UNC Basketball Absent From List of Top-Tier Title Contenders

The UNC basketball roster's deficiency in one department limits expectations in the eyes of national media.
UNC basketball guard RJ Davis
UNC basketball guard RJ Davis / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This week, 247Sports' Isaac Trotter outlined the national championship contenders for next season by organizing them into two tiers. While the 2024-25 UNC basketball team is among the dozen that Trotter listed overall, he labels Hubert Davis' fourth batch of Tar Heels as just second-tier contenders, along with Iowa State, Tennessee, Baylor, and Arizona.

Trotter's seven top-tier contenders include UNC's archrival from eight miles up Tobacco Road in Duke. The other six are Auburn, Houston, Gonzaga, Alabama, Kansas, and reigning back-to-back national champion UConn.

So, what's keeping the Tar Heels out of that premier group?

"UNC's lack of positional size is jarring," Trotter wrote.

That observation appears largely accurate.

Neither of the two projected starting guards, Elliot Cadeau and RJ Davis, are over 6-foot-1. UNC didn't land a top-shelf big man via the portal. At 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-8, respectively, transfer additions Cade Tyson and Ven-Allen Lubin are about the average height of high-major forwards. And all three of the incoming freshmen, plus the handful of returning reserves, are either average height or slightly below average for their positions.

On the other hand, as Trotter noted in his brief assessment of the Tar Heels, reigning ACC Player of the Year RJ Davis — "unguardable" at times and within reach of Tyler Hansbrough's all-time UNC basketball scoring record — "is single-handedly capable of being the best player on the floor at all times."

Of course, it's no surprise that Trotter pegs the 22-year-old RJ Davis, gearing up for his fifth campaign with the Tar Heels, as a preseason First Team All-American.

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Matt Giles


Matt Giles is the editor and publisher of FanNation's Blue Devil Country and All Tar Heels, covering the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels on SI.com.