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SI UNC Predictions: Can UNC Do It?

Will UNC make it far in the NCAA Tournament? The SI UNC team break down their interpretations of the upcoming season with the overall outlook of where the Tar Heels finish.

We're two weeks away from the 2021-2022 College Basketball, and the hot takes are pouring in! Can UNC perform to the high expectations, will Coach Davis shine in the shadow of a legendary program, and will Leaky Black find his footing? These answers, and more, will reveal themselves in the next six months.

Here at SI UNC, the team decided to break down their interpretation of the coming season with the overall outlook on where the Tar Heels will finish. Shawn, Isaac, Davis and Quierra each display their answers below.

Who do you agree with more?

Isaac Schade:

  • Player of the Year: Armando Bacot (because if Carolina wants to have a big year, he has to deliver)
  • 6th Man of the Year: RJ Davis (tipping my hand at the ultimate starting 5)
  • Least Impactful Player: Puff Johnson (I think starting the season off injured again is going to put him behind in a crowded backcourt)
  • Most Improved Player: Caleb Love
  • Player You Want to See Shoot Lights Out: Brady Manek (Because that would mean things are going really well for UNC)
  • Overall Record: 23-8 (regular season)
  • ACC Record: 15-5
  • Permanent Starting 5: Caleb Love and Armando Bacot. Beyond that it will be 3 of RJ Davis, Kerwin Walton, Leaky Black, Brady Manek, and Dawson Garcia. I think all 8 start at some point during the year, but permanent starting 5 will be Love, Walton, Black, Bacot, Garcia
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Leaky Black
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Caleb Love
  • Overall opinion and prediction: So many question marks surround the national college basketball landscape given the extra year for COVID and the new transfer rule. So many question marks surround Carolina given the head coaching change. The three transfers will each provide depth and allow Hubert Davis to quickly adjust the team to his specific style of play. The ACC is wide open and Carolina has a good a shot as any to make a run. Successful teams in March have a trusted point guard who can provide consistent performances for six games in a row. If Caleb Love can provide that dynamic playmaking and consistency, this could be a second-weekend NCAA Tournament team. Prediction: Top-4 ACC finish. Sweet 16.

Davis Wallace:

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  • Player of the Year: Caleb Love
  • 6th Man of the Year: Brady Manek
  • Least Impactful Player: Duwe Farris
  • Most Improved Player: Caleb Love
  • Player You Want to See Shoot Lights Out: RJ Davis
  • Overall Record: 25-8
  • ACC Record: 14-6
  • Permanent Starting 5: Caleb Love, RJ Davis, Leaky Black, Dawson Garcia, Armando Bacot
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Leaky Black
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Dawson Garcia
  • Overall opinion and prediction: The team will be better offensively and will shoot better from the field. They won’t rebound as well as teams past but will have enough offense to win games they aren’t supposed to. All the sophomores take a leap since this year is “normal”. Bacot will lead the team; this group goes as far as Love takes them.

Quierra Luck: 

  • Player of the Year: Kerwin Walton
  • 6th Man of the Year: Justin McKoy
  • Least Impactful Player: Puff Johnson (I want him to win but I think he needs another year)
  • Most Improved Player: Ant Harris
  • Player You Want to See Shoot Lights Out: Dontrez Styles
  • Overall Record: 28-9
  • ACC Record: 16-4
  • Permanent Starting 5: Bacot, Love, Davis, Kerwin, Manek
  • Defensive Player of the Year: RJ Davis
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Caleb Love
  • Overall opinion and predictions: I'm stuck in the middle; I think UNC has the ability, commitment and leadership to make Elite 8 at minimum, but my highest concern lies in chemistry. As Shawn said below, this team has many moving parts, some of which are similar. Coach Davis provides the stability this young Carolina team needs and the refresh the program desired. The weight of this team falls on Bacot and Love (I want to say Black, but he must prove himself in the first few games) and they are more than capable of being the excitement fans want and the strength the team needs. 

 

Shawn Krest:

  • Player of the Year: Caleb love 
  • 6th Man of the Year: kerwin Walton 
  • Least Impactful Player compared to expectations? Bacot overall? Other than walk ons, ant Harris 
  • Most Improved Player: kerwin Walton 
  • Overall Record: 26-11
  • ACC Record: 13-7
  • Permanent Starting 5: black Bacot love Davis Garcia 
  • Defensive Player of the Year: leaky black
  • Offensive Player of the Year:Caleb love 
  • Overall opinion and prediction: I’ll be the first to stipulate that Hubert Davis knows more about building a roster than I do … but I don’t understand how this team is constructed. It seems like a lot of pieces that don’t blend with each other and too much reliance on perimeter shooting. When they’re on, they’ll torch some teams but I don’t see them matching up with Syracuse’s zone, UVA’s pack line or Duke's post players. I’ll happily vote for Davis coach of the year when it all ends up working but I’m thinking sweet 16 is a reasonable goal.