Things went pretty well for the Tar Heels up until the second round (or third round, whichever you want to call it) of the NCAA Tournament, when Kendall Marshall went down with an injury that kept him out for what would be the last two games of the season, when they were eliminated in the Elite Eight by Kansas. The two games Marshall missed afterwards showed just how much he meant to the team. Marshall was second in the NCAA in assists, and had a higher APG average than eight Division I teams. For the season, the Heels finished 32-6.
Who Stood Out: John Henson showed why he was one of the more dominant defenders in the country. Henson finished just two rebounds shy of averaging 10 rebounds per game, and four block shy of averaging three blocks per game. He wasn't a bad offensive player either, averaging 13.7 points, and shooting 50% from the field.
Looking Ahead: There is a lot of talent gone from the roster. Tyler Zeller, the ACC Player of the Year, graduated, and Henson, Marshall, and Harrison Barnes left for the draft. These four combined to average 56 of UNC's 81 points, 27 of the 45 rebounds, and 13 of the 17 assists per game. The best news is that James Michael McAdoo, who could have left early and been a high draft pick, came back. The four man recruiting class coming in should see some good playing time next year. Joel James from Florida, Brice Johnson from South Carolina, Marcus Paige from Iowa, and J.P. Tokoto from Wisconsin are all highly touted players who will be key contributors in the coming years.
Early Prediction: There aren't going to be a lot of veterans on this squad next year, but the few that are back will need to be team leaders on and off the court. Dexter Strickland and Reggie Bullock will be heavily relied on in that department. The question is how much this team grows up over the course of the season. If they do, they could be near the top of the ACC. If not, this could be a repeat of the 2009-2010 team that ended up in the NIT despite only winning five ACC games. I think they will sneak in to the NCAA Tournament, but won't be a high seed.