2008 North Carolina Tar Heels Basketball Preview
In the past four years, the North Carolina Tar Heels (36-3 overall, 14-2 ACC) have been National Champions (2005), made it to the Final Four (2008), been to the Elite Eight (2007) and gone two-and-out (2006). In last year’s tournament, the ACC champs lost to Kansas 84-66 in their Final Four match-up. Although the loss was disappointing for head coach Roy Williams and company, this club has a second chance at the title as four of their top players decided to forego early entry in the NBA.
The high-powered Tyler Hansbrough (33.0 MPG, 22.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 0.9 APG, 54.0 FG%, 80.6 FT%), now a senior, led the ACC in scoring and rebounding last season. The forward is a tough, go-to guy who can win games through skill, determination and athleticism. Small forward Marcus Ginyard (28.2 MPG, 6.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 44.1 FG%, 64.9 FT%), a reliable player, is back for his senior season. Also upfront, Deon Thompson (21.4 MPG, 8.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, 48.1 FG%, 59.5 FT%) has shown some good play but needs to find some consistency. Speedy freshmen forwards Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller will both contribute immediately.
Guard Ty Lawson (25.3 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 5.2 APG, 51.5 FG%, 83.5 FT%), who led the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio, is a speedy, skilled playmaker. Shooting guard, Wayne Ellington (31.1 MPG, 16.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 46.7 FG%, 82.6 FT%) can shoot the lights out of the scoreboard, but his defensive skills need to be honed. Both starting guards are juniors. Although not the best stats producer, senior Bobby Frasor (16.3 MPG, 3.2 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 34.2 FG%, 50.0 FT%) brings fine defensive, leadership and shooting skills to the court.
The Tar Heels are the team to beat in the ACC and nationally. The
Final Four is not a shoe-in, but it is certainly a distinct possibility.
The thing about this team is that they continue to improve and with
five of the best starters in the nation and depth on the bench,
North Carolina could win its second national title five years.