UNC lands in top-5 of 247Sports’ ‘Way-Too-Early’ rankings

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Despite the college basketball season ending just about a month with Kansas defeating North Carolina in the National Championship, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to the 2022-23 season.

With the return of Armando Bacot, Leaky Black, RJ Davis and Caleb Love, the Tar Heels return four of five starters — and all who were eligible to return. UNC also returns role players Puff Johnson, who scored 11 points in the National Title game, and Dontrez Styles, who had nine big points against Baylor in the Round of 32.

With that, the 247Sports ‘Way-Too-Early Top-25‘ was released on Monday and placed the Tar Heels in the top-5, ranked No. 4.

The Tar Heels finished one final 3-point attempt shy of Kansas in the national championship game. That would seem to bring the definition of unfinished business, and four starters are back in Chapel Hill aiming to complete what they started last year. Armando Bacot looks ready to claim the ACC Player of the Year honor he felt he deserved this past season. Caleb Love and R.J. Davis are a super dynamic backcourt capable of lighting up a scoreboard at any time. And Leaky Black comes back as a tremendous defender and glue guy. Whether North Carolina takes a step forward will depend on how the Tar Heels are able to replace Brady Manek at the other starting spot: Puff Johnson and Dontrez Styles both had positive moments in the tournament. Freshman Seth Trimble adds a potential impact player to the backcourt as well.

The biggest piece of the puzzle is who North Carolina will slide into the ‘Manek’ role at the hybrid forward position. With reserve guard Kerwin Walton entering the transfer portal over the weekend, the Tar Heels now have one available scholarship to add a new piece to their roster.

UNC finished last season 29-10 after starting the season ranked No. 19 in the AP Poll.

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