Experience & Depth Make North Carolina a Smart Bet for 2016 Champs

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 7:32 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2015 7:32 PM UTC

Take a look at early these thoughts pertaining to why the UNC Tar Heels have the best chance of winning the 2016 college basketball national championship & how to make NCAA Basketball picks on them.

Recap of 2014-2015 Season
The North Carolina Tar Heels are coming off a 26-12 campaign a season ago. Although anything less than a national championship is unacceptable in Chapel Hill, they still put together what many consider to be a very successful year. After all, they advanced to the ACC Tournament Final where they lost to Notre Dame. That’s a “Fighting Irish” squad that came within a whisker of upsetting then undefeated Kentucky in a NCAA Tournament Regional Final. Then they were eliminated by Wisconsin in the West Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament. That Wisconsin club proceeded to advance to the NCAA Tournament Final where they ironically lost to Duke. As a matter of fact, seven of twelve North Carolina losses last year came at the hands of opponents that made it to the “Elite Eight”.


High Expectations for 2015-2016 Season
North Carolina returns their top four scorers from a season ago. They will be led by senior point guard Marcus Paige who averaged 14.1 points and 4.5 assists per game. Paige also shot a superb 39.0% from beyond the three-point line, and converted on an outstanding 86.6% of his free throw attempts. Paige will be considered one of the top point guards in the country heading into this upcoming season. The other top three scorers returning are 6’9 senior Brice Johnson (12.9 PPG/7.8 RPG), 6’9 junior Kennedy Meeks (11.4 PPG/7.3 RPG), and 6’8 sophomore Justin Jackson (10.7 PPG). Some other returning players that contributed last year, and figure to take on a more prominent role this season are 6’8 junior forward Isaiah Hicks (6.6 PPG), 6’0 sophomore backup point guard Joel Berry II (4.2 PPG), and 6’6 sophomore Theo Pinson.


Incoming Frosh
Due to the depth of returning players, North Carolina brought in just two freshmen recruits this year. However, both are four star prospects. Kenny Williams is the one who has really captured most of the attention and is expected to make an immediate impact. The 6’3 guard has a reputation as a deadly three point shooter. Williams will be a welcomed addition, considering the only legitimate three-point threat last season was Marcus Paige. Williams was rated #87 in ESPN’s 2016 freshman class. He’ll also be joined by 6’8 power forward Luke Maye who still may be a year away from seeing significant playing time.


Roy Williams
What can you say about Roy Williams’ college basketball head coaching resume that hasn’t been said already? Williams was inducted into the “College Basketball Hall of Fame” in 2007, and has been named the Associated Press “Coach of the Year” with Kansas in 1992 and at North Carolina in 2006. He spent 14 years as head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks before taking over at his alma mater in 2003. Williams will be entering his 28th season as a college basketball head coach, and has amassed a cumulative record of 750-202 (.788). His teams have been to the “Sweet 16” fifteen times in 27 years, advanced to the “Final Four” six times, and have been to the national title game on four occasions. He lost in both national championship game appearances with Kansas in 1992 and then again in 2003. His Tar Heels teams came away with the national crown in 2005 and 2009.


Final Analysis
This team has the kind of depth and experience to make them a serious national title contender. According to the current (8/26) NCAA basketball betting odds North Carolina is +1000 to win the 2016 national championship. They’re my choice as of today to win it all for one of my early NCAA basketball Picks.

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