After another rough ending in the Elite Eight, what’s next for North Carolina?
Would you believe an average season?
That’s the case made by Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com in this follow to the Tar Heels’ loss Sunday to Kansas in the Midwest Regional final. They entered the season ranked No. 1, but fell short of the Final Four. And now, with possibly four starters and the sixth man possibly headed to the NBA, Doyel makes the case that a thin, inexperienced roster will make UNC good, but not great.
All fair point. Just not sure I buy it. Not yet.
For starters, only senior Tyler Zeller is gone. He’s a senior. The underclassmen – Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and James Michael McAdoo – might be predicted as NBA lottery picks, but most of them were last season, too. And they all came back. (McAdoo’s a freshman.) Barnes is a good bet to go. Henson seems likely. But even though Marshall could be the first point guard taken, it’s just as easy to see him returning to school.
And McAdoo? Give it a year.
That leaves UNC with a likely lineup of Reggie Bullock, McAdoo, P.J. Hairston, Dexter Strickland and incoming point guard Marcus Paige, the team’s top-rated 2012 prospect. Wing Leslie McDonald and freshman Brice Johnson coming off the bench. That’s no bunch of stiffs.
Coach Roy Williams has dealt with mass defections before and missed the NCAA tournament (see: 2010). It’s certainly possible. But it doesn’t seem likely. Not with that roster. Not again. And if Marshall returns, well …
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.