game.

I understand that Marcus Paige’s absence will be a burden for the team, and it will be a month till he returns; however, it is a long season.

That and a bad start for UNC does not always translate into a lost season.

They can still get into the ACC tournament later in the season.

If they do well in the tournament, they will be in the big tournament, regardless.

While the ACC is littered with talented teams, we cannot forget that this is the University of North Carolina.

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