Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Way-too-early top-25 power rankings for 2024-25 season

Countdown to Craziness
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7. North Carolina Tar Heels

2023-24 season record: 29-8 (17-3 ACC)

The good news is that the program is much better off than it was a year ago when they had missed the NCAA Tournament altogether. This time around, the team is coming off an ACC title and a 1 seed in the Big Dance. But they will have to replace a couple of other key pieces, starting with star center, Armando Bacot (14.5 ppg and 10.3 rpg).

Losing Bacot and sharpshooting guard Cormac Ryan and big losses, along with key bench guard/wing, Seth Trimble. But if RJ Davis opts to return for a 5th year, the Tar Heels will be back to being national title contenders again. Davis, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, led the team with 21.2 ppg and doesn’t have a 1st-round draft projection. He’s one of the biggest “covid year” decisions to watch.

Who is expected to come back is Harrison Ingram, an All-ACC performer and impact newcomer from last season (12.2 ppg and 8.8 rpg). Elliot Cadeau averaged over four assists as a freshman and even if Davis doesn’t return, has a chance to become a breakout star in the backcourt next season.

Look out for incoming five-star guards, Drake Powell, and Ian Jackson, to have an impact on the Tar Heels as well. They’ll have one of the top athletic backcourts in NCAA Basketball but will just need either Jalen Washington to break out or to find a transfer to replace Bacot inside.