North Carolina basketball named nation's No. 1 team in preseason ranking
North Carolina is carrying some heavy expectations into the 2022-23 season.
The Tar Heels are ranked No. 1 in the country in Jeff Borzello’s final way-too-early rankings for ESPN.
Here’s his explanation:
Armando Bacot will be a preseason All-American, while Caleb Love and R.J. Davis found a backcourt formula that works toward the end of the season. Ace defender Leaky Black is also back. There’s some concern that UNC isn’t as good as its March run indicated, but it wasn’t necessarily just a six-game stretch. The Tar Heels were 17-4 in their final 21 games. Hubert Davis has enough talent, experience and depth on his roster to keep the Tar Heels at No. 1.
Gonzaga, Houston, Kentucky and Duke round out the top 5. Last year’s national champion, Kansas, comes in at No. 6 on the ranking.
North Carolina returns 4 starters from last year’s national runner-up team: Armando Bacot, Caleb Love, RJ Davis and Leaky Black.
Northwestern transfer Pete Nance is expected to fill in for the departed Brady Manek at power forward. The Tar Heels also return key rotation players like Puff Johnson and Dontrez Styles. Key freshmen like Seth Trimble and Tyler Nickel could also play a role on this team.
Bacot, Love and Davis will represent North Carolina at ACC Tipoff later this month. The Tar Heels begin their 2022-23 campaign against UNCW on Nov. 7.