In a previous article, I broke down Andy Katz' early preseason rankings .
Here are more rankings and a review of Andy Katz's opinion. Some of these rankings factored Ed Davis entering into the draft and others did not.
Here we go!
Andy Katz of ESPN had the Heels ranked at No. 19. He says that he ranked them there because they need to live up to the hype this year.
Mike Decourcy of The Sporting News and Gary Parrish of CBS both ranked the Heels at No. 10. Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated ranked UNC at No. 13.
That comes out to an average of No. 13 from these four rankings.
Here is the one that perplexes me. Joe Lunardi of ESPN has North Carolina as a 12 seed in his preseason bracket.
That is a 12 seed, not the 12th best team in the country. That is really low. It actually seems ridiculous. Maybe, I can only hope, we are reading into his bracket wrong.
Let's think about his bracket from a different perspective. If they make the tournament, which I have no doubt they will, they would not get that low of a ranking. I do not see a UNC team getting lower than a 10 seed until they expand the tournament to 96 teams which is looking more and more likely every day.
I definitely believe UNC will be a Top 25 team next season. On the other hand, they are not a Final Four caliber team going into the season, but as we saw this year anything can happen in the NCAA tournament.
I believe the No.10 - No. 13 ranking is about right. With the addition of Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock, and Kendall Marshall they will be greatly improved.
What are the reasons these analysts are ranking the Heels in the No. 10 - No. 13 range?
The number one reason is the new freshmen making their way into Chapel Hill.
Harrison Barnes is the star that UNC needs, and he looks to be a beast on defense and on offense. View this link for my preview of Barnes.
If veteran point guard Larry Drew does not make smarter passes, freshman Kendall Marshall will be ready to step in and play. Another freshman, Reggie Bullock, should be the three-point shooter that the Heels were missing last season.
Another reason is John Henson should begin to live up to his potential as he started to show at the end of the season.
Furthermore, the rest of the team should be greatly improved with a year under their belt. This should especially be true among last year's freshman: Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, John Henson, David Wear, and Travis Wear.
Roy Williams will have in his possession a junior at the point and a junior at center in Tyler Zeller (not to mention he is listed at 7').
Graves should be a solid senior. If he can shoot more consistently like he did against Dayton, he can be a solid scorer.
I know that some people will not like the semi-high rankings some of these gurus have given the Heels. The logic just is not there to not at least have them in the Top 25.
Just a little comparison. In the 2008-2009 season Kentucky went 22-14. The next year everybody was ready to have them in the top five in the country due to an outstanding recruiting class. They proved their ranking.
UNC is in a similar situation. A similar recruiting class to Kentucky's is coming in. John Henson is developing into an outstanding basketball player, and the perimeter game will be much better.
There cannot be a double standard. Teams are ranked based on potential. They have never had to go out and prove it.
They can be wrong, but preseason rankings are all about potential.
That being said, I am going to give them a rank of No. 11 to start the season.
What do you think? If you feel like a basketball guru today, leave a comment with how you would rank the Tar Heels going into the 2010-2011 season.
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