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UNC Basketball: Can Tar Heels be a threat in 2021 NCAA Tournament?

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 05: Armando Bacot #5 and Day'Ron Sharpe #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels look on against the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Watsco Center on January 05, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 05: Armando Bacot #5 and Day'Ron Sharpe #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels look on against the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Watsco Center on January 05, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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UNC Basketball (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)
UNC Basketball (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images) /

Reasoning to expect a win in the NCAA Tournament

It would be futile to break down every possible opponent the Tar Heels could face (and ultimately defeat) in the first round and references to Pomeroy, NET and the AP Poll were simply to be able to give a snapshot of the potential level of competition the Tar Heels could face. Consequently, when we look to generalize several teams, there becomes room to err, so we hope to err on the side of caution.

Per team rankings, the ACC is the sixth-ranked conference in RPI, despite not being overly impressive this season the ACC finds itself ahead of the Pac-12 and Big East while being just a hundredth of a point behind the WCC and American for fourth. In a conference that currently boasts six teams in the top 50 in the NET (UNC being No.50), the Tar Heels stand out in more than one stat category.

An important category come tournament is offensive rebounding, not only do the Tar Heels rank first in the ACC, but they are second in the nation in offensive rebounds per game at 14.5 in conference play. The ‘Big Three of Offensive Rebounding’ consists of Day’ron Sharpe ( 3.2 orb) Armando Bacot (2.9 orb) and Garrison Brooks (2.3 orb)  ensures the Tar Heels have two rebounders on the court at all times.

In addition, their offensive rebounding allowed them to attempt the eight most two-pointers and make the twenty-seventh most in the nation while being tops in the ACC. In addition to the baskets they get off the offensive boards, the Tar Heels lead the ACC in assists. Everything points to the Tar Heels getting a lot of shots in the first round that will facilitate their upset victory.