Tuesday, July 20, 2004

It's never to early to prognosticate

Andy Katz apparently can't wait any longer and has listed his top 50 teams going into the 2004-2005 men's basketball season (link via Collegeball).

The good news is that Katz has the Tarheels ranked 2nd behind Wake Forest. Even better news is that Duke is ranked 10th. Here's what Katz had to say about UNC:

WHY: It's hard not to love this lineup. Roy Williams has a team built for a title. Juniors Sean May, Rashad McCants and Raymond Felton are back after tasting the NCAA Tournament. Seniors Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel and Melvin Scott are ready to be leaders. And the addition of Marvin Williams gives them a stud as a newcomer in the starting lineup. Williams could end up scoring as well as McCants, which makes the Tar Heels even harder to defend. Roy Williams still wonders about depth, but the overall talent might be the best in the ACC.

WHY NOT: This team is still learning how to be a champion. Getting to the NCAAs was a new experience. Williams thought the Tar Heels could have beaten Texas in the second round of the NCAAs last season, but something was missing. They still need to find consistency, like beating Connecticut but losing at Clemson a year ago.

SUMMER BUZZ: Williams, as in Marvin, not Roy, is the talk of the Tar Heels. He could have easily chosen the NBA draft like fellow signee J.R. Smith. But he chose to go to school, and the Tar Heels got the more versatile of the two. McCants is also proving to be more mature and was snapping 3s and jumpers at will at the Nike Camp earlier this month. May is healthy and in shape, a plus for his preparation for a potential banner season.
After going 8-20 three seasons ago, it looks like the Tarheels may finally be turning the corner -- and this with their second best prospect opting for the NBA. Perhaps even more encouraging than how impressive Marvin Williams has been this summer is the fact that McCants emotional maturation is catching up to his physical maturation.