North Carolina is returning 4 of its 5 starters from a team that made it all the way to the National Championship game.

That sort of continuity will likely have the Tar Heels atop many preseason ranking lists this offseason. According to college basketball insider Jon Rothstein, North Carolina is the clear favorite.

He said the 2023 title “runs through Chapel Hill” shortly after Caleb Love announced his return for next season on Sunday.

The Tar Heels all of their starters from the “Iron 5” except for Brady Manek, who is out of college eligibility. Figuring out who will start at the power forward position will be a big test for Hubert Davis this offseason.

However, there are a few candidates. Puff Johnson — who was huge off the bench in the National Championship game vs. Kansas — is probably the best internal candidate. The Tar Heels also signed a 4-star sharp shooter in Tyler Nickel who could replace Manek’s impact on the perimeter.

There’s also the wildcard candidate of 5-star forward GG Jackson. He’s currently in the class of 2023, but there’s been speculation that he could re-classify to 2022. He’s currently uncommitted, but the Tar Heels are the favorites to land his commitment later this week.